Marketing Automation: The Key to Increasing Online Sales
It can be considered the main tool for generating and nurturing leads throughout the entire sales funnel, right up to the moment of purchase. Furthermore, after purchase, it serves to improve retention, customer loyalty and even generate recommendations. But what is Automation really?
In this article, you will see:
- What is Marketing Automation?
- 16 Benefits of Marketing Automation
- How to increase sales with Automated Marketing
- Marketing Automation Software – Main Features
a. Creating automation flows
b. Automation of a series of actions related to lead
c. Email Marketing – the main automation flows tool
d. Base Segmentation
e. Form creation
f. Landing Pages
g. A/B testing
h. Social media
i. CRM Integration
j. Measuring and analyzing campaign results
k. Get in touch with former customers
l. Reports and monitoring
- Marketing automation by niche
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing Automation is based on the use of technology and artificial intelligence to automate and unify marketing processes, ensuring communication, based on consumer behavior.
Allows you to analyze the audience’s engagement and interests – segmenting them – and automate personalized processes, taking into account the different target audiences of the business and the various online channels used. These processes are actions defined by the company and are triggered by the behavior of users in the various channels – one after the other – without the need for manual intervention.
In other words, Marketing Automation allows you to understand and define the interests of your Leads and the stage of the sales funnel they are in, segmenting them and providing them with all the useful and relevant information for them to make their way along the funnel until they are ready to make the purchase – the right time to be approached by the sales team.
Its purpose is to increase marketing efficiency and scalability while ensuring personalized communication with leads.
This process should not replace people, but rather complement and increase the effectiveness of your work.
16 Benefits of Marketing Automation
The market is getting more and more competitive, demanding more agility and better results from companies. This pushes us to take over Automation measures. Marketing Automation allows you to unify online processes, crossing data from different areas and ensuring an overview of the business. These processes bring numerous benefits to any established business:
1. Lead nurturing
The contact requests that a company receives are not always ready to make the purchase, so it is crucial that these leads are followed up and nurtured, taking them through the sales funnel, until they reach the final stage – where they are ready to purchase.
Through automation, nurturing and follow-up become more efficient and effortless. Inbound Marketing is a valuable tool to attract, nurture and “educate” leads, through the development of rich and useful content for each segment, creating a positive user experience – maintaining and driving the leads along the funnel.
In addition, it becomes possible to handle a greater number of contacts than would be possible if the processes were not automated, making sales opportunities greater, as leads reach the sales team with sufficient information and once they are ready to make the purchase.
In this article, you can learn more about the importance of leads.
2. Better prepared leads generate more sales
Marketing automation allows you to understand which leads are best prepared to be approached by the sales team, increasing the likelihood of conversion. Furthermore, the more information a contact has about the company’s topic, product, or service, the more likely they are to recognize a need and invest in a solution.
Finally, leads with more knowledge about the product/service are easier and more successful to make them feel contented, leading them to use the product/service for longer, to buy other products/services from the company, and even to recommend it to their friends.
3. Segmentation and personalized communication
Marketing Automation allows you to segment your leads according to various criteria and to customize communication with these different segments, turning the interaction with leads much easier, and increasing their engagement with the brand.
With Marketing Automation it is possible to increase the company’s growth, sales and customers without having to increase costs. In other words, it is necessary to invest in an initial phase, but it is no longer necessary when the automation structure is consolidated – the company does not have to hire more people or buy more tools to generate more sales, since the already automated processes can be replicated.
5. Greater efficiency in the sales funnel
Through Automation, leads are identified and segmented, exposed to the right content, and automatically evolve along the sales funnel. This results in the optimization of time, better organization of the sales team. Thus, leads are approached at the right time, making the whole process more efficient.
Com a Automação, as leads são identificadas e segmentadas, são expostas ao conteúdo certo e evoluem automaticamente ao longo do funil de vendas. Isto resulta na otimização do tempo e na organização do trabalho da equipa de vendas e faz com que as leads sejam abordadas no momento certo, tornando todo o processo mais eficiente. (Discover a Successful Ecommerce Sales Funnel here)
6. Greater productivity
By receiving the most aligned leads, the sales team can close them in a shorter period of time, optimizing their time and investing it in other important tasks. In addition, the Marketing team is more available to focus their efforts on tasks that cannot be automated.
