Marketing automation is all about using software to make your job easier – typically, platforms that perform many tasks and offer many tools for a variety of online marketing and SEO. As an example, we use and love HubSpot, which is a very broad suite of marketing management tools that can quickly gather information and schedule campaigns (Waypost Marketing has an excellent post on why they too use HubSpot for automation if you'd like a second opinion).
Of course there are other marketing solutions out there too. Marketing automation has become incredibly scalable in the past few years, which means businesses of all sizes have been exploring their automated options. But enough background – we're here to talk about automation ROI. Specifically, will you see advantages by adopting a marketing automation platform compared to your current tools? Lets look at the tangibles and intangibles that will help you make a decision.
Conversions and Lead Nurturing
There's nothing like hard statistics for ROI. According to research from Salesforce, companies have seen a 53% increase in conversion rates and a 9.3% increase in sales quote achievements. Now, this lumps a lot of companies and their previous strategies into the same bucket, but on average those stats are still impressive. Lead nurturing also received an impressive bonus: Switching to automation created a 50% increase in sales-ready leads, and a 20% increase in sales opportunities (although again how these increases were measured is a little fuzzy, but you see the trend that used correctly & frequently marketing automation can be very advantageous).
Time savings is highly variable, but still very tangible: Unless something goes horribly wrong, you will save time (and associated costs) by using marketing automation. The question is how much, and in what areas. Content creation doesn't see as much of an impact. Research and scheduling tend to see enormous impact – tasks that would take 30-60 minutes may now take only a few minutes. Look to your workflow and the features offered by automation for more information on what you specifically need.
Cost vs. Channels
Obviously costs will vary based on the package and platform that you choose. However, whatever the cost ends up being (and please set a budget for this before doing further research), you should compare it to your marketing channels. This is particularly important for B2B companies: If you only use one or two marketing channels, the costs of automation may not be worthwhile to you (time savings, etc. won't matter as much). If you use many channels or want to rapidly expand the channels you access, then ROI will be much higher.
Cost vs. Experience
In addition to channels, take a look at experience. For example, if you already have a team that has immense experience in whipping out a social media campaign or tracking metrics, then you won't get as much use out of using automation. This also ties in with the tools you already use, the time/resources it would take to retrain staff, and other experience-related considerations.
Quality and Traffic
Now we're in more intangible territory, but that doesn't mean you should ignore this point. Automation makes it very easy to follow quality checklists and include new features that will increase your traffic. If you are struggling with quality posts or low traffic now, then the benefits from automation will be higher for you and you can spot easily where you can improve in optimization that can lead to higher traffic.
Hey, "automation" is right in the name: Of course it decreases the amount of human errors! Again, this is subject to the experience of your team and the amount of channels you want to use, but the impact can be substantial. If you are having trouble with sales/marketing coordination or general errors across campaigns, then automation can help you tie things together.