Bob Design Cautions Against Over-Reliance on Marketing Automation

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Reflecting the growing popularity of marketing automation, HubSpot, a marketing automation firm, recently raised $35 million in funding, as reported in the Boston Globe. But as more and more companies jump aboard the automated marketing train, Bop Design believes this increasing emphasis on marketing automation can be problematic for many small businesses.

Bob Design Cautions Against Over-Reliance on Marketing Automation

Bob Design Cautions Against Over-Reliance on Marketing Automation

When done well, automated marketing systems offer several benefits. Despite the benefits, automation may not be right for all small businesses. Unless you have a huge number of leads flowing into the top of your sales funnel, the ROI may not be worth it.

Reflecting the growing popularity of marketing automation, HubSpot, a marketing automation firm, recently raised $35 million in funding, as reported in the Boston Globe. But as more and more companies jump aboard the automated marketing train, Bop Design believes this increasing emphasis on automation can be problematic for small business marketing.

“When done well, automated marketing systems offer a number of benefits,” acknowledges Jeremy Durant, Business Principal for Bop Design, a San Diego web design agency. “They allow companies to track and measure the effectiveness of marketing activities such as websites, webinars, online lead generation programs, and email campaigns. They make it possible to manage the sales pipeline more cost-effectively. Automated marketing systems can respond to leads more quickly, which can translate into higher conversion rates. And they can lower the cost of staying in touch with prospects and customers.

“Despite all these benefits, automated marketing may not be right for many small businesses. Unless you have a huge number of leads flowing into the top of your sales funnel, the return on investment may not equal the time and money you invest in marketing automation technology. That’s why it makes sense for most small businesses to manually follow up sales leads with personalized, pertinent content rather than with an automated lead nurturing campaign.”

This doesn’t mean to abandon new technology and go back to the old days of phones, faxes, or hand-written sales letters. Instead, small businesses should use today’s communications technologies appropriately. For most, that means following up in more personal and intimate ways by providing content specific to each prospect’s industry, business, and marketing initiatives.

More than anything, prospects want to know that companies understand their business problems and challenges, and that they offer a cost-effective solution. Automated lead nurturing programs make it easy to send content to prospects in a very efficient and cost-effective manner. But each prospect has unique needs, and unless they feel the company truly understands their most pressing issues and concerns – which is often not the case with automated lead follow-up – they will look elsewhere for a solution.

To get the most out of a manual follow-up process, Bop Design recommends the following:

  •     Segment prospects. Manual follow-up takes more time and effort, so it’s important for companies to invest their resources wisely. This starts with dividing prospects into A, B, C and D categories (depending on their level of interest and where they are in the sales cycle) and focusing on the first two categories.
  •     Get personal. Prospects can spot mass emails a mile away. Even if those emails address the prospect’s issues and concerns, they have less of an impact than a personalized response. Sending individual emails to each prospect will go a long way toward building the relationship.
  •     Focus on educating rather than selling. The goal is to become a trusted advisor to prospects, especially with companies that have long sales cycles. Providing valuable ideas, insights and solutions will help to move prospects through the sales cycle until they are ready to buy.
  •     Adopt a soft-sell approach. Coming across too strong after the initial contact can drive away interested prospects. After all, people don’t get married after the first date. Instead, companies should follow up with a series of personalized emails that gradually educate the prospect and build trust over time.

“Marketing technology can only do so much,” concludes Durant. “Once your firm is positioned as a thought leader and advocate for your prospects, don’t be afraid to ask for the sales consultation. If you’ve done a good job educating the prospect and building the relationship, they will want and expect you to do it.”

About Bop Design
Bop Design is a San Diego marketing agency with offices also in the New York metro area. We express a business’ values through brand development, advertising, design and web design. We also help attract a firm's ideal customer through search engine optimization and social media marketing services. The marketing firm's focus is on small businesses that want an external team of marketing specialists to help give their brand an edge in the marketplace.

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