All posts by Mukesh K. Singhmar

SaaS Marketer, B2B Growth Consultant, Fractional CMO, Enterprise SEO Expert.

Top 8 Reasons to Use Marketing Automation

Marketing is a complex thing with multiple facets and room to always do something new and extraordinary. But while you think of ideas that will instantly grab the attention of prospects, automated processes can take care of all the mundane tasks for you.

Building relationships is probably the most crucial aspect of marketing. However, you need to go through several tasks in order to get to the part where you are able to show your competence to a lead. And a lot of these tasks are far from being interesting at all.

But I am here to tell you that it is precisely for these reasons that you should use marketing automation.

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation refers to the use of software to automate different marketing processes. For example, suppose you want to use a drip campaign to capture leads and you have prepared a set of emails for the same. Now, conventionally, you would send different emails at different times based on how a particular lead is reacting to the contact.

Marketing automation software will allow you to schedule the drips and will automatically send follow-up emails according to the reaction of the prospect.

You will often hear that ‘when used correctly, marketing automation has the potential to nurture your leads in a highly specific and targeted way, one which has a high chance of converting them into clients. But for this to happen, you have to make sure NOT to automate the wrong processes.

A common example is buying a list of prospects rather than building one on your own. Well, now that’s out of the way, let’s see what makes marketing automation so important.

Top Reasons to Use Marketing Automation

Enhances efficiency by saving time

Marketers can significantly increase the efficiency of their entire workflow if they automate certain processes. Your social media campaign can run smoothly if you schedule posts rather than posting content manually every single day (much like drip campaigns which we talked about in the previous section).

If such tasks don’t call your attention, you will spend more time coming up with unique strategies to capture leads. In a nutshell, marketers can use their time for valuable aspects of the workflow rather than worrying about administrative tasks.

Aligns sales and marketing

If you have ever worked in either the sales or the marketing team, you know that strife between the two can easily occur. The marketing team will argue that they are bringing in leads but sales folks are not taking timely actions. Sometimes, salespeople find out that a prospect has been receiving way too many messages as both teams are targeting them.

It’s a common enough problem in organizations and can be solved to a large extent by structuring processes properly, and that’s where marketing automation comes in. The problem mainly occurs due to misalignment; however, if processes become transparent for everyone, both teams can easily get on the same page.

Marketing automation will help ensure that better quality leads (more about this later) are coming in and that time-consuming and repetitive processes are streamlined.

marketing automation

Effectively tracks the lead lifecycle

As you read ahead, you’ll notice that it is very important to track the funnel stage of leads in your pipeline. Why? Because everything you do after identifying a lead depends on their position in the funnel.

Suppose a lead is at the top of the funnel and without considering it, you are sending them product portfolios. This will especially not work for SaaS companies. If a lead doesn’t even know what kind of service you are offering, there’s no way they are going to buy the product.

Similarly, if you keep showing awareness-building content to leads who are at the bottom of the funnel, they’ll eventually tire and drop out of your network.

Hence, it is essential for marketers to know the lifecycle stage of a lead. Marketing automation software does this effectively by tracking the lead on the browser and studying their online behavior.

Improves content quality by focusing on personalization

You’ll rarely hear the term ‘marketing’ without ‘personalization’ these days. This is because marketers are aware that they can’t go far without personalizing content, let alone close high-value deals.

The leads in your funnel are at different stages and should be targeted through curated content that is relevant to them. Marketing automation software will tell you at what stage a particular lead is and allow you to create content for them accordingly.

There are a lot of marketing automation software these days that give you actionable recommendations to improve your content quality. And let’s not ignore out-of-the-box content that can help you more than anything. Are you targeting leads through video content, personalized decks, or stuff they may find funny? No? It’s all worth a try, believe us.

Build a relationship with your audience by using all the information you have about them and your business will grow in ways you might not have thought. Marketing automation will definitely be an asset when you go for such campaigns.

