Marketing automation software is used to automate marketing processes, especially where the processes are simple and repetitive. This helps to relieve pressure from the marketing team, who can then deliver higher quality leads to the sales team. This is beneficial in itself, yet marketing automation should also enhance business processes, nurture leads and ultimately drive sales.
Automating marketing and sales processes can be, and should be, incredibly profitable for a business, but we should emphasis that it shouldn’t always be relied upon as the only method of lead generation. Your business needs a steady flow of organic traffic, usually generated by the creation of relevant, optimised content. Marketing automation can then be used to enhance nearly all processes within your sales funnel, resulting in more sales-ready leads with less input from your team.
It kind of sounds too good to be true, but if it’s done well then marketing automation really can work wonders for your business. Here’s how:
Track Your Leads Across Multiple Channels
Gone are the days of single-minded marketing automation that examines only email clicks. Your leads are active across multiple channels. They are browsing social media, searching the web, attending webinars and events. Marketing automation tools can track each engagement, and lack of engagement, across all of your active channels to build up a clear picture of your prospects and their buying behaviour.
This information can then be used to determine the content that will most effectively convey your message to particular leads, where they are up to in the funnel, and how they can be moved towards the sale.
Segment and Nurture Leads
You don’t want to throw all of your content blindly at every lead, or email everyone on your list without any good reason, or throw hard sales content at someone who is a first-time browser. This sort of ineffective bombardment strategy can really put prospects off.
Few leads are sales-ready. They need nurturing, but first they need segmenting. Though this involves a necessary amount of generalisation, you are essentially getting to know your prospects, and then grouping them appropriately in a way that makes it easier to keep them in the conversation.
Leads can be segmented into groups with similar interests and buyer behaviours. There are two ways to do this, though in reality a marketing automation algorithm would account for both:
- Explicit – This is where leads are segmented according to a certain explicit behaviours, information clearly given or demographic. For example, all leads who have purchased in the past 6 months may e segmented, or all prospects who are in a certain industry, or all who live in the UK.
- Implied – This is a little more subtle. Prospects can be segmented according to activity and behaviour. For example, leads who show interest in a given product twice in a certain number of days may be more interested in buying. Leads who read on a certain topic on the site blog may be linked with certain product types or niches.
Segmentation is used to deliver certain content or experiences according to the group’s interests or intentions. Marketing automation software is particular good at recording and analysing explicit and implied signals, which are then used to segment and nurture your leads.
Personalise Your Website
Marketing automation uses lead and customer data to personalise pretty much every part of the buyer experience, including their interactions with your landing page and website. Most digital businesses rely on their website for converting leads into customers, and so this is an excellent way to improve conversion rates.
For example, if a lead has recently purchased a smartphone, they can be shown related add-ons, accessories and tech products. Marketing automation tools can use information such as interests, location, intent, industry and buyer behaviours to deliver relevant and enticing content. Even anonymous visitors to your site can be given a customized experience using the data available. The result is better impressions, long term relationships, and more sales!
Send Triggered Emails To Encourage Sales
Email marketing is still a very effective tool, and marketing automation opens up the door for a particularly effective form of email marketing known as ‘triggered’ emails. The concept is simple: when a lead takes a certain action, they trigger an automatic email which is sent according to that action.
- Let’s say a prospect views your pricing page twice in two days, but doesn’t make an enquiry. Your marketing automation system picks up on this and sends an email to prompt them to offer a price to close the deal.
- Your lead has watched several webinars recently, so a personalized email is triggered to invite them to the next physical or digital paid event.
- A lead has an item in their basket for over a week, so an email is sent out to remind them that they are about to make a purchase, and to thank them for their loyalty.
The beauty of the triggered email is that the timing is always right. As long as you set sensible parameters, the emails will land in your lead’s inbox at the perfect point to gently encourage them to move towards the sale. Triggered emails can transform prospects into paying customers without your sales team even having to lift a finger.
Moves Prospects Through Sales Funnel With Lead Scoring
The job of your marketing team is to generate leads and to move them through the sales funnel. The sales team take over when the lead is deemed ready to make a purchase, and usually take a more personal approach to closing the sale. How do you know when your leads are sales-ready?
Lead scoring is a genius way to move prospects on a coherent journey through the sales funnel, and then pass them over effectively to your sales team at the key moment when they are ready.
Prospects are automatically given a plus or minus score for every action they take. Reading a blog post might score +1, while clicking on product, services or other late-stage pages scores +10. Inactivity for a month may cause a decay of -10. These scores indicate where the lead is at in the buying process.
Once a certain threshold is reached, the lead is passed automatically to the next stage of the funnel, which could result in them seeing different content and triggered emails. They can be passed to the sales team only when they have achieved a certain lead score. This improves, and often shortens the buying process.
Provide Insights To Sales Team
Once your leads are handed over to the sales team, their job is to convert and close the sale, while continuing to nurture the long term relationship. Marketing automation tools can be used to provide insights to your sales teams in a readable format. Tracked data is presented on a dashboard showing lists of actions, so that the team can approach correctly and personalise the sales experience.
The entire sales process can also be automated, depending on your business, but in most cases it is better to combine the insights of marketing automation software with the trust and empathy of human interaction.
Track Results and ROI
Digital marketing can seem like an almost ethereal industry at times. It can be difficult to see results, and to know what is causing rises and falls in ROI. Yet stab-in-the-dark SEO tactics are not good enough. You need to know what works and what doesn’t, and you need to be able to prove it. It’s all about customer acquisition cost. How much does it cost you to onboard new customers, and what is their value?
Broken down to the level of individual marketing programs, you need to know how effective your campaigns are at acquiring customers and what profit they bring. Marketing automation software can be used to track the effectiveness of every sales and marketing activity that you run. With this date, you can improve existing campaigns and programs, remove any that aren’t producing decent returns, and continue to make improvements to your ROI.
Marketing automation systems relieve pressure and improve the functionality of your marketing and sales teams, but they should also improve your ROI by taking leads through the sales process in an effective and proven manner. Leadfreak are big believers in marketing and sales automation, and can set you up with a system that is completely tailored to your business.