For SaaS marketers and founders out there, who wish to make their life easier, SaaS marketing automation is the answer.
SaaS marketing automation is designed to do “most of the job,” so you can focus on the core elements of your service. To put it simply, SaaS marketing automation enables you to generate leads, nurture the leads to be trial or demo ready, help you convert trials more effectively, measure lead-flow and metrics, and executing the customer journey… while putting much of it on autopilot.
SalesForce defined marketing automation as “a set of tools designed to streamline and simplify some of the most time-consuming responsibilities of modern marketing and sales roles. From automating the lead qualification process to creating a hub for digital campaign creation, automation is all about simplifying a business world that is growing far too complex, much too quickly.”
Automation just makes everything easier — you will not have to hit “send” or “submit” or “post” every single time you launch a message, create a campaign, or send an email. Aside from making your life easier, it helps you reach a higher level of efficiency, increase ROI, and basically grow your SaaS business.
There are 6 Steps in a SAAS Customer’s Lifecycle
Contrary to what the initial impression might be, “marketing automation” isn’t just about customer acquisition.
Implementing marketing automation through each step of the customer lifecycle is the only way a modern SaaS can achieve any scale/size. If you do not execute each step as you grow, you are likely to hit a point where churn and new customers are equal and you stop growing, and may even start shrinking.
Some of the things that you can automate include:
- Marketing Funnels
- Lead Nurturing
- Increasing Trail Conversions
- Reducing Churn
Getting an automation process in place for each stage is the key to sustained growth. More leads, more trials, more conversions, and reduced churn. All these significantly impact your bottom line in the most positive way.
What marketing automation is not?
With marketing automation, businesses can target consumers with automated messages via email, web, text, or social media. These messages are sent automatically based on workflows. Those workflows can either be built from scratch or built off of templates and can be modified mid-campaigns (if needed) with the goal of improving results. Having said that, here are some things marketing automation is NOT:
- Blasting irrelevant spam emails. Many successful marketing automation systems protect their email reputation and create built-in spam reports.
- Limited to marketing via email alone. Marketing automation allows you to create holistic life cycle journeys through different channels such as SMS, push notification, paid ads, social media, and snail-mail. It is not only through email.
- Sending cold and impersonal messages to your prospects. Marketing automation lets you target your customer and lead base so you can deliver more personalized messages and offers, which drastically increases response rates.
- A benefit to the marketing department only. Rather, marketing automation provides value throughout the entire customer lifecycle, dramatically improving the bottom line.
Marketing automation helps customers through their entire journey with your SaaS product and the business as a whole. The entire process involves targeting prospects, capturing and nurturing leads, guiding trial users, the continuing education of customers, automating engagement to reduce churn, and most importantly engaging and guiding users along the entire customer lifecycle.
In simple terms, it is messaging and measuring engagement through automation with an end-goal of growing your SaaS faster.
Sales Automation vs Marketing Automation
Marketing and sales use automation for online campaigns and sales activities to maximize efficiency and, most importantly, boost revenue. With the help of automation, employees can set their focus on higher-order problems.
SaaS world business models are often broken into two camps.
- Self-Service Model: A salesperson has no (or very little) involvement in the entire customer buying process. This model will do ALL of the work related to nurturing the customer; from capturing a lead, nurturing, doing trials, guiding through the trial more effectively, reducing churn, and getting the most value as a customer.
- High touch Sales Process Model: A salesperson that gets engaged when a lead goes from marketing qualified to sales qualified. At this point, they are ready for a demo and to evaluate your product. This is generally associated with higher-value to Enterprise sales. (think enterprise sales).
Sales automation, on the other hand, also falls into two categories.
- Prospecting software like cold outreach via email, phone, LinkedIn, or the like. Often the goal here is appointment setting for qualifying a prospect. The process is often by a sales development representative, which will then be handed off to a salesperson.
- Traditional Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. This software allows the salesperson to design, manage, and automate their engagement in their pipelines such as follow-up, appointment setting, and sales emails and calls.
Marketing automation and sales automation are sometimes thought of as the same thing, but as you are evaluating your solution, keep in mind which one you are truly looking for as they are distinctly different.
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