Marketing Automation: The Awareness Stage

When you are just beginning your search for a car, software or consultant, you start with research.  Getting online is the most convenient way to research today.  You may look for what is a trend, what others think and how the industry works overall.  It is the awareness stage and it is largely self-service.  You are looking for education to do the following:

  • Get oriented.  You want to understand what is available and how to ask good questions and make intelligent decisions.  You have to understand the context of what you are seeking first.  As buyers, we are engaged with multiple markets.  In the awareness stage, we are seeking information to help us in our understanding.
  • Understand fit.  You have a problem to solve.  You want to know if what is available can be used off the shelf or molded to provide a specific resolution to your problem.  It has to fit into your world.
  • Find the leaders.  If you are looking at headphones, insurance or fitness memberships, you are assessing who the leader is in the market.  The leader promotes confidence and emulates what the market opts for.  Leadership defines the category you are investigating.

As a seller, it is premature to engage with heavy-handed selling in the awareness stage.  Your buyer is not ready.  A well-developed marketing automation strategy and system helps your buyer to get comfortable with your brand and receive the information to help them prepare for their next mindset jump in the buying process.

Your buyer thinks like you do. They start with disorientation and seek to get oriented.  The awareness stage is a ripe opportunity to create and build trust that can grow.  Serve the people who are in the initial awareness stage with the right information at the right time and it will allow for a movement through the marketing automation funnel.

How are you serving your prospects that are in the awareness stage?

Marketing Automation Is Not The Old Sales Process

There is an astute article at mycustomer.com, “Is It Time To Move On From Marketing Automation?”  It is an indicator of the disenchantment with the claims and hype with marketing automation implementations in organizations.  The frustration is well-founded.  If automating the buying process by creating a sterile technology engagement mimicking an old sales process is the core strategy, then it reveals poor creativity, care and execution.

The old sales process of prospecting leads and selling prospects from skillful and relentless follow-up simply annoys today’s buyers.  Noone wants to be sold.  The internet has empowered self-service.  We all can find what we are looking for with our friends on social media and with our fingers on Google.

The strategies used in marketing automation campaigns need to serve the buyer with what they are looking for.  Sales needs to be triggered like an actor in a play.  They need to know their cues to enter stage left and exit stage right.  The synchrony of your marketing automation system to help them understand timing and context is both dynamic and creates opportunities to be in the right sales conversations at the right time.

Some signs that you have a buyer that is interested in talking with you are:

  1. They are learning.  They see you as a resource and are consuming your content offerings for how your product or service works.  This assumes you have plenty of educational materials on your market, industry and solution.
  2. They watch your online videos.  Your videos provide information which is relevant to their problem and they are watching the full videos.
  3. They request more specific content.  If you have your call to action set up well, then there are other value pieces which you provide that get more technical and deeper into your domain expertise to help the customer.

There are signals which help sales to know when to engage.  Marketing needs to work in relationship to sales to trigger a human touchpoint at the right time based on events, triggers and hints that the buyer welcomes a salesperson’s call.

Marketing is not simply a handoff.  Though it would be convenient, the relationship a true buyer has with you evolves and is organic.  Ensure that your sales alignment to your marketing system creates a natural engagement for sales.  The new sales process demands this kind of care and design.

What are your thoughts?

Marketing Automation: Beyond The Boundaries

Boundaries (II)

Much of old school selling happened on a personal level. Face-to-face meetings and phone calls were common. Prospects gave us attention because we had information which would help them understand something they were unfamiliar with.

The new economy is digital. We can self-service on what we need education or orientation on using the internet. Buying is done far before the selling starts by a salesperson. However, it is part of one continuum.

Unfortunately, organizations trapped in old mindsets are limited by self-imposed boundaries. They can only measure, react and move sales forward based on a buyer’s willingness to give time and attention for a meeting.

