Software Advice Report Unveils The Needs Of Today’s Marketing Automation Buyers

We came across a report from software research firm Software Advice, which analyzed nearly 900 interactions with marketing automation buyers a few years back. The findings identified top features, reasons for purchasing a new solution and what businesses were currently using to manage marketing activities – there were a couple surprising takeaways and overall we found that the report aligns with the insights we’ve gathered from our own customers.

It was interesting to see growth in the SMB sample, suggesting that marketing automation vendors have an opportunity to grow their customer base in this segment. While midsize companies and large enterprises have traditionally more aggressively adopted marketing automation, smaller businesses are now also seeking the benefits of marketing automation technology.

Among their other key findings:

Companies Were Looking at New Marketing Automation Software to Improve Efficiency

40 percent of the buyers Software Advice spoke with were interested in investing in marketing automation software to improve lead management. Many in their sample cited the need for a better way to nurture buyers and/or score leads to determine when the buyer is sales ready. An unbelievable amount of time is wasted by sales teams trying to court prospects that simply aren’t ready to buy yet. Many companies are looking to simplify the hand-off from marketing to sales and are looking to marketing automation for help.

Lead Nurturing & Reporting/Analytics were the Most Requested Features

Modern marketers are being held accountable for the marketing dollars they spend and need to show ROI. Unsurprisingly, sales enablement capabilities topped the list of most-requested marketing automation features. More than 80 percent of buyers asked for lead nurturing, while 70 percent sought reporting and analytics to do things such as track response rates or revenue for a particular campaign. Today’s marketing teams need to be able to see what nurturing campaigns are working and what ones are not— in real time.

Most Buyers were Currently Using CRM Software to Manage Marketing Operations

Before the marketing automation boom there was a CRM craze, but what companies are coming to realize is that CRM alone isn’t enough to drive sales. Seventy nine percent of the buyers Software Advice spoke with were using software to manage marketing; however, only 9 percent were using marketing automation. Most of the sample (48 percent) had a CRM system in place to handle marketing activities, suggesting a need for richer features or more effective functionality. It’s important to note that marketing automation by itself isn’t the silver bullet and that both platforms have their place and need to work seamlessly to bring leads into the top of the sales funnel.

Across the board, we noticed that marketing automation buyers – whether they were part of the 48 percent currently using a CRM for marketing operations, another software or if they weren’t using a solution at all – need a way to better nurture leads until they’re sales ready. Because of this, businesses looking into new systems should be seeking a solution that dynamically personalizes messages and eases the hand-off between marketing and sales.