Like it or not, personalisation is becoming automated. And with more channels than ever before, marketers need to be disciplined with their acquisition and retention processes.
On average, only 20% of leads are sales-ready when they first come in. Recent research by marketo tells us that, done well, lead nurturing can result in 50% more sales leads at 33% lower cost per lead. But this doesn’t mean that the job is done once a customer makes a purchase.
Real customer value comes from retaining and cementing your relationship with them over time. More than just sending a welcome email, you need multiple triggers for each of your customer personas and buying stages that bounce-off how your customer behaves, and reacts accordingly.
It sounds complex – and it is – but there are some simple, sure-fire ways to pick the right system for your marketing automation needs.
The short version
Before you can select the right marketing automation tool for your business, you need to get your head around what marketing automation actually is.
In short – marketing automation enables business processes that acquire and retain customers by automating and personalising key processes.
This includes lead nurturing, lifecycle management, cross-sell, customer loyalty, plus more. And it helps to drive ROI by optimising each of these processes.
According to Forrester, 25% of marketers who adopt mature lead management processes report that sales teams contact prospects within one day. Only 10% of marketers report the same follow-up time without mature lead management processes.
Furthermore, research has found that event-triggered marketing can potentially save 80% of your direct mail budget. It’s not hard to see why more and more marketers are looking to marketing automation to optimise their CRM.
All systems go
According to the Annuitas Group, businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads.
But to get there, you need to get the system that speaks to your business needs.
Follow these key steps before purchasing marketing-automation software, and you’ll save yourself a lot of time and money.
Start small. Really small
50% of respondents to a 2013 Focus Research survey stated they have not realised the full value of their marketing automation investment, and less than 25% use their platforms to their full potential.
The lesson here? You can’t rush marketing automation – you need to create a plan.
Start by creating a larger vision based on a customer strategy, then pick one low-hanging fruit that you can tackle and get runs on the board with – lead nurturing, for example.
Then communicate your larger vision to invested departments. If your vision is unified across the business, it doesn’t matter what the tool or system is, you won’t achieve your outcomes.
This is why it’s really important to get crystal on what you’re trying to achieve before you start hunting for a tool.
Get funnel vision
47% of B2B marketers say they either close fewer than 4% of all marketing-generated leads, or they don't even know this metric.
Don’t be those guys. Your sales funnel = a veritable information and idea powerhouse. Rushing ahead means you’ll miss the opportunity to tap into it.
Ask even more questions: Who are we talking to? What do they need from us? Why do they care?
Looking to your funnel for answers will help you create targeted content that your sales team can leverage to nurture leads. And yes – that means you need to get your sales team involved from the outset.
Do all things, at once
Do you really want to purchase one marketing automation tool per department? We didn’t think so.
To avoid this, look for a tool that does the majority of what you need across the board. It’s better to have a tool that does say, 75% of everything you need, than several disjointed tools doing different things at once.
Plus, using a single platform will keep everyone on the same page – 46% of marketers with mature lead management processes have sales teams that follow up on more than 75% of marketing-generated leads.
Best of all, everyone in the business will share a common language and goal.
Seriously, keep it simple
Don’t get too data happy. While tempting, adding more fields is a rookie mistake that will only blur the actual insight behind the numbers.
Only the data will tell you how your programs, content consumption and conversion rates are affecting your funnel. So keep it as uncluttered as possible. Adding more angles to your reporting might not destroy your marketing automation efforts, but it will make things harder.
So take your emotions out of this mix and cut your tracking needs down to the bare essentials. When you do this, it’ll be easy to identify the value behind your metrics.
In summary, marketing automation is a huge, complex area. Get it wrong, and it’ll cost you time and resources. But get it right – starting with these simple steps – and you’ll be one step closer to transforming your customer’s experience of your business.
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