The boundaries from an old model limit visibility, interaction and value exchange possible in a much larger paradigm. Marketing automation goes beyond traditional boundaries to augment the selling process and skills of an organization with timely value to prospects. Here are some things that your new process can now support when you go beyond the boundaries:

  • Automation is doing the prospecting. Multiple personal follow-ups may not be welcome. Once a week personal touchpoints are about the maximum a prospect can tolerate without perceiving aggressiveness. However, valuable information delivered at the right time can record digital behaviors – opens, clicks, page visits, downloads, etc. – and be recorded within your CRM customer data. Your salesperson and your marketing automation system are working in tandem with all touchpoints – personal and digital – recorded in a prospect’s record.
  • Prioritization of leads. A salesperson can have one engagement at a time. They work in serial. Marketing automation working with a sales process helps to percolate the most ready leads. Lead scoring reports help to communicate how active a buyer is with your content and their readiness to buy based on responsiveness and interaction with your content assets. This helps sales to focus their energy on a more qualified list of leads.
  • Lead conversion pipeline. If you are only working in the physical realm, then your pipeline is what you see and touch. However, a pipeline of promoted leads can automate what constitutes a working pipeline for your sales team. Lead distribution from a large set of visitors or prospects can be managed automatically with assignment rules in place. Your sales meetings can be focused on action rather than reporting, for the reporting is real-time with true sales opportunities.
  • Sales readiness. If your salesperson is having to educate in valuable meetings with the client, then it is a limited meeting compared to a buyer who is able to dialogue and collaborate. Nurturing from marketing automation can prepare the mindset, dialogue and understanding of the buyer. This helps them to feel comfortable in technical discussions and ask the right questions. Framing of the discussion creates a better buying situation where intelligent questions and dialogue can occur. It feels like selling otherwise where there is a large knowledge imbalance between the salesperson and the buyer.

Ultimately, marketing automation removes boundaries between the buyer and the information they need. Trust can be built and the ingredients for a rich sales discussion are prepared with the buyer able to consume valuable information on their timetable. It is convenient and preferable for how people like to buy in the new economy.

If your processes rely only on human touchpoints, then your boundaries can limit revenue opportunity.

What would automation look like for your business to grow sales?

5 Reasons Marketing Automation Fails

Marketing automation works.  Engaging and nurturing leads with a real-time, personal process keeps attention, builds trust and wins business.  Our team has built many successful marketing automation systems and campaigns.  It becomes a vital asset to the business of our customers.

But, not all marketing automation works.  Typically, a company hears about the promises that marketing automation brings and then proceeds to try and make it work.  Here are a few reasons why failure happens and how you can avoid them:

1. Lack of Talent

If you only have traditional marketing people on your team that are adept at advertising or PR campaigns, then this is the number one reason for failure.  Marketing automation is hard, not easy.  It requires a combination of skills including IT, developers, copywriters, analysts, copyeditors, project managers, graphic designers, web developers, video editors and creative strategists.

It is an expensive payroll to bring all these roles together.  It is hard to find this all in one person.  Choosing self-service rather than full-service may already doom your project to failure if you don’t have the right talent.

2. Poor Marketing Strategy

We approach our marketing automation projects with strategy first.  A marketing automation campaign roadmap needs to be well established to define what the buying process looks like.

Putting a bunch of forms together that do a bit of lead scoring is like driving a race car at 35 to the grocery store every day.  It was designed for so much more.

3. Fear Of Failure

The likelihood that your marketing automation campaign will immediately convert leads to customers is rare.  We are dealing with human beings and seeking to get to their motivations and decisions.  The goal is not to launch something perfect.  The goal is to launch something that is measurable and connects.  In so doing, you can continue optimizing and refining.

If we see a major drop in a lead process for downloading content, then we address that step with both art and science to drive the next step.  Marketing automation teaches you what works and connects.  It is an iterative process which requires commitment.

4. Silos Of Marketing And Sales

When the salesperson engages and with what message is a critical component.  If there has been a tradition of marketing and sales working separately – the former creating demand and the latter closing deals – then this has to be quickly overcome in the project scope and implementation.

