We’ve all been there: you notice that typo after the email to your boss has sent; you’re halfway through your data report when you realize there’s a question you wish you’d asked in the survey; you can’t figure out how to change the filter in your Zoom settings to make you not a cat when you’re in front of the panel. Well, luckily, most of us haven’t been that last guy.

Still, human errors happen, and they happen more often when we’re overloaded with busy work. This is exactly why automation is a hugely important part of our daily lives – sales and marketing work is no exception. 

While a typo in a professional email can be embarrassing, it’s unlikely to cause a major dip in customer engagement or preclude you from achieving your revenue goals. On the other hand, missing out on important data and neglecting opportunities can wreak havoc on your bottom line.

Here are five marketing and sales pitfalls you can avoid by using marketing automation:

1. Not Tracking and Using Website Data

Detailed website tracking is key to understanding your customer base. By mapping their journey, you can see your organization through the consumer’s eyes – which means you can assess what’s working and what’s not based on the level of engagement. Marketing automation can pull these details for you.

It’s not just about understanding for its own sake – customer empathy is a key driver of increased revenue. For example, the data an automation software provides can help you look for purchase patterns in the decisions customers are making, what triggers a purchase, and what turns them away, which allows you to adjust your marketing funnel to increase sales.

In addition to purchase patterns, you can track other types of engagement to see what content is compelling to your consumers. Which pages are they gravitating towards? What value propositions are more or less likely to convince them to sign up for your newsletter? What content are they downloading, commenting on, or sharing?

All of this information rounds out your vision of the consumer, which then informs the way you move forward in your marketing and sales strategies. It can help you prioritize which pages to put some ad spend behind so you can cast that wider net, get more new site visitors, and introduce them to your nurture strategy. 

2. Not Knowing What Channels to Invest In

One of the best features of marketing automation is that it enables your team to repurpose effective creative content across multiple channels from one consolidated dashboard. This widens your audience dramatically without the additional time and effort it would take to do so manually.

A centralized automation dashboard can include newsletters and digital ads, and various other communication channels, depending on what your automation tool provides. And of course, the software can track engagement across these all channels and funnel that data into clear reporting so you can see where your messaging is most successful. 

3. Sending Emails Without a Strategy

Much like website data, tracking your marketing and sales outreach emails is essential to understanding what works and what doesn’t about the content you’re sending out. If you’re not gathering information about customer engagement and interaction, you’re basically sending messages out into the void and hoping something sticks.

On the other hand, the more you understand about your email recipients and what piques their interest, the more able you are to replicate those kinds of messages – and, hopefully, replicate the results as well. Building an understanding is key to designing campaigns that nurture long-term relationships with your customers, which in turn is crucial to capturing repeat business.

With your marketing automation tool, you’re able to access things like click-through rate, open rate, unsubscribes, and bounces. You can see how well your CTAs motivate clicks and downloads, and you can implement A/B testing to determine what kind of email copy is more successful

Tracking email and website engagement also enables you to personalize your campaigns according to the customer’s interests (this is even easier when you segment your leads, as described below). The more personalized an email is, the more likely it will be opened, read and engaged with – rather than batch-deleted like so many other marketing emails.

4. Not Segmenting Leads

Gathering data isn’t the end of the tracking process – it’s the beginning of it. Once you have all the data in hand, you’ll need to use it to segment your leads into groups based on various qualifying factors. This will better enable your analysis, inform your next move, and allow you to come to better conclusions about your customers that you can use in later campaigns.

Marketing automation uses tags to make segmenting easy and quick, with less chance of error than you or a team member did it manually. You can segment website data based on anything from the type of industry your customers are in to which page of your site converted them to a lead. You can use a scoring method to apply based on certain interactions and inactivity, like how long it’s been since there’s been a responsive touchpoint or since they’ve opened an email. This will help you determine which leads are closer to the decision-making process and which just aren’t ready to buy yet. 

This can be useful in email campaign strategy as well. Customers who show more engagement and actions on your site could be ready to set up a demo of your software or services. Or, those who aren’t opening your emails could be turned around with a re-engagement campaign.

Your marketing automation tool enables you to send more personalized emails to customers based on their activity, keeping you a step ahead when it comes to creating more meaningful engagement. 

5. Targeting the Wrong Audience

The only thing worse than not targeting your audience well enough is wasting all your team’s time and energy targeting the wrong audience. When you try to sell cheese as chocolate, you fail twice: the chocolate lovers are furious, and the cheese lovers miss out on your product. 

This is where a small business CRM comes in handy. A CRM, which can be built into marketing automation, can help you track your customers and keep your data about them in one easy-to-access place. Do you see a pattern here? The better you know your customer, the easier it will be to target them as a broader audience.

Your CRM can also provide you with details around who your ideal customer is. By tracking your relationships closely, you can see which customers have the best experience with your brand and which are not as ideal for your product. This can help shape your buyer personas and keep them in check when it comes time to determine if they’re still accurate. 

Making the Most of Marketing Automation

Contrary to some persistent myths, marketing automation doesn’t replace human marketing professionals. You still need your strategists and creativity to develop and build out your campaigns. But automation takes busy work off your team members’ plates, which can help free them up to focus more of their time on the areas where they bring unique value.

Without automation, you not only risk making foolish mistakes or missing out on a potential opportunity to garner more leads, but you make it harder for your team to really understand your customer base. Without a deep understanding of your consumers’ needs, it’s nearly impossible to design campaigns that will address their pain points.

Consumer empathy is crucial to marketing and sales strategy, and data is crucial to informing the understanding that leads to that empathy. Luckily, marketing automation can help you gather and track data you didn’t even know you were missing out on – and then it can help you use that data to design campaigns that will boost engagement, increase sales, and nurture customer loyalty.