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Boosting Sales With Small Business Marketing Automation

Dave Pelland has extensive experience covering the business use of technology, networking and communications tools by companies of all sizes. Dave's editorial and corporate experience includes more than 10 years editing an electronic technology and communications industry newsletter for a global professional services firm.
Here are some ideas for choosing a marketing automation tool to streamline your promotional activities and free up time to operate your small business more effectively. Boosting Sales With Small Business Marketing Automation

With technology advancing steadily, one of the most effective ways small businesses can improve sales and profitability is by using marketing automation tools to nurture leads and increase customer engagement.

Marketing automation tools include scheduled actions and artificial intelligence to automatically perform routine customer engagement measures such as sending a series of email messages in response to a customer inquiry, following up with leads, managing social media posts, and other functions.

For example, you can set up automated actions such as sending an email campaign when a prospect requests information about your company, when contact’s lead score reaches a certain level, or other sales-funnel triggers and milestones.

By automating these functions, the software helps ensure follow-ups are taking place. Perhaps more importantly, marketing automation helps increase sales by freeing up time for high-value prospect interactions and business development activities.

Marketing automation usually has a broader focus than customer relationship management (CRM) tools, which track customer interactions and help companies manage sales pipelines more effectively. But the two systems will often overlap and may exchange data though integrations to help your company personalize its customer and prospect interactions.

The Benefits of Automation

While specific features vary, marketing automation suites blend a variety of tools to automate and streamline marketing activities. Common features include:

  • Email marketing helps you send targeted campaigns to prospects and customers, segmenting your email lists into groups based on purchase history, location, or other factors.
  • Lead management: You can manage the leads your company attracts, such as website forms or inquiry calls. Lead management tools often include scoring, nurturing, and segmentation capabilities.
  • Social media marketing tools allow you to schedule posts, and to analyze how your social media campaigns are performing.
  • Analytics and reporting tools help you to track the performance of your campaigns. This may include understanding how many emails were opened, how many leads were generated, or which topics are most interesting to your audience.
  • CRM integration helps you generate insights about customers by blending data from your marketing activities with information about sales and customer interactions.

Some advanced tools may offer lead scoring tools to help you prioritize your sales efforts, and routing to automatically forward leads to the right member of your sales team.

Choosing a Platform

As with any major software investment, a good starting point is identifying the problems you’re trying to solve and the related features you need most.

Different suites will offer varying tools, capabilities and focuses, so it’s important to understand your primary goals. For example, if you plan to do a lot of email marketing, you’ll want a tool that emphasizes those capabilities.

Similarly, check for integration with CRM systems or e-commerce platforms you’re already using to create seamless workflows and prevent a need to enter data manually.

Another important factor to consider is how easy a tool is to use. Any software that’s too complicated will likely be ignored by your teams.

It’s also critical to evaluate a potential solution’s reporting and analytics capabilities. Do you want a tool that will help you generate insight into how your marketing campaigns are performing and to help you identify your most attractive opportunities.

By examining these capabilities, you can choose a marketing automation tool to streamline your promotional activities and free up time to operate your small business more effectively.


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