Tim Witcherley

Marketing automation: Win more business and nurture more leads

by Tim Witcherley on May 14, 2014

Want to generate new leads, but don’t have enough time or resource to do it? Marketing automation makes lead nurturing easier and can actually save you time and money in the process.

Switched-on businesses are increasingly looking for effective online tools that’ll have greater resonance with their prospects and boost their lead generation.

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As a consequence, demand for marketing automation has soared. In fact, it’s experienced the fastest growth of any CRM-related segment in the last five years (Focus Research). And, according to Sirius Decisions, demand is expected to increase by 50% by next year.

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation helps you to target specific prospects with the most relevant information – automatically.

The reality is that customers are increasingly savvy. They don’t want to be blatantly sold to, and they’re getting better at screening out useless information. Having said that, they are prepared to pay attention to content if it’s relevant to them.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re a manufacturer, and you need to reach a range of stakeholders – from engineers to quality assurance – in order to win a new contract. These stakeholders are looking for different things when they select a supplier. Marketing automation helps you target the right people with the right message.

  • You can email engineers offering a free article on technology innovations. The idea is that it’s of general interest, and showcases your expertise
  • If an engineer downloads the article, the automation software will categorise that person as an ‘engaged’ prospect and send them a second article you’ve prepared that is more specific to your services, like a guide to specifying a component
  • After they download that second guide they’ll automatically get a case study that sells your services more explicitly
  • You then have a very warm lead primed to talk to your sales team

After the initial set-up, this workflow operates automatically: every time new engineers fill in a form on your website or make it into your database, they will start receiving relevant content. Which means all this activity to warm up prospects happens without additional time or resource.

You can then do the same thing for the quality assurance managers or the finance directors.

Why should I be using it?

If implemented correctly, with enticing call to actions, targeted eshots and educational and helpful downloads, marketing automation can help grow your business and boost your online presence.

There are many software solutions offering a range of features out there, but in principle they usually provide:

  • Visitor identification through landing pages, email, and social media
  • Advanced website visitor tracking
  • Email marketing ‘nurture’ campaigns
  • A centralised database with activity reporting

Facilitating greater collaboration between your sales and marketing teams, marketing automation provides your:

  • Sales team with an insight into your prospects, helping them to establish their buying motivation from first contact through to close of sale
  • Marketers with a way of testing which messaging works best

As well as attracting a large number of leads, it can shorten the sales cycle and decrease the cost of customer acquisition.

Is my business ready for it?

Are you already producing effective marketing content, like blog posts and case studies?

The next step is to implement a marketing automation strategy that’ll convert your leads into paying customers.

Here are some reasons why marketing automation can benefit your business:

    1. Each lead will have a personalised content strategy that reflects where he or she is in the purchasing process
    2. You can track your leads across every touch point and marketing channel (not just email)
    3. You’ll have a proven lead nurturing strategy that you’ll be able to scale
    4. You’ll save time and money through greater collaboration and efficiency between marketing and sales
    5. You’ll have more accurate, current information on how sales are progressing

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Tim Witcherley

This post was written by Tim Witcherley

As Cognition's Managing Director, Tim sets by example by being an incredibly driven and commercial businessman who has built a very impressive marketing consultancy which has continued to grow year on year. With a very straight and honest approach to business, he ensures he gets the best results for his clients and builds strong partnerships with his suppliers.

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