Automation is key, but how can you take your automation beyond what is already in place? In this presentation, Nicholas Peddle talks about how to improve marketing automation with robotic process automation.
Nicholas Peddle is a Demand Gen Manager and the Interim Head of Marketing at Robocorp. In these positions, Nicholas drives growth by replacing problems with process. He uses analytics to inform decisions, create marketing campaigns, and implement systems that track success.
“While there are countless native integrations between platforms, and a lot of automation functionality that comes off the shelf within your tech stack, there is much value to be gained in automating beyond these built in automations.”
“Automation is at its best when the process is repetitive, manual and rule spaced.”
- Improving automation increased revenue potential.
- Properly functioning integrations are key for a tech stack
- Bots can collect and compile data very quickly
I received a perfectly timed email this week that set out to bust some of the myths around marketing automation. One of these myths that stood out to me was that all marketing automation software works the same way. Now, of course, they do not at all even argue that there are so many different uses of automation and sales and marketing of the tools that were used to reach their limits rather quickly. So while there are countless native integrations between platforms, and a lot of automation functionality that comes off the shelf within your tech stack, there is much value to be gained in automating beyond these built in automations. But how do you take your automation to the next level? RPA is how RPA or robotic process automation is a type of business automation that involves software robots that can automate manual multi step tasks typically take a lot of time, labor and capital to complete. The robots in RPA aren’t the physical machines you might be picturing though. Instead, software robots are lines of code that perform tasks and automate processes. We also call them digital workers, which I think paints a nice picture of these robots. We’ve also heard of clients naming their robots and thinking of these digital workers as digital co workers with a digital job description. I will be using the terms bots, robots and digital workers interchangeably today. So please keep that in mind as we go through the presentation. So you’re probably thinking, but what did these bots actually do? The sufficiently vague answer to that question is that they mimic human interactions within and across your company’s tech stack, picture and everyday process that you’re responsible for, and consider how it plays out. You log into your CRM, generate a report, you export a spreadsheet, you filter the data, you copy, paste, you share it, I lose you. But doesn’t that sound familiar? And wouldn’t it be nice if this process can be done automatically? Well, it can. Digital workers can be programmed to handle all of this. Automation is at its best when the process is repetitive, manual and rule spaced. A few examples of actions that digital workers can take off your plate include interacting between two platforms and transferring data between them. Typical data entry, scraping information from the web and generating reports we break this down into micro actions that these bots can take. The bots can launch and log into applications. Copy and paste, read and extract data, populate spreadsheets and databases, make calculations, read text and interact with email and other messaging tools. What these all have in common other than being extremely desirable to automate is that when done by humans, these are manual repetitive and rule based tasks. We’ve discussed what the bots are and what they can do, but how do they do it? I won’t bore you with too many technical details because it can get tricky in a hurry. But with traditional RPA bots, it performs these tasks the same way that a human would. The bot views what’s on the screen, and they click buttons and input text. The same way that a human would interact with an application’s user interface or UI. If you were to watch a screen recording of a bot interacting with the UI, you might think it’s a human in charge of a keyboard or mouse. You would see the application or the browser open and text being entered into the fields. While UI based interactions are useful, this type of RPA has limitations. At Robot Corp, we built our automation tech in a way that the bots can not only interact with the UI, but also through API’s and direct database interactions on a code level. This creates a more seamless interaction between applications and expands the ways in which the technology can be used. Okay, before going to work though, a digital worker needs something to trigger it, which can happen in a few different ways. First, a bot can be scheduled at a specific date and time for example, to generate a given report on the last day of the month at 1159 Your local timezone. A bot can also be triggered by an unscheduled event, the bot can watch, listen and wait for an email to be received, or for a new form to be filled on your website or for entering your CRM. Finally, the digital worker can be set in motion by a human worker triggering it in some way. telling it to go to automations that are scheduled or triggered automatically, can be considered to be unattended bots while the human triggered bots are considered to be attended. Finally turn our attention to sales and marketing. Ai now you might be wondering how RPA is different from automation functionality within the applications as well as the native integrations that we talked about earlier. And just how is RPA different or more useful than third party connector tools?
