Tag Archives: marketing automation

How Much Can You Automate Your Business in 2017?

10 Oct

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Automation is seen as generally positive in business – computers cost less than humans over time, they do not take sick days, and they work from a quantifiable perspective with no emotional content to get in the way of decision making. However, many experts are questioning the wisdom of over-automation. Using only automation techniques tends to remove personalization from business, a practice that may turn off more customers than automation gains for the business.

Here are some of the markers that you should take into account when you are looking to change your business through automation.

Social Media

The dirty little secret of social media is this – your initial interactions should be automated. Schedule those general posts to draw in qualified prospects who are truly interested in the subject matter. From here, you can more effectively target high quality prospects with personalized messages.

Scheduling your blog posts on an automated timeline also gives your company ubiquity online – the illusion that you never sleep. Schedule relevant social media posts for holidays or sick days and save your real energy for those close interactions that close sales.

Your Email Junk

Your relationship with email may be shaving precious minutes – or hours – from your schedule even as you believe you are conducting productive activity. Is conducting a spring cleaning every day in your email box really productive? You may actually be able to drastically reduce your email time sink through a junk mail automation program. Staying away from non-urgent or completely irrelevant emails without having to delete each piece individually give you back hours to focus on relevant prospects and customer service issues. And don’t worry – today’s email automation programs are smart enough to ensure that your top customers do not get caught up in the automated spring cleaning. At the most, you will check your email once a day instead of many times.

Payroll

Payroll is one of those business functions that actually should be automated as much as possible. There is absolutely no place for human emotion or data entry error in payroll, and any company that has inserted either into the process has lived to regret it.

There are many ways to put your payroll on autopilot. This should be done in a way that allows your employees to feel secure in their paychecks, increasing the time and the morale they have for customers.

Invoicing

Bringing money in is also a process that should be as unemotional as possible. A good system that runs automatically also serves as a buffer – your customer service reps can actually blame any unfavorable interactions on the system when some customers inevitably try to negotiate for more time or a payment reduction.

Credit card automation is also an excellent investment, as these systems are already plugged in to the major credit card company infrastructures. Your employees can let the payments run and focus their time on the personal interaction.

How much can you automate your business in 2017? Enough to give your company the leverage that it needs to personalize its operations even more. Keep the tips above in mind when you are looking to incorporate new technology into your process, and make sure that you are moving your company to a space of more interaction and engagement with customers, not less.

 

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Automation is Crucial for B2B Building Product Marketers

21 Nov

Building product CMOs should consider the need for automation, which can allow information to be provided to the customer in the way the customer prefers.

As a building product CMO, there are many pressures associated with the job; however, driving sales always remains a constant. Another constant you may not think about is marketing automation. In the building material industry this includes communication at every level of the channel from distributor to homeowner.

Forrester Research defines B2B marketing automation as: Tooling and process that helps to generate new business opportunities, improve potential buyers’ propensity to purchase, manage customer loyalty, and increase alignment between marketing activity and revenue.

The elements of customer buying behaviors that are making marketing automation mission critical:

  • Active buying cycles are limited: Providing your inside and outside sales reps with qualified leads is more important than ever, due to the trend of less leads in the buying cycle. Creating an automated system to provide sales reps timely prospect data can improve the sales process and allow you to track your ROI.
  • Buyers research on their own: Along with tracking direct leads, remember to automate the tracking of ‘soft leads’ through email offers and digital promotions by providing a mechanism to check how many people follow through with your offer.
  • Increased number of stakeholders in the buying decision: Due to multiple decision makers, messaging must be segmented to benefit each audience. Building product marketers now are challenged with generating a powerful ‘call to action’ for each segment.
    Find your most important segments (consumers? builders? architects?) and provide them with separate and more powerful marketing by targeting their needs. A key element of automation is being prepared for the benefits. Building product marketers must identify their customer and key elements of their customer data before rushing into marketing automation.

Elements to avoid when considering automation:

  • Rushed implementation: Communicating with building product dealers and building product professionals via e-mail messages with the hope of generating more leads cannot be hurried with ineffective automated processes. Automation to overcome tactical projects is not an effective strategy.
  • Expectation of a “Quick Fix”: Implementation is challenging regardless of the system. There are always technology challenges, policy and procedure challenges and even cultural challenges. Do not anticipate the “quick and easy” resolution. Once your automation is set up correctly, the rich data it can provide you with is priceless.
  • Lack of Explanation: This will be a cultural change that will be difficult for multiple members in your supply chain, consider their troubles and make it as simple as you can for them. Let them know the benefits to their business before expecting them to change. Remember that legacy cultural challenges are difficult to break
  • Not Starting: “We interviewed more than 20 companies that were identified by their vendor as being great case studies and found that most are still in the infancy of automation,” Jeff Ernst of Forrester. These changes won’t be easy, but even in their beginnings can cause large improvements!

 

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