The idea of automating your marketing processes is appealing for obvious reasons – a good marketing automation program can free up time and energy without sacrificing any good leads. You can use marketing automation to help you distribute content, nurture leads, collect customer data, and see how well your efforts are performing. Yet for all of its potential, marketing automation may have you crash landing instead of soaring if you don’t have a well-executed plan. If you’re considering implementing a marketing automation system, here are the key processes you should have in place to maximize your return.
You can’t direct specific content to the right customers if you don’t have a handle on exactly who you’re talking to. Identifying your buyer personas is step one in creating an effective automated marketing campaign. Who are you selling to? What are their positions within an organization? What do you know about their habits? What is their typical budget and timeline? Answering these questions and building several robust buyer personas will put you on the right path to using the lead scoring and persona features of your marketing automation program.
Lead Scoring Framework
Done well, marketing automation platforms will evaluate a buyers’ behaviors and activities and send them emails based on their anticipated needs. Done haphazardly, automated marketing tools send everyone the same information throughout the sales funnel and miss an opportunity to personalize communication.
One important way to customize marketing materials and find nurtured leads for your sales team is by scoring your leads. For instance, a customer who has requested a demo of your software may be more ready to purchase than someone who has recently signed up for your newsletter. By assigning a point value to various trackable interactions in your automation platform, you can appropriately determine which customers your sales team should target, and which should be directed to other channels or nurtured.
Marketing and Sales Qualified Leads
Your company will encounter two important types of lead in your sales funnel: An MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead) and an SQL (Sales Qualified Lead). These types of leads are both important and they shouldn’t be confused. An MQL is a lead that has been qualified by marketing — usually by reaching a certain lead score, or engaging with a certain part of your website — while an SQL is an MQL that has been vetted by sales and determined to hold some promise for conversion. Understanding when to keep a lead in marketing versus when they’re ready to go to sales should be discussed between your marketing and sales teams, and continually reevaluated.
Marketing automation software can only enhance a sales process — it won’t give you one. Before you’re ready to get the most out of your automation, you should have an established process in place for how the sales team will receive leads and convert them into customers.
The easiest way to figure out how to integrate a sales process into your automated marketing plan is to talk to your sales team. They know better than anyone how to tell a customer is ready to buy – they usually know a hot lead versus a cold one when they see it. This information should be used as the foundation to inform your automated processes. How many interactions will it take to turn a prospect into a buyer? Is it better to direct customers to a whitepaper after their first interaction or send them directly to a sales rep? The answers to these questions should be in place before you set up your marketing automation software.
Marketing automation software lets you sync your marketing and sales teams together. Do you have an overwhelmed sales team and a list of leads you’ve let grow cold? Setting up marketing automation may be the solution. Automation goes beyond trigger emails, but you can only tap into the full potential of it if you set up the necessary processes in advance.
Interested in using marketing automation? Reach out to RelationEdge Digital Agency today for a free initial assessment.