Sales team members need to be brought into the project for launching a campaign and understand the experience prospective buyers are undergoing before they call for a meeting.  They have to be able to read their digital footprints in the team CRM system, not just the analog outbound sales activities.

5. Leadership Gap

Give me a leader over a marketer any day.  This is a critical component to making marketing automation work.  There is a team of talent that has to be managed, business processes to be defined and systems that need engineering.  A creative, technical, business leader will drive success.

We have seen too many junior people try and take the reigns and they are the root cause of failure.  The vision, strategy and execution all have to come together for success.

Beyond Features And Benefits

Note that there was not commentary on the features and benefits of individual marketing automation software systems.  Marketers like to look at those because it takes the lens off of ourselves.  After all, technology cannot fight back.

We can interchange marketing automation campaigns between systems easily and make them work.  The systems today are remarkable and are far above the thresholds for effective strategy for results.  It is unlikely the features will be exhausted in the array of different software available today.

It comes down to whether you can drive any of these systems, connect with the buyer and create a buying experience which is personal, relevant and timely.  Avoid the failure points and ensure your team, whether in-house or via partnership, can take this powerful instrument and make music rather than noise.

Feel free to comment below.

Marketing Automation Branding Game

The marketing automation vendors of today will consolidate into a couple of brands with a winner take all stakes game unfolding today.  Marketing Automation Software Guide published an article that provides some analysis and insight into the revenue and funding of today’s players.  It’s great analysis for seeing who has taken money and what the market share is.

Our Take

Marketing automation is still in the cult stage.  When you say it to people, you have to explain it.  The term has not circulated substantially like “CRM” or “CAD” software.  When a term proliferates for common understanding then the respective saturation will have an associated brand.  Today, “CRM” connotes Salesforce.com and “CAD” means AutoCad.

The information age creates a brutal existence for brands.  Books means Amazon.  Classifieds means Craigslist.  Facebook does not have a serious competitor.  The second brand is inconsequential.  In our past lives, they mattered because we wanted to temper the power of the first brand from a distribution control setup.  Pepsi existed to allow an alternative to Coke’s dominance and negotiation with retailers.

With the internet, we go straight to the manufacturer.  As the brand category for marketing automation becomes common because everyone recognizes the problem then there will be an associated winner, likely with two categories.

Kevin Maney explained in his book Trade-Off that brands succeed because they are either high fidelity – the overall experience of a product or service – or high convenience – the ease of acquiring a product or service.  Being neither dooms you to failure.  Being committed to one allows you to be the winner.

Thus, there will likely be a high fidelity marketing automation offering and a high convenience vendor which will dominate the market.  The breakdown of the two players will be broken down by price and brand awareness.  Spending $28K per year for a marketing automation solution like Marketo attracts a high fidelity buyer.

Having the freemium model like Loopfuse OneView gets you going immediately via a try without a buy model.  There are two different categories of buyers served.

We believe that as marketing automation as a category expands to become a common shorthand, then the best branded companies in the high fidelity and high convenience subcategories will dominate.

The category has not yet been mainstream, thus, the branding war is still going.  The winner will take all.

The 8 Ball

While it may be entertaining to see the millions thrown at funding the companies seeking the crown, the noise of marketing clouds what matters.  It’s not a features and benefit battle.

While it may not be completely true, assume parity among the vendors for the main required features to be required as marketing automation.  Here’s why people pick the Apple iPod or Salesforce.com and why they will eventually pick the marketing automation vendor winner:

  • Ecosystem: All the accessories such as community, support, add-ons, integrations, etc. are built up easily for the winner by third-parties.
  • Leadership: We like picking the winner.  It reduces perceived risk, regardless of actual functionality.
  • Congruence: Content which talks about how to solve your problem rather than sell software will drive connection.  Does the company drink their own Kool-Aid?  Do they market with content and nurture?  Or is it just a bunch of developers that are two steps removed from how people actually buy.
  • Positioning: Who makes their name synonymous with “marketing automation” as a brand in our minds?  It will show up in the conversations we have.