Better customer profiling

Leveraging a CRM tool alongside marketing automation is probably the most helpful thing you can do for your business. Data is everything for organizations and if you don’t have enough data to act on, you can’t hope to stay afloat in business.

A CRM tool has the capability to fetch behavioral and even personal information about quality leads. Think about how much you can do with such data points. Personalization becomes ten times easier and your chances of closing a client will surely plummet.

Improves the lead quality and nurture process

With all the important data you have at your disposal, you can be sure of one thing- you won’t have to deal with as many unqualified leads. Lead scoring systems of CRMs are further important, as they let you know when a lead has become a marketing qualified lead and when it crosses the score to become a sales qualified lead.

After each of these events, it is also important to nurture leads properly. Now, even with the help of a marketing automation tool, there are bound to be leads that won’t convert. But, you surely can’t skip the nurturing process in any case, which unfortunately is time-taking.

Marketing automation can take this task off your hands and ensure that all the leads in the pipeline are being nurtured properly. While a lead may not be ready to buy your product at the moment, they may be ready to convert after some time.

Reasons to Use Marketing Automation

Increases engagement rate

This is somewhat related to personalization but is an effect of the latter. When you personalize the content by considering user intent, you show the prospect that you have been thorough. This lets them know that you have discovered that your product can possibly be of use to them.

If you’re employing such strategies, you’ll notice that leads are engaging more with your content and emails. And well, if the engagement rate is increasing, the chances of closing deals increase as well. Behind such a strategy lies marketing automation, because to get to this stage, you’ll need to automate certain processes (as discussed above) that increase the value of your content.

Organizes reporting and analytics

As important as reporting and analytics are marketers aren’t usually fond of keeping track of a multitude of data, especially if one has to do it manually. But, with the help of a marketing automation tool, reports can be generated easily. There, doesn’t that sound like a lot of your problems were just solved?

You can streamline all your processes, see which process needs improvement, what campaigns are working efficiently and can be used again, and basically know any points that need to be changed if you have proper reports at your disposal.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of touchpoints that can be automated using marketing automation software, and well, as we’ve tried to show, your work can become more result-oriented. Pick out areas where you think your workflow is lagging and check if marketing automation can help in that area.

Otherwise, processes like lead lifecycle tracking, data gathering and feeding in the CRM, and scheduling emails, and social posts are certainly the areas that can be automated.

A Beginner’s Guide to Sales Automation

Sales processes have changed dramatically over the years, thanks to digitalization. Today, salespeople are looking at aggressive targets with a limited amount of time to go through every single task. All the outcomes have to meet overwhelmingly high expectations about quality.

In such a scenario, a good sales automation tool can be of huge help to sales folks. How you can use sales automation is extensively varied. However, this also comes with the responsibility of figuring out which processes should be automated.

If you use sales automation in an ideal way, you’ll see that you have a tremendous amount of time to take care of tasks that are important. And you’ll eventually achieve the ultimate goal of closing more deals and boosting revenue.

This guide aims to explain various aspects– all the why’s, what’s, and how’s– of sales automation clearly and concisely.

What is Sales Automation?

Sales automation is the use of software to automate certain processes involved in sales workflows, such as scheduling emails, data entry in your CRM system, and managing the sales pipeline.

Tasks that need to be done even though they aren’t interesting enough can be automated to free up your time for building valuable relationships.

There are multiple tasks at each stage of the funnel that a salesperson has to take care of to further the prospect down the funnel. Additionally, sales managers and sales reps have different needs when it comes to automated sales processes.

Let’s take a look at everything that a sales automation tool, or a combination of sales automation tools, can do for you. But before moving on to that, we believe it’s important to talk a little bit about CRM (customer relationship management) since it is responsible for automating various sales processes.

Beginner’s Guide to Sales Automation

Importance of Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

The CRM tool you use is essentially responsible for managing everything ranging from managing prospects’ data to maintaining relationships with current and future customers. With the help of a CRM tool, you know at what stage a prospect is at any given time, which further allows you to target them with highly relevant content.

