Marketing has fundamentally changed. In 2012 it will be inexcusable to throw expensive advertising messages at the masses and hope a few will respond.
This shift in marketing is largely down to the way in which people search for information and the way buyers are now learning about products before they purchase them. You need to think carefully about where they educate themselves and make sure you have a strong presence there. Increasingly people’s journeys start online and this is expected to stay the same in 2012! It is therefore essential that you have an ability to get found online and convert these browsers to buyers!
SEO: The ultimate solution?
There are a slew of SEO companies out there that will promise to help you attract more web visitors by getting you on the first page of Google for a fairly hefty price. While this is certainly a very important step to consider, you need to consider what happens after you have been found? How will you move these individuals from simple web visitors to leads and ultimately to sales? You need to carefully manage interactions with prospects through the entire sales process.
Marketing automation enables organisations to achieve this by constantly and effortlessly tracking and monitoring each and every interaction throughout the sales funnel. It will automatically send relevant information to your sales prospect moving them closer to the buying decision.
When your prospect is sales ready, they can then be passed to the sales team, often directly into a dedicated CRM system. Marketing have worked hard at providing quality information for your prospect but in doing so have also built a wealth of information about them. The sales team will now be able to access this information in an environment they are comfortable with and have a much more targeted conversations around the prospect’s specific pain points. This makes the sales team’s job significantly easier. They are dealing with highly qualified prospects and not ones that are still at the top of the funnel, thus vastly reducing sales cycles.
When the lead has become a customer, marketing automation tools allow you to track the entire process from visit to sale, easily identifying which campaigns are most effective. The ability to track ROI on specific marketing endeavours will not only keep your CEO happy but it will inform your team about what works. This allows campaigns to be improved further, generating higher ROI from marketing and sales but also offering more predictability when forecasting sales.
If your New Year’s resolution is to lower your cost per lead, provide shorter sales cycles, and increase ROI from marketing and sales, you better get on board with marketing automation!