Managing our leads effectively involves lots of tracking, understanding, and reacting to a wide range of factors. Which, as you can probably expect, is quite time-consuming! And yet, still we power on. But what if we were to automate all that?
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation acts on behalf of busy salesfolk, based on their leads' specific behaviours. For example, an email can be generated at a certain stage of the sales cycle, or a lead's profile can be updated as soon as new info is submitted.
Workflow software within platforms like Pardot and Salesforce can automate these processes and help you streamline your lead management. Here are some of the best things about them:
They increase your qualified leads
Workflows can increase your qualified leads by helping you nurture prospects the right way with relevant content. This helps you keep your leads interested, even when you don't have the time to do it yourself. The Annuitas Group found that businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects like this see a 451% increase in qualified leads.
- They up your conversion rates
They achieve better conversion rates because you can create tailored campaigns for segmented groups of buyers, and automate those campaigns for perfect timing. This overall makes the process much more effective in increasing your conversion rates. I read on the Salesforce blog that 77% of companies say automation software has increased their conversion rates, and that's probably increased due to new tech being released all the time!
- They save you both time and money
Marketing automation also saves you loads of time, and can therefore significantly reduce your marketing costs. Automating time-consuming tasks also reduces human error, give consistency, gathers and analyses data, and reacts in real time. It cuts your costs, but increases efficiency at the same time! In fact, automated scheduling, lead scoring, segmentation and timely emails are the combined ingredients to a delicious 78% increase in marketing revenue, and has helped 75% of brands seeing a return-on-investment within just 12 months (Salesforce).
So how do we create an effective workflow?
- Define those campaign goals
What do you want to achieve with your campaigns? How many customers do you want to convert each month? What's your revenue goal for this timeframe? Map this out with both your sales and marketing teams for better collaboration, and jumpstart your workflows into action with clear, realistic goals in mind.
- Segment your buyer groups and target personas
Segmenting your target personas helps you create and send out content that actually inspires and engages them. By focusing on their actual frustrations, goals, and interests, you take the guesswork out of content creation and get a target to focus on when building your campaigns. Take your time researching your buyer personas and your efforts will be so much more rewarding.
- Create the steps and tailor your content to each stage of your sales cycle
Map out the buyer's journey and create appropriate content to fit each stage in the sales cycle. This way, you're sending them relevant content that will actually help them with their decision gradually, rather than just hammering them with a desperate sales pitch from the get-go.
- Consider timings and behaviours!
You want your content to be well-received, so be thoughtful about the best times to execute certain steps. Going back to the previous point, you don't, for example, want to immediately signal for a follow-up call from the sales team after a visitor has just downloaded their first bit of top-level content from you. After all, they'll likely not be ready to talk shop yet. Make sure your steps execute in the most natural, logical way to make sure you're not getting ahead of yourself.
To add to this, you want to make sure they're actually engaging with your content before any other steps progress. If they've not opened an email from you in a while, you might be wasting time on someone who's really not interested.
(Screen shots from Pardot.com)
A final thought on this is that people also don't want to recieve emails on the weekend or in the evenings. With software like Pardot, you can use the Engagement Studio to actually make sure your automated emails are only sent within certain time-frames in the week.
- Optimise your email marketing campaigns.
A/B testing things like subject lines, CTAs, copy, branding, imagery etc. is a good place to start here. You can also use a hypothesis to determine the motivation behind your testing. For example: "Benefit-led copy in the subject line will increase open rates over loss-aversion-led copy in the subject line." You can then A/B test your two subject lines to see which achieves more open rates!
Speaking of subject lines, Parry Malm of Phrasee believes that they're the most important thing to optimise first, as 'open rates correlate strongly with click rates, and click rates correlate very strongly with conversion rates'.
Parry also recommends focusing on bigger campaigns first, as it'll have a bigger impact on your bottom line. This is because you'll get be more data to experiment with and learn from. Then, you'll be able to apply this to your smaller campaigns.
Understanding your segmented target audiences, setting well-defines goals, and thinking about what steps are needed to achieve those goals are the key to a super productive sales cycle and better lead management. Automated workflows can definitely help make this a more efficient, consistent, and effective process — so why not try it out? Chat to us today if you're curious.