Sadly, many of the vendors just don’t get it.  On the cover, they look like they help you convert leads.  Under the hood, they are just a software company.  The market rewards the companies that get it.

Keep your eye on the 8 ball in all the analysis and market hype:

  • It’s much more about your marketing than your software.  We can interchange software with the nurturing campaigns we implement.
  • It may be a few years before marketing automation becomes mainstream.  In the meantime, there is not a clear winner.  Consolidation will occur over time and your strategies and campaigns should be portable if a vendor folds.
  • Michael Dell said, “Over time all technologies commoditize.”  It’s a tool at the end of the day.  Noone will ask you what marketing automation software you used to win them as a customer.  It’s like asking who we host our website with.  Does it really matter?

Whether there is an IPO for a marketing automation vendor in the near future or a buyout by Salesforce.com or Google, the products are enablers to get a result – more converted leads.  Watch the branding leader emerge and make your pick accordingly.  Then when you want to make it work, come talk to us.

What are your thoughts on marketing automation software today in the market?

 

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Converting Inbound Leads

The inbound marketing process has failure points.  If your business is set up where marketing generates leads and your sales team aggressively calls, then trust can be compromised with otherwise potential sales opportunities.

Inbound marketing has the following conversion points:

  1. Visitors: These are a high quantity of people that find you from search or marketing efforts.  They visit your site and will engage your content if it is relevant and remarkable.  If you do not meet this criteria, then you lose visitor stickiness.
  2. Leads: A lead is someone who chooses to exchange their anonymity for something of value.  As trust is built from your content, then their eagerness for a higher level of value means that they identify themselves.  They will give you their email address and name when they get access to white papers, video, guides, ebooks and other quality produced items that help them solve a problem.
  3. Prospects: These are people that move through the marketing funnel and say, “Yes,” to engaging your sales process.  They agree to a meeting, a trial of software or purchasing an item.  High trust and/or high pain has created this opportunity for your business.

Conversion

Think about when you buy.  It is a process which starts with awareness moves through education and then escalates to action based on trust.

If you disrupt the natural buying process by injecting your salesmanship or not providing a logical next step, then a conversion point is affected.  In our attention economy, it is difficult to regain ground.

Each of the steps need to be monitored and walked with analytics that reveal how your buyers are moving through the funnel.  As you are building your process, it becomes an exercise in refinement and iteration.  Here is what to look for:

  • Content Interest.  Understand what your visitors are looking at specifically and how deep they delve.  Their affinities will provide insight into how to create further content which builds upon the initial search.
  • Call To Action Value. Your value piece to generate a lead takes up valuable real estate with each content piece.  Ensure there is a logical and attractive next step to your call to action.  Analyzing the number of new emails you get will determine success.  Drive the ratio between Leads to Visitors by carefully reviewing where the drop offs are between the content consumption and the actual sign-ups for your value pieces.
  • Nurturing.  Continue to build momentum and trust with Leads by delivering ongoing value and nurturing.  Timeliness and personal messages which connect based on their behaviors are required.  This is an intelligent marketing automation process that has responsive engagement with the prospect.  Nurturing is the appropriate strategy where premature sales engagement might otherwise be used.

You may be getting visitors, but converting them to viable sales opportunities requires focus and systems to drive the conversion points.  These areas of iteration will be the crux points for making your inbound marketing strategies and systems a continuing asset for lead generation and lead conversion in your business.

What areas can you optimize for helping visitors become prospects?  Feel free to comment below.

Fooled By Advertising

Advertising is largely ignored and not trusted as a medium for building a brand.  Existing powerful brands benefit from advertising because there is already trust.  There is a brand connection imprinted on the psyche of millions of customers of Ford, Coke and IBM.  These powerful brands have to advertise to continually keep attention and remind their constituency of their relevance.

