Why Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is one of your most time-saving sales tools, because it allows you to keep your sales funnel moving while salespeople focus on managing the pipeline. Automation not only allows you to move leads down the funnel, but also create what-if scenarios for when a lead seems to be not interested.
Isn’t Automation Impersonal?
Automation can be impersonal if it is not used tactfully. As a general rule of thumb, you should make your automation as personal as possible. There are some basic ways of doing this, such as using your lead’s first name in an automated email (yes, this is possible). Yet, what really makes the process personal comes down to how well you understand your target market. If you understand your persona and what they need, want, and what problems they face, your automation will not seem impersonal. Instead, you will be relevant, understanding, and solution-oriented.
With that being said, depending on you market, you most likely will need to facilitate much of the close stage manually. Usually in sales, you have a point where your client has concerns or objections. This is a detail-oriented time of fact finding and deep diving into the prospect’s doubts and concerns and fielding these concerns takes more finesse than automation can offer. While there are still circumstances that require some finesse in the convert stage, these can be handled with if-then automation, which we will get into later in this article.
When to Automate
So, automation should be done in the convert stage … as well as the close and delight stages. Yes, that’s right. Once you have a contact in your database, you should either be working on moving them down the sales funnel and pipeline, or you should be providing as much post-sale value as possible.
While most of your blog posts that are sent to a closing prospect are likely to be suggested by the sales rep, it is not necessarily bad to send them updates on new blog posts that are being generated. This could lead to an expanded version of the contract that you are currently working on or it could simply further educate the prospect. If you really feel that you should not send these emails to clients that are talking to sales, then you can usually segment your contact list to select only those who are within certain stages of the buyer’s journey.
Delighting is all about providing value, so many of the things that attracted them in the first place, may still be relevant to them after the sale. Delighting the customer may seem like a less important step, especially if the customer was a short term customer and no longer needs your services. However, there is a lot of business to be had via referrals and keeping your company in the front of past customers minds is an easy way to achieve top-of-mind brand awareness and perhaps repeat business in the future.
In the convert stage, much of the automation is done without the involvement of sales. Therefore, it makes sense to have a bit of intelligent automation that is sensitive to the actions of the lead. If your lead does not open an email that is intended to get them moving further down the pipeline, then perhaps they shouldn’t get an email in 3-4 days that is intended to move them even further. Instead, if they do not open it then perhaps they should get an email that looks different, but leads to the same important article that you are trying to show them.
This can be done as often or as little as you see fit for your target persona and demographic, but at some point, it may be most prudent to drop off for a while and try again with more informational emails at a later time. After all, you really do not want to lose a contact, just because your automated setup was too pushy.
Automation may or may not be included with your current marketing platform. If it is, then perhaps it is time to start taking advantage of its capabilities for your business’ growth.