As content marketers we know the impact that razor-sharp, targeted content marketing can have on lead generation: nothing short of exciting. The content however is only 75% of the job. The other 25% is understanding the leads that your content drives. To implement and manage a content marketing strategy effectively it helps to have some marketing automation software at your disposal. With this in mind, we have created a two part-investigative series that uncovers how marketing automation can not only improve your sales leads but help you qualify and understand them better than ever before.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation is the name given to software platforms used to automate repetitive, interlinked marketing tasks seamlessly. This automation helps increase efficiency and productivity and allows you to be more targeted, more informed and more responsive in your sales and marketing.
Marketing automation can streamline processes such as sales, follow-up, upselling, customer care, relationship marketing, customer retention, and marketing ROI measurement.
The three roles of marketing automation
Marketing automation can lend a hand across three broad areas:
A mind-boggling depth and breadth of marketing data, including detailed prospect / customer interactions and behaviours, allowing you to segment and target the right message to each customer.
2. Relationship marketing
Create, manage, track and automate conversations with prospects and customers across online and offline channels.
Test, measure, and optimize effectiveness and ROI. Think of this as the place you go to understand what worked, what didn’t, and where you can improve.
Marketing automation to qualify sales leads
Marketing automation has the clever ability to track a contact’s behaviour and allows you to use this behaviour to qualify your leads at various stages of the buying cycle. Let’s look at what this means for your sales team:
- Say goodbye (almost) to cold calling. Marketing automation allows you to implement programs which nurture leads until they appear ready for sale. The idea is to deliver well-qualified leads that have displayed buying intent — meaning your sales team spend time in front of prospects who are ready to buy - instead of cold calling. Dashboards show which content each lead has viewed and what actions they’ve taken, so you can talk to them about their specific needs.
- Shorten the sales cycle. In our experience nurtured leads close faster. Marketing automation allows you to send prospects content and information that is relevant to their apparent sales readiness, guiding them through the buying cycle. When a lead displays buying signals, they’re ready to be passed to sales.
- Make the most of email. Sales reps can use marketing automation systems to automatically personalise messages, send them at the optimal times and format them appropriately for a particular customer. Trigger emails can be customized to inbound actions too, so that prospects receive personalised communication.
- Pre-qualify. Define characteristics, such as title or industry, and unique behaviours, such as attending a webinar, that indicate a prospect’s likely readiness to buy. Prospects that meet your pre-defined conditions are assigned to lead groups, such as “Marketing Qualified,” “Sales Accepted,” or “Sales Qualified,” taking the guesswork out of a lead’s status.
- Use scoring to prioritize your time and attention. By assigning a score to lead behaviours marketing automation allows you to track a lead’s progress through the sales funnel. For example, if you can safely assume that visiting your pricing page is a buying signal, you assign a high score to that action. Scores then accumulate accordingly, so that when a buyer passed a certain score threshold, a notification to the correct sales team is sent allowing them to respond to that lead quickly and appropriately.
Want more info? Download our 10-step guide to choosing the right marketing automation platform.
Next week: In part 2 of Marketing Automation Defined we weigh up the different marketing automation platforms for small, medium and large sized b2b businesses.
Brand chemistry is a strategic inbound marketing agency that goes the extra mile to deliver results for our b2b clients. Our inbound marketing specialists are HubSpot certified and use the latest techniques to provide our clients with a steady stream of relevant new leads.