7. Integration between the various teams
Data is stored in a single system to which all members of the various teams have access.
8. Less probability of failure
Several processes end up being automated.
9. Reduced Acquisition Cost per Customer (CAC)
As the lead nurturing and lead preparation processes are automatic, teams do not have to invest time in these activities and the company reaches a higher number of users with a smaller investment of resources. At the time of approaching these leads, as they are ready to purchase, the investment of time and resources is also lower, resulting in a significant decrease in CAC.
10. Increase in the average amount that the customer invests in purchases
Automation opens the path for an improvement in the relationship between the company and the customer, allowing the latter to make decisions more consciously and maturely along the sales funnel, resulting in a greater probability of major purchases.
11. Sales Cycle Reduction
The Sales Cycle represents the period of time that elapses between the customer’s first contact with the company and the purchase. As most of the sales funnel path is driven by the system, when leads reach the sales team they are already in one of the final stages of the funnel, so they are more informed and prepared, making the approach simpler and more objective and reducing the duration of the cycle.
12. Greater customer retention
As leads, these contacts make more aware and informed decisions. Therefore, when they become customers, they tend to be more successful with the product/service, being more satisfied with the purchase, which leads them to remain customers. Increased satisfaction can also generate recommendations from customers to acquaintances.
13. Monitoring of the entire sales funnel
Since everything is automated, any task can be measured and monitored, allowing the funnel optimization through data-driven decisions. Generally, Marketing Automation tools provide access to data reports that include KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and from which it is possible to extract valuable insights for decision making and even for adapting communication when approaching leads.
14. More efficient processes and costs
As the negotiation becomes shorter and, consequently, the duration of the sales cycle decreases, there is an increase in the efficiency of the processes and a decrease in the various inherent costs.
15. Increased sales
With the ability to better understand the needs of the leads, companies can find new business opportunities by focusing efforts on the right leads at the right timing.
In addition, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools can be integrated with Marketing and Sales to document all the communications between the leads and the company and to notify the sales team when a lead is eligible to be approached.
16. Data security
Automation software that encrypts data and uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protocols ensures data security.
How to increase sales with Automated Marketing
A better use of the resources made available by Marketing Automation allows an increase in sales. There are several ways and steps in which you can maximize this benefit.
- When Leads are not yet ready to purchase – In this case, and as mentioned above, it is important to monitor and nurture these contacts. Through automation, it is possible to create a targeting list and an automated flow. So, for example, if the lead is part of the targeting list, it is assigned a sales team member, who can be notified, follow up the lead’s path and approach it at the indicated time. This automation allows sales guarantees to increase since the leads are approached at the right stage in the funnel.
- When leads are almost ready – By creating an automation flow identical to the previous one, it is possible to monitor the path and behavior of these leads and, if they do not make the purchase, understand the reason and clarify doubts in real-time.
- When leads are ready to buy – You can create an automation flow that assigns leads to sales team members and identifies them as “opportunities” – to go directly into the salesperson’s pipeline, ensuring they are addressed as quickly as possible.
- In post-sales – After a lead becomes a customer, it is possible to continue to leverage sales by creating Activation Flows, Retention Flows, Flows for Upsell, or Cross-Sell and Referral Flow.
To learn more about these Flows, read on.
Marketing Automation Software - Main Features
Marketing Automation is based on the use of software that centralizes information and automated process routines. This software allows you to define automation rules, integrate several team members, gather and analyze data. It includes several features and can be integrated with other tools.
Although it is a very versatile tool, it is no longer useful without human participation and intelligence.
These are the main features:
1. Creating automation flows
Flows are sequences of automatic actions, sent by “triggers” defined in the tool, which introduce the Leads through the various points. These software allow the creation of different types of flows, depending on the different moments of the relationship between the leads and the company.
- Nurture Flow – This flow takes place in the middle of the sales funnel. Several actions are automated, with the purpose of nurturing and maturing the lead in terms of the purchase decision, making it go deeper through the various phases of the funnel until it comes to being approached by the sales team.
- Abandon Flow (from the cart or from site pages) – This usually occurs in the final stages of the sales funnel and helps to remind leads to complete a purchase or to send them content that complements what they previously viewed. Learn how to recover abandoned carts.
- Activation Flow or onboarding – It is a flow that occurs in the after-sales and helps to automate the communication of the welcome messages and to guide the customer into the first steps into the product/service.
