Many business owners still make the mistake of doing everything themselves.
Every business will have a series of tasks that must be performed repetitively. Marketing teams need to create content, publish and manage campaigns and hand off qualified leads to the sales department. The sales team will need to qualify, build relationships and close leads.
Fortunately, smart teams can organize these tasks and find ways to automate them.
Automation begins by identifying the steps a prospect takes in the sales funnel and the corresponding tasks that move a prospect from one stage to the next. This article will share the primary types of marketing and sales automation activities you can implement in your business.
Differences between marketing and sales automation
Automation can support every stage of the customer lifecycle journey, from lead generation to qualifying leads and even customer service. Each stage requires different tools and processes to improve the overall customer journey.
Marketing automation uses technology to automate and manage marketing activities, while sales automation helps with sales activities.
It’s crucial to understand how both automation processes go hand-in-hand. Marketing automation can support sales and give them the tools, resources, and data needed to succeed. Most sales teams use CRM software, and marketing automation makes it easier to communicate with prospects.
For instance, marketing automation has lead-scoring capabilities that determine the lead quality and sales readiness of prospects. This enables the sales team to spend more time on the right leads and less time on unqualified or non-sales-ready leads.
For example, if a prospect visits the pricing page or registers for a webinar, this would trigger a score increase. As a result, it prevents sales professionals from wasting time on the phone with leads who have no intention of deciding on a vendor or aren’t interested in purchasing yet.
Benefits of marketing and sales automation
Creating effective marketing and sales automation workflows can eradicate the need for performing repetitive tasks. As a result, you can focus on strategy and higher-level activities that require a human touch, like sales demos. Here are the potential benefits of using marketing and sales automation.
Many business owners make the mistake of working too much “in” in their business rather than “on” their business. As a leader of your organization, it’s important to delegate tasks to qualified employees so that you can spend time on big future projects that require your leadership and expertise.
As Jeff Bezos explains, leaders of an organization should think about long-term horizons:
“If everything you do needs to work on a three-year time horizon, then you’re competing against a lot of people. But if you’re willing to invest on a seven-year time horizon, you’re now competing against a fraction of those people because very few companies are willing to do that. Just by lengthening the time horizon, you can engage in endeavors that you could never otherwise pursue. At Amazon, we like things to work in five to seven years. We’re willing to plant seeds, let them grow — and we’re very stubborn. We say we’re stubborn on vision and flexible on details.”
On an individual contributor level, automation frees up time as well. For instance, a salesperson can spend less time on data entry and more time closing deals. Marketers can spend less time posting content and more time creating value-driven campaigns that drive engagement and future sales.
Implementing the right marketing automation tool is like hiring a team of full-time assistants.
With a platform like Encharge, you just have to create the marketing flows and the process for generating and nurturing leads. Once the flows are built, your business can send thousands of personalized emails on autopilot without lifting a finger.
Analyzing sales and marketing activities can be daunting. Most platforms generate automated reports. Facebook provides KPIs, while marketing tools like Encharge provide detailed information on your email campaign performance.
With streamlined and accurate reporting, marketers can see where things have gone wrong. For example, do leads drop off during a specific stage of your email sequences? Or perhaps, it’s during the high-touch sales process?
Sales tools like CRMs can provide sales reports. Maybe you learn that certain industries or clients are more interested in your product than others.
For example, a simple automated follow-up sequence is an easy way to boost profits by improving conversion rates and winning back prospects that may have otherwise not have purchased.
Types of marketing automation
Marketing automation spans a wide range of marketing-related activities — from automating emails campaigns to organizing leads and scheduling social media posts.
Lead nurturing automation
63% of visitors requesting information about a company won’t make a purchase, and 65% of marketers aren’t nurturing leads.
Not every prospect is ready to get their wallet out for you. Often, it takes many touchpoints and a little bit of luck for consumers to purchase.
People have to be in the right mind frame to make a purchase. That means their problem is big enough that they’re willing to take action. The right lead nurturing strategy will guide prospects from brand awareness to giving you their card details.