CRM tools like Hubspot and Salesforce automatically gather all the relevant data, such as online behavior, company website, location, and name, about prospects/leads. What’s more, such a platform will automatically organize data, which means that a sales rep won’t have to deal with data entry.

This also means that a salesperson won’t have to sit and segment the audience for better targeting. A CRM tool can help you streamline various sales processes to make them more efficient and give you better results.

What can Sales Automation do for you?

Prospecting and lead enrichment

If your business is still relying on buying lists of prospects, it’s high time you reconsider your strategy. Not only is this an outdated way of running a business, but it’s also miles away from being effective in any way.

Instead, you can rely on data that your CRM or sales automation tool gathers about potential customers and plan your strategy accordingly. Once you have a list of qualified leads, you have to enrich and make sure that they eventually move down the funnel.

At this point, you need to have every important information about the leads that are on your list, which includes whether or not they are currently looking for the product that you are offering or if they are already connected with other vendors. This is in addition to all the personal information that the CRM will gather about the leads.

All these data points are of great significance, as you will be able to come up with an actionable and result-oriented strategy for targeting the leads. Sales automation makes all this easy by gathering all information about prospects, thereby giving you more time for planning.

Lead scoring for prioritizing and qualifying leads

Another important task that a sales automation tool does for generating quality leads for you is lead scoring. Lots of CRMs these days have a lead scoring system- leads are scored based on the actions that they take. For example, a lead will be scored 10 if they visit your website or blog twice.

Similarly, their score will increase as they engage more and more with your content or website. This way, you can separate marketing-qualified leads and sales-qualified leads and see what sort of action needs to be taken for which contact to nurture them further.

A lead scoring system will also let you know which leads you should prioritize. The intent is something that you cannot afford to ignore and if one prospect is more willing to engage than another, simple logic dictates that you should pay more attention to that contact.

Sales automation can determine which prospect or lead you should prioritize by taking into account their behavioral and demographic information.

Salespeople had to manually keep a check on such aspects (and several erroneous situations might have occurred), today you have an automation tool at your disposal that tells you exactly how you need to deal with a prospect, lead, or client.

Email personalization and scheduling

Email marketing is an integral part of sales workflows. It is through email outreach that you engage prospects and maintain relationships with your clients. If not done right, you could lose out on potential business and eventually face significant revenue loss.

But, what exactly is the right way to engage prospects and customers via email, and what does sales automation have to do with it?

Well, a good email strategy should pay attention to details about the prospect and include personalized content. This is not limited to putting the name of the prospects at the start but involves thorough research to find out at which stage the prospect is, what type of content should they be shown, and any sort of relevant personal detail.

Achieving this is surely not an easy feat, especially because as a sales rep you probably won’t be dealing with just a couple of prospects and clients. Furthermore, an email outreach campaign doesn’t involve just sending out a single email.

You cannot possibly hope that prospects would respond to the first email you sent out. This means that a drip sequence will have to be created and you will need to send follow-up emails for engaging prospects. This is where sales automation comes in.

A sales automation tool will have all the important information about your prospects and clients that you need to create a personalized email. You will know what sort of content should be used for targeting a specific lead. For example, a lead at the top of the funnel will first need to be made aware of your product.

You can schedule the entire drip campaign, meaning that leads will receive all the emails required according to how they react to previous emails. The responsibility of remembering to send every email manually is eliminated here. You can also make use of content recommendations and email templates to increase the engagement rates for your emails.

Scheduling calls, meetings, and other events for effective deal management

Scheduling events with a lead or client isn’t in the hands of sales reps. You are at the behest of the lead and have to bend your schedule according to their calendar. A sales automation tool can help you deal with this issue effectively.

