The Benefits of Marketing Automation for Sales: Use Email to Shorten the Sales Cycle
Marketing automation is a powerful way to build stronger relationships with customers – and to do it faster and more effectively than manual processes ever could. The benefits are especially clear when you look at the ways marketers and sales teams can use email campaigns to nurture prospects along the journey to conversion. A targeted series of email messages can quickly turn lukewarm leads into hot prospects, and website visitors into loyal customers. Plus, the reporting and visibility marketing automation provides can make it easy to understand what’s working and what’s not, so you can adjust your approach accordingly, on the fly.
Better Visibility and Shorter Sales Cycles
Research shows nurtured leads close faster and generate larger deals than non-nurtured leads (10% and 40%, respectively, according to the Aberdeen Group). Marketing automation gives marketing teams the ability to more effectively nurture leads with tailored and timely content, draw them through the funnel more quickly, and deliver more highly qualified leads to the sales team. According to Bulldog Solutions, companies that invest in marketing automation solutions see 70% faster sales cycle times.
Act-On customers are gaining the kinds of results that confirm the data. Recently, we conducted a case study with LEGO Education North America – they’re part of The LEGO Group, the world’s third-largest manufacturer of play materials. Lack of visibility into the sales funnel meant the team never really knew how their touch points were driving leads down into the marketing funnel. Marketing automation helped LEGO Education solve these challenges and more.
Using marketing automation dashboards, the LEGO Education team is able to see into the status of leads in the funnel to understand where leads are, how they’re progressing, and also to drill in to find out which campaigns are moving those leads through the funnel – and which ones aren’t pulling their weight. It’s a powerful advantage: The team can invest more of their budget into the areas that move leads through the process more effectively, while also pinpointing tactics that aren’t working as well in order to modify or replace them.
The LEGO Education sales team is also generating more leads, and they’re able to nurture those leads in a better and faster way, which significantly shortens the sales cycle. LEGO Education’s marketing team can hand over hot leads to the sales team to generate sales faster and make sure they get the attention they need at the right moment. This level of marketing efficiency has optimized use of their sales force, as well. Rather than calling on cold leads, the sales reps are able to prioritize on calling the abundance of nurtured leads they receive from the marketing team.
Email Marketing to the Max
Email remains the most effective marketing channel for both conversion and retention. In fact, the ROI of email marketing is an eye-opening 4300%, according to the Direct Marketing Association. Using marketing automation, sales reps can automatically send the right personalized messages to the right prospects at the most optimal time. Trigger emails can be customized and launched based on specific actions (like signing up for a newsletter or downloading a particular piece of content), to keep prospects engaged and momentum going. All email communications are captured in the activity history for each lead.
Using marketing automation, the team at LEGO Education is able to speak to customers and target audiences in a very personalized and customized way. They’re running multiple types of email campaigns: Some are trigger campaigns, some are drip campaigns, and some are a combination of both.
Before implementing Act-On, the marketing team at LEGO Education North America was able to execute only one or two email campaigns a year. This year, they’re running 14 different campaigns, and next year they plan to run even more. Each campaign is customized to the individual based on their title, previous behavior and activity, web pages visited, or a combination of all of these variables. As a result, the emails delivered are more relevant – and more effective.
Read the LEGO Education North America case study to learn more about the many ways marketing automation has helped gain visibility, shorten the sales cycle, and use email marketing to improve their business results.
The benefits of marketing automation for sales teams go far beyond enhanced visibility and better email marketing. Check out this eBook to learn more, and find out how it can increase the productivity of sales teams while helping to maximize resources.