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When Do You (Exactly) Need Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is like pouring gasoline on a fire. Adding targeted campaigns and automating marketing systems to a great product helps you increase revenue and scale your business. 

  • Businesses see a 14.5% in sales productivity when using marketing automation. 
  • Automated ads and social media posts can save you over 6 hours per week
  • 80% of marketers see an increase in leads, and 77% report an increase in conversion from automation. 

We all know marketing automation has plenty of benefits. But the question is, when do you need marketing automation? Some businesses may not be suitable to use it, while others should incorporate it immediately.

Before answering this question, let’s briefly recap what we mean by marketing automation.

What is marketing automation? 

Marketing automation uses software to automate marketing campaigns such as email marketing, social media posts, and ad campaigns. 

Automation allows businesses to streamline their marketing workflows and create a seamless customer experience throughout the buyer’s journey. 

The goal is to optimize each touchpoint with the customer based on their behaviors and engagement. When marketing automation is deployed correctly, it helps to foster healthy long-term relationships with your prospects and customers. 

“By publishing content that shows buyers you understand their problems and can show them how to solve them, you build credibility.”

Ardath Albee

When do you need marketing automation? 

Factors like the stage of a business could dictate when it’s appropriate to implement marketing automation

For example, an early-stage startup that hasn’t validated its business idea may not prioritize business automation. In comparison, a well-established company needs to have well-defined automation systems to scale its business and continue to grow. 

Whether you’re a solopreneur, SaaS company, or digital creator, the principles of each stage still apply in your decision whether to use marketing automation or not.

Source: B Combinator 

Seed Stage

The early stage of a business is the ideation phase, where the business is just an idea or thought. At this stage, primary objectives are: 

  • Formulate an idea that provides a solution to a real-world problem.
  • Generate traffic, leads, and top-of-the-funnel demand with pre-launch marketing.
  • Create a prototype or minimal viable product (MVP).
  • Reach product-market fit (entirely or partially) by validating the idea with ideal customers.
  • Figure out the aha moments in your business and your product.

With no proven track record, most founders bootstrap their business with their own time, money, and resources. 

Since marketing and growth aren’t a focus during the seed stage, marketing automation generally shouldn’t be prioritized. 

Seed-stage companies typically don’t have leads to work with and haven’t built out their sales funnel yet. 

Marketing automation is only needed when you already have a sales funnel with clear top-of-the-funnel interest (e.g., website traffic and leads).

At the seed stage, the co-founders and core team should manually prospect leads, talk to potential customers in order to gather feedback, and do high touch-sales.

For example, Airbnb utilized the minimal viable product concept by renting air mattresses in their apartment, which proved that guests were willing to stay on airbeds while traveling. The short-term bare-bones solution signified that Airbnb has a product-market fit and aligns with the problem that people had. 

“Seeing an opportunity, and needing rent money, Airbnb founders rented out actual air mattresses in their apartment proving guests would stay with their hosts.”

Source: Clever Tap 

In this example, Airbnb didn’t need any marketing automation systems because they weren’t sure whether their product was even a viable solution to the market. Therefore, they weren’t yet ready to market it to the public. The focus at this stage is not to automate processes but to validate demand for your idea.

Early Stage 

Once the minimal viable product has been validated by your ideal customers, the business is ready to launch. Establishing a brand presence and customer base is now the focus, along with conserving cash flow. 

The priorities of an early-stage company are: 

  • Acquire new customers 
  • Get rapid feedback and continuously improve the product 
  • Create business partnerships and hire the right people

In the early stage of a company, the right hires can make or break their success. Hiring the right or wrong person can change the trajectory of your company. 

A Lightspeed hiring report demonstrated that only 42% of early startups achieved their hiring goals if they didn’t track their hiring process, and 64% of early startups achieved their hiring goals when metrics were tracked. 

Most early-stage startups simply don’t have the resources to bring on dedicated HR professionals to help them bring on qualified talent onboard. 

There are software tools that can automate tasks instead of recruiting a new person. This lowers your expenses, allowing you to maintain profitability, which can be advantageous for the health of your company. 

