In this ultimate guide, we go over what marketing automation is and how you can use it to scale your business to figures never reached before.
Automation is becoming everything.
Or at least, things seem to be going that way — in marketing and practically every industry out there right now.
The world is becoming more and more digitized and automated by the day, and the companies who don’t adapt to these changing times are going to fall behind.
Your marketing efforts are no different. If you haven’t jumped on the automation train with your marketing team yet, you’re missing out on vast amounts of revenue.
Which is why I’m going to teach you how you can change that.
Today, we’re going to be covering how you can automate your marketing efforts — and as a result — increase your profit too.
- What is marketing automation?
- How does marketing automation work?
- How to get started with marketing automation
- Ways to automate marketing strategies
- Types of marketing automation software
- Marketing automation examples
- How to implement automation today
What is Marketing Automation?
Automation means taking (usually simple or menial) tasks out of human hands and giving them to machines or computers.
In marketing, this can mean a lot of things.
From automating your email campaigns to automatically consolidating data, automation can take many forms.
How Does Marketing Automation Work?
No two companies are exactly the same, so companies’ automation processes can vary greatly.
Every company has a different set of needs and various places where automation makes sense.
But the marketing automation process does have some similarities that are true for most (if not all) businesses.
Usually, the automation process involves setting up a one-time system that requires minimal upkeep. If it was a high maintenance system, that’d take much of the point out.
Once you’ve got your marketing efforts automated, a lot of the work will be on autopilot, except for when you’re updating or revising your strategy.
But you may be asking:
“Does automation make sense for every business?”
So let’s tackle that question now.
Who Is It Best For?
Automation is a great thing for most businesses, but for some businesses, it may not make as much sense as others.
For one, if your business is small and you don’t intend on scaling it much, automation might not be for you. (Though it certainly could be!)
If, like most people, you intend to scale your business — automation is the way forward.
Think about it. The more your business grows, the more time you’ll have to invest in unimportant tasks that mainly just take up time.
Just take a look at data entry, the menial parts of team management, social media, emails, and more.
Much of these things don’t necessarily need a person actively involved, but without automation, there’s no other choice.
The less time you have to spend on menial, unimportant tasks, the more time you have to spend on the things that actually increase your revenue.
And that’s the beauty and strength of automating your marketing efforts. It frees up your time and allows a company to grow at levels and rates that wouldn’t have been previously possible.
But how do you even automate your marketing? Where do you start?
Great questions — and I’ve got some great answers for you right up ahead:
How to Get Started With Marketing Automation
So, you’ve gotten far enough to know that you want to automate marketing, or you’re considering it at the least.
Now all you have to worry about is the how.
The first step to automating your marketing process is to decide what you want to automate.
For some sales & marketing teams, you might find that data entry is taking up most of the unnecessarily-spent time.
For others — perhaps social media is the biggest hurdle; it’s really up to your team to decide which areas could use automation the most and which would be better left with more of a human touch. (More on that later.)
So the first step is to sit down and decide exactly which areas are taking up the most of your team’s time.
Things that could be taken care of automatically likely should be taken care of. So once you’ve discovered the problem areas, it’s time to start getting those automated systems in place.
And to do that, it’d help to know precisely what types of marketing automation are out there:
Ways to Automate Your Marketing Strategies
We’ve gone over the broad strokes for enough time, now is where we’ll dive right into specifics on how you can automate your marketing.
Automated Lead Generation
Automated lead generation can take many forms, whether through improved email marketing campaigns that run on autopilot or landing page signups from search.
Automating your lead generation does a few things.
First, it allows you to set up systems where only qualified leads get through, with very few “dead-end leads” slipping through the cracks.
Two, it allows for easier scaling without hiring as many reps — which is one of automation’s greatest strengths. Taking tasks out of human hands means there will be less growing pains and rough patches as your company expands.
And third, automated lead generation saves your sales reps valuable time that they can spend on more pressing tasks — effectively multiplying their output.
Every minute team member doesn’t have to spend on lead generation means another minute towards things like building customer relationships, sales calls, and closing deals.
Transform Your Email Marketing
Email marketing is another piece of the marketing puzzle that likely takes up quite a bit of your team’s combined time and focus.
