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Sales and Marketing Automation Software

Marketing automation software has become a critical part of marketing strategies in companies all over the world. Companies with a large team of marketers and salespeople have been using marketing automation software for years. Marketing automation is built on a set of marketing rules that automate repetitive tasks, such as sending regular newsletters or retaining regular customers. These rules are also called marketing campaigns since they help you advertise your product in various ways.

One of the most important aspects of being a successful business is being able to understand and optimize your marketing and sales funnel. Sales and marketing automation is a method available to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your funnel and deliver more targeted content to your leads.

What Is Marketing Automation?

Marketing Automation started out as a way to free marketers from tedious and repetitive tasks while assisting them in delivering effective marketing messages in a timely way. The addition of artificial intelligence (AI) as well as machine earning (ML) has helped marketers optimize the effectiveness and timeliness of their marketing messages using automation. By tracking users’ behaviors on websites and on other channels, marketers can then use this data to understand their interests and intent. AI can then automatically suggest what kind of content and marketing message will be most relevant to these leads, the best time to send these messages to yield the best results. When deployed properly, marketing automation can set businesses apart from their competitors with automated yet highly personalized emails that boost sales through customer engagement. 

These solutions can handle the complex, grueling work that is integral to a marketing campaign while pulling from multiple data sources. Marketing automation software culls information like the number of opened emails, e-commerce carts left behind, and web form data to make your marketing decisions easier. If you truly take advantage of the features a marketing automation platform delivers, then you can boost your company’s bottom line.

Similar to standard email marketing software vendors, marketing automation software vendors have created workflow templates that help guide you through the automation process. This way, you don’t have to build new sequences from scratch.

Basic templates usually start with an interaction, such as a “Welcome” or a “Thank you for making a purchase” message. Once a contact receives the initial email, he or she is guided through a sequence based on his or her actions. For example, if Clark receives a welcome message and he clicks a link to an offer, then that action automatically pulls him onto a distinct email marketing journey. Conversely, if Lois deletes her welcome message, then she may automatically be pulled off the workflow to conserve your email output.

How complicated and how deep your campaigns run is determined by which vendor you choose. For example, HubSpot and Pardot both offer unlimited email and unlimited sequencing options. This means you can create a workflow with multiple branches for each stage of the sequence, and you can create an unlimited number of sequences (not that you would). Conversely, Zoho Campaigns is mostly designed for users who want to follow customary workflows that guide users on basic sequences. As a result, Zoho Campaigns doesn’t offer unlimited sequencing or branching. This tool is perfectly suitable for marketers who just want to make an offer after a welcome email or for marketers who want to wish people a happy birthday once a year.

HubSpot Review — The Best Sales, Customer Service, and Marketing Automation Software

If you’re looking for an easy way to automate your sales, customer service, and marketing processes, HubSpot Growth Suite is an excellent and affordable solution. 

And the best part? HubSpot goes beyond automating your business processes. It also helps integrate and optimize different departments in one centralized location, thus streamlining your entire business’s workflow. 

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This means teams don’t have to jump from software to software to get the information they need, and you can automate the data transfer process from one team to the next. 

However, their marketing automation capabilities are powerful on their own, with features like:

  • Blog post and SEO planning
  • Ad tracking and management
  • Social media management
  • AI-powered live chat
  • Email marketing
  • Forms and landing pages
  • Revenue attribution reporting
  • Visual workflow builder
  • Account-based marketing
  • A/B split testing
  • Predictive lead scoring

HubSpot offers basic features, like emails, landing pages, forms, and live chat capabilities for unlimited users absolutely free. So, you can try it out without spending a penny. 

Alternatively, you can sign up for a free demo to see all of their advanced features in action. 

The Growth Suite (sales, marketing, CRM, and customer service) starts at $50 per month for two users and up to 1,000 contacts, making it extremely affordable for most businesses. You can add another 1,000 contacts for $11.25 per month, and additional users cost $6 per month.

