Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have been slow to adopt process automation marketing tools, but nearly three-quarters report revenue growth above plan, compared with only 53% of those who have not deployed the tools, according to research.
SMBs implementing marketing automation are 55% more likely to measure campaign payback more efficiently, 40% more likely to measure social media engagement, and twice as likely to measure lead-funnel conversion ratios, according to a Forrester Consulting study, commissioned by Act-On Software.
The research found that SMBs have begun investing more in marketing tools, specifically automation. About 61% report spending more than the 2% of revenue average that large enterprises spend. The biggest suggestion from the study points to tying marketing automation tools into a company's customer relationship management (CRM) platform to improve lead-to-revenue strategies.
Automation is a strong tool to support lead generation, but sometimes lead management comes "at the expense of a commitment to fill the top of the funnel," according to the study. Effective lead management has become a top concern for SMBs. Overall, 70% of SMBs engage customers through leads.
Some 40% of top performers and 39% of bottom performers use a dedicated inside sales team to nurture leads. But, 42% of top performers said they use a mix of email and phone calls, compared with 38% of bottom performers.
Only 19% of SMB survey participants report implementing software that automates marketing and lead management processes. This is less than half of the adoption rate of 45% reported by the broader audience of large enterprise B2B marketers, according to the study.
Some 50% or of SMB marketers rely on a variety of traditional marketing tactics, from trade shows to digital marketing.
Aside from technology, these SMBs continue to invest more people too. On average, SMBs have one marketing staff member, including full-time contractors for every $79,000 in marketing dollars spent. Those performing highest have one marketing staff member for every $65,000 in marketing dollars spent.
While 84% of survey respondents use online marketing tactics, the perceptions on the value varies. The majority of respondents admit the importance of online marketing, but not more important than the rest of the marketing mix.