• Selling Marketing Automation to C-Level Executives: The Top 5 Benefits to Share

    Implementing marketing automation, like many other enterprise solutions, requires an upfront investment of substantial time and money. Convincing executives in your organization to invest in marketing automation can be difficult, and it is important to back up your recommendation with tangible benefits that your company can receive from utilizing a marketing automation solution. Below, find the top five benefits that you should share with your company’s executives.

    1. Increases Lead to Sales Conversion Rate

    Traditionally, sales teams follow up on leads generated by marketing, but drop a lead after a short time if they had not been converted into a sale or sales opportunity quickly. This is in contrast to statistics that show most leads will make a purchase at some point in time, even if they are not initially sales-ready. In fact, according to Gleanster Research, half of leads are sales-ready at initial contact. Also, industry statistics have shown that as many as 95% of your website visitors are only there to research and are not yet ready to buy. However, a large majority of them will buy at some point.

    By implementing marketing automation, your organization is able to nurture those leads on an ongoing basis in a cost and time efficient manner. By engaging with these leads on a regular basis, when they are ready to purchase, you can be sure your company will be at the forefront of their consideration set. In fact, nurtured leads have been shown to produce a 20 percent increase in sales opportunities compared to non-nurtured leads. While marketing automation may seem like it would require a large amount of time and effort, in reality it is highly scalable and allows an organization to see results without requiring any additional resources or time.

    2. Improves Sales/Marketing Alignment

    Another invaluable benefit of marketing automation is the fact that it increases the collaboration and communication between your sales and marketing departments. This occurs because automation requires elements to be standardized and agreed upon. For example, it is vital that both parties participate in setting clear lead definitions, including the names of the various lead stages, the definition of each stage and the components of a lead profile.

    The more in sync these departments can be, the more effective a marketing automation implementation can be. By using these agreed-upon standards, marketing will only give sales leads when they are truly sales-ready. This decreases a common frustration among sales teams of receiving a large volume of leads with only a few truly sales-ready leads, while enabling sales teams to work more effectively by only following-up with leads who have shown an interest and are ready to purchase. Additionally, marketing automation platforms enable your sales team to see any urgent leads, those that have expressed recent interest in your product or service and should be followed up with first. For instance, in the Marketo tab of the Salesforce instance below, you can see that leads are given different priority scores depending on their lead score (stars), as well as urgency scores (flames) based on recency of critical activities.

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    3. Increases Lead Intelligence

    Having a complete understanding of the leads in your database is crucial to garnering results from marketing campaigns. Marketing automation enables you to understand multiple dimensions of your leads, from their activities and behaviors to their demographics. Building a complete picture enables you to perform in-depth data analysis and use the results to continually optimize your marketing activities.

    By doing so, you can uncover the most effective path from lead to sale. This is the combination of activities and engagements in each stage of the funnel that converts leads the quickest. In other words, it is the fastest path to get to revenue. The view below, taken from Marketo, allows you to view the various marketing tactics that a lead interacted with on their journey to conversion.

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    4. Gives Better Ability to Calculate Marketing ROI

    In the business world, it is crucial to prove the worthiness of any investment. This is especially true of marketing activities, as it can be challenging to accurately tie marketing activities to the revenue that they generate. Marketing automation, however, allows your team to keep track of all of the marketing activities that played a part in reaching a lead. This way, when they are converted to a sale, you have a complete picture of the path that they took, and all marketing activities that contributed to the conversion are counted. By comparing the amount of spend for a specific marketing tactic and the revenue derived from conversions generated by that tactic, you are able to accurately calculate the ROI of that tactic. Shown below is one view from Marketo’s dashboard that shows the number of total leads and qualified leads generated from specific tactics, as well as the potential and won revenue generated from each.

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    This attribution also allows your team to make informed decisions as to the marketing tactics that should be utilized in future campaigns based off of what has been successful in the past.

    5. Provides an Accurate Method for Forecasting Business Growth

    An important aspect of many C-level executives’ jobs is forecasting projected revenue for upcoming years. With marketing automation, they are able to utilize historical data and conversion rates as a reference point to project future revenue. This way, they can look at their revenue goals for the year and work backward to determine not only how many leads need to be generated by marketing, but also the characteristics these leads need to have based on the leads that have converted in the past.

    While it can be difficult to quantifiably justify many marketing activities, especially to executives who are chiefly concerned with the bottom line, marketing automation’s ability to accurately track which activities are contributing to the pipeline and ultimately sales makes this easier. Additionally, utilizing marketing automation in conjunction with your sales and marketing activities provides a way to better understand and reach your prospects, leading to increased sales.

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