The term “Marketing Automation” is getting more and more popular. I see the rise of marketing automation continue this year and expect it to become one of the biggest trends in the sales and marketing world in 2015.
Automation can be a bad thing when used incorrectly but it can also be very helpful. As small business people and social media managers we can automate menial and repetitive tasks to save time to do more important things like communicate with our clients and prospects.
Some examples for automation are scheduling social media posts to go out at a later time. Or email autoresponders as introduced in my post Using The Constant Contact Autoresponder. But more and more systems on the market go far beyond these capabilities.
My friend Colin Parker from Lonestar Sales Performance is an expert on the biggest tool in the Sales and Marketing Automation world - Infusionsoft. He was kind enough to talk to me about why he, as a sales trainer, recommends this tool and how it can help small business owners be more efficient in reaching our sales goals and in turn find more time to do all the things we want to do for our clients.
Here is the recording of our conversation:
Here are some of my questions and Colin’s answers:
“Marketing Automation” has become a buzzword and I do expect it to become even more important in 2015. How do you define marketing automation?
There is marketing automation and there is sales automation and they are different things. But the idea behind automation is to be able to help clients to find information fast.
For example it often takes people 24 hrs to follow up on a lead or an inquiry on a website. What happens is that by then people have moved on to another offer. People do more and more research online and marketing automation is a way of giving people the information they are looking for and it provides follow up and more value.
So it goes beyond the autoresponder that sends out scheduled messages to everybody?
Yes, it goes way beyond that ability. We all have seen autoresponders used and abused. Sales and marketing automation goes beyond that. There is logic built in. For example you might send some information and it might say “you can find some more information” and if they click on that link it would then put them into another campaign.
Ultimately it’s not a matter of “let me send you all my stuff” it’s really a tool that sends them only the information they are interested in.
Sales and marketing automation augments what the sales team is currently doing. It also allows process to be followed.
Often a sales team does stuff over and over again. But because it’s never automated they are recreating the same email over and over again. We can often take some of those processes and automate them. When the sales rep then triggers the automation sequence it sends the client the information they are looking for.
Example - follow up messages after a meeting or a trade show
The idea is to augment what the salesperson should be doing. For example we teach people to send out a thank you message after a meeting. I am as guilty as anyone that sometimes after a meeting I get too busy and I forget to do it. What marketing automation can do it sent out that thank you note simply after the sales person checks of the box that says that the meeting has taken place.
Is automation impersonal?
I hear that a lot but what I always say is that it’s even more impersonal not sending the thank you note. The fact that I did it a little bit in the future and said “this is what I want to happen” to me is making some effort to making the right thing.
Do you think that sales and marketing automation is only something for larger companies?
Without good processes sales and marketing automation gets stuckClick To Tweet
A number of years ago I would have agreed with that statement. But it’s not. Now we have tools. The reason why we started offering Infusionsoft is because it is for small business. I first used it myself, and it allows you as a small business to run your business more effectively. The ability to automate certain things and let the system take them over gives the client better service and allows me to scale my business.
What advantages does Infusionsoft have over other sales and marketing automation tools?
The big advantage is that Infusionsoft is actually made for the small business. It really is ideal for companies with about 1 - 5 employees and are ready to give their clients more customized services.
- The good thing about Infusionsoft is that it’s incredibly powerful and can do a lot
- The bad thing about Infusionsoft is that it’s incredibly powerful and can do a lot
If you don’t have the processes in place sometimes that is how people get stuck. The way we work is that we help business owners build out those processes.
So what you do is help people get started with Infusionsoft?
Yes, what we do is we find out what we can about our clients’ businesses and help them to set up processes. Then we teach them first off how to use the software on a day to day basis. If later on the client wants to learn how to put together campaigns and automation themselves we teach them that. But what we found is that if we teach them both things at once your head explodes and you don’t get anything done. We’d rather have you start using the tool and make some money with it.
Do you have any final words Colin?
One of the things I suggest to clients is “Now” is the time to work on your processes. Because you need to understand what needs to happen next. After that initial meeting, what needs to happen next. What should I provide my clients with? Most small business owners use the sales strategy of “winging it” which is not a great strategy. If you have some process you will always do much better than if you don’t.
I know that we all think that people that can talk and do well in public are the more successful salespeople. My experience is the exact opposite. Mostly people that are more process oriented tend to be more productive because they are not wasting their own or their prospect’s time.
By the way - I this is not a paid product review!