We’re just over a week into the new year…have you broken your new year’s resolutions yet? Each year, small business owners strive to get more organized, build better relationships with their customers and prospects, create a sales and marketing process and drive sustainable growth.

Marketing automation tools built for small businesses can help you achieve and stick to these four resolutions in 2015.

Get More Organized

Fresh year, fresh start.  If you’re like a lot of small businesses, you probably have one homogenous bucket of contacts that you would love to clean up and organized.  Maybe you have two lists – one of customers, and one of prospects – but you can’t get much more detailed than that.

Marketing automation helps you automatically and dynamically segment your contacts by their unique interests, their stage in the buying journey and their readiness to buy. It’s a bit like going from grayscale to a rainbow of contacts that each fit in their own ribbon of color. Contacts fit nicely into their own compartments.

With an easier way of keeping your contacts organized, you can deliver more strategic, organized communication, increasing engagement.

Build Better Relationships with Customers and Prospects

This new year, many of us are striving to put away distractions – like our smart phones and tablets – and put more time into building better relationships with the people who really matter.

While you may think that marketing automation is just one more technology that separates us from the people we should get to know better, it actually helps to cultivate more meaningful conversations.

Marketing automation automatically tracks the online history of each contact automatically, so you can see what pages on your site they’ve visited, what emails they’ve received, and what types of content they read.  With more information, you come to conversations with your customers and prospects prepared to have a productive, meaningful dialogue.

In addition, marketing automation takes those ho-hum administrative tasks off of your plate, and triggers notifications to let you know which contacts are highly interested in your product or service.  This makes it simple to connect with prospects that are really interested in learning more about your business.  With marketing automation, you can focus more time on building strong relationships with ripe opportunities and loyal customers, rather than chasing cold leads.

Create a Sales and Marketing Process

You’d like to see your business grow this year, and you know you can’t do it without building better processes.  When your database is more organized and everyday tasks can be automated, you can put a much smoother sales and marketing process in place.

Without marketing automation, many businesses build up a large sales team that chases after cold leads. However, with a scalable marketing automation system in place, marketing nurtures prospects with personalized content, heating them up for the sales team.  Then, the sales team is automatically alerted when hot prospects are ready to buy.  

The result is, individual sales and marketing leaders can be much more productive and process-driven because they are actively pulling in the right prospects to have meaningful conversations with.

Drive Sustainable Growth

We could all be a little less wasteful, whether we’re trying to recycle more or striving to get the most out of the talents of our small business team.

With marketing automation in place, you can build high-quality relationships with many more prospects and customers – without adding supplementary team members.  

In addition, since marketing automation provides insights into which marketing channels are performing the best, and which sales leaders are closing the most business, you can make smart, sustainable investments in growth.  

Finally, marketing automation continually nurtures new leads you acquire.  So if a new contact is not ready to make a purchase today, they aren’t tossed away.  Instead, marketing automation continues to educate and nurture them, recycling them into a hot prospect.

Get more organized, build better relationships, be more process-driven, and drive sustainable growth – imagine if you could stick to each of these resolutions in the new year.  With the right tools for your small business, you can make 2015 the year of marketing automation, and the year of growth.