Sales and marketing automation has become essential for business growth, with over 63% of managers planning to increase their budgets in the coming years. Automation facilitates business operations by improving productivity, efficiency, lead management, and eventually, driving conversions.
Firms can purchase automation systems such as Sharpspring directly from the providers or work with agencies. It thus presents a common dilemma, especially for small businesses.
So, should your business hire an automation agency or handle it in-house? How do you assess your options?
Running Your System vs. Using A Marketing Agency
1. With Your System
Less cost: It can be cost-effective in the short run since you only encounter a one-off purchase.
Secure your systems: Hiring external parties to automate your system often means sharing confidential company data. In-house, you can guarantee your data security.
Training costs: Sales and marketing automation can be complex. So, you will need time and money to train your team on using the systems.
Support: As with all software, automation systems will need regular updates and tweaks. This could prove problematic if you don't have specialized experts readily available to help in the long run.
2. Using A Marketing Automation Agency
Resource-efficient: You can save time and money by using an automation agency. They handle all the setup and operations while you focus on your core competencies.
Expertise: A marketing automation agency often has the necessary knowledge to run the system and offer valuable advice. That way, you do not have to learn the whole system yourself, and it helps you get up and running faster.
Initial expenditure: It might cost you more to hire an agency initially since you must include support and other services. But, in the long run, maintenance costs will be significantly less than an in-house managed system.
Factors To Consider
The Type and Size of Your Business
Consider your product or services. How complex are they? What marketing strategies would you need to employ in your industry? How many leads do you handle?
All these would determine the scope of automation solutions you will need and whether you can handle it yourself or use an agency. For example, an eCommerce business may have higher lead management demands than a B2B software firm startup.
Analyze your team’s level of expertise compared to the type of automation needed. Do they have the skills, or would they need further training?
Also, consider whether your current team is able and willing to take on the technical work of an automation system. For example, a more tech-savvy workforce would be more open to a new software than a more tech-illiterate group. The latter would require you to outsource completely.
The Complexity of Software Needed
Some automation tools are more comprehensive and thus complex than others. Consider whether your business needs basic automation like email or something more advanced like chatbots.
Similarly, assess whether you need just one tool or multiple automation features across your department. These would help you determine whether you can handle the automation internally or outsource.
You will also want to consider your marketing budget limitations before deciding on in-house or agency marketing automation. Some systems and agencies are more expensive than others.
So, you should identify the best tool for your current business needs. Then you can gage whether your team can handle it or if you'd need a marketing automation agency. It is more cost-effective to have a great tool-expertise balance from the start. That way, you won’t incur more expenses in fixing mistakes down the line.
When Should You Consider Using A Marketing Automation Agency?
Yes, whether you're a small or medium-scale business or an enterprise organization, your company will benefit from hiring a sales/marketing automation agency. How do you know it is time?
1. When you need to scale your marketing efforts
Hiring an agency will make more sense as you grow and expand your marketing efforts. You will need to manage more leads, adopt other marketing tactics, conduct more repetitive tasks, etc.
Expansion generally creates more workload that may be too heavy on your internal team. It would thus make sense to outsource this function to a specialized company to handle.
Alternative options would require you to hire and train more staff, which are time and money intensive. Meanwhile, an agency can provide multiple roles in one package, skilled enough to start work right away.
2. When using Complex software
Some systems and automation needs are more demanding than others. So, if you need more comprehensive automation solutions, you might want to consider hiring an automation agency instead.
It solves any skills gaps you may have in-house while reducing the load on your internal marketing team. Furthermore, the agency's experts can better identify and handle software issues, which limits project downtimes.
3. When your automation returns are stagnating
Many small businesses run losses every year because they operate systems inefficiently in-house. They purchase complex tools that they do not know how to use, leading to ineffective marketing efforts.
So, if you notice diminishing returns from your existing systems, it might be time to bring in experts. They will help you identify and fix issues and utilize new system features to reap better ROI.
4. Your team is stretched too thin
Although sales and marketing automation is meant to save time, managing the tools is not an easy task. The systems would require settings and upgrades in some cases, which might be tasking, especially if you have a small team.
So, when you notice that your staff can no longer juggle the system and other obligations, you might want to consider outsourcing the work to a more specialized agency team. That way, they can focus on other critical business operations and keep the business running.
5. Data and Technology Challenges
As your business needs increase, you might need more advanced technology solutions than your team can handle. Rather than invest in further training, outsource to an agency to save that time and resources.
For example, your team might be able to handle email and social media marketing automation. But when your business needs to adopt omnichannel workflows, tracking, and chatbots, they might need further assistance.
A Walker Sands report indicated that 56% of marketers couldn't keep up with the automation evolution. However, an automation agency would have experts well-versed in these tools. You would be able to set up and execute your marketing automation plans faster and easier.
Over 68% of businesses now heavily rely on sales/marketing automation to streamline their marketing activities and yield higher returns. But sales/marketing automation is just another expense if you do not maximize its potential.
Hiring professionals to handle it for you will often make more sense because it is more resource-effective.
A marketing automation agency like Funnelbud will help you unlock your system's potential and reap higher ROI. Reach out to our team today, and let’s get started!