Orig. Post January 29, 2015 by Brooke Furry, Top Rank Blog | Re-Post March 4, 2015
You’re a busy B2B digital marketer trying to drive leads in an ever-changing world. You’re writing awesome emails. You use a marketing automation platform. Maybe you’ve even created a series of email drip campaigns, monitored their performance and began to nurture your leads. But you wonder, “Am I doing all that I can?”
Marketing automation gives many of today’s B2B marketing professionals lead nurturing capabilities and structured conversion journeys that not only save time, but build valuable relationships with prospects and ultimately help create revenue.
According to a study by DemandGen, 67% of B2B marketers who use lead nurturing see a 10% or greater increase in sales opportunities throughout the funnel; 15% see opportunities increase by 30% or more.
At TopRank Marketing we’re working with several of our B2B clients to refine their marketing automation strategies to more effectively target prospects and drive leads. Of all the insights we can provide there is one thing you can count on: In order for marketing automation to be effective, the buyer journey matters just as much as the destination.
Marketing Automation Is About The Journey – AND the Destination
While email marketing in general remains one of the most effective B2B marketing strategies, prospects are preoccupied, information is infinite, and buyers only want to reach the bottom of your sales funnel when they’re ready.
At the same time, prospects care about the journey. When developing a marketing automation strategy, B2B marketers should not only consider what type of adventure prospects will embark on when they enter your sales funnel (and what they see and experience along the way), but also where they’re going and how to most effectively get them there.
When prospects want to drive themselves to the bottom of your funnel, how can your setup and strategy influence the process to be more effective and result in more leads?
Below are four things to know when leveraging marketing automation to fill your sales funnel.
1. Know Your Platform
Are you using your marketing automation platform to its fullest potential? Most marketers feel that they aren’t. Whether you’re using Marketo, Hubspot, or another platform, ensure that the functionality offered fits what you’re trying to accomplish. Sit in on tutorials and do some digging to ensure your platform will support your goals. For instance, if you want prospects to be able to self-select deeper into the sales funnel but your software doesn’t support that, it may be time to research alternatives.
2. Integrate With CRM For Better Customer Intelligence
Integrating your CRM and marketing automation system can have a direct positive impact on ROI, as one blogger notes, citing a recent study that found marketers who integrated their marketing automation were able to more accurately report performance metrics to create a successful foundation. The integration of your CRM and marketing automation system allows sales teams to have a complete picture of how your prospects have engaged with your brand – from pages viewed to white papers downloaded.
Marketers can find a great deal of benefit from having this kind of up-to-date information about prospects that can result in an even better customer experience later on down the line.
3. Segment By Persona
List segmentation remains one of the best ways to cater to prospects throughout the sales funnel. By breaking down your audience into specific personas, marketers can characterize the important topics, questions, and needs of each group and cater messaging to provide them specific value.
Knowing the breakdown of personas in your email list allows you to evaluate the balance of your content – blog posts, white papers, and other resources – in order to provide the right piece at the right time to the right prospect.
4. Hone The Tone
Creating an enjoyable (even thrilling?) ride through the sales funnel isn’t accomplished with your everyday marketing lingo. How do your prospects want to be addressed? Do they want to laugh? Do they want to be challenged to think or ponder? Will they respond to a personal tone or do they want formality?
With full inboxes and little time to peruse emails, you will catch your prospects’ attention much more quickly with a distinctive tone and consistent messaging strategy that fits your target audience.
Marketing automation can be thrilling again. Your emails don’t have to be run-of-the-mill, sent out with the hope that someone will land in the sales funnel as a result. Set up a persona-focused strategy leveraging your current content and integrated with your CRM for an experience that puts the prospect first. Care about your prospects’ journey, make it a valuable one, and let them navigate their way to your final destination. They’ll get there – and the ones that do will be worth the effort.
Jim is a 30 year veteran of Fortune 500 sales and marketing with companies such as Oracle, Dell, and EMC, as well as Hilton and Omni hotels. His passion lies in helping emerging growth companies raise funds by leveraging the marketing tools and strategies that large corporations typically use. His focus is simple. “Help Businesses Raise Capital!”