Lead nurturing is how you build relationships with leads to move them down the sales funnel. You need to understand your prospects and personalize the sales and marketing communication to their needs.
There are a plethora of types of lead nurturing campaigns, such as:
- Welcome campaigns
- Top-of-mind campaigns
- Re-engagement campaigns
- Product campaigns
- Industry-expert campaigns
- Upselling campaigns
- Renewal campaigns
- Onboarding campaigns
- Win-back campaigns
The list goes on and on.
Encharge lets you quickly build lead nurturing campaigns. Simply collect leads, segment the audience, and create tailored, personalized campaigns for your leads.
Lead nurturing sequences are entirely automated, meaning they are dripped out based on your criteria. They could be time-based or behavior-based, or even a mix of both.
For example, let’s say you’re an SEO marketing agency. Your goal is to sell a monthly SEO service to SMBs:
- Day 1 email: Welcome email that delivers an eBook, asks your leads to confirm their email, and sets expectations for what’s to come.
- Day 2 email: Sets the stage by describing the problem. For example, “worst mistakes that make your website undiscoverable on Google” or “why nobody reads your blog posts.”
- Day 3 email: An email that highlights your advantages over competitors. You can talk about problems in the industry and why other companies fail to address them.
- Day 4 email: Offer a free webinar on the basic foundation of SEO ranking.
- Day 5 email: Introduce your software and demonstrate case studies with successful clients. Also, since you’ve informed your audience about the basics of SEO and what’s needed to rank, you can explain how your service checks all the boxes and makes it easy for businesses to rank. Then have a call to action to book a call with a sales rep.
- Day 6 email: Follow-up with urgency and scarcity. Never use fake scarcity, but if your availability is limited, you can always use this edge to get people to act faster.
- Day 7 email: Do a final call and tell prospects they will lose the opportunity to receive discounted prices and bonuses once the urgency ends.
There are so many ways to create email sequences. The idea is to identify your buyer persona so that you can craft emails that directly speak to your audience’s problems. Also, you’ll need to know your goals and understand the information they need before making a buying decision.
Lead scoring automation
Lead scoring helps to align sales and marketing teams together. Marketing teams can better monitor each prospect entering the funnel and score them based on common attributes and their interactions with your business.
Lead scoring is essentially a tool to measure each prospect’s propensity to buy.
Instead of handing off every “lead” that submits their information to your sales team, you can qualify them beforehand.
“The sales and marketing teams that work best together are the ones driven by data. Quality lead scoring and lead intent data capture by marketing and acted upon by sales can make all the difference in the trajectory of a company”— Michael Burton, CEO at Lev. Source: Sales Wings App
Many B2B organizations are too small to have a team of dedicated marketing professionals that can manually qualify leads. Fortunately, automation tools like lead scoring can go a long way to helping the sales team receive qualified leads without hiring extra personnel.
For example, every prospect that meets your “threshold” for a high lead score can trigger a notification on the sales channel on Slack for a follow-up.
Encharge allows you to qualify and disqualify leads automatically. Let’s say you’re after C-level executives from software, tech, and digital companies. Any prospect that doesn’t fit these criteria can be disqualified and automatically removed from the “High Lead Score” segment.
A trigger for a personalized drip campaign can be sent to qualified prospects if they are a good fit.
Workflow automation takes a traditionally manual process and builds a set of rules to automate critical steps. This automation can help improve employee productivity and enhance customer experience.
For example, let’s say a person interacts with your brand:
- Joining your mailing list
- Placing an order online
- Contacting your customer service department
- Not purchasing for a while
These actions can trigger a drip campaign or retargeting ad to those users.
In the example below, we have Opt-In Monster — software that lets users create targeted pop-ups on their website to generate more leads. They send automated emails to users who haven’t activated their accounts.
The same process could be used for essentially any process that could be automated, such as onboarding free trial users, prospects that visit the pricing page or abandoning the cart during checkout.
Additionally, workflow automation can be used internally as well.
