Monday, May 18, 2015

Driving Lead Generation with Marketing Automation

by Dan Freeman 
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Generating high-quality leads is one of the key marketing challenges for most B2B companies. Without a regular and adequate flow of qualified leads, the opportunity spigot dries up and revenues fall off quickly. Marketing automation offers a host of benefits, but how does it fit into your marketing strategy specifically as a lead generation tool? Here’s a look at how automation help drive new leads and nurture existing leads from initial contact through sales conversion.

Personalization and Customization

How do you interact with those you want to impress in a face to face meeting?
For one thing, you address them properly. When shaking hands you probably don’t say “Hello Friend”. It’s probably more like, “Hi Jason”. Automation allows you address prospects & customers individually or as member of a group that has some relevance to them. For example, “Dear Customer” or “Attention IT Managers”.

If you want to have an engaging face to face conversation with a prospect, you don’t just spew talking points; you respond to other’s comments, questions, and thoughts. Automation lets marketers respond with content based on your prospect’s past digital conversations. If they have demonstrated interest in product X, you can respond with some benefits that product X provides. As with a face to face conversation, the more relevant your message is, the more engaging it will be. By delivering customized content, you increase your response rates dramatically – sometimes by over 500 percent.

Timely Testing

Marketers have used A/B split testing to find the most effective ways to reach their audiences for decades, but modern marketing automation technology makes testing more valuable by shortening the gap between tests and live releases from days to minutes. Think of how the nearly instantaneous communication possibilities of email revolutionized how we talk to one another, and you’ll have an idea of how much of a difference timely test results can make in your lead generation strategy. Automation lets your marketing team find the best email, landing page, banner ad, or promotional message and blast it to audience segments almost in real time, ensuring that every campaign uses optimal content.

Drip Campaigns

Not all your leads start off ready to buy. That’s where drip campaigns can help, feeding small amounts of information to a prospect at a measured pace to nurture that contact over time. You don’t have the bandwidth to run drip email campaigns by hand, especially as your marketing operation expands, but marketing automation gives your team the power to optimize every part of the campaign. Channeling the flow of leads through a drip campaign keeps every potential customer moving forward in your marketing pipeline.

Marketing to Sales Hand-Offs

Your sellers work most efficiently when they don’t have to sort through an undifferentiated pile of leads to find the ones who are sales-ready. With marketing automation software, you can score and rank leads, and set sales alerts when those leads reach a sufficient score. Because all the marketing work has been done, sales people can focus on the high value work of selling. Instead of tossing leads over the fence to sales, your marketing team hand-delivers them complete with useful analytics as gift wrapping.

Lead generation is where your content and prospects intersect, and that’s where a marketing automation system truly shines. To learn more about how marketing automation drives lead gen, contact us.

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