Marketing Automation Is Not For The Faint Of Heart

Marketing has many new rules, and marketing automation is one of several major movements which has gained fanfare mixed with frustration.  The popularity has come from the possibilities of capitalizing on leads generated from inbound marketing efforts.  The frustration is from a lack of implementation and execution.

At the end of the day, marketing automation is a system.  The system is, in turn, a project with specific requirements for a specific buyer.  Thus, there is a lot of work, thinking and strategy behind a marketing automation initiative.  A badly managed process can result in the frustration side of the equation.  A sound strategy and execution can provide systematic management of inbound leads.

Everyone Has A Lead Generation Problem

Businesses want more leads.  These come from how compelling your interaction and substance of your offering is.  A lead is someone that raises their hand.  We all want more.  It’s difficult to get attention when everyone is clicking around on Google and thumbing through their mobile devices.

Content which makes a true meaningful connection and is targeted for a person trying to solve a problem not only gets attention, but engages your buyer.  After this, it is about building trust and fanning the flame of their interest.  It is not for the faint of heart.  It is about commitment and continual refinement in the following ways:

  • Analysis of buyer behaviors.  You have a lot of data which tracks every movement of a website visitor.  The data needs to make sense and be analyzed for where the opportunities and drop-off points are.  It is an ongoing process.
  • Building content assets.  Your content lives.  It needs to continue to grow and build an online asset for getting found and nurturing the next wave of leads.  Past content needs to be integrated together to drive further exploration by leads.
  • Integrating Sales Feedback.  Lead scoring serves your sales process and sales people.  Their feedback on how the algorithms are working needs to drive further refinement of your scoring schema.

There is not a magic ball to peer into and figure out the perfect marketing automation mix.  You arrive at perfection by continually working hard at the system and processing  new lead experiences.  It is a game of improvement made possible by transparency into what buyers are doing.

Are there areas of lead generation and lead nurturing you find hard to upkeep?  What are they?

Lead Nurturing With Education

If your buyer is not educated, then they will feel unready to engage the sales conversation with your team.  Filling this gap with strategic marketing automation lead flows in Loopfuse that help the buyer to ask the right questions sets up a qualified lead for your sales team.

If you sell a sophisticated product or service, expect that much of the focus of your marketing automation campaigns will revolve around education.  If you provide this value to potential buyers, then your expertise becomes established in their mind.

Here are some approaches we have used to in our marketing automation consulting to help our clients funnel their prospects through the buying process which will help you design your own processes:

  1. Focus on the problem. Use a sequence of autoresponse emails to articulate the specific problem your customers seek to solve.  The scenarios can vary.  You can segment each lead flow by problem definition to allow your landing page visitor to opt into a personalized experience with the problem they face.  Speaking about features and benefits is marketing talk.  Start with the problem and how your offering makes a difference and helps people every day.
  2. Ensure the copy is conversational. If you merely provide an encyclopedia of answers, people can turn to Wikipedia or other sterile sources of information.  Use plain language in your copy and connect as a human being.  Assume your buyers know very little about how your industry or market works.  Provide the rudiments and help them gain expertise in a sequential diet of information that makes sense to any person new to the industry.
  3. Provide branched lead flows. When your email campaigns reach a logical point, provide other calls to action for further lead flow opportunities that get further than preliminary education.  This could be an e-course or videos that go further into the education process.
  4. Score your leads for their opt-ins. As your leads opt into further lead flows, ascribe scoring that helps to qualify their lead status for your sales team.  If there is deep interest in the education process, then create a triggered task for your salesperson to make contact.  The sequence of Lead activities should reveal a high level of engagement and interest which makes sense for sales engagement.
  5. Break up the content. Our attention is sparse.  Instead of a thirty minute video, make 5 smaller videos.  Condense white paper content to multiple pieces or email template communications.  Create anticipation for the next Lead Flow sequence and integrate them together into a cohesive experience.  This creates fresh engagement for your buyers and keeps their attention and engagement.  Furthermore, your marketing automation rules can be further engineered to funnel the buyer for each interaction.

If your buyer feels educated, they feel empowered.  Furthermore, if you are the one providing the education, then you will have permission to engage in dialogue.

Help them know the right questions to ask and frame the sales discussion from the education process.

Using your Loopfuse system to design multiple educational Lead Flows will create the growing pipeline for lead qualification for your sales team.  You will notice a difference in the sales conversation with higher levels of trust and readiness to buy.