If you are an unknown brand or a startup, then the strategy of advertising can be alluring.  It is attractive as one of the go to market strategies because of:

  • Notoriety. We see the glitzy images and pictures.  The vanity of seeing ourselves in print or media gives us a high.
  • Safety. If you are caught up in a corporate mindset, then it feels safe to go with traditional marketing approaches, regardless of whether they are obsolete and do not connect.  If everyone around you buys in, then the decision becomes easy to do what does not work.
  • Emotion. With advertising, it is typically difficult to measure.  Often times, it is desirable to be vague rather than specific in metrics, conversions and analytics.  It is better for some to rely on emotion and disengage from reality.
  • Ignorance. Advertising is a default marketing method.  You might think this is marketing as it has always been.  It takes little thought, creativity and strategy.  Just put something out there and see what happens.

The cash cow of advertising is big business.  The reasons above play into why many marketing departments and unassuming small businesses buy advertising.  The problem is that it fails to build a brand.  It is selling and none of us like to be sold by strangers.

Content Marketing

For building a brand, there is an antidote.  While established brands are spending time and money on expensive advertising, build something more lasting, strategic and effective.  Content marketing is what helps to tell your story and create fans.

With relevant content that brings value and builds trust over time, your credibility and connection to the marketplace builds a pipeline of opportunities in today’s day and age.  The focus should be on helping, not selling.

What you offer solves a problem.  Articulate that problem and tell your story through solving the problem.  Your buyers are looking for specific solutions, but they want to know you understand them and bring ideas, strategies and solutions for helping them win.

Advertising is a pretty picture which comes, goes and has to be refreshed continually.  It is the old game.

Content endures and builds momentum for your brand. The systems for attracting a customer are readily available today to position you and connect directly with potential buyers.

How are you building your brand?  Feel free to comment.

 

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Buy Now Is Rare

If I have an urgency or an emergency, I have to buy now.  My need is clear and circumstance prevails.  If you are the seller, you are in a great position.

Perhaps your business is built for crisis.  Your buyers’ pain is so high that they have to act now.  Towing services, 911 and root canals work great for buying now.  If you are in such a business, buying now is where the marketing focus should be.

However, for the many products and services that require more deliberation, your strategy needs to facilitate a buy later approach.  No amount of gimmick or salesmanship will cause someone to buy today, especially if your offering is sophisticated.

Nurturing For The Majority

Your buyer will forget about you as they click through the web if you do not engage them with value.  To provide value, nurturing your buyer must come from providing relevant content which educates.

You spend countless hours thinking about your product or service.  In your buyer’s mind, you are a checklist item on the many things they buy.  They don’t think about your stuff as much as you.  They think about their problems.

Nurturing your buyer needs to be focused on getting into their problems, specifically the one that you solve.  Articulating the problem helps the buyer know that you understand.  It opens permission for your advice and expertise.

Educating The Buyer

Assume the buyer knows less than you do about your offering.  Help them understand through the nurturing process with content that educates.  Education is expensive, mainly because it requires attention.  We are all in a marketplace of noise and too much information.  The complexity of your product or service stretches the sales cycle because your buyer will not feel comfortable moving forward without understanding how your stuff works in their world and their problems.

Using a marketing automation strategy which helps your buyer increase in their understanding of your offering is critical to building trust.  It moves the buyer mentally past the objections and mental hurdles.  It also positions your brand and thought leadership.

The sequencing and timing of your content should empower your buyer to have an intelligible discussion with you about your domain.  They become a collaborator in the sales discussion rather than feeling sold.

If you are set up only for the buy now person, then you may be missing the larger segment of buyers ready to buy later.  They constitute a continuous pipeline of business if your nurturing strategy and systems are working.

How do you educate your buyers?

 

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CRM Integration In Marketing Automation

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Lauren Carlson, a contributor to the Marketing Automation Software Guide.