Any business that utilizes consistent content marketing to generate leads should use workflow automation. For example, you’ll need to organize projects based on tasks, team members, and timelines within content marketing.
When publishing blog posts on your website, there are many aspects to content creation.
- The SEO manager or writer does keyword research to discover topic ideas
- Someone may have to approve the topic.
- The writer generates an outline.
- The writer writes a draft.
- An editor reviews the writing and may request a revision.
- The writer revises the content.
- The editor approves and publishes the blog post.
- Then a designer gets involved in creating the social media post images.
- The social media marketer will write and schedule the post.
The first step is to organize the workflow by tasks, timelines, and roles for each project. Then use tools that can make the workflow run smoothly.
For example, you can use ClickUp — a project management tool that enables teams to manage projects better. This tool lets you set up the workflow according to your business based on each project’s phases. So for content marketing, phase 1 could be keyword research, phase 2 outline writing, etc.
Once the phases are marked as completed, a notification automatically assigns the task to the next person. As a result, the tool helps automate and organize the tasks within a project, improving productivity within your company.
Anything with a sequence of steps can likely be automated in a workflow system using the software.
Customer lifecycle automation
Customer lifecycle automation is a strategy to automate the entire buyer’s journey. The content and communication are tailored to suit the prospects’ needs based on which stage they are in. This approach centers around understanding where your prospects are in the funnel and then sending personalized content to them.
Here’s how you can implement automation into your customer lifecycle strategy:
The discovery phase is all about lead generation. The objective is to attract the right people to your brand. Content automation, social media automation, and advertising can help to bring in new leads.
Some ideas you can start with for lead generation automation include:
- Use social media publishing tools to automate posting and growth.
- SEO and keyword tools to find content ideas to attract the right audience.
- PPC and social ads offer AI capabilities to make suggestions and automatically update your ad campaigns based on your goal.
- Use analytics and reporting to measure the success of the lead generation process.
The best way to nurture leads is to educate them on their problem. Automated drip campaigns, gated content, webinars, white research papers, industry reports, and even free trials can help gain your prospect’s trust.
With marketing automation, you can easily implement drip campaigns triggered by certain behaviors or qualifications. For instance, you can create industry-specific sequences every time you’ve captured a lead. So that way, a prospect that works in a SaaS company gets a unique sequence tailored to their use case.
Lead scoring and proper workflow automation help to improve conversions. Set up triggers that automatically hand-off leads to your sales team.
Thus, once sales reps are handed the leads, prospects are often eager to buy with little resistance.
Retention and Advocacy
Create automated loyalty and rewards programs. Use marketing automation to segment engaged customers to provide them with special access or discounts.
Social media automation
Social media automation allows you to automate social media processes to save time and maximize ROI from your social media activity.
Many social media automation tasks include scheduling future content posts, publishing content, curating trending content, republishing popular content, and tracking engagement on the content posts.
Advanced social media automation tools offer sentiment analysis and social listening to enable brands to better engage with their leads on a deeper level.
Every business across all verticals will utilize more than over social media platforms. It can be a pain to manage many channels, especially for small business owners who don’t have a dedicated social media marketer on their team.
With a social media automation tool like Sprout Social or Buffer, you can manage all social media channels using a single platform. For example, Sprout Social lets you easily manage your editorial calendar, allowing the marketing team to visually see the posts going out for the week or month.
But what’s the point of using social media if nobody is listening?
Social media should be used to reach new audiences while also building trust with your existing audience.
Automation tools like Sprout Social provide social listening tools allowing marketers to find the most relevant hashtags to allow audiences to discover their content.
Marketers should take a sales-centric approach to social media. While branding is important, especially when establishing credibility in your space, at some point, you’ll want to drive followers to your website and products.
One way to measure results driven by social media is through UTM links. UTM parameters are codes that are added to links. This allows marketers to track clicks and traffic from specific social campaigns and posts.
If you’re promoting your latest product or blog post on social media, wouldn’t you want to know which channel yielded the best results?
UTM links do just that.
