Most small businesses have a limited marketing staff. In fact, many small businesses don’t have a marketing person, they have a marketing role, which is filled by someone (often the owner) who also wears several different hats in the business. Because of this, time is a precious resource.
This means the marketing role needs to quality leads in the least amount of time possible. It also means that systems must be in place to make sure those leads do not fall through the cracks as we switch between roles.
Marketing automation allows you to remove the manual work out of crafting each individual message (i.e. email or letter); rather, you can create a multi-stage campaign that will nurture new leads that come into your system over a period of weeks or months.
Marketing automation can also help you save time in your sales role. Two challenges that all small business sales people face are 1) chasing down leads who aren’t ready to buy yet, and 2) consistently following up so those leads remember us when they are ready. Marketing automation can help your on both counts – by automating follow up activities as well as providing clues, based on their actions, about when a lead is ready for a sales conversation.
Chasing leads is often a function of being in the wrong role at the wrong time. By wrong time, I mean relative to where the buyer is in their buying process. Attempting to have a sales conversation before a prospect is ready is frustrating for both the salesperson and the prospect. Jumping into our sales role too early causes prospects to resist, while not engaging in a sales conversation when prospects are ready leads to missed opportunities.
Marketing automation also helps you save time in your sales role by using these behavioral indicators to let you know what you should be talking about when you do have a sales conversation. Most businesses offer a variety of products and services to prospective customers. Marketing automation tools can provide insight into the problem(s) a prospect is trying to solve, and the products and services that can help them solve that problem, based on how they interacted with your marketing messages.
For example, if you sell business software and you see know that a prospect spent most of their time interacting with your marketing related to inventory management but ignored your content related to payroll processing, you would be prepared to speak about what is important to them and figure out what additional information they need to make a decision more quickly than if you went into the conversation “cold”.
Marketing automation is not a silver bullet. As I’ve mentioned here before, you need to have a marketing system before you can automate it. When properly implemented, marketing automation can save you time and help you close more deals and close them faster.
P.S. – There are many marketing automation solutions available. My favorite for small businesses is Infusionsoft. You can view a demo of Infusionsoft here, or feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss how it might help your business.