When should a startup implement marketing automation? It’s a great question and we decided to answer it with 10 reasons every startup should implement marketing automation.
If you’re a startup you’ve got a lot of things on your mind. We totally understand, we were a startup once. We’ve been through the struggle, and it’s not easy. Fortunately we’re a bunch of sales and marketing-minded people that have an affinity for building cool software. We liken the Amazon model wherein they build solutions for themselves and then sell it. Amazon created their ecommerce platform for book sales, built out capacity, then began to lease that capacity to other businesses. Bang! The Amazon Web Services (AWS) offspring appeared. AWS is now the cash cow for Amazon, and they’re making billions from it. We’re not that greedy now…but we enjoy building software to help our company and then sharing the software with others, at very competitive rates – especially for startups.
If you’re an early stage startup with seed stage funding or Series A, or even B funding, and you haven’t implemented marketing automation yet – it’s time! Here are 10 reasons why a startup should implement marketing automation:
1) Implement scalability (ideal for future fundraising)
Startups typically have limited resources. Resources spanning from time, to humans, to money – there’s no doubt there’s a shortage for the average startup. It’s impossible to grow your business by adding more resources. In short, you’ve got to do more with the resources you have. You’ve got to be more efficient. Marketing automation is the means to scalability and efficiency.
2) Create a customer acquisition machine
Marketing automation has many offshoots, such as Lead Liaison’s Sales Enablement, which integrates with marketing automation and helps sales reps book more meetings. When sales automation and marketing automation work hand-in-hand it’s a customer acquisition machine. Wouldn’t it be nice if your startup can begin to forecast how many meetings and demos you can book with automation at the core to help book those meetings?
3) Emphasize sales and marketing (most startups are enamored with prod development)
It’s the classic example of the ostrich with their head in the sand. Startups have horse blinders on. They typically have a myopic view of their product/service that they’re creating. They want to perfect it. They spend countless hours tinkering, revising, tweaking…to no end. At some point you’ve got to draw the line in the sand, create your Minimum Viable Product (MVP), and go to market. Even if your product/service is not 100% ready you’ll be able to land some customers – which is gold for startups. Customers should define your product, not you.
4) Cost isn’t a barrier. Minimal upfront investment. Cash flow is critical.
You’re probably thinking you cannot afford marketing automation as a startup. Some companies, such as Lead Liaison, have specialized programs that offer qualifying startups a 90% discount on Services. Most companies can get a full sales and marketing suite of products for less than a few dollars a day. Stop eating out for lunch, pack a brown bag lunch, and use that money for a sales and marketing platform. Your brown bag lunch will buy you a digital sales rep and marketing assistant, another way to think about the software, which you won’t find on job sites for that kind of money!
5) Measure Efforts
What doesn’t get measured doesn’t get done. Whether you’re a startup or a large enterprise, this metaphor holds true. Track website visitors, form conversions, social media engagement, prospect engagement, qualified leads, and more. Start looking at your business from a holistic perspective with a lifecycle funnel that tracks prospects from anonymous through to customer and beyond. Spot check your growth or track trends over time as your database and business grow.
6) Gives investors visibility into your business.
So you got your funding. Maybe it’s an initial round or follow up round. As a startup one of the hardest things is to hold periodic meetings, prepare your data, present at the board meeting, etc. That’s time consuming and it can be a drag. It’s a heck of a lot easier if the data is prepared for you via an application. Alternatively, if you give your investors a login to your sales and marketing automation platform so they can see firsthand how their money is working for them.
7) Recover lost time.
Without marketing automation, or sales automation, you’re going to do a lot of things manually. Save yourself the pain of shopping for disparate email, form, landing page builders and bring a single platform into your company. As noted above, it’s about efficiency. If you can do less but accomplish more why wouldn’t you do it?
8) Attract new personnel.
As a startup it’s hard to recruit talent. There’s got to be something in it for new hires. As a company, you’ve got to give them a reason to want to work for you. A professional sales and marketing platform can make eyes glow. It’s a platform that can help attract talent. If they know you’re investing in your company and you care about sales and marketing, it makes a bold statement. Use marketing automation as a magnet and don’t look at it as a deterrent.
9) Care for your customers.
Startups don’t have a lot of customers, and most don’t have any as they’re just starting up. But once you get those customers you’ve got to take care of them. But, therein lies the conundrum! How can you care for your customers if you’re too busy creating your product/service. Take some of the pressure off by implementing client communication plans to nurture your new customers. They’ll appreciate it and you’ll build stronger relationships.
10) Get with the times.
Marketing automation is like CRM 10 years ago. It’s a necessary thing. If you meet a company these days that does not use marketing automation it makes you wonder what they’ve been doing. Also, most startups have much more mature competitors. Rest assured your competitors are using the latest and greatest tech. And rest assured they’ve paid a hefty price for it.
Thank the lucky stars that you’re a startup. Take advantage of your status, and sign up to marketing automation while you can get your discounts. To learn more about Lead Liaison’s Startup program click here. To refer a VC, incubator, accelerator, or University Startup Program to apply and help their startups click here.