These are all good questions. But before I address them, I’ll go out on a limb and say if you’re watching this that you use marketing and sales automation tools and that you see value in them that I say there is no need to reinvent the wheel here as the built in automations are extremely valuable. The workflows that are within your HubSpot or Marketo account are optimized for automation within that platform. I recently got an email from Monday comm promoting the automation tools and the support docs show how useful and intuitive their automation can be within that product. The automations within these platforms follow the same principles as RPA. So by all means, please continue to take advantage of the automations within the applications that you already use. What I’m recommending here is that we go beyond what these can do, and beyond the limits of these off the shelf automations. Aside from these in products off the shelf automations native integrations are a powerful way for syncing and transferring data between two platforms. However, there are limits here as well. First, there is the issue of whether an integration exists. When evaluating a product, we always have to consider whether integration exists between the new product and our existing tech stack. Next, integrations don’t always perform the way we want or expect them to. I’m personally disappointed when an integrated integration didn’t function the way I thought or hoped it would not to name any names of course. There are cases here where there’s an all or nothing Take it or leave a Data Sync. But what if you only want to sync a portion of the data that meets certain criteria? You might be out of luck with these native integrations. RPA lets you do it your way and go beyond what’s available with these native integrations, including combining data from two or more platforms where integrations are typically one to one, or where you might be picky about how you sync the data in ways outside the integration. Or finally, where integration simply does not exist. And this could be a native integration or through middleware. One more note about integrations. Get more into this when talking about specific use cases where you might want to automate outside of your tech stack including with a web browser spreadsheet or old fashioned email inbox. RPA can help you here as well. Now let’s talk about which processes sales marketing teams use RPA for. The possibilities here really are endless, but I’ll cover some examples if they fall into three categories. Number one CRM, database hygiene and integrations. Number two, customer communication. And number three, the ever critical tricks and analytics reporting. Let’s start with databases and your CRM. First, if your product that you offer is a SaaS platform, there’s an issue that can arise in getting product signups and free trials into your CRM and marketing automation platform. How many of you have hounded your product or engineering teams to get product signups in your CRM so that you can add them to a nurture campaign or sales flow? I have. Depending on your products, database, and CRM, the integration may not be as easy as it sounds. Maybe the fields don’t map the way you’d hope. Oh, bots can be configured to fetch the data from your product and add it to your CRM. Now if you’re like me, you source your target account lists from multiple places, and it’s in a spreadsheet or even multiple spreadsheets tend to aid you in your database building. bots can not only do data if it’s found in multiple places, but it can also cross reference a cross reference list to find multiple touch points. For example, if you get a registration list from an event that you’ve sponsored, your bots can Search and Compare these contacts and companies to those in your CRM and account for these additional touch points. Now let’s talk about data enrichment. If you’re like Robo Corp, many of your forms fill product signups and content downloads are done with personal email addresses, as opposed to company emails. And a first name, last name and Gmail doesn’t give you nearly enough information to effectively market to the lead. Instead of having someone on your team manually search one by one for more information about these contacts, bots can automatically search other sources for an indie for that individual. Whether it’s looking in the data enrichment platform that you already subscribe to, or a publicly available data source like Google or LinkedIn search. These results can be automatically added to the record in your CRM or they can be exported into a spreadsheet for you to review.
Let’s move on to customer communication. Email automation is a very powerful thing and there are great tools out there so I won’t spend too much time on this. However, there are ways in which bots can streamline inbound and outbound customer communication outside of your marketing automation. When a customer or prospect reaches out to your company, either by phone, email, or chat, you want to immediately locate the record in your CRM and pull it up for your sales or support rep. This is especially true in high volume call centers. bots can search your customer database for an input from the customer, whether it’s an email address, phone number, account number or something else. It can then identify the record and put it in front of your employee equipping them with relevant information about the customer prospect. The bot can also route the call, email or chat based on a data point on the record, the assigned account rep lifecycle stage geography or something else. The possibilities for automation are endless here and they clearly expand beyond sales marketing into support and customer service. For an example relating to customer communication, I’ll rely on a partner of Robo corpse based in the UK called Lean automation. They built a content syndication bot that will allow your prospects and customers they’ve set bots to crawl websites for relevant information for their customers. sport news stories, calendar events and other resources along with a category for the content. Match the exported content with data points within their CRM records including industry or simply interests, and email this relevant content to segments of their audience making it seem as if the content were handpicked, especially for them. Think about it. Instead of having a human find relevant content and match it with CRM records and schedule one to one or mass marketing emails. This whole process can be done automatically, another example and a fun internal use of our own technology is generating certificates for our developer courses at robot Corp. After completing a course, the developer takes a quiz for the certification. The quiz takes place in type form. The bot is triggered when the person submits the responses in type form. And if the individual gets a passing score, the bot then records their newly certified status within our product and CRM using the email address match. It then takes the name from the type form inputs into our certificate template. Finally, it automatically emails the individual a shiny new pdf of their personalized certificate is a fairly simple example. But it was the first one where we used our own technology on this marketing customer success team that robot Corp. And it saved us many many hours and now on to the ever critical and sometimes elusive metrics and data reporting. If your organization wants to make data driven decisions, they need to have easy access to all of your data. And to be honest, who here has built reports by hand typing website traffic ad performance, outbound metrics and other data from its native source into a spreadsheet? I have. This is a safe space so you can admit if you have to. But how have you compile the data automatically regardless of the source of where it comes from? bots can pull data from multiple sources into a single reporting spreadsheet or dashboard including deals and revenue data from your CRM, paid ads performance from all channels, website traffic along with form fills and other conversions, sales outreach and engagement metrics including meetings booked and any and all reports from a third party agency or contractor regardless of the format that they give it to you and stop spending time compiling the reports and instead use the reports to provide you with insights and evaluate your programs and inform your future decisions. I want to thank you for staying with me until the end here. To continue on your automation journey and to get started on your RPA journey.
I encourage you to take this first step on your own or with your team. Ask yourself these questions. Which processes do you find yourself performing on repeat? Have you exhausted the off the shelf automation and integration options for solving this manual process? How much time do you spend on these processes? And how often? And what could you accomplish if the process were automated? Now I’m happy to discuss automation and RPA with you anytime, especially as it pertains to your sales marketing tech stack. A quick plug while RPA has been around for the past decade or so. Robo Corp is leading the way with the next generation or gen two RPA which makes the technology easier to implement and more accessible than ever before, especially with our consumption based pricing model, which runs counter to the traditional licensing model. This is all to say RPA is more within your reach than you might think. Bravo Corp team would be happy to help you explore our PA. And we’re also fortunate to have a global network of partners bring the technology to life in businesses and teams of all sizes. There are many examples of successful implementations on our website. And please reach out to continue the conversation. Thank you for your time and thank you to the ref Tech Summit organizers and sponsors for the fantastic event.