Despite the mounting pressures being placed on marketers to do – and achieve – more, budgets are still being stretched to their limits. Investment in marketing automation is no exception, which means the business case for comms platforms and apps needs to be strong
Previous blogs have covered topics such as budgeting for marketing automation software and even how to get a bigger budget signed off. But budget perhaps wouldn’t come into question if it was clear how much marketing automation can positively influence wider business processes.
It is stating the obvious to say that marketing automation has a tremendous impact on the marketing team. It streamlines admin headaches, it maximises the capabilities of an under-resourced department, it promotes truly multichannel comms, it powers seemingly humanised and personalised conversations with thousands of recipients at once, it identifies trends from millions of lines of data that would otherwise take days to compute, and it removes the guesswork as to when is the best time to nurture someone along a bespoke journey.
But what else? None of this really matters to colleagues elsewhere in the company. So is there wider departmental impact too?
The relationship between sales and marketing is “love-hate”. But marketing automation can act as the ‘glue’ that ensures a happy marriage between the two functions.
If executed properly, savvy marketing activity will feed a sales team with valid leads and insight as to when is the right time to ramp up the conversation. That means less time wasted on unnecessary cold calls and more time turning interested prospects into converted, satisfied customers. Targets are hit, revenue is achieved and individual commission should roll in.
Marketing campaigns can be used to build loyalty and safeguard retention too, of course. So marketing automation should also be of value to a company’s customer service team. Carefully crafted comms can help individuals feel ‘loved’, for example, and surveys can even be tactfully distributed to measure the status of a customer’s experience levels. A trigger point may kickstart this journey, which could perhaps uncover when a customer service call is then required. But the process can be followed for more positive scenarios too, such as when a client may be willing to leave a glowing review via TrustPilot.
Even newly onboarded or soon-to-be customers can benefit from service-related comms. A simple confirmation SMS ahead of an appointment, or a reminder email that contains everything the individual needs to know to get up and running with a new service, will help them feel informed and supported.
For many organisations, it is a mandatory business requirement for new customers to sign up to direct debit mandates. Simple automated yet personalised communication journeys can ensure the right people do this at the right time – with gentle reminders and step-by-guidance if required – without the need for any physical involvement from the finance team.
Whilst marketing campaigns commonly focus on the strengthening of sales and retention figures among the customer base, marketing automation can of course be used to power internal comms too. Some staff communications are mandatory, and HR departments must obtain confirmation that legal and/or policy documents have been read and understood. Automation can therefore manage this journey, from the distribution of the initial comms, through to polite – or firmer – reminders if the individual employee doesn’t engage. Dashboard data can even be pulled off for auditing purposes, to verify who has opened, read and/or accepted policy information.
When it comes to adding wider business value and ‘impressing’ colleagues, there’s perhaps no ‘department’ more important than a company’s senior management team.
However, the board will not be interested in vanity data such as open and click rates. They want killer metrics such as evidence ofr base/segmentation growth or an uplift in lead scores, which can be intrinsically linked to bottom line growth.
Identification of this insight will raise marketers’ profile in the boardroom and will provide peace of mind that the investment in marketing automation was more than worthwhile.
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