Optimizing Marketing Spend: 5 Quick Wins Via Marketing Automation

Published: November 15, 2011

By Tony Tissot, Sr. Director of Marketing, eTrigue

An ever-larger slice of the billions spent on BtoB marketing is going to online marketing efforts; yet industry perspectives, including Raab Associates, assert that marketing automation adoption, while growing rapidly, still isn’t pervasive. 

As marketers fully embrace the deep range of online marketing strategies, where can marketing automation technology be useful in making your online efforts more successful?

Marketing automation can help attract, identify, nurture and capture high-quality, sales-ready leads.

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Marketing automation isn’t the single solution to all of your marketing challenges. It’s a tool set. It can’t fill your pipeline by itself, or magically turn inadequate content into gold, or force marketing and sales to play well together.  But it can increase the likelihood of identifying and interacting with buyers and influencers.  Marketing automation exists to bridge the gap between your need for high-quality sales-ready leads, and the lack of resources.

Marketing automation can gather meaningful intelligence about the prospects that are engaged.  As those prospects self-identify, marketing automation can help focus your efforts and foster a dialogue that leads to a buying decision.

Here are five quick wins that a sensible marketing automation platform makes possible:

  1. Nurture the willing.  Lead nurturing is a key capability in marketing automation, but its use isn’t very common.  You can get started with simple nurturing steps, like automating responses to actions, such as form-fills, by setting up timed follow-up communication to prospects.  When you’re ready, you can increase the sophistication of lead nurturing by identifying your unique buyer personas and creating buyer’s journeys of proven content to use for them.
  2. Delight your prospects.  Alert sales people in real-time with automated lead alerts that show when prospects are visiting your site so sales can contact prospects when you are top of mind.  A study by Dr. James Oldroyd of MIT on lead response management shows that immediacy of response far overshadows both time of day and day of week in its effect on successful contact and qualification ratios.  The odds of contacting a lead if called in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes are 100 times better.
  3. Sell how you sell. While the concept of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) is very important, don’t let it dictate your sales process.  Use marketing automation’s lead scoring to gauge the interest of your prospects and share that data with sales.  If your sales process (you do talk to the sales folks, don’t you?) demands a high-touch sales approach that works best with early intervention by sales — do it.  If your sales process proves more effective by only passing on qualified prospects to sales — do that. 
  4. Stop annoying potential buyers.  And kill form abandonment at the same time.  Having a form pop up every time a prospect wants to read your best content annoys returning prospects and buyers.  Marketing automation provides the tools to loosen up your content while still capturing precious visit data.  Marketing automation can tell who is returning to your site; why ask them basic information again?  Make only unknown visitors fill out their name, rank and serial number. There’s no need to ask an identified, repeat visitor for the same basic information over and over again.  Instead use the opportunity to ask them further qualifying questions.
  5. Track the ghosts.  Anonymous tracking tells you the folks who are on your web site or blog who have not filled out a form or clicked on your emails.  The anonymous data can effectively identify which organization is interested in you.  Savvy sales and marketing folks use that data to triangulate on a given organization’s likely buyers and work to establish personal communication with them.  And when buyers finally do self-identify, marketing automation reveals their entire visit history by combining anonymous visit data with data from after they’ve identified themselves. You get a full history of their interaction on your website from their first anonymous visit to the present.

If you want to get the most from increased marketing spend, marketing automation can help you do it. It’s not a solution to bad marketing, but it helps amplify the results of good marketing.  It’s getting tougher to reach actual buyers with suitable messages at the right time, but marketing automation can help. By driving appropriate and consistent communication, demand follows.  Marketing automation isn’t expensive, and it doesn’t have to be resource intensive.  If you’re already emailing prospects or tracking web visits, the jump to marketing automation is an easy move.  Get started.  Don’t overthink it. Start simple at first, and increase sophistication over time.

Tony Tissot has been an advocate of marketing automation capabilities since before the term was coined, while running marketing and corpcom for a $2B division of a Global 50 company and later, two successful technology start-ups.  Tony Tissot is currently Sr. Director of Marketing at eTrigue. He can be reached via email at  tony.tissot@etriguecorp.com, or on Twitter @tonytissot.

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