These days a lot of reps are just sending a link to their calendars to the clients so they can pick a date on their own. This ensures that the back-and-forth process of getting on a call or meeting with the lead is eliminated. Tools like Hubspot Meetings and Calendly can help you automate such processes.

A key aspect of sales processes is also reviewing the calls that you have had with your clients. Why? Because this gives you a chance to reflect on your process and see if there is any scope for improvement (which would probably turn out to be true).

To do this you need transcriptions and recordings of your calls. Wingman is an example of such an automation tool and can provide you with good insights.

Now, getting on a demo call with a lead is great. A lot of times, this means that there is some sort of intent and you are close to closing a new client. That’s great news indeed. But, the job doesn’t end with the call. There are certain other steps that you will have to follow before you onboard a client.

Moreover, logging in calls and conversations are also among the tasks that you need to follow through. As mundane as these tasks sound and are, there’s no way you can get out of performing them. But, the good news is that you can use your sales automation tool to take care of all this.

A sales automation tool will help you document everything related to calls, meetings, and messages and will reach out to leads regularly on your behalf (of course, after you schedule the emails).

Sales Automation guide

Reporting and dashboards

This one’s for sales managers who need to keep a check on sales reps and ensure that they are moving in the right direction or finding better ways to deal with tasks. The insights you will get from reports of a sales automation tool will help you optimize your sales strategy.

Reporting is a feature that will save you time by evaluating your team’s and individual member’s performance. Sales automation tools are equipped to automatically generate reports and schedule them as well.

Benefits of Sales Automation Tools

So, what exactly do you achieve by automating different tasks in your workflow? Quite a lot:

  1. The number of lost leads is reduced because you don’t waste time going after the wrong people. By paying attention to intent, your list consists of high-quality leads, which can be converted into clients easily and quickly using the right strategy.
  2. Sales reps can close more deals since they don’t spend more time on administrative tasks that are mostly repetitive.
  3. Because you can close an increased number of deals, the overall revenue generation is enhanced.
  4. If as a marketer, you can effectively leverage a sales automation tool, you’ll notice that the productivity of the sales team has taken a hike. This is because they save time and can focus more on tasks that require human intervention.
  5. It is safe to say that a lower number of tasks means reduced manpower. Since sales automation tools can take care of a lot of small but important tasks, people are free to pursue other aspects of the business.
  6. Closing leads in an optimized and personalized manner can also lead to positive feedback and become a way of bringing in referrals. However, if you want to effectively employ personalization strategies, a sales automation tool becomes somewhat of a necessity.

Don’t Over-Automate Processes

As great as sales automation is, much like any other thing, it can become counterproductive if you are not careful. Sales folks should leverage sales automation tools for capturing relevant data, and documentation, scheduling different events, and reporting. However, they should also note that over-optimizing can take things south.

The two areas where sales automation can be disadvantageous are the very aspects that it aims to make easy:

Over-Messaging: It is highly likely that you end up sending more emails to leads and customers than is needed. This can cause messaging fatigue and alienate leads. So, sales reps have to pay attention to what sort of messages the prospects are receiving and how often.

Sometimes, marketing and sales campaigns overlap and they may target the same prospect without knowing. Therefore, workflows should be set accordingly along with a cadence amidst both the sales and marketing teams.

Extensive planning and high costs: To deploy a good automation process, planning is imperative. You need to have as clear an idea as possible about which areas of the sales processes should be automated. If you fail to do that, you will have to deal with a high bill and inefficient processes.

A lot of times, salespeople use a combination of sales automation tools. However, this can have either more pros or more cons, it all depends on if you’re spending money on what you need.

Sales is essentially a division that can never be fully automated because, at the end of the day, it is about building relationships, which can only be done effectively by the human factor.

Even the most important part of the sales workflow– personalized email reachouts– is in place because prospects don’t react well to generic campaigns. They need to know that you are putting in due effort in addressing your target audience. It is important to make sure that your strategies always have the human touch needed for building long-term relationships.

