It seems like the scope of marketing just keeps expanding, with no additional hours in the day to get it all done. Feeling like you have too much to do and not enough time to do it comes with the industry. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t figure out how to overcome it to make as much of an impact as possible.

Efficiency is important, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of your marketing strategy. And that’s why marketing automation is so crucial. Marketing automation saves you time and helps your team work better with the assistance of valuable features aimed at doing more with less.

But what does automation success look like? These stats spell it out pretty well. Marketing automation can:

  • Help you see a 14.5% increase in sales productivity.
  • Result in a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead.
  • Provide more quality leads, resulting in more revenue and less effort.

Of course, like most groundbreaking technologies, marketing automation isn’t always cheap. Saving time while making more money can require an investment, which is why it doesn’t hurt to create a little extra room in your budget. 

Here are some steps you can take to increase your budget and make room for a marketing automation solution that gives you freedom, saves you time, and increases your bottom line. 

1. Determine Exactly Which Features You Need — and Which You Don’t

The price variance in marketing automation platforms is due to a few different things, including features. As you might expect, additional features equal additional costs. The last thing you want to be doing is paying for a ton of features you don’t use or need. 

To keep your automation costs down, prioritize your needs so that you only end up spending money on the features that really support your goals and initiatives. Take a look at your existing processes and the things that are eating up large chunks of your time. Are you spending hours a week generating and scoring leads? Spending evenings and weekends personalizing emails? Your biggest time sucks are the ones that you have the most to gain from automating, and that are worth finding room in the budget to accommodate.

2. Define Your Goals as Clearly as You Can

This goes hand in hand with the point above. The more you understand exactly what you’re trying to achieve with marketing automation, the more guidance you have in regards to the automation features that you absolutely must have and the ones that are nice but maybe not completely necessary.

Sit down with your team and outline the goals that you want your marketing automation platform to help you with. Goals could be anything from increasing your email list and getting more sign-ups for your free trial, to seeing more downloads on your gated content. Focus on the goals that matter most to you and your bottom line, and not just the goals that you think you should be aiming for.

Knowing your goals will make you a more informed shopper when selecting your automation software. It will also make it readily apparent if the software that you purchase isn’t providing enough value to warrant its cost.

3. Identify Unnecessary Expenditures in Other Areas

It’s easy to fall into a pattern of spending money without even knowing it. But little expenditures can add up and be just as wasteful as big expenditures. You can probably find quite a few areas where you’re spending money without getting profitable results in return.

Start by looking at the rote expenses that you don’t normally think twice about. How much value are you getting out of that yearly marketing conference? Are those pay-per-click ads bringing in as many useful conversions as you’d anticipated? Do you need to fly out for meetings that could be done over video chat?

Once you start digging into the cost-value analysis of your expenditures, there’s a good chance you’ll find areas where you can cut back, leaving you with money left over for automation. Making sacrifices is worth it if it allows you to use software that helps you nurture and build your prospects and creates more time in your day for effective strategies.

Regardless, marketing automation is almost always going to be worth using. Cut back on unnecessary expenses, determine your must-haves, and dig around in the couch cushions if you have to, you’ll be glad you did.