Additionally, about 47% of small business owners handle the entire marketing efforts by themselves. A marketing automation tool can compensate for a lack of skills and alleviate pressure from doing these time-consuming tasks yourself. Most modern marketing tools are easy to use, intuitive and responsive.

Source: Lead Pages 

Early-stage startups don’t have the luxury of large budgets and massive recruitment teams. As a result, implementing marketing automation can offer a few benefits: 

  • Get more done with less. Instead of hiring an expensive web developer, using simple plug-and-play sales funnel builders can allow you to capture and convert leads. 
  • Reduces cost on hiring employees. Employees typically require salary and health benefits. For example, email marketing flows, chatbots, and retargeting ads can save you on hiring full-time dedicated marketing personnel. 
  • Saves time on logistical tasks. Project management, scheduling, and onboarding tools can help you get more done and save time on monotonous tasks. 

Growth Stage 

A company that reaches the growth stage means a strong market demand for its product. The business is thriving in terms of acquiring new customers and recurring customers. 

Growth companies typically face issues that bid for more time and money. Business owners must understand how to train and delegate effectively to conquer this stage. 

Businesses must systemize their sales funnel down to the T. This means focusing on what drives results and eliminating as much waste as possible by reducing time for acquiring new customers and establishing effective team processes.

Marketing is a huge focus for growth-stage companies. In fact, 50-75% of their expenses are spent on marketing and sales. Also, 89% of these companies believe that customer experience is key to developing retention and customer loyalty. 

Source: Vista Equity Partners 

The goal of growth-stage companies are: 

  • Creating a long-term plan for generating recurring revenue streams and customer retention.
  • Enrich customer journey by developing content marketing funnels, landing pages, lead magnets, email marketing flows, retargeting ads, etc. 
  • Develop agile accounting and billing systems.
  • Systemize onboarding and customer support systems.
  • Hire and retain top talent within the company
  • Create the foundations for long-term growth by establishing initial team processes.

The key to growth companies is to nail down their sales funnel based on their customer journey. A business should optimize the touchpoints of each stage of the funnel to nurture leads from warm prospects to buyers. 

Expansion Stage 

Established companies have reached a mature stage in the business lifecycle, where they garner a substantial market share in the industry. 

In this stage, business leaders primarily focus on: 

  • Investing in innovation to increase market share. 
  • Pursuing upselling and cross-selling opportunities with their current customers 
  • Create alignment across all departments to ensure their actions align with business goals, values, and mission statements. 

Growth and enterprise companies can benefit from cross-departmental alignment, meaning that each department aligns its initiatives and strategies to complement one another. 

Consumer habits have changed, and marketing and sales and become intertwined. Gone are the days of using “spray and pray” cold call techniques to find new leads. 

92% of consumers start with an online search, and 90% of purchasers won’t take a cold call. In addition, 75% of consumers rely on social networks to select the right vendor. 

With expansion companies, there shouldn’t be separate siloed experiences for leads. Instead, your company should have a seamless customer experience. 

Beginning from the awareness stage at the top of the funnel down to the customer retention stage, everything should be tied together. Aligning marketing and sales allows your team to track a prospect across the entire customer journey. 

Additionally, your sales team can close deals better when dealing with hot buyers who are already familiar with their brand. Furthermore, they can use a CRM tool to view their behaviors or actions taken with the company. 

At this stage, software integration is vital for the overall automation of the business. For example, Encharge integrates with many types of sales and marketing tools such as CRM, ad platforms like Facebook, billing systems, scheduling tools like Calendly, team communication tools like Slack, and more. 

Alignment in sales and marketing departments not only helps you convert more leads but also attracts higher quality ones as well. 

Start your marketing automation with Encharge

Marketing automation allows you to put your organization in the best position to extract the most value from prospects and customers. 

Whether you are in the early, growth, or expansion stage of your business you can use Encharge to scale, improve profitability, and make everyone’s life in your organization easier.
Sign up for a free 14-day trial with Encharge and build your marketing automation system today!

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Meet your new marketing automation platform

Customer messaging tools don’t automate workflows outside your product and marketing automation tools are bad at behavior emails. Encharge is the best of both worlds — a marketing automation platform built specifically for startups and digital businesses.

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Camille Richon
Founder Payfacile
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