To summarize…

Sales automation should act as a way of optimizing a process that is already in place and should be used for automating tasks that can be performed without sales reps or sales managers. According to McKinsey & Company, about 30% of sales tasks can be automated. If this does not hold for your organization, it is time to rethink your sales strategy.

You could be wasting a lot of time performing tasks that can be done easily and probably much more efficiently through an automated process. Data entry is one such task. This also means that you are spending less time on tasks that need more attention, for instance, coming up with a personalized sales pitch.

But keep in mind that there is a fine line between optimizing and over-optimizing processes and crossing that line could be equally damaging as not using sales automation at all.

Ensure that you are not depersonalizing your messages and not sending a plethora of messages in hopes of getting a reply. This could be unfavorable for your brand and lead to a bad reputation.

Ideally, you have to know what position your business and what sales automation tools will result in its growth. Your sales team will most probably require multiple tools to streamline different aspects of the entire workflow. Before you get settled on anything, make sure to ask yourself if the features are in alignment with your company’s goals.

10 Best Sales Automation Tools to Use in 2023

With the increasing number of prospects on lists, sales processes have become far more intimidating and overwhelming. Focusing on clients in a conventional way is not enough anymore. If you are not spending enough time segmenting your audience, you will end up running a generic sales pitch, which will get you nowhere.

So, how do you hit the bullseye without burning yourself out? It’s pretty simple- sales automation tools! According to Hubspot, sales folks are spending less and less time on actually ‘selling’ and more time on administrative tasks, such as data entry, scheduling meetings, and writing emails. Inbspot stated that salespeople just spend 1/3rd of their day making sales.

That does not sound right, mostly because it shouldn’t be that way. This problem can be effectively solved with sales automation tools.

Why do you need sales automation tools?

Sales automation tools essentially pave the way for taking care of more important things salespeople have on their plates. If you can generate relevant data about your leads through an automated process, you’ll be free to work on your sales pitch and mold it according to the needs of a particular lead.

Automation tools will go a long way in making processes more efficient, streamlined, and quick. Another important point to consider is that the chance of committing human error will be reduced significantly through automated processes.

At the end of the day, such tools will prove beneficial for reaching the ultimate revenue goals of the organization, as sales reps will be able to conduct business much more thoroughly.

Now that we have gone over the importance of sales automation tools, let’s see which tools you can apply:

HubSpot Sales Hub

Hubspot sales

Pricing: A free basic plan. Paid plans start from $45/month

Hubspot is a popular tool and is already being used widely by a multitude of organizations. Hubspot Sales Hub is specially designed for streamlining different sales processes. Its key features include an easy-to-use reporting and analytics dashboard, sales engagement tools, sales CRM, and quote functionality. You can further integrate over 750 tools in Hubspot’s App

Marketplace with Hubspot Sales Hub. Everything you need to have smooth sales processes will be present in one single place. This is a great tool for marketing automation- the lead scoring system will help you generate qualified leads

ActiveCampaign

Active campaign

Pricing: Paid plans start at $9/month

ActiveCampaign is built particularly to automate everything ranging from segmenting the audience to personalizing content. The platform puts great emphasis on customer experience and therefore, will help you build relationships that last. ActiveCampaign’s sales automation tool allows you to manage all your contacts in a single place and automates different sales processes.

Its CRM platform further has a lead scoring system that will let you generate quality leads. You can integrate over 850 apps, including Calendly and Zendesk, with ActiveCampaign and manage your affairs without hassle.

Prospect.io

Prospect.io

Pricing: Plans start at $19/month/user

Prospect.io lets you automate several tasks, such as drip campaigns and follow-ups. You don’t have to put in prospects’ data separately in this tool as it allows you to integrate any other tools you might be using, including Salesforce, Hubspot, and Slack.

Other than this, managing outbound activities (most importantly email-related tasks) can become more efficient with the help of Prospect.io You can personalize your emails for every lead that you want to capture and schedule a drip campaign.

