Marketing automation is a form of CRM or customer relationship management. It is a software tool (typically cloud-based) that allows marketers to better manage their engagement with prospects and customers on communication channels such as: websites, e-mail, social media, online search, and advertising.
A CRM is another software tool. A CRM is sometimes integrated with a marketing automation platform (such as SharpSpring or HubSpot), but not always. Salesforce is a powerful CRM that has a separate marketing automation tool. In many cases, marketing automation platforms have built-in integrations for popular solutions, such as Salesforce, making it easier to adopt this type of technology into your business.
One of the core benefits of marketing automation connected to a CRM is that ability to automate communication with prospects and customers. This increases efficiency and more accurate messaging. A B2G company can engage people instantly with relevant information or information that connects to a user's behavior.
Some of the functions that you can automate include manual tasks and multi-step processes involving:
- Lead generation
- Email marketing
- Segmenting audiences
- Lead nurturing and scoring
- Cross-channel marketing campaigns
- Measuring ROI and analytics reports
- Social media engagement
- Personalized content and messaging, and more.
For example, by automating responses when people fill out forms, download documents, view videos, or take other action, you free-up people from having to perform those tasks.
When a government buyer or potential teaming partner indicates they are interested in a particular program, a marketing automation and CRM collects that information and notifies specific people. Your colleagues can then take action. Meanwhile, the automation system can send out a pre-programmed set of communications (typically linking to or including resources) that keep a prospective customer engaged.
The reason why we list marketing automation and CRM as a critical part of any govcon marketing foundation is because without a way to collect, manage, view, analyze, and interact with your prospects and customers, you are flying blind. You need to know "if" and "when" people are downloading assets, who is requesting information, which member of your sales team is speaking with your prospects and what they are saying, as well as which opportunities are near deadlines and which ones need more development.
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