Ultimate Guide to Marketing Automation - Benefits, Examples & Software

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Hey. Psst. You look tired.

Tired of soul-destroying admin tasks. Plugging mountains of leads into one generalized email blast that never gets results.

Tired of blank whiteboards at strategy meetings. Tired of having no idea what works and what doesn't. Tired of now knowing where to start.

And wondering when you'll get to do the things that got you into marketing in the first place.

The sad reality is that too many marketers are spread far too thin. They're climbing an ever-growing mountain of tasks and chasing an ever-moving target as customer behavior evolves and changes too fast for their manual campaigns to keep up with.

Marketing automation can change everything. With the power of automation and AI, marketers can take control of their leads and know exactly where they come from, what they respond to, and how to target them.

Marketing automation can take care of those repetitive admin tasks in an instant. Think, lead scoring, segmentation, email drip campaigns, analytics. Everything is ticking away in the background, providing thousands of leads with the personal experiences they've been craving and preparing qualified prospects who are ready to say ‘yes' to the sales team.

Meanwhile, you can finally focus on what makes you a talented marketer. With accurate data, you can create meaningful marketing campaigns that connect with your audience. You can collaborate with your content writers and designers to produce content that educates and entertains. You can help your business stand out from the crowd.

And it all starts with marketing automation.

In this blog, we'll show you what automation is, how it works for you, and what's possible with the right platform in place.

Let's get started.

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is software that takes care of marketing tasks for you. You know, the tasks that make you reconsider your whole career and wish you could get the band back together.

Tasks like plugging leads into email campaigns, scheduling ads for social media channels, and creating reports to see if anything is actually working.

With marketing automation, you won't have to worry about those mindless tasks ever again.

What's that? No, the robots aren't coming to take your job away. Sure, manufacturing automation makes manufacturing workers...unemployed. But, marketing automation makes marketers' jobs even more valuable.

So, don't worry, you won't be like Mr. Bucket who lost his job to a robot that could screw on toothpaste caps better and faster than he could.

Guide to marketing automation


When done right (because it can be done wrong, and we'll get to that) marketing automation sets marketers free from the mundanity of admin tasks.

This means they can finally focus on the reason they got into marketing in the first place:

  • Writing kickass, authentic marketing messages that set you apart from the competition
  • Creating personalized experiences to intrigue and delight your customers
  • Working with the sales team to finetune your marketing strategy so it aligns with the buyer journey

Say hello to increased conversions, improved ROI, and the most job satisfaction you've felt in forever.

The 3 Essential Forms of Marketing Automation

The most powerful ways that marketing automation works are in the following:

  1. CRM integration
  2. Email
  3. Analytics

Let's take a closer look.

CRM integration

CRM's and marketing automation. Name a more dynamic duo. We won't wait, because you can't.

A CRM with integrated marketing automation tools demonstrates what's possible when sales and marketing teams actually work together effectively.

Seriously, marketing automation can increase sales productivity by 14.5%.

Let's recap on what CRM and marketing automation does separately, then put them together:

CRM – a software platform that sales teams use to manage their pipeline, qualify leads, and track customer information. Essentially, CRMs give salespeople an entire view of their prospect's life story and history with the company in one click.

Marketing automation–automates key marketing processes like email campaigns, social media posts, and engagement analytics.

By merging the two together, sales and marketing teams finally get consistency with messaging and strategy.

Ringy dashboard

Sales teams finally get a 3D view of a prospect's engagement with the company. This helps them tailor their pitch to that prospect's interests, pain points, and objections.


You remember the pet insurance example we gave earlier? That's an example of an email drip campaign. The right messages, to the right people, at the right time. Simple, right? Well, with marketing automation, it kind of is.

Despite it being pretty ancient as far as digital marketing goes, email still gets the best ROI.

Think about it. Receiving an email is so much more personal than getting an ad on Instagram or LinkedIn. When you refresh your inbox and see a new message from an entire company, with your name in the subject line, you can't help but feel special.

That is until you open the email and find that it's absolutely rubbish and delete it immediately. Unsubscribing would take more clicks.

CRM integration

Without marketing automation, email campaigns become spammy, annoying, and downright disrespectful to people. Marketers who don't have the time or resources to individualize and target emails are forced to write something fluffy and irrelevant and send it to a few hundred people.

That loses you customers, respect, and in worst cases, your IP address gets flagged and you lose your email privileges. That's like a farmer losing his irrigation privileges.

Plus, your sales team is not going to be happy with you when their hard-earned leads complain about spam.

