As a marketing manager, you’ll certainly have heard about marketing automation. You’ll probably have done some research into what exactly marketing automation is, and you might even have had conversations with your boss about implementing it in your business.
But, how do you know whether it’s the right time for your business to invest in marketing automation? Here are the main points to consider when deciding whether your business would benefit.
You have the budget and ongoing resource
The first point to consider is your budget. Implementing marketing automation properly and effectively will require some up front investment. However, you can be flexible within your budget, as the price of marketing tools can vary quite a bit. For example, there are higher end ‘enterprise’ solutions like Pardot or Eloqua for larger or fast-growing businesses, as well as mid-priced options like Hubspot or Sharpspring which are cost-effective and better suited to smaller businesses and start-ups.
When looking at your budget, you might even find that your current ‘patchwork’ of tools (see the next section for more on this) is already costing you same amount as a centralised tool would. And if it isn’t now, what happens to the price of individual tools when when you start to scale? For example, if you’re using Mailchimp for email there’s a huge jump from $10 a month for their ‘Growing Business’ package to $199 per month to their ‘Pro Marketer’ solution. Marketing automation platforms generally won’t penalise you in the same ways when you scale them, meaning you’re future-proofing your marketing systems.
After choosing your preferred marketing automation tool, you might then want to hire an experienced consultant to help you with set up and onboarding. This makes sure you’re getting the most value from the tool you’re paying for.
In addition to software and implementation costs, you’ll also want to have dedicated marketing resource to manage and execute your strategy. The size of your organisation, level of activity, and complexity of your strategy will dictate how much resource should be allocated to marketing. If you’re ready to invest in marketing automation, we’d certainly recommend that you have at least one full time dedicated marketing employee working full time and exclusively on digital marketing.
You’re using a ‘patchwork’ of different tools
Another sign it’s time to invest in marketing automation is if you’re using a ‘patchwork’ of various different tools: one for your analytics, one for your email, one for your lead generation and tracking, one for your CRM, etc.
If the number of different tools you and your colleagues are managing day to day is starting to feel like it’s getting “out of control”, then it’s probably time to consider one centralised marketing automation tool that will manage everything in one place. For example:
- Costs are mounting as you scale (see previous section on budget)
- Your different tools are overlapping in their functions
- It’s taking too much time for your team to get to grips with how all the different systems work separately
- There is increased danger of compliance issues and data breaches as multiple systems are storing personal data
- The information individual tools provide isn’t synced to give you a full picture of how your marketing mix is working and what’s delivering the best ROI
As mentioned in the previous section on budget and resource, while marketing automation tools can seem expensive, when you add up the individual costs of all the tools you’re using, and the additional resource it takes to train staff and switch between different systems that don’t talk to each other, you might be surprised to find you’ll actually save money.
Centralising your marketing system is also a great way to ‘future proof’ a growing business. Not only does it simplify your processes to make them easier to scale, it’s also ultimately more secure to have everything housed within one system. That way, you’re less likely to run into compliance or data breach issues.
And finally, another benefit to having all of your information centralised is that it allows for far easier data extraction and reporting. Marketing automation tools have bespoke dashboards which show you how all your marketing channels are performing at a glance. Operational tasks such as invoicing can also be managed in a full-service platform.
You’re using multiple marketing channels (including paid)
If your marketing arsenal consists of your website, email, multiple social media channels, PPC, display ads, affiliate programmes or more and you haven’t got any marketing automation implemented, it’s definitely time to address this.
Not only will you streamline several different processes in one fell swoop (saving the business time and money) but you’ll also have a much clearer idea of how your channels are interacting and what results they’re driving.
You’ll also be able to see with certainty which channels are driving the most traffic, leads, revenue, and sales. Armed with this information, you can get a lot smarter about where to invest your budget and ultimately increase your marketing ROI.
You know your marketing is working, but you aren’t clear on ROI
While you’ll be gaining quite a bit of information on marketing performance from your analytics, is it enough for you to determine what your marketing ROI is? Do you feel you can confidently make decisions about where to pull back and increase your budgets on a monthly or seasonal basis? Do you know how much value individual customers are delivering to your business?
If you’re using the above mentioned ‘patchwork’ approach with several different tools that aren’t talking to each other, then the answer to most (or all) of the above questions is most likely “no”. Marketing automation can help you to organise and make sense of your data, and in turn make better decisions when it comes to budgets.
Sales and lead generation is a key business focus
If lead generation and sales is a big part of your business (you have a sales team of more than one, and / or a longer than average sales cycle that requires management) then a comprehensive marketing automation platform can help you organise and keep track of your leads more effectively.
It gives everyone in the sales team visibility of where individual leads are in the pipeline, and what communication they’ve had. This allows your team to prioritise those most likely to convert, target them with the right messages, and increase opportunities for conversion.
What’s more, the data is live. That means there’s no need to go manually extracting reports to customise and analyse, the information you need is always right there at your fingertips.
Think you’re ready to invest in marketing automation? Book a 45-minute consultation with us here, and let’s talk about how we can help your business.