Save resources with marketing automation

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Marketing automation makes it possible to automate marketing activities with the help of software – read now! 

Frau erklärt Grundlagen der Marketing Automation

Short and sweet

Many marketing tools are outdated and no longer serve their purpose. Why? They mainly focus on the brand – not on the customers. In the meantime, the customers themselves want to be the focus of attention and connect brands with individual experiences. These should be experienced as continuously as possible across different channels and not be forgotten. However, such an approach, across different channels, is impossible in terms of personnel – the resources are lacking. The solution? Marketing automation.

The most important at a glance:

  • Marketing automation is a process that makes it possible to automate marketing activities with the help of software – from initial customer contacts to after-sales support.  

  • Various automated workflows can be developed, which not only make your work easier, but also turn visitors into prospects and finally customers.  

  • Leads are automatically further qualified by the automation tool so that only Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) go to sales.  

  • Once the automatically collected leads are in your contact database, they need to be sorted. With the help of automation, lists can be created into which the leads are automatically sorted.  

  • Through email marketing, you can do lead nurturing. This allows you to send automated and even personalized emails that enable you to keep your leads up to date with important updates.  

  • Lead scoring should be used to then rank your leads based on a scale. It determines the value that each prospect has for the company.  

  • If you're looking for a tool that promises your company a holistic digital marketing solution, there's no way around Salesforce's Pardot and Marketing Cloud systems.  

  • We've explained what marketing automation tools are in the first place and how to find the right tool for your business. 

What is Marketing Automation? 

Marketing automation is a process that makes it possible to automate marketing activities with the help of software – from initial customer contacts to after-sales support. This automation platform not only leads to an increase in efficiency, it also improves processes in marketing and sales. For example, it integrates web controlling and also various communication channels into workflows and links these with a company's CRM system. Because automated processes are possible in these modern systems, even multi-stage and complex marketing campaigns can be planned, controlled and also evaluated, i.e. followed up. But lead scoring, lead nurturing and handover to sales can also be easily and uncomplicatedly realized via a CRM system. So if you want to remain competitive, you will have to automate your marketing activities.   

How and where is marketing automation used? 

Marketing automation is often equated with email marketing. However, this does not correspond to the truth. Because marketing automation can do much more than just send pointless spam. Various automated workflows can be developed that not only make your work easier, but also turn visitors into prospects and ultimately customers.   

Workflows can be established for the following areas using marketing automation tools: 

Lead Generation 

Basically, marketing tries to generate as many leads as possible. This can also be facilitated by automated processes and in some cases even taken over completely. Marketers use calls-to-action, contact forms and landing pages for this purpose. But the more successful the marketing team, the greater the challenge for the sales team to collect and organize these leads. The solution: Leads are automatically further qualified by the automation tool so that only Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) go to Sales. The process is then as follows:  

  1. For example, a visitor lands on one of your blog posts via organic search and finds the content interesting.  

  2. To obtain more information on the topic, he/she clicks on the call-to-action you attached or on one of your links.   

  3. With his/her click, he/she is automatically redirected to a landing page. There he/she will find a form in which he/she enters his/her contact details and then submits it.   

  4. By sending the contact form, he/she receives – again automatically – access to the desired information.  

The customer converts to a lead and ends up in your contact database along with his/her data – automatically and without wasting marketers' resources.   

Lead Segmentation  

Once the automatically collected leads are in your contact database, they need to be sorted. With the help of automation, lists can be created in which the leads are automatically sorted. For example, you can define certain criteria for this:   

  1. Downloaded content  

  2. Willingness to buy  

  3. Demographics  

  4. Completed workflows   

  5. Certain interactions with your content  

With the help of these lists, you can tailor your content to your prospects much more easily and distribute it in a targeted manner.  

Email Marketing and Lead Nurturing  

Now you have converted leads and also segmented them. What's missing is lead nurturing. Once visitors convert to leads, they become attractive to the marketing team. But because not every prospective customer is immediately convinced by your products or services, you have to maintain and promote contact with potential customers – and you can do this with the help of lead nurturing.   

This term comes from the word “to nurture”, which means to nourish and promote. Lead nurturing includes all the steps that are used within a lead management process to address potential customers at the right time with the information that is relevant to them. In this way, a long-term relationship can be created between potential customers and, of course, existing customers and the brand.   

Email marketing is particularly suitable here. With it, you can send automated and even personalized emails that allow you to keep your leads up to date with important updates. You can also give them tips or alert them to new blog posts and campaigns.   

The goal of lead nurturing is to anchor your product and your company in the memory of customers and potential new customers. 

