Marketing automation is technology or software that enables businesses to leverage the capabilities of smart and automated workflows to improve productivity and deliver a better prospect and customer experience. Plus, using state-of-the-art marketing automation software, you can visualize prospect activity (by integrating it with your CRM), identify and prioritize the most promising leads, deliver a personalized customer experience, and generate actionable insights to make informed business decisions.

The foregoing is exactly why about 49% of companies use marketing automation and the numbers are increasing every day. Unlike email automation systems that only provide basic/bulk email features, marketing automation tools offer a wide range of advanced features. Let's take a look at some of the most popular:

Advanced or automated email marketing campaigns, also known as drip marketing, this type of email marketing goes one step further than traditional email marketing. This technique allows you to send emails on a schedule; for example, the first email is sent as soon as a user signs up for a newsletter, the second is sent two days later, another goes out after two weeks and so on. In addition, you can also automate workflows that allow you to send emails depending on certain triggers, such as when a user subscribes to a service or performs a specific action.

Landingpage creation : Modern marketing automation tools allow you to create continuous, customizable, and aesthetically pleasing landing pages.

Forms for Lead Capture: Creates forms for you to capture prospect and lead contact information.

Segmentation: Create dynamic customer segments instead of static ones for improved customer engagement.

Lead Scoring: links lead scores to prospects and offers the possibility to prioritize the most promising prospects (high lead scores).

Trigger Emails: Set up efficient auto-responders to engage with customers as soon as they participate.

Dynamic content: Display different content in your emails depending on the person viewing them.

Run A/B Testing: Optimize your email campaigns by periodically A/B testing your audiences.

Social Media Integration: Use your marketing automation tool to schedule and/or auto-post your posts on social media.

Above are some features of a modern marketing automation tool that can help businesses increase the level of customer engagement and satisfaction. In addition, these marketing automation features (among many others) also provide businesses with the following benefits:

a) Use in conjunction with Act! CRM and reap the benefits:

Modern CRM and marketing automation software gives you the luxury of integrating them with each other. By putting your contact details and all your marketing data in one central hub, you can get an even more comprehensive view of customer relationships and engagement level. For example, if your marketing automation tool has access to all your contacts, you can send multiple emails with a few clicks instead of uploading all contacts to the marketing automation system.

b) Know your marketing KPIs and increase ROI:

With a marketing automation tool, you can not only set up automated workflows, but also measure their performance and generate KPIs. For example, you can see the speed of lead generation or measure the average spend of leads achieved. Knowing your performance and effectiveness levels can help you find the best performing areas and those that need a serious overhaul.

c) Improve the customer experience:

Marketing automation software allows you to personalize the contact with your customers. By creating personas and tailoring emails to certain customer characteristics, you improve the experience. In addition, it allows you to track the customer journey and consolidate all the different channels through which a customer interacts with the business. By doing all of the above, these advanced tools can improve your overall customer experience.

d) Increasing Customer Retention:

By personalizing your customer touchpoints to improve customer experience, marketing automation tools can also help you optimize customer retention.

e) Increased sales efficiency:

To say that a marketing automation tool can drive sales is an understatement. There are many ways a sales team can take advantage of the wonders of automated marketing; here are a few:

Spend time on the right leads: One of the biggest reasons why sales and marketing are always bashing each other's brains is poor lead quality. When marketing continues to send bad leads, sales waste their precious time fighting lost business. By tracking lead scores and only passing on "hot" leads, a marketing team gives a sales team the luxury of only spending time on the right leads.

Lead Segmentation: By segmenting leads based on various factors such as purchase stages , purchasing preferences and locations, etc., your sales force can generate targeted strategies that can ultimately lead to higher conversion rates.

Witness the activities of prospects: A sales team would like to know when a prospect takes a certain action. For example, if a sales team is immediately notified when a prospect fills out a particular form or subscribes to a newsletter, they can take appropriate actions.

Marketing automation can help overcome the differences and bridge the metaphorical gap between the sales and marketing teams within a company. Marketing automation can also make it easier for you to collect and use customer data by building a picture of your prospects, leads, and customers. As we have established in this article, if used correctly, a marketing automation tool can enable a company to increase its revenue and achieve business growth.