Why Your Agency Should Be Using Marketing Automation

Agencies might go about generating new business differently than large ad sales teams, but it doesn’t mean they can’t take advantage of great sales techniques through marketing automation.

No need for a separate CRM

If you listen to podcasts and check out webinars, it’s easy to get the impression that your marketing software stack should be big enough to see from space. From analytics tools to marketing automation platforms and CRM software, you’re told everything is a mission-critical must have for your agency.

More and more marketing automation platforms are including simplified CRM capabilities within their platforms. Companies like HubSpot and Sharpring both incorporate basic CRM functionality like pipeline management and sales activity tracking so you can do all of your work without leaving the platform. There’s no complicated account to setup or API functionality to understand.

Agencies often choose the expensive, complicated software that they don’t have time to learn to use instead of an intuitive, multi-function platform that gets the job done.

If your preferred marketing automation solution doesn’t include CRM functionality, it should at least play well with CRM software. Look for tools that allow you to mix and match for your budget and business growth goals without losing out on capabilities or having learn multiple sets of terminology. In fact, one of the most common complaints about the most powerful tools is that they’re complicated to understand and have a steep learning curve. Learning to use them well—or even at all—can take hours of training, and that can be discouraging to users.

Everything you need under one login

When engaging with your prospects you’re likely using a variety of tools. Whether it’s Unbounce for landing pages, Buffer for social media scheduling or LeadForensics for website visitor tracking – using so many platforms can be cumbersome, inefficient and gets expensive really quickly. Most marketing automation platforms have packages available that give you these capabilities – helping you do more work under one login.

But more than this, with all your data in one software solution, there’s much less manual manipulation for you to do. You can track what content prospects engage with, what time of day they open your emails and what contact they’ve had with your sales team.

Make more informed decisions

You’ve probably heard that data-driven decisions are the future of marketing. Unless you’ve been living under a rock. On another planet. [twittee tweet=”If you want to get a clear understanding of how your sales and marketing efforts are performing, you need data. via @agencysquared” content=”If you want to get a clear understanding of how your sales and marketing efforts are performing, you need data.”] Tweet This! You might think the email you sent out last week was great, but the analytics will tell you the truth. Most marketing automation systems have comprehensive reporting options that allow you to monitor important KPIs to keep your team on track. Most tools also allow you to customize your dashboards so these metrics are front of mind.

Data and analytics is a giant and growing discipline, but it’s one that marketers should take time to educate themselves on—even if that means taking a class or two. Data can be really powerful, but understanding and interpreting the numbers, especially how they relate to each other and what that means for your business, isn’t something you should jump into lightly.

Serve up the most relevant content

Of all the features you’ll find in your marketing automation platform, there are three that will help you serve up timely, relevant content:

  • website tracking
  • persona mapping
  • lead scoring

These things are powerful individually, but when used together, their wonder twin powers activate and they become a force to be reckoned with.

Website tracking allows you to see how your website visitors are engaging with the site, where they’re clicking, which pages they’re visiting and the choices they make. For example, if you track visitors and see that they’re looking at your recent work and contact pages but don’t complete the contact form that’s a decision you can follow up on. In this case, maybe the abandoned contact page could trigger an email to this warm prospect.

Personas—the general types of people your audience is composed of—can help you serve up the most relevant content for that segment of the audience. There are hundreds of books and even more websites that explain personas in detail. Some of them are bad, some are better. Remember that you can use data to build your personas in the way that makes the most sense to you. So while one company may need a persona that explains the layers and hidden depths of the person clicking around your site, others may simply need personas based on the kinds of products the prospect is interested in, their funnel position or the length of the sales cycle. Almost all marketing automation tools allow you to group prospects under personas so that you can serve specific content to them based on their individual needs and challenges.

Lead scoring also is a big feature within marketing automation platforms that can trigger different workflows and communications to go out based on how ‘warm’ they are. Your sales team wants to know that the prospect their calling has a need for your product, and has the financial means to pay for it—but they also want to know that the prospect is looking to solve that problem now or in the near future. Lead scoring can notify your new business team when the best time to approach a prospect is – saving them time and setting them up for greater success.

Test your messaging

The name of the game in marketing automation is getting your audience to open the email. Luckily, whichever marketing automation tool you choose is going to have a function that allows you to A/B, multivariate or split test your outreach. If you have a couple of subject line or hero image options for an email and don’t know which you should go with, testing gives you the opportunity to change multiple variables across your outreach to find out what resonates. If you find humorous, direct subject lines result in a higher open rate with your top of funnel prospects, you can adjust your messaging to give your emails a better chance of being opened. You could even test a few subject lines on a segment of your email list, decide which resonates best and use that on the email that goes out to the rest of your list, giving you the opportunity to maximize open rates.

Matt Chollet

As EVP of Agency Development, Matt works alongside agencies on a daily basis, helping them implement new business processes that help generate qualified conversations with their most sought after prospects.