Are you tired of having to carry out the same time-consuming tasks day in day out? Want to automate some actions but don’t know if they should be assigned to sales or marketing?
Marketing automation and sales automation are effective tools which let you save time throughout the funnel. This lets you focus on those tasks that are most important to your business.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation is a process that automates the repetitive tasks of a company’s marketing department.
This type of software lets you manage all the marketing actions and channels targeted by the company with just one tool.
It automates certain marketing processes ahead of time which are then triggered depending on a user’s behaviour. This provides the user a unique and personalized customer experience.
The marketing automation process
Marketing automation is simpler than it might first look. As an example, marketing automation lets you address a well-known problem for B2B businesses: lead generation. The basic steps involved are as follows:
Step 1: Generate interest from a potential client
Relevant content with high added value is sent to a lead, generating interest from them, and helping to gain their trust.
You could, for example, include practical tips in your newsletters that help readers solve some of their problems.
Step 2: Present your products and services
Once this relationship has been established, you can present your products or services to leads. This can be done using an email marketing campaign. You can also contact leads directly on the channel of your choice (e.g., social media, telephone, in-person meeting).
How leads react will let you segment them. They can be grouped by level of interest, by giving them a score, for example. You can also group them by the type of lead they are (e.g., B2B or B2C, position held).
This will then let you send automated messages to leads based on their score and segment. Your messages become more targeted and personalized, and therefore more engaging.
Step 3: Pass qualified leads to sales teams
Doing these things will let the marketing department generate a list of qualified leads, which it can then pass on to the sales team through the CRM.
The benefits of marketing automation
There are a number of benefits to using marketing automation.
The main benefits include:
- Build accurate customer profiles, based on a lead’s behaviour and interactions in the sales funnel
- Save time. These tasks normally take up a lot of a marketing team’s valuable time.
- Track leads, based on their profile. A prospect who has downloaded information about a service is ready to be contacted to finalize their purchase.
- Implement large-scale marketing campaigns, which will produce greater results.
- Target qualified leads. You can tell if a lead is qualified or not by looking at how they behave. Marketing automation lets you immediately see how qualified leads are.
- Invest in the most effective processes. By analysing the results of a marketing process, you can see if it’s worth investing more money in it or not.
What is sales automation?
An increasing number of businesses automate their sales process due to the many benefits this delivers. This is called sales automation.
Here, you automate part of the sales process. The relative stages of the sales funnel become more effective, and therefore more profitable, as a result.
Sales automation automates tasks which are time-consuming, and which could potentially introduce errors into data. This lets salespeople focus more on the customer relationship or finalizing a sale.
Tasks can be automated at different stages of the sales funnel.
Tasks that can be automated
You can automate a wide range of repetitive tasks, freeing up salespeople to concentrate on those tasks with more added value.
These can include:
- Sending emails. It’s a good idea to analyse this process beforehand. This lets you make decisions about the type of email to send, the content, and how often emails will be sent.
- Prioritizing leads based on their level of qualification
- Collecting data about leads (e.g., social networks used, company, role)
- Assigning leads to salespeople, by grouping them into categories (e.g., size of the company, sector)
- Planning meetings
- Generating reports on discussions with leads
The benefits of sales automation
It’s not difficult to see that one of the main benefits of sales automation is the resulting time saving produced for salespeople.
All of the tasks mentioned above are repetitive and take up a lot of a salesperson’s time.
Sales automation lets them focus on actions to make sales and building customer relationships.
But this isn’t the only benefit. Sales automation also reduces the risk of data being entered incorrectly using manual data entry.
Other benefits also include:
- Increased customer satisfaction, with reduced response times
- Better identification of potential clients, by identifying those leads who are qualified
- Shortening of the sales cycle
Marketing automation vs sales automation: key differences
While both involve automating tasks, sales automation and marketing automation are used at different stages of the sales funnel.
Marketing automation mainly involves tasks at the top of the funnel, where marketers are looking to generate qualified leads and build a relationship with them.
Once the marketing department has generated leads, it can use marketing automation to help qualify leads by nurturing and scoring them. These leads are then converted into clients by the sales team with the help of sales automation.
Marketing automation tools and techniques have been around for longer than those involved in sales automation. This was initially created by companies in Silicon Valley looking to better structure their business.
Although both processes make use of similar tools, they are nevertheless very different. They don’t serve the same purpose and are used by different people.
How to best use automation in your business
If you’re thinking about automating some of your sales and marketing processes, you first need to look at how your business is structured.
The automation you choose will depend on things like the size of your company, your sales and marketing departments, and what type of clients you have.
You’ll also need to analyse how much time your teams spend carrying out repetitive, time-consuming tasks. This will let you identify those that could be automated.
Once this is done, you can choose tools that match your needs.
For example, if you regularly publish content on several different channels (e.g., your website, social media), you can choose a tool that lets you centralize and automate this process.
Later, you need to analyse the results obtained from using a specific automation tool and re-evaluate your decision if necessary.
Of course, you can always introduce new tools as your business grows and develops.
Workflow example: Plezi and LaGrowthMachine
Plezi and LaGrowthMachine are two automation tools that are particularly powerful. Their features help you make the different stages of the sales funnel more efficient to deliver convincing results.
Plezi, for inbound marketing
Initially created to automate the content creation process, Plezi quickly diversified to automate inbound marketing strategies.
Companies can use Plezi to create landing pages and email marketing campaigns, making it easier to generate leads. The tool also includes a range of content and form templates that can easily be customized.
Plezi’s technology makes it easier to create landing pages and share content, letting you manage your entire content strategy from one tool. It also provides centralized reporting for comprehensive data analysis.
After analysing the behaviour and interactions of leads, Plezi lets you segment them and keep only those who are qualified.
Plezi is therefore primarily a marketing automation tool.
LaGrowthMachine, for sales automation
LaGrowthMachine will help you generate new leads in conjunction with your inbound marketing actions. This SaaS platform is designed to automate prospecting campaigns by email, or on Twitter and LinkedIn.
The tool lets you collect important information about each member of your target audience. More importantly, it lets you create multi-channel automated reach campaigns (on email, Twitter, and LinkedIn) to generate three and a half times more outbound leads.
These two tools complement each other perfectly. When used together, they’ll let you generate more business across all of your lead generation channels.
Post written by Eric Renaud, SEO Manager at LaGrowthMachine