Get the most out of your marketing automation investment

Are you getting the most value out of your marketing automation platform? Columnist Mary Wallace explains why you should be using it to nurture quality leads.

automation-gear-manufacturing-tech-ss-1920There’s no argument that the pipeline of new leads — ones that are well-qualified and ready to buy — is the responsibility of marketing. Content and a variety of tools in the marketing technology stack are what today’s marketers use to make this happen.

One of the most basic of those tools is a marketing automation platform. Regardless of size, longevity or customer makeup, over half of all B2B marketers use (or plan to use) marketing automation to communicate with prospects and customers.

And communicate we do — with email after email focused on a call to action that converts the lead to the next buying cycle.

But conversions can be painfully slow, and when they are, an investment in a marketing automation platform can seem like almost a waste of money.

No business has money to burn… especially not on a tool that doesn’t end up being a panacea for driving quality leads through the pipeline. So here are four tips for getting the most out of your marketing automation investment.

Get personal

Personalized emails lift transaction rates and revenue six times higher than non-personalized emails. Yet 70 percent of brands fail to personalize their email messages.

But getting personal can seem overwhelming with the need to create unlimited emails with slightly different messages. Instead, use the power of your marketing automation tool’s dynamic content block to bring in specific words based on an existing data point.

For example, the job function field can be used to modify the message. If the recipient’s function is financial, speak to them about cost savings; if the recipient’s job function is operations, use words about process improvement. Then add the dynamic content block to your single email, and you’re done!

Plug the leaky funnel

Untold amounts of money are spent on generating new leads. But for leads that are not ready to buy — which, on average, is 73 percent — ignoring them is like dumping money down the drain.

Communicating with those leads about benefits and solutions through a sequence of emails is a proven technique for converting them into customers. But don’t get caught in the batch-and-blast trap.

Instead use marketing automation to define a sequence of email communications (lead nurture) that speak directly to leads. Start small with one sequence, and then expand.

Create sequences for different buying cycles and different needs. Programmatically react to what the lead is doing (e.g., clicks, website visits) by moving them between sequences to make sure the right content is communicated at the best frequency.

No, the send size isn’t as large. But using marketing automation to nurture prospects can result in an 80-percent increase in leads.

Focus sales on the best quality leads

Today’s buyers are savvy. They want to do their own research, and they will let you know when they’re ready to buy.

Sending every new lead to sales is a waste of their time. So is sending existing leads who downloaded a piece of content or simply clicked on an email.

Sure, this is more volume, but it takes the sales team’s eye off the customers who are truly ready to buy.

Create lead-scoring models to send only those leads who are ready to buy to sales. Assign (and remove) points based on both engagement and demographics. When the threshold is met, the lead can be sent to sales.

This doesn’t mean the leads not sent to sales are wasted. Remember lead nurturing? Using that concept will ensure ongoing communication until the lead is ready to buy.

Clean it up

Leads are the lifeblood of any company. Yet the good ones, those who will become customers, are invariably bucketed in along with a mass of records of people who are simply not interested and never will be. As a result, it’s hard to focus on the ones who matter.

Build a re-engagement campaign to go after these dormant leads. See if they are really interested. If they respond, great! Keep up the communication. If they don’t, remove them.

Yes, the overall volume of your database is smaller. But who cares? The leads you have now are the ones who want to be there.

Now it’s up to you to convert them. This means segmenting your database based on needs, actions and buying cycle.

Don’t be afraid of small count segments. This simply means you know a lot about the leads in each segment.

Keep the conversation flowing with a sequence of personalized communications. And systemically identify when the leads are ready to talk to sales.

Not only are you getting the most out of your marketing automation investment, but you are leveraging the tool that 78 percent of marketers cited as being their primary driver of revenue.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.


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