Whether it’s for outreach and lead generation or managing a newsletter, these are all things you can easily automate.
Autoresponders can be set up with the right programs to automatically send out to qualified leads while you continue to nurture your current prospects through newsletter campaigns and the like.
And all of this with little to no human input after the initial stage of setting it up.
But it doesn’t just stop at outreach and newsletters; automation is a great way to manage the internal structure of your team too.
As your organization grows, you’re going to have more and more people to manage, data to check up on, and various teams within that organization that need to collaborate
And doing all of this manually?
While it is possible, especially at smaller scales, it’s far from ideal.
What you need to smooth out the process is something to collect your data, consolidate it, and then present it all in an easy-to-digest package.
That way, you don’t have to waste time getting all the numbers yourself and making sense of them alone.
Or better yet, a program to take all of that data and give you insights on where things may be going.
Why is this so important?
Well, up to 9/10 sales managers say that they spend too much time on unnecessary administrative tasks during their workweek.
And the average amount of overspent time?
15 hours, or about 2 working days.
Again, every second that you don’t have to spend on the unnecessary parts of team management mean another second that could be spent on your most vital tasks.
Two full days of administrative tasks means two fewer days on things like, you know, actual team management.
No-Hassle Social Media Marketing
Social media usually plays at least some sort of crucial role in modern business’ marketing efforts.
Another unnecessary time sink?
Social media management is a vital task for many marketers, but that doesn’t mean it has to take away from your team’s focus.
With a software package that includes automated social media, you can set posts in a queue. That way, you don’t have to take time away from your reps every day just to write and upload posts to every platform.
Instead, you can create your posts in bulk and then have automation take care of the rest by uploading across all of your social media channels.
Tracking Leads With A Scoring System
One of the most frustrating ways to waste time?
Taking a prospect all the way through the customer journey, only to find out that they never intended on buying in the first place.
I like to call these “dead-end leads,” and while they can be real headaches to deal with regularly, it might be easier to avoid them than you think.
One of the best ways to deal with dead-end leads is through a scoring system; let me explain.
Instead of moving your prospects up the value ladder on a whim, what if you only moved them up after they reached a certain level of interest?
You could “grade” each prospect on their perceived interest, and once it seems like they’re ready to move forward, you take them up a notch.
There’s just one problem with this:
Initially, it sounds like a lot of work.
Keeping track of every prospect and where they lie on their own respective customer journeys?
That’s going to be a whole lot of headaches and a whole lot of wasted time — which is where automation comes in.
Instead of manually grading each prospect, you could have a program do it for you.
And as each prospect hits a certain “score,” the system automatically moves them through the customer journey itself.
With automated prospect scoring, it’s practically a best-of-both-worlds scenario.
Your reps waste less time on tracking down individual prospects, and you can ensure that only the qualified ones make it through to the end to avoid wasting time.
Auto-Scheduling for Captured Leads
Once you’ve captured and qualified a lead, one of the next steps is to get them onto a call.
Which, again, leads us to another problem:
For every qualified lead, your reps will need to go out of their way to set up every call with multiple prospects, and it’ll likely be across numerous timezones. (All while managing every other day-to-day task they’re responsible for.)
If that doesn’t sound like a source of unending stress and hours of wasted time each week, I don’t know what does.
Now, let’s look at the alternative that automation brings:
Which happens to be auto-scheduling.
Instead of going through the hassle of continually managing a shifting schedule, your reps can set up an auto-schedule with their available time slots on it.
Then, instead of endless back-and-forth emails between every prospect, sales reps can have meetings automatically booked by sending auto-scheduling links to leads.
When clicked on, the prospect will get a screen that looks a little bit like this:
Once the prospect selects the time slot that works for them, it’s finished.
Simple as that — And the program even accounts for different time zones too.
Using Automation To Simplify Segmentation
Every lead is different, and that means different marketing approaches are going to work better or worse for each one.
Which is why segmentation is such a powerful tool.
Separating your prospects into groups that define them best allows you to approach every one of them in a way that’s most likely to turn them into a customer.
