Top Trends In Marketing Automation

by Nilesh Patel, CEO, LeadSquared    Sep 18, 2015

nilesh

Let’s talk about fads and trends of the world, before we get to the trends that rule the marketing automation industry today. Fads by definition catch on quick and fizzle out quicker as the fad fans find something else rave worthy. But, trends don’t stay trapped in time, they stay on for good. What would become a trend then, is something that solves a problem worth-solving.

I will discuss some of the growing realizations among businesses that would catch on as trends, as automation vendors need to realize and incorporate the solutions to these problems in their products. 

CXOs want complete capture automation

And they mean it, when they call it complete. They want leads originating from every source – online campaigns, website, inbound phone calls, third party websites, emails, and traditional media to be captured in one platform with little or no manual intervention. This solves the widely acknowledged problem of lead leakage.

This is a problem that plagues industries that deal with huge volumes of leads, and activities – for instance education businesses – so vendors catering to these B2C businesses should take care of these things out of the box, or with integrations, APIs and such.

Phone call capture

No matter how pro digital they become, people will make phone calls – that’s how they make quick enquiries. Businesses have to seamlessly capture these phone calls – received or missed so that they don’t lose a single conversation opportunity. Therefore automation providers need to integrate telephony as a core part of their solution.

Automated lead distribution

This is once again a requirement for businesses that deal with a lot of leads, lots of different products and multiple centers. So, it makes a good use case for education, real estate and the likes. In most systems, setting up lead distribution based on different rules can be expensive and complex. People want simpler and less expensive solutions for this, possibly ones that work out of the box.

Businesses need SMS beyond email nurturing

People need to engage their leads, but practically they want tools more than just email. We know that intelligent emails based on actions / segmentation are a great way of keeping the leads engaged, but in certain businesses like education and health & wellness, when a quick message can spark conversations, SMSs are a medium often used, and businesses want them in their automation systems. These SMS systems need to be as smart as email systems too (trigger based).

Businesses want simpler UIs

Most people are inherently resistant to change. This is one of the major challenges businesses face in migrating their teams from existing systems to newer ones. One thing that aids people in overcoming this resistance is easier interfaces. Harder are the relevant options to find, the tougher would it be for them to use it.

Result – they fall back on their older systems, thus making the investment on newer technology wasteful. So, businesses want simpler systems that have just enough of what they need – no useless distractions.

Intelligent insights 

Most savvy business owners understand that they need all the lead insights they can get. And they want all of it together. Segregated systems can work all right if you have the patience and the time to collate all the data together (even then, there remains some scope of human error). However, businesses today are quite agile, and they would like to save as much time, energy and resources as they can.

A system where they can get all the insights together would not only help them make faster decisions, but they would cut down on many redundant tasks as well, thus aiding faster growth.

Insights should follow-up with actions

Now it’s obvious – larger the amount of data available, the better it is for decision making. However, a lot of scattered data, without actionable insights isn’t a lot of help. Insights like which leads to call first, which ones to still nurture etc. Metrics like engagement score, lead score can help them in this kind of prioritization.

To think of it, most marketing automation solutions provide this information, but they just have to make it easier to derive the next action item from that.

Field workers need simple mobile solutions 

More tech savvy businesses know that just giving sales teams targets, without technology to support them is not practical. They need to equip them properly before questioning their ability to meet goals. So, they need on-the-go solutions to make sure that sales people are recording their progress throughout the day, instead of wasting time doing it at the end of the day.

Also, on the go solutions allow the sales people to follow up instantly, and the managers to check the progress real time too, making everyone involved more productive and informed. But, the solution needs to be simple to use for it to be adopted across the organization, especially businesses with larger sales teams, and members of different levels of understanding of technology.

Businesses want to see the ROI from data

Task getting done is all well and good, but businesses want to see the results as well – the lead sources getting the most ROI, the most productive sales people, the products being sold the most, month on month growth in customers, leads, engagement – business owners want to see the impact of the money being spent on automation.

So, yeah, these are some practical trends that we are seeing as we interact with our customers and prospects. I hope you got some insights on what’s increasingly being expected from the automation and customer acquisition industry.