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We recently launched our Free Marketing Automation System, it’s a simplified version of the system that we provide for our clients. One question we got was “Who is this intended for?”, while a couple of other people asked “How do I know I need it?”.

Let’s start with who needs marketing automation. I think the basic answer is “anybody who is looking for leads”.  In its simplest form, a lead is someone who is going to get in touch with you about a product or service that you offer. The thing about leads is that not all leads are created equal.

The “Buyer’s Journey” says that people go through stages when they are making a decision. Awareness, Consideration, and Decision.  First, they need to be aware that they have a problem, and that there are solutions to that problem. Then they look at who can provide the solution. Finally they come to a decision on who will solve their problem.

The buyer’s journey can take minutes, or it can take years depending on the type of purchase they are making. The thing is, you need to be able to contact the buyer at the right point in the journey.

If you introduce yourself after they’ve bought something else, you’re too late. If you make an incredible offer before they’re considering buying, you’re too early.

This is what marketing automation is good at. It pairs up the buyer with the right information at the point of the buyer’s journey they are currently in.

How will you know that you need marketing automation? Here’s five warning signs.

1: You frequently hear “Website Leads Suck” from sales people

Website leads should be the “Glengarry Leads”, and if the sales team isn’t treating website leads as gold, then there is a major problem.

We can learn more about someone who comes to a website than we do on literally any other source. If you’re hearing from your sales people that they are talking to people who aren’t ready to buy, or if your sales people are dealing with far too many leads, this is where automation can really help.

With a good marketing automation program, you can deliver the right information to potential customers at the right time, and help them to make key decisions.

In some cases these people will decide you’re not the right solution for them, that’s actually a really good thing. If we give them the information that helps them they’re not the right fit for your product or service it doesn’t waste any more of their time, and you’re not trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

In other cases, the key information will help them realize that there is a good match there, and they will raise their hand, asking to further the conversation.

Businesses who nurture leads make 50% more sales at a cost 33% less than non-nurtured prospects. (Strategic IC, 2017)

2: You don’t send out regular emails because even when you send them out, it doesn’t seem to change anything

Consider how you interact with people on a daily basis in your real life. Chances are you have different conversations with your co-workers than you do with your partner, your children, your friends, or the barista who made your latte this morning.

If you were to greet everyone with the same message, they would look at you like you’re an alien. Go ahead, try talking to your co-workers as if they were your significant other the next time that you want to spend an afternoon with the lovely folks in HR (say hi to Julie for me).

Your marketing is the same way. You can’t treat everyone the same, and you can’t deliver the same messaging to the person who just met you, as you would to the person who has been doing their research on your company for the last year and are ready to make a decision.

You need to be sending out the right information, at the right time, to the right people. To do this, you need to identify your audience, put them into groups, and deliver them tailored email to exactly where they are in the buying cycle.

This is called segmentation, and it will have a massive impact on your email campaigns.

Recipients are 75% more likely to click on emails from segmented campaigns than non-segmented campaigns. (MailChimp, 2017)

3: Sales growth isn’t as fast as you’d like

There are only so many levers you can pull to increase sales, one of them is investing more in marketing.

We often caution against companies throwing money at ads, the websites we work with regularly convert organic traffic at a rate of 5-7% across the entire site!

We find often that incremental improvements to the way that the website is being crawled by search engines, improving inbound links with media outreach, and building a strong lead generation capabilities show better, faster, and more impressive results than chucking a bunch of money at some ads.

Once you have leads in your system though, what are you doing with them? Are you throwing them directly over the fence to Sales? Is the sales team burning through leads? Do you have insight into what is happening with those leads?

Marketing automation can really help boost sales by engaging prospects and turn them into excited potential buyers with your nurturing programs. It also helps identify the very best leads and enables you to route them very quickly to your sales team. Gone are the days of slogging through cold calls all day long.

Businesses who nurture leads make 50% more sales at a cost 33% less than non-nurtured prospects. (Strategic IC, 2017)

4: You don’t know what’s working and what’s not

You have 20,000 followers on Facebook. Your InstaTweet post from last week got five hundred upvotes. You were recently featured on that hot new YouTube show by that super cool lady who does the thing with the stuff.

Then what happened? Are your 20,000 followers in your target demographic? Does InstaTweet success equal more prospects in your funnel? Do your Facebook followers actually buy your product or service? Are you paying to promote posts or running a contest that is boosting your follower count but actually reducing the number of people who are seeing your messaging?

You need end-to-end insight into the entire marketing funnel and sales pipeline if you’re going to affect any meaningful change. We often find that closely held assumptions end up being false. For many companies, a large follower count has no bearing on the quality of the leads they are generating.  Likewise, many websites have incredible Google page ranks, but they are unable to translate that page rank into leads. Many lead sources you initially thought were great can turn out to be under-performing (and vice versa).

You need a solid digital strategy, and good tools that will help you gain insight into what a good prospect looks like, vs someone who is just a dreamer.

With good analytics tools (like those provided by a good marketing automation tool), you will know where your best leads come from, the behaviors that end up converting them into customers, and how to create a repeatable process to develop more sales ready leads in the future. You need to establish a direct correlation between leads in the door and actual revenue.

48% of consumers start mobile research with a search engine. (Smart Insights, 2016) 

5: You are losing sales to the competition

Here’s the scary, dark secret. Look around your industry at your competitors. If you’re not taking advantage of marketing automation, the chances are that one of your competitors are…and if they’re not right now, they will be in the next 12-18 months as marketing automation is one of the biggest trends in marketing right now.  If you are ahead of the curve, you will beat your competition.

In the next two years, an additional 21% of marketing leaders plan to use a marketing automation platform. (Salesforce, 2017)

Marketing Automation is Not Scary, Not Doing it is Downright Terrifying

Marketing automation doesn’t have to be expensive. The software that will allow you automate your lead nurturing is incredibly affordable, and will make significant changes to your business.

Things that cost more than One Year of Marketing Automation Services

  • Coffee for a 100 person office for 1 year
  • A company Christmas party for 50 people
  • A golf tournament for a company of 40 people
  • Losing one sale for a product with an average sales price of $9,000
  • A 2 month Adwords Campaign that generates 100 leads/month at an average lead cost of $45/lead

We are here to help. Check out our free download – How to Create a Free Marketing Automation System, and discover how you can get something set up today that will start you down the path to better leads, and more sales.

Free Download: How to Create a Free Marketing Automation System

Brian Garside has been building websites for two decades and has worked on some of the largest websites in Canadian media. He focuses on creating good user experiences and building websites that make their owners money. Brian is certified in blogging and content marketing from Shaw Academy.