But they also have advanced plans for larger and more complex campaigns, including:

  • Professional — $1,780 per month for advanced features
  • Enterprise — $4,000 per month for all features

Professional starts with 2,000 contacts, and you can add contacts in increments of 5,000 for $250 per month. Enterprise starts with 10,000 contacts, and it’s only $100 per additional 10,000 contacts. Basically, HubSpot makes it cheaper to grow faster.

Plus, if you’re a current member or alumni of HubSpot’s approved incubator, accelerator, or Venture Capital partners with a round of Series A funding under your belt, you can get up to 90% off your first year

 Constant Contact Review — The Best for Engaging Social Media & Email Prospects

Modern marketing doesn’t happen on one channel. It’s happening all across the internet on a wide array of devices all at once.

There are many omnichannel solutions for marketing automation, but Constant Contact takes the cake for most businesses needing an easy way to join email and social media efforts.

With its unified dashboard that anyone can use, Constant Contact lets you stay on top of both with ease. You can push new social posts and reply to messages on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn from the same place you can set up automated email sequences and drip campaigns.

Schedule out social posts for next month or quarter and then sync that messaging up with your email campaigns. Plus, with the platform’s intensely customizable emailer, you can segment messaging with individual sequences that are based upon what you know about your contacts.

Whether you’ve gathered crucial info about your list members manually or you use Constant Contact’s custom form builder to capture it on your landing pages, you can set up individual email sequence tracks based on any of it that will automatically send based on triggers that you set.

So, set up a series of social media posts about the big game, then have unique email sequences for folks on the east coast rooting for one team and then a separate one for the Pacific coast dwellers rooting for the other. That’s just a super simple example—with Constant Contact, you can make these nested, unified marketing campaigns as intricate and complex as you’d like.

Social monitoring, messaging, and posting is available on all of Constant Contact’s plans. But its most useful email features come in the Email Plus plan. In it, you can set up automated behavioral and welcome sequences, plus include dynamic content in your emails.

Email Plus starts at $45/month for up to 500 subscribers, with the price scaling upward alongside the number of additional contacts you need. If you just want unified email and marketing without all the advanced automation, you can still get unlimited email sends and automated email resends to non-openers with the standard Email plan. That’ll run you $20/month for up to 500 contacts.

Unify your social and email campaigns by getting started with Constant Contact.

EngageBay Review — The Best for Improving Your Customer Support

How does marketing automation help your support team? EngageBay knows you can’t have sales, marketing, and support existing only in siloes, especially if you sell a product or service where post-sale engagement is every bit as crucial as getting to a sale in the first place.

Specifically, EngageBay’s automation capabilities help your customer service in a couple of ways. First, the same automation tools that allow you to set up triggers, email sequences, and drip campaigns are also available to support reps.

In this platform, you can set up automation based on several service triggers:

  • Ticket creation
  • Ticket status change
  • Ticket priority change
  • Assigned rep change
  • Tags added or removed

EngageBay has an easy-to-use automation builder that allows you to set actions or conditions based on those triggers, making it easy to streamline the flow of support requests and lessen the pressure on your reps to handle the backlog. Priorities and assignees are set clearly and updated automatically, taking a lot of manual work off your plate.

But the second, and perhaps bigger, the benefit is how well this integrates with marketing and sales automation to create a better customer experience from start to finish.

EngageBay’s automation tools can start from the moment a prospect expresses interest by joining your list. From there, through your sales funnel and beyond the purchase, this CRM can take care of routine touchpoints, nurturing, warming up, and more.

With all that information and interaction gathered, your support reps are well-prepared to handle anything your customers can throw at them with ease and grace.

That’s big, especially if your service team is handling more than troubleshooting issues. Maybe your service team also provides continuing customer training (something that’s common in B2B SaaS) or often puts on their sales hats to handle adding services or upgrades. With all of EngageBay’s automation tools capturing each customer’s entire journey, your support team is never without context or key information, so they can keep impressing the people who buy from you.

Maybe best of all, EngageBay can be tried out for completely free. They have a free-forever package that lacks the automation tools but allows you to get used to the platform and dashboard.