Arguably the most important value-add of implementing a marketing automation system is the alignment of marketing and sales. By being able to share lead information in real time, you can ensure that you are presenting the best messages to the right prospects at the exact right time. But all of this cannot happen on marketing automation alone. Better alignment is only possible through tight integration of your marketing automation platform with your customer relationship management (CRM) system.

Our friends at Marketing Automation Software Guide presented a great overview of the importance of CRM integration in marketing automation. Here, we will provide a summary of their original post, authored by Mike MacFarlane. We will discuss the basics of integration and the technology behind it. Then, we will provide ten questions for you to consider when evaluating your marketing automation vendor shortlist.

Integration: An Introduction

Integration is all about communication. When you integrate your marketing automation and CRM system, you allow them to talk to each other. This bidirectional communication ensures that each system responds to events in the other. For example, if your organization is updating their customer and prospect records within the CRM system, that data should sync back to your marketing automation platform.

This consistency of information goes back to the alignment of sales and marketing. When sales and marketing teams are dealing with the same set of data, they can improve their effectiveness. For example, let’s say a sales rep is speaking with a prospect on the phone, and they learn that the prospect’s title has changed. When they update that information in the CRM system, it is important that it sync back to the marketing automation system. This is imperative for the marketing team when it comes to lead nurturing and scoring, which is often based on demographic information, such as job title.

So, how do you get the systems to start talking? It all starts with mapping. For bidirectional communication, you have to map fields from your CRM system into your marketing automation system. Some sophisticated systems, such as Salesforce.com offer automated mapping, while others require manual mapping. Through this process, the systems will be able to sync in real-time.

The Technology

Most CRM and marketing automation systems provide integration using an Application Programming Interface (API). An API allows an external system to access and use the services of the connected system. For example, it can allow the marketing automation system to access a specific lead’s information from the CRM system and use for lead scoring purposes.

Another method of integration includes batch or automated file imports where the file referenced is updated on a regular basis. This integration is good for the intitial upload of data, but for ongoing synchronization, an API is ideal.

Stepping It Up

So far, we have discussed some basic integration activities. However, in order to ramp up sales and marketing alignment and get the most out of your software, you might want to consider more advanced integration activities. Six advanced functions are listed in the table below.

CRM integration

Conclusion

Every company is different in the way they approach integration. However, the end goal remains the same: they want to access any piece of data that is going to help them communicate and sell better. You will have to find the best solution for your needs. In order to help you do this, we offer 10 questions you should ask when evaluating a marketing automation platform:

  • Do you offer pre-built connectors to the [insert your CRM system] CRM system?
  • Can you quickly reference new fields within your marketing automation platform and add them to your integration?
  • How frequently does your system synchronize with the CRM system?
  • Can your system send leads to the CRM system based on a lead score?
  • Can it send leads based on buyer behavior or a campaign outcome?
  • Can the system assign leads to sales reps based on score, campaigns, etc.?
  • Can the system synchronize campaigns with the CRM system?
  • Are you able to import flat files into your marketing automation database?
  • Can a sales rep remove a lead from a campaign from within the CRM system?
  • Can you pass implicit or behavioral activity information to your CRM?

Lauren Carlson is a blogger and CRM Market Analyst.  Follow her on Twitter and read her articles at www.softwareadvice.com.

Thanks, Lauren, for contributing.

Inbound Marketing Strategy With Value And Content First

It is harder than ever to build trust today, thus, you have to focus on positioning.  Bring value through content first.  How you are perceived by your prospective buyer can be affected by the work or the lack thereof you do before you meet with them.  While many salespeople are trained in outdated ways of prospecting, there are new approaches which resonate with how we like to be approached as buyers today.

How We Regard Content

The internet has placed the power in the hands of the buyer.  We instinctively search, research and self-service with regards to educating ourselves about products, services and people.  As a salesperson, you are a product as well.  How you are displayed, perceived and positioned is entirely up to you.  The hard work comes in building the appropriate systems and carefully thinking through every mouse click and experience your prospective buyer will have.

