Where do you find promising leads to stack your sales pipeline? How do you separate the most sales-ready leads from those who need more nurturing to develop? Which market segments are under-explored? These questions are central to fulfilling marketing’s role as a lead gen engine. Answering them accurately depends on your leads themselves – but not based just on what your prospects tell you. Marketing automation systems that monitor behavioral data and put it into context for you tell you what you most need to know to generate more leads, score them accurately, and nurture them properly.
Personalization used to be a nice touch, a little extra that only the most well-qualified leads merited. Now, it’s essential to rise above the background noise prospects constantly hear. With the customization options available with marketing automation, every lead gets the personal touch from the outset. Instead of hoping for your leads to volunteer information, you’re able to use data your marketing software gathers automatically to create a customized experience and start the lead nurture process far earlier in the relationship. Personalization with automation tools is much deeper than with conventional marketing tools; with it, you can customize everything from email headers to home pages on your website.
Reinforce Your Sales Funnel
If every lead who came your way were ready to buy from the start, your job would be easy. That isn’t the case; it takes effort to capture and nurture every lead, so the loss of even one prospect you’ve invested in can be costly. A leaky sales funnel that diverts leads out of it instead of guiding them toward conversion and an ultimate buying decision is a liability, but automation can strengthen your funnel and help plug the gaps. Well-defined nurture programs supply knowledge in an orderly way rather than plunging top-of-funnel leads into in-depth content or taking up sales-ready leads’ time with introductory content. When your leads get their questions answered as they crop up instead of having to dig for them, they’re more likely to stay the course and remain within the pipeline.
Create Short Cuts for Sales
While marketing automation predicts prospects’ sales readiness with fairly high accuracy, leads can still surprise you sometimes. They can go from skimming top-of-funnel overviews and casual activity on social media channels straight to strong buying signals such as webinar attendance and white paper downloads. When this leapfrogging happens, your sales department needs to know about it quickly. Marketing automation systems allow you to set up an alert system and define triggers that automatically notify the sales team. A quick response is essential to converting leads, and alerts keep your sales department ready to respond right away.
Make the Grade
How do you know when a lead’s close to taking the next step toward a buying decision? Sometimes they’ll tell you with RFQs and phone calls to sales, but more often, you need to interpret their actions and put them into context to get an idea of where they are in their buying journey. Marketing automation’s predictive capabilities let you identify your leads’ strongest buying signals and recognize characteristic buying signatures so you can focus sales’ attention where it’s most needed. The handoff from marketing to sales is where many of the most promising prospects are lost, but with marketing automation, leads make the transition seamlessly.
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