Building a scalable company relies heavily on building a proportional sales funnel -- a process that should be highly systemized for organizations with lofty growth goals. And while marketing automation software can help streamline this process, it can be expensive. Before you invest your time and resources in a software solution, be sure to look for these 3 signs so you know you're getting the most out of your purchase. Sign #1: Email Marketing Opt-Outs Have Skyrocketed As a company scales, it's necessary for lead volume to scale at a proportional rate. And the need for increased lead volume during this delicate growth phase can often give way to temptations to rent industry email lists. The result: befuddled marketing and sales managers who can't fathom the freefalling lead-to-customer rates for what was, just a few months ago, a highly sought after product or service. The mistake here is that with scalability came a loss of the personal touch common to early-life startup sales efforts, when every prospective customer was treated like royalty. (Remember?) So, you need a way to reintroduce a 1-to-1 marketing process without sacrificing time and resources. With marketing automation software, your marketing team will have the ability to segment leads in several key ways: Industry Employee role Company size This segmentation will naturally help your email marketing conversion rate -- messaging and lead nurturing offers are once again tailored to the individual, and not a Frankenstein list of strangers with widely different motivations and pain points. Sign #2: You're not as nimble as You Once Were Perhaps the greatest advantage of a startup is its ability to pivot strategies on a dime. However, as companies scale, and systems and processes become more rigid, they tend to lose this natural agility. But among the key benefits to marketing automation software is the ability to implement content-oriented marketing campaigns on the fly. Assuming the digital content already exists, entire campaigns can be executed in a matter of hours using pre-existing branded collateral. For example, let's say you're a B2B software-as-a-service company and you've recently completed a study on the increased adoption of SaaS project management tools among Enterprise-level companies. After analyzing Google Trends and various market research reports, you find this topic to be on the verge of tipping -- weeks ahead of earlier predictions. But after earning buy-in from management, you launch the campaign ahead of schedule by building custom call to action graphics, landing pages, and email follow-ups -- all from a single UI and without needing an IT professional. Sign #3: Communication Between Marketing and Sales is a Mess In their early days, companies were often a handful of likeminded professionals huddled together in a common space. Naturally, it was easy for everyone to be on the same page. But as a company scales, divisions are separated, often with their own spaces and communication styles. The result can be a confusing mess of email and meeting notes. Because marketing automation software grew up with cloud technology, integration between marketing tools and other apps tends to be relatively easy to make happen. HubSpot's integration with Salesforce is a great example of the benefits to be had when two first-class systems are aligned: Sales teams are provided with lead scoring and rich intelligence in order to better personalize sales tactics. New contacts in either system are automatically synced in order to implement hybrid marketing/sales processes, thus reducing funnel drop out. Closed-loop reporting can show which marketing tactics resulted in closed business, thus allowing teams to continually adapt strategies. By linking your marketing automation software to your CRM system, Sales and Marketing are better able to analyze activities along the entire sales funnel, and collaborate to refine the process; a very good reason to make that investment. Photo credit: mlmsummittraining.com Bio: Jacob Penner is a consultant at CloudTactix, a digital marketing agency based in Madison, WI, specializing in content marketing strategy and development. Jacob blogs regularly at CloudTactix.com/blog. Connect with Jacob on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.