April 14, 2016

The Human Touch Behind Marketing Automation

Written by
Shreyansh Surana
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Shreyansh Surana is the senior manager of marketing at Agile CRM and a tech blogger who writes primarily on CRM, marketing automation, and digital marketing. He has more than eight years of experience in digital marketing. 

Despite its name, marketing automation is anything but robotic. These software solutions are powerful tools that can yield high ROI, but they require a consistent human touch to provide full value to your company. Automating information management and repetitive tasks gives employees more time to actually use that data. Rather than negate the need for personal contact, marketing automation allows for even more targeted communication based on customers’ needs and behavior (click to tweet).

The power of marketing automation software lies in its ability to sort, segment, and study customer relationships with your company. With this data in hand, you can create a detailed marketing strategy for each subset of potential clients. You can quickly identify prospects and nurture them. In fact, some businesses that use marketing automation to nurture leads see an exponential increase in their total number of qualified leads, according to Annuitas Group.

Getting Results from Your Automated Marketing Solution

Integrating your sales and marketing teams with a unified platform bridges the two main points of customer contact with your company. Of the top performing companies using these solutions, nearly half see CRM integration as critical to achieving desired results, according to Gleanster.

Other key features of marketing automation software desired by top performers include:

  • Custom campaign design
  • “Drip” communications that are staggered over a period of time
  • Advanced segmentation of customer database
  • Alerts for sales reps (notify when there is a good opportunity)

Success with marketing automation hinges upon several key factors, including your ability to mix human interaction with automation. It’s important to give customers many opportunities to engage with your company outside of the automated system. Developing relationships and making personal judgment calls is often the final key to turning a lead into a paying customer.

ALSO READ: 4 Signs Marketing Automation Has Turned You into a Robot

Below are few points on how human touch drives marketing automation success:

1. Create targeted campaigns for demographic segments.

Once all points of contact with customers are bound into one platform, you have access to a powerful tool that can save you time and increase conversion significantly. But in order to benefit from a detailed, sorted database, you must create tailored campaigns that cater to the needs, expectations and personalities of each segment.

Personalize communications to connect with individual customers as much as possible, just as you would in a face-to-face conversation. More than 50 percent of B2B buyers say they want vendors to offer “personalized recommendations across interactions.”

More than 50 percent of B2B buyers say they want vendors to offer personalized recommendations across interactions.

2. Respond and follow-up with customers.

Tracking customers from their initial contact with your company gives you great insight into what moves they make before committing to a purchase or walking away. It also gives you the chance to connect with them at certain points depending on how they “behave.”

In these cases, a human touch is an invaluable contribution to the structured communications delivered through automated software. A well-timed and well-worded response or follow-up is an invaluable asset in the selling process. According to a 2015 report by BrightTALK, 76 percent of B2B companies said a timely follow-up was the biggest success factor during sales development.

3. Make constant improvements.

Modern automated marketing solutions are update-friendly and flexible enough to incorporate new ideas as they are developed. This means that active campaigns can be adjusted to improve results even while they are still running.

Making procedural improvements without disrupting the process offers many benefits with few disadvantages. It is also a great opportunity for your organization to shift its focus or message to one that better connects with the audience when necessary.

4. Integrate new technology and data

Innovation is a constant force in the software market, so the number of new solutions available changes every year. Successful CRM/marketing automation integration requires a platform that can pull information from various sources and accommodate new software elements in the future.

Successful integration rewards you with marked improvements in team productivity and lead conversion from campaigns. Again, the technology itself isn’t the end goal, but the means to an end. Software integration = visibility and efficiency = humans making better, faster decisions about marketing.

5. Interact with customer data in real time.

There is no time like the present, and that adage is particularly true for moving customers to the next stage in the buying process. One of the key features that every good marketing automation software should offer is active alerts that notify key employees when there is a chance to convert a lead.

The platform can be customized to release alerts depending on the action or reaction of a customer, allowing a salesperson or customer service representative to respond swiftly and capitalize on the opportunity.

Best of Both Worlds: Personalization and Marketing Automation

Companies that successfully implement marketing automation solutions know that they do not replace the need for human interaction. Solidifying the structure and process gives your company more time to invest in studying customers and catering to their needs.

I encourage businesses to take the time to understand and configure their marketing automation platform so they can take advantage of its many features. You should always be ready to improve your strategy, revise your campaigns, and nurture leads through well-timed interaction.

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