Four Ways Companies are Underutilizing Marketing Automation Systems

Marketing automation is technology that lets you engage with buyers and influence sales in a way that makes your marketing and sales team more effective.

According to one study, nurtured leads produce an average 20% increase in opportunities compared to non‑nurtured leads. Imagine if you could instantly make your whole marketing budget 20% more effective. That 20% will produce a large ROI in additional sales revenue.

The goal of most marketing automation programs is to increase the quality of the leads that are generated, and increase the productivity of the marketing team and the sales force. If the marketing automation program is implemented correctly, it will result in measurable improvements in the form of higher campaign conversion rates, higher email open rates, higher sales close rates, and a shorter sales cycle.

In my experience, there are four ways that people are underutilizing their marketing automation systems: [Read more…]

The Buying Process Has Changed: Three Things To Do Now

Are you prepared for the way your customers are buying today?

The buying process has changed dramatically in the last five to ten years. In the past, especially in business to business sales and big ticket consumer sales, your sales team was really in control of the buying process because they provided most of the information that buyers needed. They were the primary link between the buyers and your product.

Today, that has changed dramatically. Buyers can get information on your products and services in a variety of ways. Buyers are now in control of the research process due to their access to a [Read more…]

Lead Nurture Campaign Step 7 – Manage and Optimize the Lead Nurture Program

Once you have the strategy in place, the content created, and the system designed, it’s time to start using it. You can kick off the campaign with your in-house email list and start watching as emails get sent to new people who register on your website.

The software will give you all of the reporting you’d expect from an email system such as open rate, click through rates, opt-out and conversion rates.  Based on this data, you should continuously work to improve the program by removing emails and offers that are not performing well, and testing new content.  You can also see if entire segments are not performing as well as others, and redesign the strategy for that group if necessary.

A fully implemented lead nurture program gives you the ability to quickly and easily follow-up with leads in a way that naturally moves them through the buying cycle.  If designed properly, it will increase the number of quality leads and sales, and enable you to be as thorough as possible in communicating with your potential customer, all with much less time and effort than is required from traditional marketing techniques.

For more insight to help you build a complete Lead Nurture program, download the entire white paper here.

Lead Nurture Campaign Step 4 – Touch Points, Timing and Triggers

Once you have a solid understanding of your market segments and your customer’s buying cycle, and you’ve created the content and emails for the campaign, you’ll be ready to think through the timing and triggers for the program.

First, you’ll want to think about how many touch points you will create for the program.  Will you send three follow-up emails or six, or ten?  The number of emails you decide on will depend on the complexity of the sale and the length of the buying cycle.  The longer the cycle, the more you’ll want to send over time.

Timing is also important.  Will you send emails every day, every two days, or once a week?  Again, that depends on how many messages you will be sending and over what time period. For most campaigns, weekly touch points work fine.  You’ll want to avoid mailing to your list too frequently, as this increases the risk of high opt out rates. You’ll also need to consider how long the campaign will last.  Will you send messages over two weeks, two months or a year?

Triggers are additional emails that can be sent based on specific activity taken by the user.  This activity can be a website visit, or even clicking on a specific page. For example, if I’m receiving early stage technology emails about my camcorder purchase and then one day I visit the pricing section of the website, you can set up the system to automatically send me a “free shipping” message since I may be farther down the cycle than you thought.

Triggers can be powerful tools, but you should avoid making it feel too much like “Big Brother” is watching.  In the example above, you would not want to say, “I noticed that you visited the pricing page and you may be interested in…”  You can be more general and still make people feel that you are speaking to them very personally.

One campaign we recently created for a client consisted of four touch points sent over a two month period of time with an additional trigger message that was sent the day after the user re-visited the website.

For more insight to help you build a complete Lead Nurture program, download the entire white paper here.

Lead Nurture Campaign Step 1 – Market Segmentation

The most important step in building your Lead Nurture Program is correctly segmenting your market and lists. Before you sign the license agreement for a new marketing automation tool and create the PO, you’ll need to think about the audience for the campaign.  Are you going to focus on prospects who’ve signed up on your website, prospects generated by your sales team, an existing list of prospects, current or new customers?  Each of these audiences has a different relationship with your company and specific needs.

You may also want to look at different segments within these groups.  Will the campaign be more effective if you address them by industry, or by their job function or level within the organization?

Your sales team does this very naturally, so you may want to interview them to see how it’s done.  Before the best sales people deliver their pitch, it’s natural for them to ask a series of questions so that they can respond with a message that is specifically tailored to the prospect.  Marketing automation can follow this process so that it happens quickly and easily without human intervention. This way, your sales team can spend their time closing deals and working with their best customers.

Once you identify the segments you want to focus on, you’ll know the data you need to get from prospects in order to personalize information for them.   For example, if you want to personalize your messages by industry, job function or size of company, you’ll need to collect this data and organize your lists accordingly.  Good segmentation will also help you develop a content plan for emails and offers that are personalized to each segment.

By identifying all of the segments you want to focus on, you will be able to create a strategy to collect the data you need and build the content necessary for a complete Lead Nurture program.

For more insight to help you build a complete Lead Nurture program, download the entire white paper here.