On average, 49% of B2B companies are currently using some form of a marketing automation solution. Whether they’re using it effectively is another story altogether. Significant spend is being made on marketing automation tools, training, consulting, etc. and it is steadily on the rise on CMO P&L’s.
Although tricky to measure if you haven’t established consistent KPI’s that drive your metrics, marketing automation can have a significant impact on your pipeline growth and close rates. Better data management facilitates more efficient segmentation, of which you can apply stronger messaging and enrich the customer experience at every stage of the buying journey. Every activity has the potential to impact the bottom line.
If your organization isn’t seeing the value in marketing automation it can feel like you’re simply paying for a really expensive e-mail platform or social management tool.
Don’t let another year go by paying for a tool that is only partially utilized! Here are some quick strategies to optimize the use of your chosen platform and accelerate pipeline development.
Re-stream nurture programs
Perhaps you’ve already enabled some nurture streams and connected those workflows to your website or social call to actions. It’s always a good time to review that data and observe where your prospects stop engaging. Looking for the major breaks in each stream will allow you to see where you may need to develop additional content or re-target your messaging. Sometimes prospects download content that isn’t reflective of their real needs, so evaluate accordingly and re-direct them to a different stream if necessary.
Revamp lead scoring criteria
All leads are not created equally! The start of a New Year, or even simply a new quarter can mean that your sales teams may be divided new territory and maybe core market segments have shifted in focus. The longer you leave outdated lead scoring rules in place, the more sales qualified leads will start getting kicked back to your marketing team. Ensure that key sales qualification criteria have been accurately updated to make the most of the lead nurturing programs you’ve put in place.
Remodel buyer personas
Once you’ve reviewed your lead scoring criteria, take a minute and update your buyer personas. Even the slightest market criteria change can have a big impact on the kind of content you need to create to support what your prospects require to make that purchasing decision. Map out your content inventory against the updated persona’s buyer journey or sales cycle – you’ll get a clear picture of where the gaps are. This exercise will also guide your content creation decisions right out of the gate.
Automate social tactics
Social media can be an invaluable platform, but it’s not a one size fits every campaign. Weaving social media tactics into your automation strategy allows your marketing team to expedite and expand social engagement so much more efficiently and create a culture of real-time responsiveness.
There are lots of online tools available to streamline some of the suggestions below.
- Build your target lists: Some platforms have rule-based features that allow you to add people to a list when they engage with you in some way. You can also filter these lists based on your target market and segmentation objectives, and automate e-mail responses to start nurturing right away.
- Tune into reputation monitoring: Getting the alerts anytime someone ‘mentions’ your brand offers your team the agility to take whatever immediate action is appropriate – whether it be to say thanks or mitigate a negative customer experience.
Activate intuitive functionality
On some level, e-mail marketing is still a defacto component that anchors most programs, but it’s one dimensional and engagement relies heavily on your prospects taking a requested action. Marketing automation tools have given marketers a way to interact with customers based on actions we know they’ve taken. So how can you stay one step ahead of your audience? Predictive analytics.
Most automation platforms include this feature to some extent, and are becoming increasingly intelligent in the way information is gathered and can be broken down and analyzed. Use the ever-evolving functionality to move beyond the “if this, then that” approach to workflows. Make the most of whatever level of predictive analytics you can to hone in on unique data points and align content across a variety of mediums based on projected behavior and interest.
Connect all channels
Brand accessibility is critical – particularly to the next generation of customers – and creating a unique experience can’t be one dimensional. Adapt whatever automation capabilities you’re armed with to create a cross-channel experience – departments, tools and platforms.
Customer engagement happens at different times for different reasons and as marketers, our responsibility is to be ready for it. Real marketing magic happens when you can bring all of these mediums together and watch your customers engage where and how they like!