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7 Trends Leading to the Growth of Marketing Automation

Eloqua welcomes guest-poster Lauren Carson of Software Advice to our It's All About Revenue blog. Lauren has some compelling thoughts on what is driving the growth of the marketing automation space.  We look forward to inviting her back to weigh in on the Revenue Performance Management sector at a later date.

The B2B sales environment has changed drastically with the introduction of the Internet to the personal and business space. Companies are finding it increasingly challenging to reach potential prospects. Therefore, they are finding ways to modify and revamp their sales and marketing tactics in order to cope. There are several specific trends that are driving the adoption of marketing automation. These work together, making marketing automation an integral asset to any organization.

Software Advice, a free online resource for software buyers, outlines seven macro trends that they believe are pushing the growth of marketing automation.

1. Buyers want valuable content.
The traditional marketing jargon needs to be replaced with original content that provides value and education to the buyer. Marketing automation has tools that enable marketers to share a steady stream of information with prospects, keeping their product at the forefront of the buyer's mind.

2. Buyers are hesitant to engage over the phone.
Sales professionals are constantly facing the issue of decreased sales engagement. Features in marketing automation software such as lead nurturing enable marketing to "warm up" buyers until they are ready to be passed on to sales.

3. Buyers require marketing accountability.
Traditionally, marketing ROI was difficult to measure on positioning, collateral and brand building. Marketing automation empowers the marketing team to define their contribution to the organization as a whole with sophisticated analytics and reporting capabilities.

4. A down economy results in longer sales cycles.
When money is tight, people are less inclined to buy. Sales professionals are faced with more and more prospects that are more risk-averse than ever. Marketing automation tools such as drip campaigns and lead nurturing helps to build relationships and trust, which loosens the buyer's grip on their purse.

5. Consumerization of B2B sales processes.
B2B buyers want their sales process to mirror that of their B2C exchanges. They demand clear and concise pitches, simplified pricing, quick implementation and ease of use. They also want to interact with sales as little as possible. Marketing automation supports self-service sales interactions.

6. Marketing channels have transformed.
With the advent of the Internet, the way we communicate has drastically changed. This means that companies also have to change the way they market. With marketing automation, marketers can use multi-channel marketing campaigns to reach potential customers wherever they are in the web-o-sphere.

7. SaaS is the preferred deployment method.
Due to the high number of relatively new entrants to the marketing automation space, many of these vendors are built on a modern, software-as-a-service (SaaS) architecture. This deployment method enables users to get up and running faster than with traditional on-premise models. Also, with subscription pricing, the marketing team can easily add a reasonable line item to their budget, as opposed to getting approved for a big capital expenditure.

Marketing automation has hit the ground running. It will be interesting to watch as it develops over the next couple of years, helping companies adjust to and embrace the new B2B sales environment.

You can read the post in its entirety on the Software Advice blog.

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