After a recent barbecue, our neighbor proudly demonstrated his new rotating grill brush. As we stood around the grill waiting for this wondrous gadget to “easily” remove the remnants of our dinner and leave a sparkling clean surface, we soon realized it was a flop. In fact, we all agreed we could do a better job with a wire brush and a little elbow grease. Some things don’t need to be automated.
Marketing, however, is not one of those things! For those B2B marketers who are still on the fence about whether to invest in a marketing automation (MA) system or are in the early stages of adoption, let us assure you that MA, when used properly, can help your business grow.
According to a recent compilation of data, B2B marketers say the biggest benefits of MA are:
- Saving time (74%)
- Increased customer engagement (68%)
- More timely communications (58%)
- Increased opportunities, including upselling (58%)
- Taking repetitive tasks out of marketers’ hands, allowing focus on new/more exciting projects (36%)
- Better targeting of customers and prospects (30%)
- Improving the customer experience (10%)
- Better email marketing (9%)
- Reduction of human error in campaigns (8%),
- Lead management (4%) and multi-channel marketing (3%)
Nearly two thirds of companies surveyed (63%) expect to realize the benefits of their marketing automation system within six months of implementation, but those who are patient find that benefits increase with time, training and experience. For instance, 67% of B2B marketers say they see at least a 10% increase in sales opportunities through lead nurturing, with 15% seeing opportunities increase by 30% or more after a year or longer. What’s more, “high performers” (those marketers who maximize MA), have an average of 60% higher lead-to-conversion rating.
What about the competition, you ask? Well, the data shows that companies that have adopted marketing automation perform well compared to companies that haven’t. Specifically, 54% capture intelligence for the sales team, compared to 25% without MA; and 49% customize content to stages in the buyers’ journey, compared to only 21% without MA.
Of course, as they say on product labels, “results may vary.” Marketing automation is a powerful tool, capable of executing your marketing tasks more efficiently, helping you track and nurture leads throughout the buyers’ journey, and building customer loyalty, if it’s used properly. Lack of an effective strategy and complexity of the system were cited as the top two barriers to MA success, but another impediment is the fact that many marketers only use a portion of a system’s capabilities. While some marketers choose to learn as they go, others have found it beneficial to rely on the expertise of an outside agency. Either way, it’s important to note, that unlike the scenario where robots take over the world, MA doesn’t replace the need for human marketers. To reap the full benefits, check out “8 Ways to Make the Most of Marketing Automation.”
There are still plenty of things that have not (and perhaps never will be) improved with automation, such as hair brushing (ouch) and pet washing (a real, but ineffective invention). However, when it comes to identifying qualified leads, tracking better metrics and responding to buyers’ needs, data proves that marketing automation is a far more effective tool than, say, a battery-powered grill brush!