Using automation to funnel leads into various groups automatically lets your reps get all the data they need at a glance.
Putting The Customer Journey on Autopilot
What all of these things are really doing is putting the customer journey on autopilot.
While your reps are vital to the process and should be part of this journey, too, putting things on autopilot means that they can come in where they’re needed most and ensure they make the biggest impact possible.
Does someone need to take care of data entry?
Does it have to be solely up to you?
Of course not.
And this is true for many of the processes your team has in place. Just because there’s a process that needs doing does not mean that humans have to take time from their day to do it.
Types of Marketing Automation Software
So now we’ve talked about exactly what automation programs do.
But as you’ve probably guessed, there’s a whole slew of software packages to help automate your sales process.
So we thought it’d be helpful to explain some of the types you’ll encounter out there.
Email Marketing Suites
One of the most common examples of automated marketing is through emails.
There are tons of software packages out there that allow you to put email campaigns on automation.
Think autoresponders, newsletters, and direct-response landing pages, to name a few.
Considering that email marketing is one of the most valuable channels to grow a business, bringing in around $42 for every $1 spent on it, it’s no wonder why automating email campaigns is so popular. It just works.
Another widespread form of automation is CRM software — Or Customer Relationship Management.
CRM software does exactly what the name states:It helps sales and marketing teams to manage the relationships between them and their prospects.
They do this with the aforementioned lead-scoring features, call scheduling, and much (much) more.
Usually, CRMs will fall into one of two categories:
Either they purely help with the relationship management side of things — or they serve as all-rounders with plenty of features to help sales teams get by. But we’ll discuss the all-rounders in a bit.
Social Media Marketing Apps
Social media marketing apps will generally do a few things.
One of the most valuable is streamlining the management across multiple platforms.
Posting every day to Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and any other platform your team operates on is an unnecessary hassle. And unfortunately, most of these platforms don’t have great ways to automate it themselves.
Social media marketing apps will allow you to queue up posts and get insights on each platform at a glance.
Sales Workflow Software
Sales workflow software packages tend to have a bit of overlap with the previously mentioned ones. They help sales managers, marketing directors, and other team members at different parts of the process.
Whether that’s data entry, insights into performance, or otherwise — they tend to be a bit of a step up from the other two as they cover a wider range of responsibilities.
And the next step up from a sales workflow software is what we’ll cover next: The All-Rounders.
All-rounders take most (if not all) parts of the sales and marketing processes they can and help teams automate them to free up valuable resources.
Vipecloud, for instance, doesn’t just do one of the things we’ve just mentioned — it covers the whole nine yards.
From email marketing and newsletters to assisting sales teams with their lead generation efforts, all the way down to a detailed reporting and insight system — VipeCloud aims to help sales and marketing teams scale at a wider level than the rest.
Because there are a few big downsides to the other software packages we just mentioned.
First, investing in multiple software packages at once means more overhead.
It also means more hassle when switching between programs.
And you’ll have to invest more time and energy into training your reps on how to use each program.
And that’s not to mention that you’ve got to ensure the software packages you’ve picked all work well together.
So instead of going through all of that trouble — why not just consolidate your automation into one neat and easy-to-use package?
Putting it Together: Marketing Automation Examples
So let’s cover some examples of marketing automation just to give a more visual idea of what I’ve been droning on about this whole time.
Again, we’ll use VipeCloud as an example for this one:
Let’s talk about our good friend — Salesman John.
Salesman John is a rep on a team that helps sell executive-level training services. He sends out an email to a new lead he’s gotten recently and adds that contact to his newsletter.
Now that the lead is in John’s contact list, the automated sales journey is already started.
From time to time, an email from a valuable newsletter is sent out to the lead: nothing salesy, just information to help the lead’s performance.
He includes a link to a sign-up form in every newsletter as a CTA – offering a super-helpful PDF that his company crafted.
As the lead starts following more of the links in these newsletters, VipeCloud tracks and records it with its Contact Scoring feature.
The prospect one day fills out the sign-up form, which then has an autoresponder attached to it – launching a series automation (starting with the promised PDF – whose link is trackable so John knows it was downloaded) and adding the prospect to a new list of more highly-qualified leads.
