When you think about automation in the supply chain, you probably don’t immediately consider marketing and sales. Perhaps you envision robots scooting around warehouse floors, or maybe you think of applications in billing, compliance reports, or order auditing. However, advances in automation have impressive implications for marketing and sales in the supply chain as well.
Automation has two major benefits for supply chain marketers. Like all automation, it drives efficiencies, allowing your team to devote more time to other core competencies. What you may not know, however, is that it also improves success rates in earning and converting leads. In fact, HubSpot reports that businesses using marketing automation to nurture leads receive a whopping 451% increase in qualified leads.
New trends in marketing automation – particularly those which function more like artificial intelligence - can streamline and improve your marketing and sales efforts. Here’s how.
Integrate marketing automation into your CRM strategy
Integrating marketing automation into your customer relationship management (CRM) strategy may not be the first thing that came to mind, but the two work beautifully in tandem.
An integrated approach will take all three of the following areas to the next level:
- Track behavior. Automation lets you go far beyond basic demographic data, seeing things like what pages your prospects are visiting, what types of content they’re interested in, and where they are in the buying cycle.
- Send targeted messages. You can use the behavioral information collected by your marketing automation tool to create and send targeted messages that are customized to your prospects’ interests and stage in the buying cycle. This means your prospects will find your messages more relevant and engaging.
- Establish clear ROI. Establishing a clear link between marketing efforts and sales is a constant thorn in the side of most marketers, but new advances in automation make measuring ROI a little clearer. Creating a campaign in your marketing automation system maps it back to your CRM, so you can correlate closed deals directly with the campaigns that created them.
Basically, combining CRM with marketing automation can give you more organizational bandwidth, more precision in your messaging and lead nurturing, and more measurable value in your campaigns.
Create targeted messages with email workflows
There’s no area in which marketing automation is more helpful than in the creation of automated but extremely pertinent email workflows to your sales leads.
Based on the information you have about your leads and/or their engagement with your website, email workflows trigger a series of pre-determined highly-relevant emails at designated intervals, inviting them to take action and helping them to move down the sales funnel.
Email workflows do require considerable work upfront as you consider individual buyer profiles, their place within the buyer’s journey, and what timely and relevant information will advance them. But thoughtful well-designed email workflows can translate to substantial time savings and increases in lead conversion later.
More marketing automation: Social media scheduling tools & chatbots
Two other areas in which automation is making a big splash in marketing and sales are social media scheduling tools and chatbots.
The targeted approach of email workflows increases their chances of being read, but I don’t need to point out that – no matter how perfect your email might be - people are still buried in emails. On average, office employees receive 121 emails per day. Only around 20% are opened, and click-through rates are even lower.
So, in addition to email workflows, the newest trends in automation are social media scheduling tools and chatbots. Both of them can make your job much easier — and improve your bottom line.
Social media scheduling tools
Social media scheduling tools, like those offered by HubSpot and Hootsuite, let you plan and schedule content across your social networks.
For example, HubSpot’s comprehensive CRM and marketing platform includes the ability to automatically post to social media when you publish content, as well as in-depth analytical tools for determining the best time to post to social media platforms. You can also monitor social mentions and link your social media activity with larger marketing campaigns to determine ROI.
Hootsuite lets you keep track of various social media channels at once. It also helps you perform brand monitoring, letting you know when you brand is mentioned, and what your customers are saying.
As you can imagine, using a social media monitoring tool can greatly improve efficiency, cutting into the sometimes-seemingly-endless manual hours spent on social media monitoring and posting.
A chatbot is s a computer program that simulates human conversation using auditory or textual methods. It communicates with your customer inside a messaging app, like Facebook Messenger, and is similar to email marketing without landing in an inbox.
Chatbots are the latest trend in marketing, and their increasing popularity is making it harder to ignore how artificial intelligence is helping shape the content marketing landscape. It’s certainly timely. Business Insider recently reported that the number of people on messaging apps surpassed the number of users on social networks!
Messaging automation is the new email automation, and it can work for supply chain and logistics industries too. Chatbots currently allow for increased customer engagement through messaging app technology that isn’t yet saturated with marketing, and your brand will also appreciate the ease of tracking and segmenting your customers through chatbots.
Marketing automation is for the supply chain
Automation isn’t just for the warehouse or the finance and billing department. It’s also for this crazy constantly-changing world of marketing in supply chain and logistics industries. Marketing automation can make a big difference in your marketing and sales efforts.
Integrating automation with your CRM strategy, creating targeted email workflows, and the newest advances like social media scheduling tools and chatbots can all add up to major time savings and substantial increases in lead conversion rates.