Automation tools start at $29.99 per user/month in the Growth plan. That can handle up to 50,000 contacts and 25,000 branded emails per month. Need more contacts? Upgrade to Pro for $47.99 per user/month to have no limits on the number of contacts, plus get double the emails that Growth offers and more advanced features.

Bring together your three core departments and provide them all the same useful automation tools by signing up with EngageBay today.

ActiveCampaign Review — The Best for Email Marketing Automation

Email is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing. All the tools on this list include email marketing in one form or another, but ActiveCampaign specializes in it.

So, it’s an excellent option if you want to hone in and focus on improving your email marketing strategy. It’s also a super affordable tool that includes numerous automation features for leads anywhere in your funnel.

With that said, they also offer omnichannel automation, including instant messaging and SMS, live chat, and Facebook. 

So, you’re not limited to just email marketing automation with ActiveCampaign. 

Their most popular features cover leads at every point in the funnel, including:

  • Engage – Automation maps, site tracking, and subscription forms
  • Nurture – List segmenting, dynamic/predictive content, and event tracking
  • Convert – Contact and lead scoring, split actions, and win probabilities
  • Support – Predictive sending, SMS, A/B split testing, and ecommerce 

You can also set up numerous types of emails like autoresponders, targeted or triggered emails, broadcasts, scheduled emails, and automated funnels. 

And you can design those emails using their intuitive drag and drop designer, or start from one of their 25+ pre-made mobile-responsive design templates. 

Whether you’re just getting started or interested in scaling and optimizing your email marketing strategy, ActiveCampaign is an excellent choice. They offer everything you need to capture, nurture, and close leads at scale. 

ActiveCampaign offers four plans, with the price of each starting at:

  • Lite — $9 per month with up to three users
  • Plus — $49 per month with up to 25 users
  • Professional — $129 per month with up to 50 users
  • Enterprise — $229 per month with unlimited users

Each tier includes more advanced features, and pricing is based on the size of your list, starting for up to 500 contacts. 

So, keep in mind that you will have to pay more than the prices above as your list grows. 

Freshworks CRM Review — The Best for Small to Midsize Businesses

Freshmarketer was one of my favorite marketing automation platforms. There was a lot of customizability to get campaigns just right, but it wasn’t required. I never had to hire a professional service to babysit the software in order for it to work.

Freshmarketer is now Freshworks CRM, and it’s phenomenal. Now, intelligent marketing automation is just one part of an exceptional platform that anyone in the office can use.

SMBs don’t have to worry about hiring a team of super-users just to run campaigns, but they get a lot of the marketing automation features they need to attract customers, nurture their audiences, understand their needs, and drive conversions.  

It’s my #1 recommendation for most users—and for a good reason.

From awareness to retention, you get all the automation features you need to gain more leads, turn those leads into customers, and keep those customers around for life. All while doing less work with better results. 

Plus, you don’t need any technical skills or a dedicated support team to get started. And it takes about a minute to get up and running. 

You also get access to incredible features like:

  • Email campaigns and contact management
  • Visual drag and drop customer journey builder
  • Website, form, and offline event tracking
  • Conversion rate optimization tools
  • A/B and split testing
  • Advanced personalization
  • Dynamic heat maps
  • Audience segmentation
  • Real-time funnel analytics

Furthermore, the software seamlessly integrates with Freshworks’ other tools, so it’s an excellent choice if you currently use or plan to use any of their business software. 

You can try Freshworks CRM on their limited free forever plan or a 21-day free trial of their paid plans, which are incredibly affordable and accessible for businesses of all sizes. However, they depend on the number of contacts you have, so keep that in mind. 

They offer Growth, Pro, and Enterprise plans of the full Freshworks CRM, or just the marketing services. Plans for the full CRM start at $29/month for 1,000 active contacts. Plans for Marketing Cloud start at $19/month for 500 contacts.

Summary

There are a lot of tools out there that will help you run better marketing campaigns. They’re great to have, but there’s a lot you can do on your own as well to save costs. don’t forget to use the criteria we talked about as you sort through finding the best marketing automation software for you and your team. 

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