If you are looking for a tool that will make your email campaigns systemized and effective, Prospect.io is the tool for you.

Pipedrive

Pipe drive

Pricing: Plans start from $12.50/month

Pipedrive will help you schedule all the sales actions that you need to take in toose more deals. Integration of mobile apps and sales apps, tracking communications, automation of administrative tasks, reporting and analytics, and management of leads and deals are some of the key features that this tool offers.

Pipedrive says that they can help you sell 28% more- that sounds like something that you give a shot.

Bombora

Bombora

Pricing: Custom plans, based on your needs.

A state-of-the-art platform, Bombora provides you insights about leads that you should ac go after rather than going through a discovery and elimination process. The result is that you will get actionable data about quality leads, as Bombora gathers all the relevant information for you.

The leads that Bombora will suggest are the ones who are already in search of solutions that you offer, so there’s no need for you to go looking for intent. Moreover, you can integrate several other platforms with this tool, which means you won’t need to worry about changing any other sales tools that you are already using.

Zoominfo (Previously EverString)

Zoominfo

Pricing: Contact Zoominfo for pricing

Zoominfo believes in spending “less time prospecting and more time selling”. This means that you wouldn’t have to waste your time on finding intent and insights where your leads are concerned. You have all the important data at your fingertips, which will allow you to understand your prospective charges in a better way and target them accordingly.

You can move on to having relevant conversations with the leads in just a short spperiodZoominfo leletsou fast-forward the sales processes and allows you to spend more time on making sales.

MailChimp

Mailchimp
Pricing: A free basic plan. Paid plans start from $9.99/month for 500 contacts

MailChimp is another well-known sales automation platform. The reason for this is its easy-to-use and efficient features, such as email marketing, marketing automation, app integration, insight and analytics tools, and targeted ad campaigns. The platform gives you insights about your contacts and tells you which contacts are the most valuable for you.

You can reach your audience in the right way since MailChimp helps you create better content. This is an ideal tool for sales folks who are looking for good automated marketing solutions.

InsightSquared

Insight squred

Pricing: Contact InsightSquared for pricing

Slightly deviating from solutions for automating sales processes, let us introduce you to a platform that you can use for sales forecasting- InsightSquared. This platform will help you go for data-driven revenue goals with its AI-powered solutions. InsightSquared’s key features include sales forecasting, data intelligence, analytics and reporting, and monitoring data quality.

Through this platform yo,u can set your company’s ideal revenue goals and know what kind of sales you need to make to achieve those goals. A platform like InsightSquared can help you plan strategically in terms of your sales goals to stay ahead in the industry.

Leedfeeder

Leedfeeder

Pricing: A free basic plan.

Paid plans start from $63/month. This tool lets you know about the businesses that are checking out your website. Through Leedfeeder, you can have all the information about whoever is visiting your website, which includes their behavior, names, and company and contact information.

Another interesting feature of this tool is that it can be integrated with your CRM platform, thereby enriching your leads faster and much more efficiently. Leedfeeder is an ideal tool for salespeople who are looking to streamline prospecting workflow.

Autoklose

Autoklose

Pricing: Contact Autoklose for pricing

This sales automation platform is a technology-driven, machine learning to be precise, a platform that integrates seamlessly with CRM platforms such as Salesforce. Some interesting products that Autoklose offers are contact management, email campaign management, sales intelligence and data, real-time reporting, email tracking, and email sequence templates BaYouan automates practically all your sales processes to get better results.

Autoklose is a great solution for people looking to automate lead generation and email campaigns. You can go for a free trial and see if it works for you.

In closing

And with this, we have reached the end of our list of top 10 sales automation tools to try in 2021. We made sure to include budgeted solutions as well as premium solutions that can make your work easy to a large extent.

But we want to iterate that before settling on any platform, make sure to understand the needs of your company and sales team properly or you could end up with something that doesn’t necessarily help you reach your goals.