Why is Marketing Automation a Critical Tool for Startup Companies With Small Teams?

With nearly 60 percent of marketers working in teams of only one to five people, it’s no wonder that small online marketing teams are often tasked with doing more, but with fewer resources. And as if they weren’t challenged enough, small marketing teams also face the issue of being bogged down in a trap of manual processes, such as creating batch and blast emails, working off of spreadsheets, and slugging through data in order to understand which channels are the top performers.

But even with these challenges, small marketing teams can make the best of their situation by utilizing their strengths of agility, creativity, and adaptability, and by focusing on the efforts that give them the best return on investment (ROI). However, even with this sound plan, it’s not always a smooth ride to success.

As a full, comprehensive solution, small teams should look to automate their processes through the use of a marketing automation platform. This content marketing strategy can effectively help to conquer small team woes and drive success, making the team appear not so small after all.

Related: Picking the Right Marketing Automation Software: Part 1 and Picking the Right Marketing Automation Software for Your Organization: Part 2

Small teams come in many forms. You might be a small team within a large marketing department, or your entire marketing department might be small. Regardless of the make-up of your small team, you probably face challenges that are not necessarily felt by your larger counterparts. These challenges include:

  1. HAVING SMALL BUDGETS: According to some business consultants, companies on average only allocate 9 –12% of their total annual budget to marketing, with some marketing budgets being as low as 2%. So, it’s clear that marketing teams of all sizes are already at a monetary disadvantage. But then add the small team size factor on top of this, and your small team’s budget has probably been narrowed even more. And let’s face it—it’s hard to pursue certain programs and campaigns if your budget is not large enough to support them.
  2. PRIORITIZING TASKS: In our digital age, mobile, and social media, there are more channels than ever that marketing teams need to consider. A healthy marketing strategy includes a combination of inbound and outbound marketing. And if you want to be successful, all marketing teams, no matter how small, must address both sides of this equation. However, a small team does not have the bandwidth or the resources to engage in all of these activities, nor are they often able to go deep into any one area. Thus, it can be overwhelming to determine which activities to focus on.
  3. LACKING STRUCTURED REPORTING: Due to a lack of structured and automated reporting, small teams usually don’t have official reports on campaign performance. Instead, reporting is typically more ad hoc, relying on manual tracking methods that are not consistent or scalable.
  4. OPERATING IN THE REALM OF REACTIVE MARKETING (VS. PROACTIVE MARKETING): Because of the lack of people, it’s more difficult for small teams to strategically plan out their marketing efforts in advance. Therefore, small teams often fall into the trap of solely operating in a reactive mode, which isn’t a healthy or balanced long-term solution.
  5. LACKING ENOUGH TIME: Last but not least, a lack of time may be the biggest challenge for small marketing teams. With fewer personnel, the total amount of time that can be allotted to the team’s marketing efforts is limited and therefore must be used efficiently. Small teams must assess all of their efforts from the point-of-view of time: is it being saved, or is it being wasted? Automating processes through marketing automation opens the door to a whole new world for small marketing teams—one where challenges, like a lack of time, are addressed and no longer impede teams from making progress.

Small Team Advantages

Small marketing teams may not have it easy, but that doesn’t mean they can’t take what they do have and run with it. And there are a lot of advantages to being on a small team!

  1. AGILITY: A typical facet of smaller teams and departments is fewer approval processes to trek through. This enables small teams to plan, execute, and deliver all types of campaigns and quickly respond to their audiences. Fewer bottlenecks mean more time to spend on what matters: attracting and nurturing potential customers.
  2. INNOVATION: With small budgets, small teams can’t do everything under the sun. Options are limited. So, they have to get creative and think outside the box. This becomes the natural mindset of small team members and the place they operate from. So, if a team can only afford a few campaigns, they have no choice but to think smart and narrow down the field to only the most viable (and creative) options. In doing so, not only does the team save time and money, but it also increases the team’s chances of being successful.
  3. PEOPLE: By necessity, smaller teams tend to employ versatile people who are accustomed to rapid change and have the ability to acquire new skills on the fly. Therefore, the team can wear multiple hats, as it lives and breathes flexibility. Thus, even with their challenges, there are still advantages to having a small team, all of which can be leveraged immediately! Small marketing teams can succeed by using these positive qualities to their benefit, while also developing a way to automate their processes.

Automating processes can help small teams do more with fewer resources. Using a marketing automation tool, like HubSpot, is the best way to make this happen. Marketing automation is a powerful software tool that automates and syncs various efforts (campaign management, customer segmentation, and data analysis, to name a few) in order to obtain the best return on investment.

For small marketing teams, marketing automation makes a lack of resources a non-issue and allows teams to turn their back on endless manual and inconsistent processes. In a nutshell, marketing automation makes marketers’ lives easier. Being on a small team with limited resources, marketers couldn’t ask for a better problem-solver and opportunity maker.

Marketing automation sparks more efficiency and effectiveness all around. As a result, small teams appear much larger than their actual size because the traditional challenges of a small team cease to exist, and the teams’ real potential is unleashed. There are twelve functions a marketing automation tool can (and should) have to bring efficiency to a small marketing team at every stage of the buyer journey:

  1. Email marketing
  2. Landing pages
  3. Campaign Management
  4. Marketing Programs
  5. Lead Generation
  6. Nurturing and Scoring
  7. CRM integration
  8. Social marketing
  9. Resource Management
  10. Marketing Analytics
  11. Mobile Marketing
  12. Personalization