Again, John doesn’t have to lift a finger, the scheduling link gets sent out, and the lead picks an available time slot to talk with John.
So far, the only thing John’s done is send an initial email, or maybe he’s contacted the lead a few times, but not much more. VipeCloud’s taken care of the rest.
And during all of this time saved, John’s been able to help nurture a whole list of other leads that were further down the pipeline.
In fact, John’s sales manager, Pete, has been able to keep track of John’s (and the rest of the team’s) effectiveness in sales & marketing through VipeCloud’s reporting, too. Which meant he didn’t have to go fetching the information himself.
That saved Pete enough time to do some one-on-one training with some of his reps in need and get some other tasks done that were pretty critical for the team.
Now, I could go on with this example, but I’ve got a feeling you get the idea.
VipeCloud has taken many of the processes that John’s team would’ve had to do manually and taken them into its own hands.
Still Unsure? Some Common Questions (And Answers) About Marketing Automation
Let’s cover some of the questions we might not have answered so far.
Is It Expensive?
Now, I hear you asking:
“All that’s well and good, but isn’t automating a whole sales and marketing process going to be expensive?”
Considering that over 75% of all companies use at least one type of marketing automation tool — we’d wager it’s more expensive not to automate some of your systems.
See, when you aren’t automating your marketing process, you’re still paying for it — just in a more subtle type of way.
Because your reps have to take care of those tasks, and all of that time spent on menial tasks reduces your profit.
Think of automation as what it really is — an investment for your business to scale. Sometimes you have to spend to earn more.
Can You Automate A Marketing Strategy That’s Already Set In Stone?
Or at least, with VipeCloud you can.
In fact, we help sales and marketing teams transition to VipeCloud for free!
We can help take your data, processes, and systems from their current spots and migrate them over to a more VipeCloud-compatible place.
How Long Does It Take?
Here’s the great thing about migrating over to VipeCloud.
It doesn’t take a month or even weeks.
We know how critical it is to keep things going so you don’t lose any momentum.
So we ensure you can migrate everything over to VipeCloud in days.
The Benefits and Downsides of Automated Marketing
So with (almost) everything out of the way — let’s cover the big benefits, as well as the downsides to automating your marketing.
We’ll start with the downsides, because they’re just as important when making vital decisions for your team.
And the biggest downside is the lack of human touch in automation.
Marketing and sales haven’t changed all too much since their inception, even with the addition of digital solutions.
And one of the most essential parts in making sales — especially with high-ticket items or services — is the human aspect.
Trust and strong relationships are critical for closing, and if your process is 100% automated, you’ll have a drastically harder time building that trust.
And this is one of the biggest mistakes that sales and marketing teams can make, overdoing it with automation.
So when looking to automate your systems, remember: Too much of anything can be a bad thing.
And now to the upsides.
We’ll keep this short by summing it up:
Automation allows you to take a sales team, and multiply its output significantly.
Even a small sales or marketing team can handle tons of leads and customers with automation in the right spots.
Think of it as a productivity multiplier.
And as such, that also means automation is a profit multiplier.
How To Know If You’re In Need of Automation.
To answer this, I’ve got one question for you:
Do you want to scale your team and company — particularly the profit of the said company?
If the answer is no, automation might be nice for freeing up time and creating a better bottom line.
But if the answer is yes — you’re a perfect candidate for automation.
Since automation is a productivity multiplier, it allows for much easier and faster scaling.
Automated Marketing Through CRMs — An Easier Way To Scale
And at VipeCloud, we’d love to help you do just that — Accelerate your growth and scaling at a sustainable level.
As we mentioned before, VipeCloud helps companies with their marketing and sales efforts in a whole slew of ways. From newsletters and reporting all the way to data entry and lead generation, VipeCloud provides a way to streamline it all.
And we help companies to migrate their systems for free too.
But that’s not the only thing we offer for free.
Because you can try VipeCloud in your own team’s marketing efforts for free — today.
All you have to do is Request Your Free Demo Here, and we’ll help you get started as soon as possible.
(By the way, want more tips on creating an effective sales funnel for captured leads? Read our guide on it here.)