It’s becoming significantly more obvious to all businesses – B2B or B2C that buying behavior has changed and is continuing to change. The Internet and the volume of information available at a buyer’s finger tips has changed the sales cycle to be driven by the buy cycle. It has taken the leverage of the sale away from the company and sales person and it has put that into the hands of the buyer. This change in the buy cycle is the number one justification for marketing automation. If you aren’t selling based on where a buyer is in their cycle, you won’t sell them at all. And if you can’t identify and stay in touch with the buyer, who is only interacting with your company digitally, then you won’t sell them at all either. So you ask, what other dynamics are affecting businesses today that are driving the use of marketing automation?
The second most common justification is the dwindling marketing budget. Marketing has to justify their budget. The time when large budgets were available for everything from branding to advertisement is gone. Marketing budgets continue to be scrutinized and put under constant pressure. Marketers are struggling to apply their limited budgets effectively. To help accomplish this, Marketers must be given the tools they need, and marketing automation provides for this support.
Lack of resources is the third most common justification for marketing automation. Companies should leverage the many service organizations and/or vendors that provide resource help for implementing marketing automation. Once the initial work is done, the huge leverage (and of course benefits) that companies can get from marketing automation should not be overlooked.
Is your company changing the way it measures marketing effectiveness – are you trying to really understand your impact on revenue and measure campaign ROI? The fourth justification for marketing automation is about measuring ROI. Marketing managers and departments are becoming more responsible for not just generating a volume of “leads” for sales, but now are being measured for the quality of those leads. How much of their marketing budget has impacted revenue? Marketing automation systems help companies improve the quality of leads passed to sales and enable marketers to track this effectiveness.
The fifth and probably the most costly justification for marketing automation is the cost of sales. Between the time sales spends trying to contact leads that aren’t ”sales-ready” or leads that aren’t ready to buy, they are wasting a significant amount of time. This wasted time translates into significant costs and into potential lost revenue opportunity (sales not spending their time on real opportunities).
With the change in buying behavior, lack of marketing budget and resources, it’s hard not to understand how to justify marketing automation today.
About the Author
Lisa Cramer is president and co-founder of LeadLife Solutions, a provider of on-demand lead management software with embedded best practices that generates, scores, and nurtures leads for B2B marketers. In 2009, Lisa was recognized as one of the top five “Most Influential People” in sales lead management. For more information on lead management or best practices call 1-800-680-6292 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.