What are some areas that you could provide marketing automation for education?

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Loopfuse Trackable Lead Activity Notifications

Living in a real-time world makes feedback and information a premium.  Marketing automation provides the intelligence for your decision making in the sales process as buyer activities are recorded.

A marketing automation strategy to incorporate for higher levels of success in Loopfuse is to enable and leverage trackable lead activities.  At any time, a salesperson can look at a prospect’s record in Loopfuse to see the activities of a past client. The information is just as valuable as outbound sales activities.  It is inbound lead activity information which reveals the interest and buying temperature or prospects.

Salespeople can benefit from email notifications of this very same data.  For example, we set up a sales process for one of our clients using Salesforce.com which enabled lead activity notifications for Lead Owners in Salesforce.com.  One of the key activities is a download and viewing of a specific white paper we developed as part of a Lead Flow process.  When this white paper was downloaded or opened, this triggered an email notification to the respective salesperson on the team.

From there, the salesperson can do one of the following:

  1. Add the person to their Watch List in Loopfuse and continue monitoring
  2. Call the person immediately and invite them to an online meeting
  3. Set a task to reach out when the Lead Score increases from further activity

If a person had enough interest and attention in their buying process to be educated from the offered content, then this signaled someone who is proceeding with interest.  Loopfuse activity notifications kept those such Leads front and center for salespeople wanting to work with the most ready Prospects.

Aligning your sales process using notifications helps your team to work with the most timely prospects.  The marketing automation strategy for your overall campaigns need to be well thought through and integrated.  This is one facet that gives you a strategic advantage around timeliness.

What are some key notifications which you would want to prompt your team with?

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Making Money With Marketing Automation

Marketing automation exists because the rules of marketing have changed.  If you could interrupt prospects and sell hard, then marketing automation would be irrelevant.  The old rules would still apply.

However, buying cycles take longer.  This is because buyers can take their time and evaluate information for themselves until they feel comfortable engaging with your sales process.

Timing

You do not have the luxury of seeing what your buyer is doing.  If they are interacting with carefully designed and timed content, then the next steps for nurturing your respective buyer can be taken by your marketing automation campaign.

The decision tree within the lead flow should be structured with timing of communications that trigger from opens, clicks and downloads.  The timing should feel natural and elegantly timed for the prospective buyer.  It should not feel like selling.  It should feel like helping and value.

Money

It’s easy to get a lot of site visitors.  It’s less easy to get leads.  You have to have valuable content which nurtures, enriches and educates the buyer.

It’s even harder to convert a lead to a customer.  Your marketing automation system has everything you need to make this happen.  The design and strategy of your campaigns will dictate whether you can convert the leads you have gained permission with to become customers.  They have to want to connect with you and the call to action should be both concrete and obvious.

Your money will be made from the percolating of leads within well-designed nurturing and scoring.  The feedback you should be getting from your sales team is that closing is easy.  The buyer knew the right questions to ask.  They were ready for the closing conversation.  This is the litmus test of your marketing automation doing the invisible, laborious job of delivering continual high value to your customer while they are working through their buying process.

The money is in the strategies which you measure and refine.

How is marketing automation working to make money for your organization?

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Lead Nurturing Campaigns For New Site Visitors

Loopfuse lead nurturing can help create a sales pipeline which never expires.  As your site visitors are attracted from your inbound marketing or outbound sales efforts, use Loopfuse to capture leads via web forms for compelling value in the form of content.  This middle of the funnel approach continually brings value and builds trust with your prospective buyers before they decide to engage your sales process.

Consider the following three campaigns to implement as general marketing automation campaigns within Loopfuse to start.

Campaign 1: Educating The Buyer

Early in the buying process, prospects are looking for information to become educated.  While you may be thinking of your goods or services hundreds of hours a week, your buyer may only have thought about it once in the last year.  Don’t assume they understand how your market works.  They buy things all the time and you are one item on their list.

Within Loopfuse, your lead flow can deliver sequential educational materials which help them to understand what you do.  If they were to have a discussion with you, they should be able to speak intelligibly, and therefore, comfortably.  This is a form of trust building.

Your campaign can include video, white papers, E-books and interactive questionnaires to reinforce learning.  In our Loopfuse consulting, we map out such a campaign with the goal of helping the buyer understand a specific topic and gain value in knowledge.  This is done while positioning your brand to be the thought leader and expert in your space.