On Google Analytics, you can generate UTM links for each channel. If you’re sharing a blog post on social media, you’ll know which platform drove the most traffic to the blog.
Programmatic advertising is the use of technology to buy and sell digital ads.
This form of advertising uses an automated process within the advertiser’s selected parameters to purchase digital ad inventory across social media, web, mobile apps, and video media platforms. Programmatic advertising utilizes AI, machine learning algorithms, and workflow automation to deliver the most effective ads to audiences based on the campaign goals and various signals like shopping patterns.
In 2019, programmatic advertising accounted for 84% of all digital display ad spend in the US and reached a whopping $45.94 billion.
Also, in May of 2019, over 70% of advertisers were using Google’s automated bidding strategies. And advertising automation as a whole can potentially.
SEM ads on Google have an option for advertisers to select an automated bidding strategy. The platform will automatically adjust the ad based on your goals. The types of automated bidding include:
- Maximize clicks to boost site visits
- Target CPA to increase conversions with your selected target CPA
- Maximize conversions to increase ad conversions while spending your budget
- Target ROAs to meet your desired target return on ad spend
- Enhance CPC to boost conversions while maintaining control of keyword bids
- Target impression share to enhance visibility
Another example of advertising automation is split-testing various aspects of the ad creative and content within the campaign. As a marketer, you want to make data-driven decisions. The only way to really know is to use A/B testing to find the best results.
Responsive search ads allow you to create 4 ad copies and 15 headlines for Google to create combinates and test.
Even social platforms like Facebook have automated ads to allow marketers to quickly set up Facebook ads that meet their targeting criteria and will optimize the campaigns based on the goal.
Facebook will ask a variety of questions to allow you to create up to 6 different versions of your campaign to figure out the best-performing one. Users have the option to select their targeting, placement, and daily budget, just like a normal Facebook ad.
The only issue that Facebook automated ads present is that they may be less desirable for advanced marketers who want to optimize each campaign and manually bid prices of ad spots. Also, it doesn’t optimize for sales, only for leads, bookings, or traffic visits. The automated ads only offer 3 campaign objectives, while normal Facebook ads offer 11 different objectives.
However, it’s important to weigh out the costs. Managing each campaign daily might not be in your best interest. For most businesses, Facebook automated ads give them the benefits of automation while saving time tinkering with the ad manager.
Types of sales automation
Sales automation could just be the answer to your sales woes.
Have you ever:
- Lost a deal because you didn’t follow up?
- Called leads in alphabetical order instead of the most qualified and ready to buy leads
- Spent valuable time manually adding new contacts, leads, and opportunities to your CRM?
- Wasted time digging through your files to find specific decks or content to send to your prospect.
- Went back and forth with a prospect to figure out a good time for a call
If you can relate, then you likely need sales automation.
Here are the types of sales automation that you can leverage to improve sales performance and results.
Manually tracking your prospects and customers with random notes and spreadsheets is nearly impossible.
CRMs have become an essential tool for any sales team. You can automatically store all contacts and interactions within the CRM – everything from the lead’s first visit to your website to when they opened your sales proposal and even how long they looked at it.
Similar to marketing automation, CRMs can organize leads based on where they are in the customer journey or the sales process. Sales pipelines let sales reps better prioritize leads that are already close to purchasing.
Additionally, CRMs like HubSpot and marketing automation platforms complement each other perfectly. For example, all prospects who booked a demo call can be added as a deal in your HubSpot sales pipeline.
Or HubSpot contacts can be automatically added to Encharge so that an automated drip campaign is sent to nurture leads further.
Sales tasks can be assigned to reps once prospects reach a certain lead score.
There are so many ways that CRM tools and marketing automation can work together. Cross-sharing data can allow marketing and sales teams to be more productive.
Update: We redesigned and rebuilt our HubSpot integration from scratch. Now it supports a two-way sync of contact and company data, syncing of email activity, and more than 14 automation steps you can use in your flows to automate all of your HubSpot sales processes! Make sure to check it out.
