Is Marketing Automation right for my Small Business? Nicci Troiani Small businesses all have some common problems with their marketing and organizing their contact databases.Here are some reasons that you might find a marketing automation software helpful.1. Either you don’t have a CRM, or you have a CRM that doesn’t allow you to track people through the sales processA marketing automation software is not only going to house your contacts in an organized fashion, but will also let you move them through the sales pipeline, from lead to customer. With a software like this, the process can be automated– the contact can be moving from stage to stage based on their clicking and opening behavior, you only need to be alerted when they have be come a “hot” lead or opportunity so that you can follow up with them.2. You have trouble following up with leads and staying in touch with your customersA marketing automation software can send an automated campaign that you have designed to all of your leads, prospects and customers. Staying in touch with your customers is important, so they don’t go elsewhere for their business. While you don’t have time to manually follow up with everyone, putting your customers on a quarterly stay-in-touch campaign will accomplish the same thing, without you having to remember to do it yourself. Putting your leads and prospects on an educational nurturing campaign can send them educational material on your services and products and trigger tasks for you to call them.3. You have no way of tracking actionable behavior (e-mail opens, link clicks) that may indicate that a prospect is interestedTracking clicks and opens is a key component of marketing automation. Sending a campaign is one thing, but being able to trigger a task to call a prospect because they clicked on a link with in your e-mail is VITAL. This indicates to you that they have some level of interest and if you don’t touch base, they may buy from someone else.4. You aren’t utilizing your website to the fullest and capturing contact informationYour website should have a contact capture form on it somewhere. Ideally, this form offers something of value, such as a whitepaper or discount for the contact to fill it out. The more enticing the offer, the better your turnout will be.Having a form that goes through your marketing automation software has some benefits. First, you can set actions on the form (would you like to be notified that someone filled it out? Create a task to call them? Start them on a campaign or send them an auto response email?). Beyond that, they will go straight into the stage (lead, prospect, etc) that you designate into your system and therefore are entered into your sales funnel without you having to do any work yourself.