Marketing automation makes a lot of promises.
Essentially, leads come in through traditional channels – paid and organic search, sales calls, etc. Once they enter the pipeline, they begin receiving communications from your company. Their response to a communication dictates what happens next. Do they respond to the email? If so, they take one path. If not, they take another. If they interact with your company on social media, that’s noted as well. Lead scoring helps the sales team identify the hottest prospects and focus their efforts accordingly. Subsequently, that well-placed attention helps drive your company’s bottom line.
Sounds great, right? When executed correctly, it absolutely is. But the key is that it must be executed correctly.
Your Lead Gen
First, it’s important that lead gen not become an afterthought when a marketing automation system launches. The more qualified the leads that come in the door, the more likely they are to be successfully nurtured into paying customers. Make sure you have a good SEO strategy, are deploying a strong paid search plan, and have created landing pages that prominently feature your top offer and are driving leads into your database.
Ideally, marketing automation software will have strong ties to your CRM system through automatic, real-time data transfer. The sales team will know when and how often a prospect engages with your company, and when it’s time to step in and close the deal.
Some legacy CRMs may not have the technical capabilities necessary to integrate with a marketing automation system. Full integration is ideal; however, if that’s not possible, make sure that regular data transfer between the two systems is in place (whether manual or through automated database calls), and that your sales and marketing teams are well-versed on using both.
Someone has to write all of the communications the leads receive through your marketing automation system. As with anything written on behalf of your company, it’s critical that every piece be well-written, invoke your overall brand tone and highlight competitive differentiators. But even more, it must be relevant to the lead’s unique needs at their particular place in the customer life cycle.
Touch base with your “feet on the street.” Work with your sales and marketing teams to make sure everyone understands how a marketing automation system will impact how they do their jobs.
Finally, keep tabs on your metrics. How are the automated campaigns working? Do you need to revise strategy or change content? Remember that nothing should be set in stone; adapt to what resonates with your leads and spurs them into action.
At its best, a marketing automation system can maximize efficiencies and help your company increase revenue. But if not executed correctly, it could end up relegated to the graveyard of good intentions. Follow these tips and rely on the metrics to tell you what’s working, and let the system speak for itself.
Betsy Piasente is the Digital Media Supervisor at Flying Cork. She is a copywriter and experienced B2B and B2C account manager, and has worked with such clients as OfficeMax and the National Security Agency.