For organizations pursuing goals to increase revenue by gaining more clients, few things can be as important as ensuring that leads, regardless of their source, are being targeted at the right time, using the right medium and in a way that’s relevant to their current buying stage.
Communication meant for an existing customer can be very different from what’s meant for a prospect, and vice-versa, so it’s important to ensure that touchpoints with these various segments are customized to their respective personas.
Keeping these requirements in mind, there are many ways that Marketing Automation tools such as Marketo, Pardot and HubSpot, among others, are able to ensure that the most value is being generated out of every touchpoint and leads are able to seamlessly transition into customers. Below, we explore some of these in more detail.
1. Streamline your Customers Buyer Journey
Marketing automation platforms give you the capability of controlling exactly how your customers find you, the content they see, and how they navigate from being a prospect to becoming a customer.
Automation platforms allow you to customize the landing pages and forms that can generate valuable customer information through which you can assess their buying stage, and deliver content that is most appropriate to them.
Check out this Webinar by Marketo that goes over some of these features in more detail.
2. Automate Your Communications
As an organization, there are many advantages to be taken from frequently sending out communications to your customers, prospects, business partners and even your employees.
While traditional email marketing can meet these objectives, it comes at a cost of manpower since it may require contact lists to be manually maintained and tracked, then used in an email program, and monitored using various analytical tools. Marketing Automation tools are able to address this issue by giving you a single platform to execute all of these operations in a matter of seconds.
Tools such as Marketo have the ability to automatically maintain dynamic lists that keep your system up to date with new leads, prospects, employees and give you a quick way to communicate with any specific group within a few moments. You can also schedule your out-going media to various groups for the entire year (or longer!) if you choose to, and make any modifications you want as time goes on. Most automation platforms also have analytical and reporting capabilities integrated into the platform, which allow you to quickly see how your campaigns are performing without needing to invest further in tracking and analyzing data.
Check out this article from Salesforce regarding how to create and use Dynamic List with Pardot.
3. Speed up your lead outreach times
Platforms like Marketo and Pardot allow you to immediately alert sales teams when a prospect has requested more information, or when they have performed a predefined action on the website which implies interest.
This way, Sales teams can stay on the hunt by immediately getting in touch while the lead is still ‘hot’ and ensure their highest chances of closing the deal by reaching the prospect before a competitor does. Rules can even be set up which dictate which sales reps get which leads, allowing the process to be sped up and automated, instead of having an administrator manually assign leads and forward contact information.
More than just the speed to reach, it is even possible to keep track of what actions a prospect took, the pages they visited and what emails they interact with. This gives your sales team significant insights into the prospects’ interest before even reaching out to them, hence speeding up the service for these prospects.
4. Prioritize who to reach out to first with Lead Scoring
Perhaps one of the most significant abilities when it comes to lead prioritizing comes in the form of lead scoring. Using lead scoring, it is possible to score the interest levels and demographics of a lead by monitoring specific actions such as opening an email, clicking a link, or demographics such as Job title, location, etc. Each of these can be assigned a positive or negative score, based on how your organization perceives each action.
By using lead scores, Sales teams will know exactly who needs to be contacted immediately, and which leads may still be some time before they’re ready, giving them the ability to prioritize who to contact first, and giving higher-level management better insights into how the funnel is performing.
On platforms such as Marketo, Scoring can be further divided into Behavioural, Demographic, and Person Score. Behavioral Score allows you to add/subtract points to a lead based on certain actions they take (eg: visiting a web page could be +2 / Unsubscribe could be -10). With Demographic Score, a person could be assigned points based on their Job Title, Location, Company, and numerous demographically based criteria. Person Score is a combination of both these scores that can give you an overall point.
Check out the following post from Marketo about Lead Scoring.
5. Nurture leads that are not ready to buy yet and keep current customers informed
Nurture Campaigns are a very significant part of Marketing Automation platforms, and are widely used to communicate periodic messages to a variety of different groups within your organization.
Nurture Campaigns allows you to get full control over which groups in your database see what message, how frequently, and any actions they take on your web pages which can determine if they will get a message or not.
In the realm of Sales, the most popular use of Nurture campaigns is to engage with customers that are not ready to buy yet, or have disconnected from the funnel for various reasons. They can also be used to send personalized messages from’ specified lists of people, to make prospects feel like they are speaking with their Account Manager when in fact it is part of an automated process. This can help your Sales team stay in touch with more prospects, and allow them to have a ‘soft’ mechanism to keep prospects engaged without putting them off by reaching out too soon.
For example, A nurture campaign can be set up which sends important information to early-stage buyers about your offerings, and keeps prospects engaged till they are ready for the next steps. This can also be modified to look for certain actions from these prospects, such as no longer sending them emails if they haven’t opened the last one, or sending them a slightly different email if they clicked a link in the previous email.
The following article from Marketo dives deeper into the advantages and methods for Lead Nurturing.
6. Dynamically cater content based on Lead Demographics
Marketing Automation Platforms allow you to tailor your content based on various demographics of your audience. You can choose to provide a different message to your customers than what you send to prospects, or even modify the message based on Job title, location, language, or company size.
With Marketing Automation Platforms, it is possible to dynamically change the same email or webpage to appear differently to various groups based on these criteria, which gives marketers a distinct advantage to ensure that they aren’t doubling their efforts to send/create multiple versions of the same communication.
This allows you to gain full control over what content is viewed by which group, allowing you to gain significant traction with your customers since they will only receive communication that is tailored for them.
These resources from Marketo below highlight how to use Dynamic Content and Segmentation.