For small and lean businesses, marketing automation is a game-changer. Companies use it to automate repetitive tasks, create and schedule lead nurture campaigns, and facilitate sales follow-up, so nothing slips through the cracks. 

However, each marketing automation tool is not created equally. The more reliable and efficient your automation tool is, the more redundancies it eliminates, creating a well-oiled process that generates leads and converts them to customers. 

Let’s talk about some of the features to look for in a marketing automation tool, as well as some of the ways marketing automation shortens your lead cycle.

Efficient Marketing Automation Features 

When you’re looking to make your routine marketing and sales tasks more structured, you need a tool that offers you features that make sense (without all the bells and whistles that don’t). Here are some marketing automation features you’ll want that will bring order to your process:

  • The ability to tag prospects based on various lead qualifiers, like the type of industry or business they’re affiliated with. 
  • Triggers that deploy emails based on certain actions prospects take, like downloading a whitepaper or signing up for your newsletter. 
  • Automated sequences that alleviate the repetitive administrative side of lead generation and cultivation.

These features save you time and cut back on the amount of basic inbound marketing activities you need to perform. The result is a shorter lead cycle, an increase in generated leads, and more prospects converting to customers. 

The devil is in the details. Here are some specific functions within the lead cycle that marketing automation lends a hand to. 

Automate Activities at the Prospecting Stage

Marketing automation software that automatically logs calls and emails can save your sales team massive amounts of time. The alternatives are logging these things manually (or not at all). It’s easy to procrastinate with manual logging of calls and emails, and neglecting these tasks altogether soon results in chaos, with leads wondering if your company has its act together. 

Call and email tracking and automation are among the most important tasks marketing automation software accomplishes. The bulk of the work is in the setup – all you have to do is put together your email outreach ahead of time and then schedule it to deploy based on various actions and triggers your leads take. This affords your sales team the luxury of gradually selling to inbound leads while they can focus on other important tasks, like:

  • Setting up calls with leads that are further down the funnel.
  • Putting together contracts and agreements with leads that are ready to partner/purchase.
  • Strategizing other tactics to increase conversions.
  • Assembling re-engagement campaigns to breathe new life into dormant leads.

Accelerate Production of Quotes and Contracts

When someone expresses interest in your products or services, getting them a quote quickly and providing a contract promptly is paramount. Some marketing automation tools will assist with quote and contract production, but software that doesn’t can still alleviate enough repetitive tasks to allow sales development personnel to focus their energies on making quotes and writing contracts with fewer worries. 

Maintain and Strengthen Relationships with Existing Customers

While client retention and customer acquisition are equally important, keeping existing customers is far less costly than finding new ones. 

You can use marketing automation software to maintain and strengthen existing customer relationships and find new ones. By using an all-in-one marketing automation and CRM, the activities and interactions with your current customers are logged, so referencing and tracking patterns is a breeze. You can run reports to identify your longest and most successful customer partnerships, informing which types of businesses and industries you should focus your future sales efforts on. You can also track which approaches with your customers yield the best results and which services or features of your product offerings they get the most value from.

With marketing automation, upselling and cross-selling is a breeze. You can set triggers to let your customers know about other products or services they may be able to leverage, increasing customer lifetime value

With logged interactions and automated follow-ups, you can skyrocket customer satisfaction by ensuring consistent customer support and reliable touchpoints. And when your customers are satisfied, they’ll be more inclined to become repeat customers in the future. 

Track Progress and Fine-Tune Your Strategy

Markets, customers, and technologies all change, so it only makes sense that your sales and marketing strategies will need to change as well. Marketing automation software will allow you to track progress of all your initiatives with ease, so you can gain insights early on and act on them at the right time. Analytics help you understand where you need to fine-tune your strategies and help you track future progress once you do so.

With marketing automation, there’s no more shooting in the dark regarding which channel or strategy worked and which fell short. And without wasting time on guessing, you have more time to double down on the methods that work. 

Marketing automation software lets you build relationships with leads who aren’t yet ready to make a purchase, allowing lead behavior to determine the next right step to take. It also helps you sift and sort leads so you can prioritize them to get the highest return on your investment. The right marketing automation solution will also help you strengthen relationships with existing customers so they never feel as if they have been forgotten, and it helps you gather data that lets you understand trends, gain insights, and help your marketing and sales strategies evolve to serve you even better in the future. 

If you’re looking for a solution that cuts down on your lead cycle and generates more sales more quickly, take a quick tour of BenchmarkONE and sign up for our Free Forever plan