Campaign 2: Case Studies and Success Stories

We are attracted to story.  In the book, Made To Stick, the art of enduring and influential content is based in story telling.  The elements for how to tell your story needs to be simple, unique, and concrete among several attributes the authors outline.  Your goal is to help the buyer identify with your brand by seeing similar problems others have faced and how your company solved them.

Deliver these with choices in the Loopfuse Lead Flow.  Designing the decision tree to deliver relevant stories over a period of time based on the buyer profile makes the appeal and connection with the buyer more intimate.  Your case studies are now dynamic rather than static.

Be sure to use the lead scoring to gauge interest and drive the right triggers with sales if there is a high score warranting contact.

Campaign 3: Action Campaigns

To be recognized as a thought leader, a campaign helping the buyer take action in a sequential way keeps them engaged and makes them feel empowered.  Your campaign emails can lead to a visual progress meter which helps them see their actions in the context of an eventual goal.  Such campaigns can be about preparing the environment for your product or service before they engage you to how to build a system for marketing before they buy your software.

Your tutorial should take advantage of multimedia that creates engagement.  Our Loopfuse customers will have a mix of video, flash paper, audio, blogs, social media and other media that makes an impact.

Keep your lead scoring tuned into the actions your buyer takes.  Ensure each communication piece has a specific and clear way to measure the action taken.

Presenting The Marketing Automation Pathways

A marketing automation strategy continues to grow as you discover ways to bring value to an unready buyer.  Keep an eye out for what your buyers are doing and you can create more campaigns to choose from based on where the buyer is at.

The goal is to make it simple and build trust by delivering value first and consistently.  Your marketing automation campaigns become part of your sales engagement and help to prepare the buyer for the sale.

What are some campaigns you can envision for your unready buyers that would be valuable?  Feel free to comment below.

 

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How To Automate The High Fidelity Sale

In Kevin Maney’s book, Trade-Off, Why Some Things Catch On And Others Don’t, we learn about two categories of products and businesses – Fidelity and Convenience.  High fidelity businesses are inconvenient.  They typically have cachet and price points which make it more desirable for upper end buyers.

High convenience businesses are easy to get in terms of cost and access.  Maney’s message is that to succeed, you must position and commit to one or the other.  Otherwise, you are destined to fail.  Ted Leonsis, former president of AOL, sums it up, “A successful business is either loved or needed.”  The problem is when you try to be both.

Buying Process For High Fidelity

Choosing the high fidelity approach requires a focus on one of the 22 Immutable Laws Of Marketing, “It is better to be first in the mind than to be first in the marketplace.”  With automated marketing in Loopfuse, you have the opportunity to be first in the mind.  Segmenting leads and delivering the right message and action at the right time with high value creates the conditions for a lead conversion.  The art of nurturing within Loopfuse should be designed with a continual focus on the positioning of your value proposition.

The high fidelity sale demands that you show you are the best.  Within Loopfuse OneView’s campaigns, ensure the communications contain a highly attractive and consistent graphical framework which elicits emotion from the potential buyer.  If you have nurturing emails timed to go out based on a campaign opt-in within Loopfuse OneView, the content should highlight beyond mere features and benefits.  Help the buyer to imagine.  Powerful stories of customers using your product or service and the results they have in their life would increase the value perception to a high fidelity offering.

Furthermore, use cases which promote creativity and personal embrace help the potential buyer move from estrangement to intimacy.  They can see themselves using your service or product and over time, with effective nurturing, emotionally move from indifference to near obsession.

Marketing automation enables you to present your brand incrementally and build trust by familiarity and increased relevance.

Loopfuse Consulting Best Practice

The best practice Loopfuse strategy for the high fidelity offering is to use nurturing email campaigns with a high attention to design.  The content must connect and affect the emotions post by post.  Imagine building to a gradual crescendo.  The nurturing effect should be continually refined to produce a buyer from an uninformed lead.  Help them get to know your value and your delighted customers through story as they build a picture of who you are.  The picture comes into focus with each touchpoint delivered by Loopfuse.  Such campaigns enhance your high fidelity offering by building a case for being first in your customers’ minds.

