By Carol O’Kelley, CEO, Salesfusion
Marketing automation was originally designed to help companies drive growth. It was supposed to deliver this important benefit through workflow integration, deep data insights, automation of previously manual tasks, and alignment of sales and marketing teams.
The Unfulfilled Promise
The first wave of marketing automation platforms (MAPs) have not consistently delivered on their promise of helping companies drive more revenue. This is primarily due to the cost and complexity of administering the technology successfully. Companies have historically needed a large marketing team with substantial technical resources to see a true ROI on their investment.
This has led to disproportionate adoption among companies in different markets. While 60 percent of enterprise companies use marketing automation, only 15 percent of small and mid-size businesses have jumped on board.
Solutions for Small and Mid-Size Businesses
Marketing automation has largely remained unattainable for smaller marketing teams who don’t have the financial, technical or operational resources to properly implement the MAP – until now.
The second wave of marketing automation providers offer solutions specifically designed for their needs. These platforms offer core marketing automation features – such as advanced reporting, website tracking, nurture marketing and lead scoring – at a price that’s more affordable than traditional providers. Additionally, they deliver more simplified UIs, making it significantly easier to manage with a smaller team.
Thinking Beyond the Click
Thanks to these advancements in MAP technology, adoption is picking up among the middle market and is expected to continue. Many analysts report adoption will increase at a rate of 500% over the next five years. This will have huge implications for marketers at all levels, in companies of all sizes and across industries.
For instance, it will change performance expectations. Marketers will be expected to track and prove their contribution to pipeline with hard numbers. Simply tallying email clicks will no longer cut it. They’ll need to provide transparency into their ROMI, proving themselves as a revenue center rather than a cost center.
It will also change the way sales and marketing collaborate. The two teams will need to work closely together to accomplish revenue goals. They’ll no longer operate as siloed teams. Marketing automation will allow marketers to deliver real-time data and more qualified leads to their sales teams. Additionally, sales will have greater influence over the buyer journey, being able to directly add and remove prospects from campaigns from inside their CRM. This will align the teams around a single funnel while also providing shared workflow and processes.
As the second wave of marketing automation platforms continue to evolve, more middle market companies will begin to leverage it to drive revenue. This will usher in a new era of marketing where the lines between marketer and technologist blur, and the walls between sales and marketing come down.