I sent out my first email campaign when I was 16. I was trying to get a scholarship to play soccer at a decent university. At the time I didn’t realize I was acting as an email marketer, but not unlike one, I had to first do my research. I targeted universities that had a women's soccer program and a good college for graphic design and advertising. I then built my segmentation list of the head coaches I would target. Once my list was built, I developed my email template which told them who I was, what scouting tournaments I would be at, why they should consider me, etc.
The same concepts apply with B2B email marketing: research and define target audience, build segmentation lists, develop content that engages the reader and encourages interaction, and eventually convince them that what you have to offer is what they need and should pay for.
Today’s buyers are 60% to 90% through the sales process before they first engage with a sales representative. By then they’ve done their research and know the features and prices of your products and all of your competitors’ products. This puts the pressure on marketing to further qualify and nurture leads because cold calling is just not the best use of anyone’s time. People will buy when they are ready and well informed and it is marketing's job to make sure the programs and content are in place to do that.
Since the way people buy has changed, so should our sales and marketing tools and strategies. Email marketing is no longer the only tool marketers have and Marketing Automation applications are no longer a tool only large companies can afford.
So what is marketing automation?
Marketing Automation combines email marketing, lead scoring, lead capture and tracking, nurturing, event management, and social media marketing into one application. AKA: a marketer's dream.
The Marketing Automation industry is growing fast at an average 52% annual growth rate over the past two years. The cost of these applications have decreased and more are popping up each year. If used properly, marketers should be able to see a return on investment within 6 months after implementation.
In our core CRM business we help companies streamline sales processes within their CRM application. The sales process is directly affected by what happens at the top of the funnel during marketing qualification. Because these are tied so closely together, over the years we have been asked to complete several Marketing Automation integration and implementation projects and have developed a core competency around Marketing Automation tools, best practices, training, and configuration.
This year we are diving into Marketing Automation as an extension of our existing CRM business and professional services. For any of our customers that have considered implementing Marketing Automation, we have already taken major steps to evaluate the applications on the market and will help to implement, train, and support the application for your company.
I’d now like to introduce our new partner Salesfusion. Salesfusion is a Marketing Automation application with connectors to SugarCRM and several other CRM systems. We’ve chosen to team up with Salesfusion because of the capabilities of the application, forward-thinking product development team, native Sugar integration, and the resources available to customers. In the following weeks we will have several follow up blog posts on the features of Salesfusion and more on why we chose to partner with them.
If you are interested in seeing a demo of Salesfusion or would like to discuss implementing Marketing Automation, contact us today.