What’s So Great About Marketing Automation? Jessica Lunk Everybody say Warriors!The hottest start in NBA history keeps on rolling. The Golden State Warriors, now 22-0, are the most exciting team to watch in basketball right now. Before, teams won by controlling the paint, but this underdog team is playing ball out on the edge with the most efficient offense in the NBA. The Warriors, led by Stephen Curry, their star point guard, have leveled the playing field for a new type of player in the game of basketball. As I’ve been watching, I can’t help but see the connections the Warriors and Curry have with the small business world. Before, big business dominated the market with more power and more money; they went hard in the paint and controlled the game. With a new breed of marketing automation tools, small businesses can now tap into that same power big business benefited from for a fraction of the cost.How Does Marketing Automation Improve Your Game?The main benefit cited by small businesses using marketing automation is that they can shorten the time it takes to make sales by automating their efforts. Why? Sales works more efficiently by only working with the leads and prospects that are ready to buy. By taking specific actions such as submitting an online form, customers are giving businesses the signs that they are interested.Potential customers and clients get filtered the sale funnel in a more efficient way, so marketers can concentrate on closing sales and not prospecting for leads. How? If a lead isn’t ready to buy, that doesn’t mean they won’t some day. Provide valuable lead magnets to bring more leads into the funnel which you can then serve email campaigns to nurture them through the sales funnel. Since the automation programs also provide analytics, managers are also able to make better decisions about how to focus their efforts and budgets. Like what?You can see where you stand and how well your marketing campaigns are working. According to 70% of successful marketing automation users, conversion rate is the most useful metric for tracking performance. One study, published on eMarketer, found that companies that employ this data-driven approach fair better than their competitors in a number of important ways:These companies reported three times as much success when it came to engaging customers and achieving an advantage over their competitors.The automated companies were also three times as likely to report that they enjoyed greater revenues during the time period they employed their new marketing tools.Marketing Automation, Your SharpshooterYou want to move the ball down the court and get a slam dunk – that’s the big business way. However, you’re running a lean machine and efficiency is one of your top priorities. Stephen Curry and the Warriors focus on getting the three-point shots because they are more efficient than dunking at the net. Marketing automation helps you make those three-pointers.Your campaigns are your plays. With marketing automation, everything can be entered into the system and scheduled so you can then focus on other tasks. In addition, marketing automation makes it easy to segment different groups to send targeted messages tailored to how they communicate. When a prospect is ready to buy, your marketing automation system will notify you so you can make the shot and score.Marketing automation is a long term strategy; the longer you use it, more opportunities to optimize your practices arise. Test different plays to see what works for your business. Over time you will experience better lead management, more relevant content, and increased revenue.