With marketing automation, marketers can put their hard-earned skills to good use. They can segment audiences based on their behavior or engagement with the company, then create personalized and bite-sized ‘drips' of emails to be sent at strategic points every couple of days.

Once the emails are written and the rules are set within the marketing automation software, it's literally set and forgotten.

You focus on creative marketing, your machine gets your messages to the right people at the right time, and your sales team gets nurtured leads with their credit cards at the ready.


Because, what's the point of doing a marketing activity if it's not working?

Only 35% of marketers recognize that understanding the ROI of campaigns is very important.

Yikes. Imagine just repeating the same thing over and over again and never checking to see if it works.

That screams wasted spend, inefficiency, and very depressing feelings.

Marketers are, generally, creative people. Of course, they want to know if what they do is working. But, delving into clunky spreadsheets and pouring over numbers and statistics is overwhelming for everybody except data scientists.

With marketing automation, marketers can finally get the answers they need at a glance, with helpful insights to guide them through interpreting the data that is otherwise overwhelming.

With access to that information, marketers are empowered to actually do something with that information. That means capitalizing on the things that are working and putting the things that aren't working in the trash.

How Marketing Automation Can Empower Top Industries

Insurance marketing automation


If you're selling insurance, the most important thing you need to know is – who wants insurance.

That's lead generation, basically.

The thing is, even though insurance companies know that lead generation is important, they don't seem to know how to do it.

The average insurer spends over $500 on leads, but only 20.5% of insurance agents have success with them.

That's where marketing automation changes the game.

With marketing automation software, insurance companies can collect leads via all the different sources…

  1. Social media engagement
  2. Website inquiries
  3. Quote requests

...and filter them through an algorithm that rates leads based on how ‘warm' they are.

So, marketing automation helps insurance marketers to fill their pipeline with leads. But then, how can they nurture those leads?

20.4% of insurers know they need to stay in front of their network, but they don't have enough time.

That's where marketing automation solves the problem.

By implementing a targeted, personalized marketing campaign via email and SMS, insurance marketers can finally automate that painstaking process of nurturing leads without being overloaded with tasks.

With the right filters and rules in place, keen prospects can flow through the cycle until a prepped salesperson gives them a call to talk about the exact insurance policy they're interested in.



Successful marketing for financial services hinges on whether you can achieve one goal – establishing trust with your audience.


We know that people are sensitive about money. Let's face it, financial stress is the reason why so many relationships break down.

People are also very sensitive about who they trust with their money.

Nowadays, that distrust runs even deeper as more people are questioning why they should choose a certain bank and what that provider can offer them in return – aside from showing them the disappointing state of their account.

Marketing automation gives marketers for financial services the tools they need to finally reach out to leads in a way that is meaningful and authentic.

That means bridging the gap between the emotional purchasing decisions of your customers and the logical, analytical personality of your financial institution.

With marketing automation, you have the tools to send personalized content to the right people at the right time. Yes, we've said this a lot, the funny thing about marketing automation is that it tackles issues that are relevant in every industry.

By directing content to each specific target audience, such as:

  • Retirement savings
  • Student loans
  • Credit cards
  • First-home buyers

You can address your audience's actual concerns with information that is both relevant and educational. Plus, with the extra time you now have, you can focus on making that content meaningful – even entertaining.

Here's an interesting stat:

Only 17% of financial services have a digital process for customers who leave.

That's wild. Your customer just dumped you for another company, don't you want to find out why?

By retargeting ex-customers, you can:

  1. Find out why they left (and see if you can improve that aspect of your services)
  2. Convince them to come back (sometimes it's not even that hard, people just want to be heard)

With marketing automation, you can put a simple yet effective algorithm in place that retargets ex-customers automatically. Also known as win-back campaigns.

By taking advantage of marketing automation, you tap into a huge opportunity – while 83% of competitors bite the dust.

Marketing Automation & Sales Automation – How They Work Together

Sales automation

So, we've covered the basics of how CRM and marketing automation software effectively brings sales and marketing teams together and restores peace to the galaxy.

But, let's look at this in a little more detail.

We've put together a handy little table to help you understand the differences between marketing and sales automation – but how those differences can inform and add value to each other.

