After few years working with companies who deployed Marketing Automation I realized that in many cases such deployment doesn’t return expected value and may put you as the owner of the project in an uncomfortable position.
This is mainly due to insufficient usage of the Marketing Automation potential. Marketing Automation when used properly is a powerful tool helping companies to generate high quality sales leads and positioning the marketing teams as a source of value not cost.
In the Marketing Automation CMO Expert Series we will cover the main benefits of having a properly deployed and used Marketing Automation system.
Chapter 1 – Engaging Prospects
In this chapter you will learn how Marketing Automation solutions can help you generate high quality leads by engaging them at a very early stage of customer journey and increase sales conversion by employing effective nurturing strategies.
Engage prospects before your competition
In today’s crowded market place the only chance to get noticed by potential customers is to engage them on a very early stage of their buyer journey. Business customers usually don’t start their decision process with a specific product or solution in mind. They rather research possible solutions by typing problem-oriented questions for example the question: “how to increase leads conversion?” is popular as it returns over 350 000 000 search results.
Is this the best moment to attract customers? As you see, you will not be alone answering this question. In fact, there will be quite a few of your competitors fighting for your prospect’s attention. You need to find a way to move out of this red ocean and grab your prospect’s attention at earlier state of their journey.
The first moment of decision process is a stage when the prospect doesn’t really plan to make any decision. It’s called the “status quo” stage in which there is no active research process in place. The prospect seems happy with the solutions and systems he or she use.
As strange as it seems this is the moment when you should start conversation. You first task will be to move your prospects out of their comfort zone by sharing valuable insights about business challenges they may be not aware of.
This is why you need a high quality content oriented not on your product but on specific business trends, challenges and problems.
Imagine sending your product leaflet covering the features of securing a cloud IT infrastructure to prospects who are not even considering cloud as their main IT environment. Seems stupid? I’m receiving such offers every week.
How Marketing Automation may help you manage such early and fragile relations with prospects?
First you will be able to track the performance of your content and figure out what is attractive for your prospects and optimize your materials.
Having quality content you may ask for customer data to communicate with them proactively. Once the e-mail address is given (with the communication consent) your anonymous prospect became identified.
From this moment you will be able to track each interaction with your content and send a personalized communication. You will know exactly how many e-mails the lead opened, which of your websites he or she visited etc.
In Eloqua – a part of Oracle Marketing Cloud Suite you can later see all lead’s interactions in the Profiler view. This data can be used by marketing teams to prepare more tailored campaigns and sales professionals by giving them valuable insights before a sales call.
Scoring your prospects to convert them into high quality leads
Gathering data is just a fraction of Marketing Automation tools potential. The next step is to automatically score the leads taking into consideration their job profile and interactions with your content. Why it’s important? Because not all off your leads will be equally valuable. You will need to determine the group of leads which will be most profitable for you.
The beauty of having Marketing Automation solution in place is that you don’t need to do it manually. Once you establish your scoring criteria, Eloqua will use it to constantly score each lead behavior and profile data to help you determine the right moment to engage sales.
Most of the times you want to engage decision makers into conversation about your product. This will be reflected in the scoring criteria. On the example below you see how Eloqua helps you score leads by assigning points to chosen profile related criteria – Job Role is critical so it will impact on 50% of the whole profile.
Below the criteria you will define which Job Roles are important to you so the scoring point will be assigned to the lead only if he or she meets the specific criteria.
The profile data are fulfilled most of the time by submitting a form or by integration with external systems where the data are stored – for example CRM system.
This is the first part ofe the scoring matrix.
The second takes into consideration the lead’s behavior, strictly speaking the interactions with your content (websites, e-mail, webinars etc)
The engagement criteria you assign specific points for certain behaviors which increase the probability to convert lead into a sales opportunity. On the example above you see how Eloqua helps track a list of activities defined for your company.
Gathering data about your prospect profiles and their interactions with your content you can rank your leads by carefully selected criteria. The main benefit you see will be a much higher conversion to sales due to the increased quality of the leads you transfer to sales.
TIP: to build effective scoring criteria list, engage sales into the process. This will give you a chance to make it as realistic as possible but also make them accountable for the whole process. Lead criteria set up workshop may be also a great opportunity to explain the benefits of Marketing Automation to the sales team and have their cooperation committed.
Nurture your leads to increase the sales conversion
Leads profiling is a great way to track and score the lead quality but may also be used to better serve the customers during their buyer journey.
B2B sales cycles became very complex and they are no longer a linear process. This is why you need to be able to share your educational content in a very personalized way. You need to follow your lead behavior to share the right content at a right time.
The good news is that you don’t need to do it manually. Having a Marketing Automation solution deployed you can create automated campaigns in which your lead is served with personalized content shared at the best possible moment defined by customer behavior.
The picture above shows a simple automated campaign designed to invite customers into a breakfast meeting. As you see the follow up communication is defined by customer reaction. The campaign tracks whether the receiver submitted the event registration form and acts accordingly. If the registration takes place, the confirmation e-mail is sent, if there is no submission within a certain timeframe, we send the reminder e-mail.
This is in fact one of the simplest campaigns you can build. The nurturing campaigns may use tens of steps to guide the potential customers through even a long and complicated nurturing process.
As a result of using the lead nurturing features you can plan the whole customer nurturing process in one place. You can also track the effectiveness of the process and optimize it to increase the lead to sales conversion.
Marketing Automation tools give you the full set of features needed to engage your prospect at a very early stage when the competition is not as intensive and guide them through the education process by using the scoring and nurturing techniques. Sharing a valuable content from the very beginning of your relation creates a productive environment of sharing your knowledge in exchange for your customer’s data and insights.
Properly set scoring criteria help you engage the sales team where the lead is ready for sales conversation and nurture them even if the prospect is frozen or rejected during the sales process.
Automated campaigns let you plan the whole interaction process in advance and maintain the personalized experience.
This is the first chapter of our CMO’s Expert Series. Subscribe to our Marketing Automation Experts list to receive the next chapters including: “Learning your customers Digital Body Language”, “Generating High Quality Sales Opportunities”, “More Sales from existing database”.
If you need advice or support in making the most of your Eloqua Investment – we are ready to support you from the strategy consulting to the technical deployment and customization phase.
Lukasz Kosuniak – Digital Marketing Partner, Grow Poland
Grow Poland’s goal is to use the potential of modern marketing solutions to the maximum – based on thorough Customer Experience and Big Data. Our methods enable the full use of innovative tools of the modern digital world. We present innovative solutions and new ideas that will be industry standard tomorrow.
Using the most modern technologies form the scope of marketing automation, we combine the areas of marketing and sales in order to support our clients revenue creation. We combine the specialised knowledge of our experts and state-of-the-art technology, we support our clients in reaching customers, improving their sales results and ROI.