Using Marketing Automation Across the B2B Customer Journey
05 February, 2016
There's a tendency to think the only use case for marketing automation is at the front of the sales funnel. In reality, marketing automation can become the glue that ties the entire customer journey together. From lead generation and nurturing, through to solution selection, customer onboarding, and proactive account service.
Let's take high level look at how marketing automation can enhance the customer experience and drive revenue throughout the customer lifecycle:
Marketing automation helps you cut through the clutter in your database to figure out who is actually interested in a specific proposition. Remember, as soon as a website visitor completes a form or clicks on a tracked email, their prospect record is associated with their device. When you send out a promotional email to your database, you can easily generate a call list of everyone who engaged by clicking through on the email link. This allows your sales team to focus on the 5 - 20% of your database that are worth calling.
With complex B2B solutions, prospects often get in touch long before they're ready to sign. Marketing automation allows your sales team to put early-stage leads onto nurturing campaigns directly from within the CRM. Now they're on a tailored communication track, receiving a mix of one-to-one check ins as well as marketing collateral specific to their buying considerations. As soon as they start engaging with the content, sales is alerted and they can re engage with context at the right time.
It's typical for multiple stakeholders to be involved in the B2B buying process. Decision-makers and influencers need to be educated around your offering as they weigh up alternatives. A solution selection drip helps influence stakeholders with customer testimonials, case studies, market research and competitor comparisons that build the case for your offering as they near crunch time.
If your solution requires customers to become familiar with features and functionality to be successful, an onboarding drip is critical. A mix of welcome emails, educational content and automated check-ins help new customers navigate those first few months, ensuring they feel supported and capable. Alerts can also be sent to customer care reps if customers aren't engaging with this content as it may be a sign you have a disengaged or at-risk customer. This is especially important for technology solutions.
Far too often, account service is reactive instead of proactive. If account managers only engage when there's a problem, this leaves a huge amount of money on the table. Marketing automation can deliver a high touch / low time approach to account service wiith a mix of automated check-in emails and upsell / cross sell content.
A final thought - engagement throughout the customer lifecycle drives revenue growth
Marketing automation allows you to craft engaging processes for every stage of the B2B customer journey and deliver them at scale, enabling teams to efficiently engage in the right way, at the right time with every customer. If customers get a great buying, onboarding and service experience they become loyal, buy more and become advocates for your brand.
Cold calling doesn’t work too well with complex sales for a few reasons. First, you have to get lucky - calling a prospect who actually cares about the problem you’re trying to solve at the moment you’ve contacted them. Second, you have to educate them - around who you are, the problem they have and how you’re uniquely positioned to help them solve it. Third, you have limited time - they didn’t ask for the call, and understanding your complex proposition probably isn’t on their list of priorities that day.
Beginning the journey towards implementing marketing automation technology is exciting and, as with all things new, contains a few unknowns. Here at LavaBox we've been around the Pardot block a few times and have some useful suggestions to help you plan for your implementation.
Lead nurturing empowers marketers to craft tailored content journeys that take prospects down different routes based on their actions (like clicking through on email links) or data profile in Salesforce (like their lead score or industry vertical).
These campaigns deliver content that supports the sales process and influence prospects throughout the customer journey. Below are five lead nurturing campaigns that help move prospects from "new lead" through to "contract signed."