Marketing Automation

Sales Automation

How They Work Together

The goal is to generate and nurture leads

The goal is to close deals

Marketing automation tools enable marketers to provide high-quality leads who will be willing to buy when salespeople call them

The main activities are lead generation, lead segmentation, and lead nurturing

The main activities are managing leads, qualifying leads, and closing deals

Marketing automation tools give salespeople the insight they need to prioritize leads and organize call lists based on where the lead is at and what they're interested in

Its job is to optimize marketing activities and generate reports that improve future lead generation activities

Its job is to streamline repetitive admin tasks and enhance the processes to boost the closing rate

Helps sales and marketing teams talk to each other, collaborate on strategy, and have one version of the truth

The best option is to get a sales CRM that doubles as a marketing automation tool.

That way, sales and marketing teams are running the same platform and speaking the exact same language. It's also bound to help minimize costs.

5 Benefits of Marketing Automation

If you're about to pitch marketing automation to your boss, don't fret. We'll summarize the five most mind-blowing benefits of marketing automation that will make them feel like you've literally handed them the holy grail.


We'll cover:

  1. Get better leads
  2. Nurture them 24/7
  3. Focus on value-enhancing stuff
  4. Bring sales and marketing together
  5. Make data-driven decisions

Get better leads

Without marketing automation, marketers are forced to send masses of generalized emails, SMS, and content to cold leads in the hope that something will stick.

As well as being largely unsuccessful, it's also a huge waste of time and resources for both marketing and sales teams. Giving poorly qualified leads to sales reps is essentially setting them up for failure.

With marketing automation, teams get an immersive picture of what their leads are doing and how they're interacting with content. Website clicks, blog reads, eBook downloads, social media engagement – all at a glance.

With a user-friendly reporting dashboard, marketers can immediately understand where their lead is at and allocate them to more targeted sales campaigns, such as:

  1. Email drip campaigns
  2. Personalized SMS
  3. Facebook or LinkedIn messages

With the help of a marketing automation tool, leads are automatically scored, qualified, and prioritized based on data – not gut instinct.

Nurture them 24/7

Lead nurturing

Nurturing leads is absolutely essential, but it takes up a lot of time.

When only 50% of generated leads are qualified, but not ready to make a purchase yet, this creates a huge challenge for under-resourced teams.

How do you stay in constant contact with hundreds of people, who are all at different stages and interested in different things?

Marketing automation takes care of the lead nurture phase – completely. Just set up your campaigns for each type of lead and each stage of the journey, then trigger points for when to send the campaign, and let your software take care of it for you!

Focus on value-enhancing stuff

Great, so you've set up marketing automation tools to take care of the mind-numbing admin tasks that used to weigh you down.

Now, you can finally dedicate your time and energy to work that really matters. Creative, strategic marketing that will take your business further and enhance the way it interacts with customers.

With marketing automation on their side, marketers can finally dedicate time to:

  • Planning epic content to drive inbound leads – blogs, landing pages, eBooks, case studies
  • Collaborating with the sales team to come up with effective marketing strategies
  • Creating personalized email and SMS campaigns
  • Engaging creatives to work on graphic design and web development for new marketing campaigns

Help your marketers find this time with us.

Bring sales and marketing together

With a clearer understanding of where prospects are at and a more strategic approach to lead generation and lead nurture, marketers and sales teams can actually collaborate.

That's right, the age-old rivalry could be solved with the help of automation and AI.

So many marketing and sales teams struggle with miscommunication and misalignment because they work with different tools and have a completely different view of prospects.

By integrating marketing automation and sales management into one platform, teams get one version of the truth and an immersed view of what leads are doing.

Marketers can finally give sales teams the qualified leads they need to close deals. Sales teams can finally give marketers the intel they need to enhance their messaging and segmentation.

Make data-driven decisions

By accessing analytics, reporting, and prospect data, all together in one intuitive platform, marketers have the power to take over the world.

Seriously, with campaign results and prospect behavior available at a glance, marketers can fine-tune marketing activities to focus on what actually works.

Instead of adapting campaigns based on gut feeling, marketing automation tools provide the data required to test and identify the techniques that get results.

Scenarios Where Marketing Automation Is A Game-Changer

Marketing automation platform

Marketing automation enables you to nurture leads throughout the buyer's journey. It does this by automatically delivering targeted, personalized, relevant messages at exactly the right time.

Let's put that into context with an example – a basic, yet effective, automated email marketing campaign for an insurance company.


Customer action

Marketing action


Requested a quote about pet insurance ages ago but never re-engaged

You send an invite to this list of contacts with an invitation to download the latest eBook about pet insurance


A number of prospects download it

You send a thank you note to those people


They chill for a few days, reading the eBook and living life

You hit them up after a few days have passed to offer them a more in-depth case study about pet insurance for dogs


A few keen dog-owners download the case study

You pass their details onto the sales team to have a more personalized conversation about getting insurance for their beloved French Bulldog, Spencer.

