Joe Martinico, publisher of http://MarketingAutomation.com, stated, "The ideal marketing automation cycle revolves around a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool and then branches into one or several activities, products, and software programs." He pointed out that there are hundreds of marketing automation vendors and many of them claim to be total solutions, but that is rarely the case. Many businesses struggle to understand what marketing automation is, how it can help their business, and how to do it right.
So, What Is Marketing Automation?
The answer depends on who you ask but according to the infographic it starts with a CRM tool. Companies like Salesforce.com and Zoho.com provide this functionality for most sizes of companies. The core of marketing automation requires that you keep good records of prospects and clients. This can only be accomplished if it is easy to add, import, and manage those records. Sales and customer support personnel should have easy access and good training up front.
Once your CRM is in place then you can put together the tools necessary to do the rest. The idea is to visualize your prospects and your sales cycle and then develop marketing campaigns that attract leads and ensure follow-up with a proper balance of automation and personal contact. The objectives are to develop ongoing relationships with clients and to make sales closure easier.
Mr. Martinico is passionate about the topic and claims that he's seen companies double and triple their sales in short order by doing this properly. Unfortunately, many more companies fail in their efforts. This is because the initial process can be daunting and involves buy-in at many levels within a company from the boardroom to the beat.
What Are the Steps?
The tools involve five functions:
~ Planning and Ideation
~ Lead Generation
~ Lead Management
~ Sales Closure
Amongst these functions are methods and tools that automate the process along the way all feeding information back into your CRM as they do so.
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MarketingAutomation.com provides current information, tips, and ideas for small and medium sized businesses who want to automate their sales and marketing functions.