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The Digital Lifecycle - Part II

Last week, Derek Barka wrote a great article on how your website is your best employee and the role Content Management Systems play in the Lead to Loyal transformation from prospect to repeat customer. An effective marketing automation strategy is at the heart of this experience.

The world of marketing and sales has shifted radically in the past decade. Older, disruptive techniques no longer work; prospective customers are better educated and more in control of the buying process than ever before. For every piece of vendor content they consume, they’ve already accessed three times that from other sources. At the same time, they’re engaging with vendors across 3-5 different channels. Even a fully staffed marketing team operating 24/7 would struggle to sustain this pace. In the real world, where Marketing is being challenged to do even more with ever shrinking budgets, resources, and time, Marketing Automation enables Marketing departments to:

  • Increase productivity
  • Improve lead quality
  • Better align with Sales
  • Reposition marketing from a cost center to a revenue driver

Increase Productivity

Marketing automation allows marketers to meet the “do more with less” challenge head-on. You can run more campaigns with fewer staff to support them, scaling to accommodate increasingly complex buyers journeys without increasing headcount. What’s more, because these campaigns can be fully automated, the process is more repeatable, more measurable, and ultimately more predictable. Consider the work required to promote an event. Done manually, the process is error-prone and inconsistent, relying upon a Marketer to remember to pull lists, deploy emails, and run reports. With a little discipline and a marketing automation platform, this entire process becomes turn-key, allowing Marketers to focus on other, more productive aspects of their business.

Marketing automation allows marketers to meet the “do more with less” challenge head-on.

Improve Lead Quality and Increase Lead Volumes

Not all leads are created equal and any time Sales spends searching for diamonds in the rough is time wasted. Marketing automation allows Marketers to maintain contact (and mindshare) with those prospects who aren’t quite ready to buy. This nurture in turn produces warmer (better-qualified) leads (with an affinity for your brand, if done properly) to share with sales, increasing not only the number of opportunities generated, but also the sizes of them. What’s more, this lead nurturing decreases the average cost per lead. Marketing automation gives marketers open lines of communication with customers in the right place, and time in their buyers’ journey, with Sales ready to receive leads as buying signals shift.

Better Marketing and Sales Alignment

Aspects of Marketing Automation like lead scoring give Sales better vision into the leads they receive from their Marketing counterparts, allowing them to better prioritize their engagements. Sales spends less time qualifying leads and more time closing deals. Furthermore, because marketing automation allows for more tracking leading up to the lead handoff, Sales has a better view of the full journey that the lead has been on – they can see which Calls to Action entice the lead to engage with the company, what content converted them, and what communications they’ve received as they’ve been nurtured along the way. Now Sales can have a real conversation with an educated buyer.

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Reposition Marketing From a Cost Center to a Revenue Driver

To Senior Leadership and Boards of Directors, open and click-thru rates, blog views, and social shares mean nothing. Revenue is king – and Return on Investment is an area in which marketing has oft-struggled to prove its worth. With marketing automation’s measurability comes the ability to quantify the results of your marketing efforts. Campaign effectiveness can be measured in hard dollar figures and Marketers can now understand, justify, plan, and optimize their efforts, shifting the conversation from “how much is this going to cost the company” to “how much is this going to bring in,” giving Marketers the same credibility and accountability effective forecasting does for Sales.

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