Let's be honest, if you were the customer, you would much prefer this method of marketing to being bombarded with email blasts about generalized insurance policies you have zero interest in.

After all, 80% of people want to buy things after having a personalized experience.

With this method, customers feel valued. They feel like the interactions are tailored to them. That makes them like your company and want to buy the thing. That means you've won at marketing.

This is what is possible with marketing automation. The power to target your prospects with relevant content based on their behavior.

How To Choose The Perfect Marketing Automation Software

Choose marketing automation software

Alright, so you've got your boss on board. Now you need to choose the most effective marketing automation platform for your team. The challenge is, today's market is saturated with marketing tools and platforms claiming to be the next best thing.

So… where should you start? What should you look for?

You have five boxes to tick:

  • Does it make sense?
  • Does it work with your other stuff?
  • Is the customer support team helpful?
  • Are there testimonials or user cases from others in your industry
  • Can you afford it?
  • Does it make sense?

User-friendliness is absolutely essential here. This is the platform that you'll be using every day to perform a wide range of small to huge tasks. Not only should the interface make sense, but it should be satisfying to navigate. Pay attention to speed, built-in help bots, color, and animations.

Does it work with your other stuff?

It could be the sexiest platform in the world, but if it doesn't work with your email, you're screwed. A powerful marketing automation tool is only worth your time if it can talk to and work with the other programs you use on a daily basis.

Make sure you ask if the platform works with your email account, social media, calendar, and scheduling software. Bonus points if the platform features a VOIP softphone and a useful mobile app.

Is the customer support team helpful?

Another crucial factor – does the customer support team understand your needs, challenges, and industry? This is where the demo is a dead giveaway. If it's a short, generalized video that clearly gets sent to anyone and everyone, that's a huge red flag.

However, if the customer support team asks for information about your business, team, and goals, before creating a unique demo for your business, that's something worth your time.

Ask about the onboarding process and check to see how available the support team is. Bonus points for instant messaging within the platform – that means you can reach out to them anytime and get help quickly.

Are there testimonials or user cases from others in your industry?

Search for success stories and see if those businesses look similar to yours. What did they achieve with the marketing automation tool? How did it help? How long did it take for them to see results?

Scour through the internet looking for feedback from other customers, particularly businesses in your industry. Don't just settle for the case studies on the platform's website.

Can you afford it?

Yes, this one's obvious. Putting together a price comparison is essential to make the right decision.

However, price isn't always the be-all-and-end-all.

If you're purchasing a marketing automation platform that costs more than your old one, but also includes a heck of a lot more helpful stuff, you've got to factor in the potential ROI of that extra spend.

At the same time, though, there are marketing automation platforms out there that have the same top-shelf features as industry-leading platforms.

Pipedrive – Professional

Copper – Professional


USD $59 per month

USD $59 per month

USD $99 per month

*Prices as of June 28, 2021

Marketing Automation Success Story – CentricsIT boosted leads by 59% and generated $1.5m

CentricsIT helps large companies minimize cost and maximize efficiency when rolling out IT vendors and project management across multiple locations around the world. From hardware to technology support and staffing, CentricsIT sells itself as a one-stop-shop for IT solutions.

The only problem was that its marketing strategies sucked.

CentricsIT was blasting its thousands of customers with generalized emails like “Happy Holidays”. Yikes.

In 2010, they brought in a marketing expert who had an eye on marketing automation. They introduced a new, state-of-the-art marketing automation system that included:

  • Email drip campaigns
  • Lead scoring
  • CRM integration
  • Analytics and reports

It was a revolutionary change. With the sales team adapting to the new software, leads from landing pages were automatically directed to sales reps. Both sales and marketing teams were empowered to respond to data and deliver more personalized experiences to customers.

The result? $1.5million revenue generated between January and September attributed directly to marketing automation.

As far as case studies go, this one's textbook.


Marketing automation conclusion

So, there you have it, marketing automation is basically your holy grail.

It's designed to help marketers automate lead generation, segmentation, messaging, and reporting. By doing so, it enables marketers to make personal connections with thousands of prospects, in an instant and 24/7. And with access to all that information at a click, marketers have the power to make an impact again.

To make the most of automation, you should find a CRM that includes:

  • Email drip campaigns
  • SMS marketing
  • Customer & lead management
  • A mobile app
  • Reporting and analytics
  • A kickass support and customer service team

Look no further. You've just found one of the best.

Talk to us today and get started with Ringy.