Automation refers to software that helps a business in optimising its marketing and sales action without any time lag.
All commercial institutions- from small retailers to big corporates, are using automation i.e., ‘combination of electronic and communication technology to expand their reach to a wide spectrum of clientele in order to handle larger volume of business with the desired level of efficiency, accuracy and effectiveness and to exercise a strict watch on costs with the ultimate aim of maximizing profits.
Through automation, independent activities are interlinked to form an integrated system by facilitating automatic transmission and processing of information. Many businesses automate repetitive tasks, such as email follow up, social media and other websites actions in order to nurture content and keep them constantly intact and in touch.
The yin and yang of a company i.e., sales and marketing have always worked together. However, though they might go hand in hand in the staple part, there is a huge difference between both the domains.
Their jobs, profiles, responsibility, process and so on are entirely different from each other. As such their automation is also different. Each of the two has its own specific utility and focus in the business world. Both marketing automation and sales automation have their own indispensable existence and importance in any business. Business units invest in both of these kinds of automation to improve marketing campaigns and add efficiency as also to help sales workers in the field by equipping them with advanced technology, better analytics, more agile hardware platforms and more sophisticated software.
Marketing automation generally comprises a software platform that supports a variety of marketing related activities, including automated email marketing, lead nurturing/scoring, ROI analysis, extended CRM capabilities and much more. Whether sales are conducted online or offline, marketing automation can result in the elimination of a lot of labour intensive process of digital marketing channel campaigns.
Marketing automation generally involves:
- Social media marketing tools
- Landing page resources
- Direct mail marketing software
- Lead generation tools
- Web analytics program
- Customer tracking tools
- Email marketing automation tools
By implementing a combination of most of these on a single automation platform, labour cost is minimised and business intelligence concerning certain marketing campaigns is acquired that leads to expansion of marketing strategies culminating in enviable results.
Sales automation often called sales’ force automation or SFA concentrates on assisting human sales agents. The tools and resources of these products are geared towards a complex sales process involving large volumes of sales. The main task of SFA is order processing. The ability to process orders automatically brings tangible value to both e-commerce and brick and mortar operations. This process may also extend to inventory monitoring tools and sales analytics, which too are no less valuable.
The two are independent but can easily complement each other, though either alone cannot easily cover up the job of the other. Neither of the two can replace the other but can work parallel to each other.
Marketing automation is focussed on customers that are loyal to the business or have the same prospect or mindset. The process analyses the stored data that help in curating the content to deliver the desired specific product. Let us say, if a customer signs up for automation newsletter, then the system will automatically send out the emails to him without you manually worrying about it.
Sales automation, on the other hand, focuses completely on targeted customers. Hence this will focus on those leads that have come up with the help of data analytics modules. Suppose, if a customer buys a product, then he would not purchase it again till the purchased product lasts; but the automated system would send out the options of the products that are related to the product- purchased and the customer might opt for those as well. This all would be done automatically with no manual efforts.
In both cases, you have to concentrate on information gathered, so that you avoid generic message and come up with something impactful and reliable. The content curated would suit the prospects’ preferences resulting in conversion. This makes sales automation more powerful with the involvement of Natural Language Processing and Artificial intelligence. Thus, combined together, though with independent fields to act, marketing and sales automation can save labour & time besides winning a satisfied customer, through automatic and instant liaison with him.