5 February 2021
2020 has changed many things. This age of uncertainty has challenged the norm of how we work and how companies around the world operate. However, there are a few things that – thankfully – never change. Marketing automation is one of these things and has shown to be an important tool for businesses since its inception.
Over the last two decades, marketing automation has earned its irreplaceable side by digital marketers. It is the single best tool that marketers have to find out more about their leads and create content that is engaging and relevant to encourage sales and growth. You can use automation to create highly personalised email marketing campaigns, landing pages that address specific lead interests, or even social media posts based off the top of your customers’ minds.
There’s no argument that marketing automation is a valuable and incredibly flexible tool for modern marketers, however, many users end up missing its true value. Marketing automation can make your campaigns more efficient, but the true value is how effective it can make them. In essence, this is the purpose of marketing automation – creating marketing that is effective in its purpose and not just efficient with its use.
Many marketers find themselves asking the question of how they can begin to optimise their campaign effectiveness with marketing automation. The answer is, as with most tools, is to start with what it is exceptionally good at.
What sets marketing automation tools apart from other engagement options are its ability to nurture leads through a process called lead management.
The past year has been a long one to say the least – so it’s only fair to give you a little refresher of what lead management actually is.
Lead management is the process of developing and managing relationships with your potential customers. It assumes that most people need to take a few steps before making the decision to purchase your product or hire your services.
Those steps, whether they involve simply finding out about your product or being taken step by step to convince them of your value, is known as the customer decision journey. Lead management is how you guide potential customers through that journey.
Generating hundreds of leads every day is no longer enough. Many leads lose interest, are lost to competitors, or simply don’t have enough information to make an informed decision. Lead management is the solution to closing those leads by nurturing them until they’re ready to become customers.
On a technical level, lead management consists of multiple aspects and disciplines. These help marketers understand who they’re talking to, how they should address each customer and how to ultimately make the sale.
At Engagement Factory, lead management forms the first of two parts to generating demand. It consists of a combination of seven core elements to help manage leads:
Through the above seven elements, you can master lead management and begin to generate demand for your company. Let’s take a look at each of these elements and how marketing automation supports them.
The first step for any business is understanding who your customers are and what they desire. This helps you create content that is not only relevant but engaging for the kinds of people you want to attract as your customers.
With the amount of data and information provided by marketing automation, you can create detailed customer personas based on real interactions from your leads. Marketing automation can identify the actions leads take before becoming customers and give you more information on who they are and what they need. With this information, you can find commonalities between your customers and create customer personas that are effective.
Every lead has to undergo a customer decision journey before they become a customer. This journey includes the information they need to acquire before making a decision to purchase. The challenge is knowing what content each lead needs to help them proceed and delivering that content to them.
Marketing automation helps with this process by providing critical data such as how invested leads are in your company, what information they are aware of and other essential information. It also helps deliver this content at the right time automatically, so you only need to concern yourself with what to say and not when to say it.
Not everyone is a great fit for your business, and cutting those prospects loose so you can focus on those most likely to buy is a part of lead management.
Marketing automation can be used to help find the most valuable customers for your company. It achieves this by providing customers with the information and content they need at the right time while evaluating them based on their interactions with that content.
Should a lead show that they are unlikely to become customers, it can automatically disqualify them from further communications, or keep nurturing them until they are ready. This enables marketing automation to pass higher quality leads who are likely to convert to your sales team while saving their time and effort by avoiding those who are unlikely to provide value for your company.
Poor lead quality is caused by the misalignment between marketing and sales. To resolve some of this misunderstanding, marketing automation can score leads according to the client’s interest in the product.
If a lead interacts with your content and performs promising actions for your company, their score increases and you can send them more in-depth content designed to help facilitate a sale. On the other hand, if they perform negative actions and do not show any interest in your content, their score decreases, and can even result in them becoming disqualified as a customer.
Ultimately, you can then use this score to identify what content each lead needs to continue further down the buyer’s journey and towards your sales department.
Marketing automation helps build trust in potential clients by keeping the channels of communication open and constant. It creates the link between what your lead is interested in and what your company offers by staying top of mind all the time.
This doesn’t mean you have to put your marketers on communication duty every day with leads that may or may not make a purchase in the hopes of closing a sale though. You can set up a sequence of emails to be sent out to your leads as a follow-up, a friendly reminder of your business, or what you have to offer. What’s better, is that these emails can be personalized with each lead’s specific interests to further persuade the potential buyer into using your product or service.
Marketing automation keeps the line of communication going, nurturing leads with the right message at the right time.
When your lead completes a form on your website expressing interest in your company’s products or services, the faster you drive that person towards a sales handshake the more likely it will be that it succeeds.
Your marketing automation platform can send these leads marketing material to keep them interested in the moment they become aware of your company. According to Harvard Business Review, your chances of closing a deal after the first five minutes of customer outreach diminishes ten-fold. After ten minutes, it decreases by 400% before a lead becomes cold or turns to your competitor. With marketing automation, you enable your salespeople to offer an instantaneous response.
In this way, marketing automation helps get your leads started on becoming customers faster than any manual process and helps facilitate that all-important first sales handshake.
During the entire customer decision journey, reports and analytics are important to help you get the most out of your lead management efforts. Many customers or even leads may turn cold or otherwise fall off of the customer decision journey. With marketing automation, you can pinpoint exactly where this event occurs, potential issues with the content and what could be the root cause. This helps you re-engage and repair your customer relationships.
It helps that marketing automation workflows can be triggered from nearly any event you can think of – including ‘non-events’ such as if a customer or lead has not engaged with your marketing. Marketing automation can send messages as reminders to those who haven’t contacted you in a while or have simply not responded.
This gives you an opportunity to automatically re-engage leads and establish a new connection. Should the leads respond negatively or not at all, marketing automation can remove them from your contact list to make way for more engagement opportunities.
These are just a few examples of what lead nurturing and marketing automation can achieve for your own digital marketing needs. There are countless ways you can apply marketing automation to grow your revenue, extend your reach and turn more clicks into customers.
Download our free lead management guide here. We have an entire resource section dedicated to helping you achieve success with your digital marketing campaigns – so take your time and check them out.