Lead Scoring 

Lead scoring should be used to then rank your leads based on a scale. It determines the value that each prospect has for the company. And it does this in two ways: first, according to the completeness of the profile (explicit information) and second, according to the lead's response to the communication (implicit information). So lead scoring helps evaluate sales opportunities.   

For example, explicit scoring asks for the following data: 

  • Position in the company  

  • Company branch  

  • Number of employees  

  • Expected annual sales  

Depending on the result and considering all the information, the lead is then classified into possible levels in terms of its potential for closing the sale (for example, A, B, C)  

Implicit scoring is about evaluating the lead's response to your chosen communication with your company, the so-called "digital body language". In other words, the extent to which customers download documents, respond to emails, participate in events, or visit your website. Various points are awarded for the respective activities, which are added together to produce a key figure for the activity of the lead.

Marketing Automation in CRM

Marketing automation in conjunction with a customer relationship management system allows real-time synchronization of collected customer data. In addition to the transfer of leads, contacts from the CRM can also be synchronized. However, the CRM system and marketing automation benefit from each other far more than just being a source of customer contacts.  

Sales and marketing often have different views on what can be defined as a lead. That's why it's all the better that integrating CRM and marketing automation makes it easier to define. Sales gets a better idea of when to contact the prospect, and marketing learns at which stages of the sales process messages should be sent.  

Using marketing automation and CRM together enables a two-tiered path that customer data travels. But what are the benefits?   

  • No data is lost as it is imported and exported from one system to another.  

  • You can be confident that the data flow will work flawlessly.  

  • You don't have to track customer communications from multiple sources.  

  • You are able to send automated messages to different segment groups, which are retrieved from CRM. And after the marketing actions are carried out, the data in CRM is supplemented by the customer actions.  

There are many CRM offerings on the market. Two of the leading options are HubSpot and Salesforce. Both platforms offer sales teams solutions that can grow with your business. The differences between the two systems become clear when you look at their genesis stories and see how their respective development processes impact usability and user adoption.   

Marketing Automation with Salesforce  

Salesforce offers a cloud-based customer relationship management platform with applications for sales, customer service and marketing. It offers a large number of customization options, during whose implementation you can always be accompanied by a specialized employee.   

If you're looking for a tool that promises your company a holistic digital marketing solution, there's no way around Salesforce's Pardot and Marketing Cloud systems.  

Both tools come from Salesforce and are leaders in marketing automation. Both have similarities, but also their own features that make them unique and clearly differentiate them from the competition. 

Pardot

Marketing Cloud

B2B Email Marketing Automation Platform 

Digital marketing automation system with focus on B2C companies  

Top of Funnel 

Bottom of Funnel

Lead Management and Lead Nurturing

Advanced personalization (dynamic content, AMPscript)  

Lead scoring and lead grading

Advanced Journeys 

Content marketing support (webinars) and SEM & SEO reports

Omnichannel communication  

Sales enablement (e.g., pre-approved campaigns to send to customers)

Flexible data model with the possibility to store multiple objects

Activity Tracking & Real Time Alerts for Sales

Robust integration capabilities

Flat data model (customer with attributes)  

Automated engagements 

Which marketing automation tool is right for me?

Now you must be wondering what is the best solution for your business? And as always with difficult, business decisions, the answer is: it depends on your company and budget, as well as your needs. That's why in our article CRM Systems in Comparison, we'll show you how to compare the myriad tools and softwares and what matters. 

Advantages & Disadvantages 

The range of marketing automation tools is incredibly diverse – they can consist of many different blocks and modules that can be individually combined and customized to meet the specific needs of your business.   

In general, marketing automation offers the following advantages:  

  • improved customer targeting,  

  • greater efficiency in content creation,  

  • increased conversion rates and thus more sales,  

  • more efficient use of resources,  

  • improved interaction between marketing, sales and customer service,  

  • reduced time required.  

Disadvantages of marketing automation software:   

  • with marketing automation software, you always have to think holistically,   

  • If you have typing errors in the contact database, these errors will be propagated,  

  • you don't want your contacts to know or guess that you are using marketing automation software, it means more work for you.  

So you see – the right use of marketing automation brings with it enormous optimization potential for more effective communication. Marketing automation delivers significantly more and higher quality leads. In addition, your employees are relieved of "tedious routine work", can devote themselves more to strategic tasks and use their expertise more meaningfully for the company.  

Nevertheless, every company is different, so marketing automation tools must be adapted to the individual needs of each company. Let Salesfive, as one of the leading Salesforce consultancies in the DACH region, advise you – so that marketing automation can fully benefit your company's process optimization and revenue growth. 

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