For B2B businesses, lead enrichment is incredibly valuable.
The more data you’ve got on your prospect, such as their company’s size, industry, contact information, current vendors, and so forth, the easier it will be for the sales rep to connect with them and gain their trust.
Rather than having a sales rep spend hours in the workday browsing through company lists or performing manual searches on LinkedIn, their time is better spent on actually having conversations with sales-qualified prospects.
Using tools like Clearbit, you can easily find qualified leads and more information about your prospects. A sales rep can use the lead enrichment tool to get a complete profile of the prospect before the call.
Whether internal sales meetings on Zoom or external sales demos, meeting links should be easily integrated across different software tools.
A huge time waster for sales teams is to email prospects back and forth to schedule meetings manually. Some companies might use Google Calendar, but you’ll still need to ask the prospect when they are available.
Tools like Calendly and Acuity scheduling allow prospects to pick the time best suits their schedule. Sales reps can put their available times as well.
Reps can even add a form with questions to further qualify their leads and enrich the prospect’s profile.
For example, you can ask deeper questions like why you are looking to hop on a call or what is the biggest problem you’re facing that I may help with.
These questions get your prospect to open up. Think of it as getting answers to the test.
Your prospect will tell you what they want, and you just have to help them by giving them what they’re looking for.
No more back and forth scheduling. Have your Calendly link sent to the prospect; they pick the best time for them.
These tools can often integrate with your CRM and marketing automation tools. For example, a Calendly booking can automatically sync to your Hubspot or Salesforce existing contact, then automatically create subsequent tasks like follow-up or send a contract.
Encharge lets you set up automated triggers when prospects book or cancel Calendly meetings as well.
Every company is unique in its sales process and strategies. It’s important to indoctrinate each new hire into your culture and sales processes.
For example, some sales reps are used to high-pressure sales, while others may take a more casual approach.
Sales onboarding is an internal automation system that helps managers save time and improve performance. It’s difficult to measure your sales reps’ performance when the onboarding process changes from new hire to new hire.
Consider using a project management tool or any platform that lets users receive content based on completion.
In your sales training program, you may include:
- Videos about the company and products or offers.
- Best practice videos from top sales performers.
- Role-playing exercises.
- Sales rep’s success stories.
- Sales call recordings.
- How-to videos like how to conduct a demo or how to handle objections.
These training materials should be packaged in a sequential order where users can check-off completed items. Also, make sure to have short quizzes in between to test their retention of knowledge.
Once you’ve created your sales training material and automation processes, you simply can plug in new hires and increase the odds of producing high-performing sales reps.
You can even create a checklist so that every rep has completed a sequence of tasks and has proven to retain specific knowledge needed to begin the role. Here’s an example of a checklist you can gain inspiration from.
Every prospect is unique, and your sales reps may differ in skillsets and knowledge. The primary way to distribute leads to reps is through territories or segmentation.
A company that sells to many industries and regions must have a system to route leads accordingly.
Sales reps who have other SaaS accounts or have prior knowledge should handle any prospects that are in SaaS accounts. This helps the reps better understand the internal struggles they might be facing.
That’s why lead enrichment is important. Hopping on a sales call without pre-exquisite knowledge can set the sales team up for failure.
Choose Encharge to automate your sales and marketing
Often, it may not be the strategy or tactic that is failing you. Before you go out and hire new sales reps or marketers, consider implementing an automation tool in your business. Tools are more cost-effective and allow your team to work more efficiently.
The first step to automation is taking inventory of the tasks that your sales and marketing team is already running. There’s likely software out there that can already automate what you’re doing.
Your success ultimately comes down to the speed of adoption.
The faster you can implement these automation strategies into your business, the more time and money you’ll save. Not to mention the growth you’ll see from increased productivity and conversions.
Encharge can handle all things marketing and sales automation. Not to mention, our platform offers integrations with other well-known tools like Hubspot, Salesforce, Slack, Zapier, and more.
Sign up for a free 14-day trial with Encharge and build your marketing automation system today!
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