CRM offers a lot as a standalone software. It can oversee and track customer interactions, regulate customer service experiences, and rearrange the sharing of information over all departments. However, like any other software, CRM also has some limitations. It is not intended or designed to do everything. Here comes the need for. While automation software can be used without CRM, and vice-versa, they work so well together that the whole is often more notable than the sum of its parts.

What is Marketing Automation?

There are many long, complicated definitions of automation software. But a short, yet simpler definition is that it is used to automate the marketing process depending on the interests and interactions of the prospects. It provides an improved customer experience with more efficiency and higher conversion rates.

The basic objective of marketing is to produce more revenue for your organization. To achieve this, we have to drive traffic to our site, convert that traffic into leads and close those leads into ultimate customers. Marketing automation actually has an impact on the conversion and closure phases of this process.

How it Works:

Hundreds and thousands of marketers these days are relying on email marketing to generate more traffic and better results. They send email after email to their entire list of customers and prospects, hoping that the message will appeal to some of them and that the customer will end up purchasing something. But is it really helping businesses?

I think that sending the same message again and again to all prospects and customers may annoy them, causing them to ‘unsubscribe,’ leaving you without an opportunity to do business with them in the future. This is where a marketing automation system would be a sound investment. Marketing automation enable you to nurture your leads throughout the buying process and deliver highly targeted, personalized messages that actually address the specific needs of the customer.

Hot Features of Marketing Automation Tools:

Lead nurturing and drip marketing are the hottest features of an effective marketing automation software. A number of different software are available in the market, but not all of them are offering all the features at one platform. Before you choose your vendor for automation, you need to confirm if they are offering all the essential features.

Marketing automation tools work as an intelligent gatekeeper. Prospects are nurtured and engaged until they are converted to be qualified leads, then they’re motivated further into the funnel. This keeps the sales staff from being overcome with leads that never transform into real customers. By keeping non-starters out of the labor-intensive phases of the pipeline, the product enhances ROI for both the sales and marketing departments.

As leads are engaged and nurtured, their interactions are always measured and assessed. And if they stay inactive, the engagement and nurturing proceeds automatically. But when the lead turns active, the software will automatically inform the relevant faculty in the sales department. Most of the interactions and information is entered into the CRM system automatically, showing all the details about the lead’s interactions with the sales department. Having an active lead, and all the details on what made them a hot lead, is a big advantage for any sales representative.

Best Practices to Follow:

As many small and medium sized companies are showing interest in using marketing automation tools, there are a couple of issues faced by them. To avoid any problem in your marketing automation system, you need to follow the best practices. The following have been designed with a look at “What is working best” in the market.

1. Integration with CRM and the Sales Process

Aligning sales and marketing closely is of great importance to be successful with marketing automation. The marketing team needs to understand the sales cycle and how prospects move through the cycle. In order to measure the efficiency of marketing campaigns, you need to track leads through the sales pipeline. Also, it is important to know that by sharing data, marketing automation platforms and CRMs are able to integrate and talk with each other.

2. Hyper-Personalization Trend

The hyper-personalization trend is going to be the most ideal approach to market in 2015, providing people with what they are searching for and trying to avoid spamming. Thinking about the people who have shown some interest in your offers, who reacted positively, who clicked on your links, and who bounced helps in the personalization of the message and offers.

3. Avoid Auto-pilot Mode

Marketing automation is a good way to save your time and resources by automating functions, but it is very crucial to avoid auto-pilot mode. Automation can quickly become sales prevention when “contact us” forms are not properly routed.

4. Always Use a Multi-Tasking Platform

There are plenty of marketing automation platforms offered in the market; some are offering pure sales or email marketing, while others are limited to marketing intelligence only. On the other hand, multi-tasking platforms have proven to be helpful in managing your sales, emails, and digital marketing campaigns at the same time from a single dashboard. It saves time, increases efficiency, and raises ROI.