So you’re the CEO of a small B2B company and are unsure if a marketing automation platform will make a difference for your bottom line. It’s easy to stick to the tried-and-true methods of email marketing and direct marketing campaigns, relying on the sales team to nurture your leads until they close.
However, monitoring, implementing and delivering effective B2B marketing campaigns can be complicated. Do your marketers currently track campaigns? How so? Who is nurturing leads? When does the interaction between marketing and sales come into play?
If the answers to these questions are unknown or you don’t have a streamlined marketing process, it’s time to implement a marketing automation solution. Here are some things to consider before you decide on a marketing automation platform for your B2B company.
Check It With a Checklist
Here are some tell-tale signs that indicate you may need a marketing automation solution.
- Your marketing department struggles to track and maintain multiple campaigns
- You have a CRM solution to track contacts, but it isn’t generating businesses for you
- You need to segment and automate your lead generation efforts across all channels, including social media
- Past closed deals aren’t generating significant repeat business
- Sales and marketing have lack keen insight into each other
- You aren’t personalizing outbound communications
- You don’t have the staff to manually contact every lead and each existing customer
- Even your hottest leads need nurturing before committing to buy
A marketing automation platform can assist with or even outright solve these issues.
Marketing automation platforms allow you to nurture leads automatically with effective email drip campaigns that include personalized content until the lead is ready to close. Marketing automation helps create lists based on lead behavior so you can further customize content. You can coordinate across channels, see what campaigns are the most effective and improve your spend ROI. When the lead is ready, marketing automation platforms let the relevant salesperson know so no time is wasted and no opportunity missed.
Prioritize to Pounce
Now that you have a general understanding about what marketing automation can help you with, let’s explore what’s required to implement a system.
Research vendor solutions to find out how much it is going to cost you to license a marketing automation solution. Pricing varies significantly. Some providers cost literally thousands per month, but others are a fraction of that. If you see pricing that’s out of your league, don’t fret. Just keep searching. (Hint: SharpSpring is among the lowest priced providers, if not the lowest, and has all of the features of more expensive solutions.)
Have you already prepared your annual budget? If you missed the boat this year on budgeting for a new software tool, you can spend some down time now researching and scheduling system demos. That way, you’ll have a figure and a solution in mind to make an educated decision when you are ready.
Are you willing to spend a little time up front? Setting up a marketing automation platform takes effort at the beginning. Your marketing team will need to generate and integrate the appropriate content for campaigns, create appropriate workflows, and monitor and refine processes for effectiveness. If you have take time to properly implement and run your platform, you’ll be rewarded with a more effective and efficient sales pipeline down the road.
This is true for all types of businesses, but it especially resonates with companies that offer expensive/complex product or service and rely on a few high profit sales to stay in the black. It can be hard to run long-term nurture campaigns – staff is forgetful or turns over. Marketing automation can alleviate these concerns by taking out the human error factor and nurturing leads for you over the long term.
Leverage current efforts
If you currently have email campaigns going out through a CRM, you integrate a marketing automation solution to get even more from that system. Depending on the size of your business, you may need to consider how many systems you have and how many staff members currently maintain that system. If you have multiple databases across different platforms and different versions, you can prioritize and merge those with a newly deployed marketing automation solution.
Get it Going
Use the above checklist to determine if you are ready for marketing automation (noting that it’s likely you are). Get thinking about time commitments, budget and how marketing automation can help you get more from existing systems. Once you determine you are ready for marketing automation, you’ll need a personalized demo to see out just exactly how it would fit into your business. This is where SharpSpring can help. If you’d like more information on marketing automation and/or you are ready to schedule a demo, contact us to find out just how powerful SharpSpring is.