Marketing automation automates common marketing practices, freeing up time for members on both your sales and marketing departments.

You know that already. You probably memorized it when you were pitching your marketing automation provider to your CMO or sales director. However, just because you know why you’re using this service, doesn’t mean you truly understand the intricacies of how it all works.

SAAS marketing automation creates a sophisticated profile of your company’s audience and implements targeted marketing messages to drive conversions. In order for the system to work at its best, data must be converted into insights that build trust with leads and nurture them throughout every stage of their relationship with your company – from anonymous website visitor to happy customer and brand ambassador.

Here is how a common sales cycle plays out using a marketing automation SAAS tool:

  1. Content marketing: Marketing produces content to the company website – anything from blog posts, industry news, infographics, videos, downloadable webinars, to eBooks. That content is then shared across corporate and employees’ personal social platforms. Viewers click on a call to action where they are taken to a landing page on your site.
  2. Targeted lists: Website visitors information is captured from landing page forms and all previously anonymous activity is attributed to their new lead card inside of your CRM (Be sure your marketing automation software has free CRM integration). From their form answers and website activity you can access their needs and interests, effectively segmenting them into distinct email recipient groups.
  3. Execute campaigns: Nurture your segmented leads with emails that relate to their interests, address their questions, and direct them to relevant content. For example, a finance company who sees a lead is spending time on their wealth management page and downloading assets related to that topic, would nurture that lead with emails about wealth management industry articles, an infographic download, and even an invitation to register for a webinar from an expert in that field.
  4. Measure activity: Probably the most important marketing automation strategy, monitor your email campaigns opens and clicks as well as your website engagement, such as page views, length of time spent on each page, visitor progression, downloads, etc. This activity helps you determine which content leads are interacting with and which content doesn’t interest them. Be sure to test as much as you can, too! Deploy emails at different dates and times, A/B test subject lines, play with website graphics, and change up your calls to action.
  5. Score leads and segment further: Marketing automation lead nurturing needs lead scoring to truly be successful. Even with predictive lead scoring on the rise, you still have to start with the traditional route so your software can learn how your leads operate. As they become more or less engaged and their score fluctuates, change up their email segmentation. Leads moving quickly through the sales cycle might not need as much educational content as those still shopping around.
  6. Pass qualified leads to sales: Once a nurtured lead has reached it’s scoring threshold, the system will pass them on to the appropriate sales rep immediately. From here, sales can reach out by phone and either close the deal or return the lead to its nurture campaign to continue education. This is a true benefit of marketing automation ROI as sales reps have the time to focus on the best leads who are excited and ready to become customers.

Ain’t it beautiful? And it seems like a complete cycle, right? There’ actually one more step that is too often skipped – analyze your marketing and sales performances.

It’s often skipped because it can bring about more questions than answers, but sit down with the marketing and sales teams to access the success or failure of each cycle and campaign. What worked? What didn’t? What can we improve upon? What manual tasks can we automate using our marketing automation technology?