 

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Inbound Marketing Channels

A well-designed Loopfuse Lead Flow will funnel traffic from your inbound marketing channel.  Your presence in cyberspace and the content which drives engagement creates an avenue for a click.  That click starts the opportunity to connect in a relevant, personal and timely way with a stranger.  Turning that stranger into a friend is the art and science behind the powerful Loopfuse demand generation engine.

The best way to set up campaigns which work are to think backwards.  Think about your past buyers and how they came to a buying decision.  Before that, there was:

  • Deliberation
  • Education
  • Awareness
  • Perceived Value
  • Clicks
  • Reading
  • Viewing
  • Cross-checking

All of this buyer activity constitutes a process.  Capturing that process to be repeatable is critical to Loopfuse success.  Miss steps or avoid the hard work of iterating and you miss revenue opportunity.

As you drive content, your inbound marketing channel will continue to be a vital feedback tool.  The strategy is everything.  The tool will do it.  Be sure to take necessary action to drive your success.  You can’t steer a parked car.

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Loopfuse Tracking

The opportunity to hone in on your prospective buyer in a one-to-one approach versus a one-to-many traditional marketing campaign requires attention to Lead Scoring and tracking. Setting up your system to follow the Loopfuse buyer from initial landing site contact to engagement with your sales and value propositions requires attention to each of the predetermined steps which qualify a buyer for the sales funnel.

Part of the strategy for effective lead tracking is defining what creates meaningful scores.  Here are some which help to separate the interested from the passive within your pipeline:

  • Prospects that read your content
  • Prospects that watch video
  • Prospects that sign up for a drip campaign
  • Visiting your landing site
  • Visiting specific landing pages of meaning
  • Forwarding of a campaign email
  • Purchase page visits

The buying signal each of these buyer actions takes helps to define a more quantitative profile and segment your Loopfuse database.  Using best practices for driving further engagement with those who percolate from a well-defined automated buying process focuses your sales in a timely and effective manner.  Your system is doing the heavy lifting to prepare the right buyers for your value proposition.  Ensure your tracking system is airtight and cohesive.  It is critical for Loopfuse success.

 

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Real-Time Reaction

Think about how much you forget while surfing the internet. When you are learning about something new or searching for something you are not quite sure exists yet, you may navigate a multitude of pages until you hone in on your desired content.

If all the while you are entering and leaving storefronts, valuable content and building blocks of knowledge, you will likely forget more than you remember.  The sheer amount of information becomes irrelevant.  Very few sites are designed to engage and follow up with you.  They stop at creating awareness rather than create a process for you to engage or be nurtured with.

In a Loopfuse environment, you have the perfect opportunity to nurture strangers.  If you have a manual follow-up process, you are too slow for internet time.  If you have an automated buying process, your Loopfuse system can engage strangers and move them further into the funnel.  The intelligence, feedback and system actions which drive a personal, relevant and timely reaction allow you to gain permission.  Scoring, lead flows and content delivery in an orchestrated manner convert strangers into friends when designed effectively.

The information highway is extremely busy every day.  If you engage the traffic with Loopfuse automation, you have the opportunity to move from blurry images to leads looking for information to pertinent and memorable value pieces in their eventual buying decision.

 

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One-To-One Connection

If your marketing is trying to “sell” me, I will pick it up easily and quickly.  We have all been trained to recognize marketing.  We have also been trained to put our guard up with suspicion.  After all, talking about how great you are only causes disconnection.  The new economy differentiates between mass marketing and authenticity.  Buyers choose authenticity.

If you want to do it the old way, then build a message for everyone and play the numbers game.  However, such a strategy loses before you even commit the time and costs to implement it.

Today’s winning strategies are focused on one-to-one marketing.  Delivering a personal, relevant and timely message which recognizes preference and individuality connects.  Within the LoopFuse architecture, this strategy can be enabled with list segmentation best practices.  As your buyer moves through various buying processes, your decision tree should deposit the buyer in one or multiple lists for nurturing.  LoopFuse campaigns and Lead Flows which are set up to speak to the buyer’s pain precisely will drive engagement.  This engagement further fosters a connection with your brand and messaging towards the end goal – a “Yes!” to your value proposition.

One-to-many used to work.  That was because the buyer was never empowered with such choice and information as today.  LoopFuse success comes from an attention to connecting with intelligence and precision with the buyer.  It moves you away from a strategy of hope and customizes your marketing to resonate individually.  Such a system becomes a handsomely rewarding asset towards increasing revenue and customer loyalty.

 

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