- Upsell and/or Cross-Sell Flow – It also takes place after the sale and helps to offer, in an automated way, upgrades and/or complementary products of previous purchases.
- Referral Flow – It also occurs in the after-sales and helps to encourage more satisfied customers to recommend the company’s products or services.
2. Automation of a series of actions related to leads
- Lead Generation – Marketing Automation tools generally offer editable templates for Landing Pages, Forms, and Call To Actions creation – which can be included on the website or blog, allowing interested users to leave their contact information.
- Leads Monitoring – through automation, it is possible to define several criteria to follow the actions performed by the leads. Lead Tracking is one of the most effective automation resources and – through some technical settings on the site – it allows you to analyze the behavior of leads – for example, which pages they browsed or how long they stayed on each page – and through this data, it is possible to create flows.
- Lead Qualification and Nurturing – By following up and monitoring leads’ actions, it is possible to nurture them – sharing the most relevant content to them – and qualify them. Leads are generally qualified as Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) when they still need to be developed by the marketing team and as Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) when they are ready to be approached by the sales team.
- Leads Classification – Automation allows you to classify leads according to the stage of the sales funnel they are in, through the attribution of tags. In other words, a “status” is assigned to the lead, so that the sales team knows the best approach in terms of communication for each type of segment. Generally, the following distinctions are used: “Interested”, “qualified”, “opportunity”, and “customer”. The “opportunity” means that the lead is ready to be passed from the marketing team to the sales team so that it can be approached. These distinctions can be made through Lead Scoring, in which points are awarded to Leads, depending on the number and type of interactions made with the contents. The company can customize these rules through automation, defining which actions are more and less relevant and which, therefore, should be worth more and fewer points.
- Lead Assignment – You can automate the assignment of specific leads to specific salespeople and notify them in real time, depending on various criteria – for example, you can assign leads to the salesperson who is freest or to the salesperson deemed most appropriate for that specific lead.
- CRM integrations – Marketing automation allows for better management of leads through integration with CRM, ensuring that all data is up to date and accessible to the various members of the company.
3. Email Marketing - the main automation flows tool
In addition to having low production costs, it can be used at all stages of the sales funnel. Through automation, it becomes possible to define automatic email campaigns. Usually, these tools include an email editor, to facilitate their creation and these emails can be included both in Nurture Streams, as in specific campaigns, and can be sent to specific segments. In addition to this, you can also set up automatic email responses and have access to submission reports, open rates, and other data.
4. Base Segmentation
Marketing Automation software generally allow to segment the company’s contacts database, ensuring that communication is appropriate for each audience. This segmentation can be done according to various criteria – defined by the company – such as the phase of the sales funnel, budget, area of operation, or others, and it is possible to cross data.
5. Form creation
It is also possible to create forms and insert them in the different phases of the sales funnel. These forms are intended to collect contact information from Leads. Once filled in, they are automatically available in the Software. Forms can be inserted in pop-ups, on specific pages on the site, or in paid advertisements on social media.
6. Landing Pages
Most software allow the creation of Landing Pages, providing editable templates.
7. A/B testing
It is also possible to create these tests, which allow you to test a variable in two different versions. In other words, if you are in doubt between two emails, two landing pages, two images, you can test them on a part of your audience and then implement the one that got the best results in the test.
Through automation, you can also schedule posts on networks and monitor engagement, comments, and shares.
9. CRM Integration
As already mentioned, through this tool, it is possible to integrate the CRM, building a bridge between the marketing team and the sales team, with all members having access to customer data. Thus, actions and decision-making are more accurate and have a shorter duration.
10. Measuring and analyzing campaign results
11. Get in touch with former customers
With all the data concentrated in a single platform, it is possible to do Remarketing – a very valuable strategy to win over old customers and even get feedback or a reason for their abandonment.
12. Reports and monitoring
Through these software, the task of onboarding is made easier, as it is possible to schedule a welcome email and various notifications so that team members know when to contact a customer. In addition, reports that include the most relevant metrics are also available so that you can monitor and analyze the results and make decisions based on specific data.
Marketing automation by niche
The implementation of a Marketing Automation solution not only increases the company’s performance – attracting the right audience and ensuring access to useful information that leads the customer to purchase- but also improves the company’s relationship with customers in after-sales.