If you are outbound in your sales process, here is a simple framework for connecting with credibility rather than low trust.  Trust is the key.

Focus On Your Prospect

There is something you would like to say with your prospect.  Typically, a salesperson would rather pick up the phone rather than write.  Second, it’s expedient to email.  Both tactics lose the strategic value which could be captured in building a system.

Your prospect has some kind of problem they are seeking to solve or are not thinking about.  Your job is to engage the discussion around the problem.  Thus, write an article which is housed on your professional blog system.  The article should be optimized for search engines so that it has lasting value.  Every article you write becomes an asset.  You are able to be found in the future and your authority and relevance will rise.  Contrast this with every email you write.  Every email becomes disposable and only consumed by one or a few people.  Though it is convenient, it does not have the same positioning.

Ensure your article connects both specifically and broadly.  Having a specific person to write for helps you focus the content.  In the meantime, there should be a dual tract in your thinking to allow it to serve multiple people like the person you are approaching.

Connect With Your Prospect

Social Media has evolved to become a new collaborative inbox for people.  Use Twitter and LinkedIn to make a connection with your prospect.  Review their tweets and posts.  Find something which connects and you are able to have a discussion around.

In Twitter, you can make a Mention of the person.  Simply use the “@” symbol before their Twitter handle, such as @ascendworks.  An example would be, “Enjoyed the article by @ascendworks on #positioning.”  Note the “#” symbol.  This makes the following word a tag in Twitter and anyone searching on that term will find your post.

The Mention will show up in the respective person you are trying to connect with.  They will likely comment back and follow you.  Once you both are connected, you have an avenue to open a dialogue.  In this go slow.  You are a stranger.  Send a message which delivers value by pointing them to the article you wrote.  Be sure to shorten the url at http://bit.ly.  An example message would be “AscendWorks, thanks for following.  I would love to connect.  I think this article would be valuable http://bit.ly/g66Mn4”

Thus, you have positioned with value.  This is a path to building trust.  Next, you want to watch for their digital body language.

Digital Body Language

A marketing automation system which gives you intelligence about what your prospect is doing with your content is critical for your approach.   You can see what they are reading and be alerted on the timing.  This allows you to have a personalized and timely engagement with your prospect.  Furthermore, you can see if trust is being built.  We call it a breadcrumb trail.  You may have several trails.  The goal is to entice your buyer into further engaging your content and get to know you.

The consumption of your content builds trust.  It positions you as an expert.  We trust and respect experts.  Our guard goes up with salespeople.  The work you do in driving a strategic approach will classify you as one or the other.  Experts work within strategic systems.  Traditional salespeople play a numbers game and abuse others time.  It’s better to approach fewer well-targeted prospects with value and precision than guess and interrupt many people.  You lose your credibility and are only building mistrust with no systems.

Syndication And Metrics

Your work is never wasted.  You are building a sales system rather just being a salesperson.  It revolves around content which is produced and proclaimed.

Within your blog system, be sure to have a search engine like Google Custom Search implemented.  This will allow you to quickly Google your own content for future one-to-one sales engagements to repeat the process.

Ongoing, you should syndicate your articles by posting on Twitter and LinkedIn to drive further inbound traffic.  Metrics show you who is coming and when to engage them.  Thus, your system creates a process for a person desiring to engage you rather than a process of interruption.

The process to be executed again is:

  1. Identify and research your prospect
  2. Write a personal, relevant and timely content piece
  3. Post the content in your professional blog system
  4. Connect via Twitter and LinkedIn using Mentions
  5. Provide value with followers using your article as a positioning piece
  6. Monitor digital body language
  7. Repeat the process with Step 2 or searching on your past content to recycle

Make it a goal to avoid risking mistrust through interruption and disregard for other people’s time and attention.  Instead, build and focus your value system.  You will not only be within the stream of the new economy, but you will be building an asset which has exponential value as you become found, recognized and regarded.