Taking the Toil Out of Marketing
Let the Repetitive Become Automatic
Highest and Best Use of People
Marketing automation, when set up properly, executes many of your current manual marketing and sales activities for you. Marketing automation can qualify leads, nurture leads, and segment them into more highly-targeted groups. It can turn a lead over to sales if and only if that lead meets rigid qualification criteria, thus making your sales team far more efficient and effective.
More ROI – Less Cost
The payoff can be many more leads and a shorter sales cycle, increasing your ROI significantly.
In short, marketing automation gets the right information to the right prospects and customers at the right time. That is, if someone expresses an interest in a topic, the system can send him or her more on that topic. If interest wanes, the system can automatically adjust what’s sent until interest is re-gained.
Through the Pipeline
As the prospect’s interest and engagement grows, the system can automatically “move them down the pipeline,” until their interest reaches a pre-defined threshold that says they’re ready to buy or ready to talk to a sales person.
That’s what I mean by “getting the right information to the right prospects at the right time.”
Marketing automation does all this for you. It’s a highly automated software system that’s capable of advanced if-then-else and “what if?” logic so that your prospects only receive the specific information that meets their current interested or need. And, because it runs on the Internet instead of on your servers, it’s accessible from anywhere in the world.
Marketing automation is also usually is linked with a “customer relationship management” program like Salesforce.com or Microsoft Dynamics. This allows for automatic delivery of leads and other relevant information to the sales team, alerting them to a lead’s “readiness.”
Marketing Automation is NOT an Email System
Marketing automation is NOT an Email system like Constant Contact. Those systems can’t qualify leads, segment them AUTOMATICALLY into sub-groups, or identify their “sales readiness.” They contain no if-then-else logic that sends prospects ONLY the information in which they are interested. Their opt-out rates are considerably higher, and for good reason.
When you understand the difference between a simple Email system like Constant Contact or AWeber, you’ll also understand the value of a full-blown marketing automation system. Let’s break down the key differences in terms specific to marketing:
Simple Email programs force you to manually segment leads into different groups based on interest. Marketing automation can segment leads dynamically based on a variety of factors, such as:
- Open/not open an email;
- Click or not click on a link in an email;
- Visit a web page;
- Click on a link on a web page;
- Visit a landing page and download a report or take some other pre-defined action;
- Sign up for and attend a Webinar;
Lead Scoring (Filtering)
Because marketing automation systems track the actual behavior of your prospects – click on a link, visit a web page, etc. – they also have the ability to assign a “score” to any action (plus or minus).
If you think of this as a scale of 1-100, where 100 is “buying the product” and 70 is “ready to buy”, you can not only see where prospects are in the sales cycle, you can adjust your messaging to them based on their current score.
For example, those with a mid-level score might receive more “sales-oriented” messages to see if they’re ready to buy. If they ignore the messages, you’ll decrease their score and put them on a “nurture” program. If they respond to the messages, you’ll increase their score and send an alert to your sales team for immediate action.
Sales Force Automation
Most marketing automation systems have direct interfaces to “CRM” (Customer Relationship Management) or sales force automation systems, such as Salesforce.com.
When the system adds a new lead, that lead can be assigned to a sales person or sales team. The system can send “alerts” to the sales team when specific events are triggered, such as clicking on a link in an Email or downloading a report.
And, when the prospect’s Lead Score reaches a pre-defined threshold, the marketing automation system can alert the CRM system (the sales team) about the lead’s readiness.
This way, your sales team is occupied with QUALIFIED and READY prospects instead of having to weed out the “lookers” on their own.
The Magic Behind the System
Marketing automation systems are “just” software. But, what differentiates them from something like Constant Contact is the intelligence of the system.
In fact, many marketing automation systems (like Manticore shown below) let you build complex flow charts that will automatically segment leads, score leads, and deliver ONLY the information they need when they’re ready to receive that information.
This “If-then-else” conditional logic is what truly separates a marketing automation system from a simple “lead management system” or Email system.
This magic is also what makes marketing automation systems far more challenging to implement. You have to map out expected or anticipated behavior, and then watch carefully so that you can adjust the flow of information to your prospects over time.
It’s anything but a “build it and leave it alone” system. A marketing automation system requires a great deal of preparation AND maintenance, but the rewards are almost shockingly wonderful.