How do you deploy a successful marketing automation strategy? For many businesses, this is the million (or more) dollar question. And it's an excellent question to be asking. However, first you must ask, what classifies as a successful marketing automation strategy?
What is a Successful Marketing Automation Strategy?
It starts with a goal or set of goals. There are a few key goals that help you clearly measure successful use of marketing automation. They include:
Successful Marketing Automation Strategies Result in an Increase in:
- Qualified lead generation
- Sales opportunities
- Sales productivity
Successful Marketing Automation Strategies Result in a Decrease in:
- The sales cycle
- Marketing overhead
- Lost sales opportunities
Even considering this broad range of goals you can accomplish, deploying a successful marketing automation strategy is not guaranteed.
Defining Your Marketing Automation Strategy
I thought about the 20+ instances of marketing automation I've helped deploy and what the most successful ones have had in common. I found two resounding similarities to all the successful marketing automation strategies I've been a part of: effective lead management and solid content libraries.
- Effective lead management is a rather broad component of marketing automation so I'll break it down in the key areas of lead management that will help any business find success deploying marketing automation. To begin, sales and marketing need to come together to define a lead. Better yet, define a lead amongst a set of profiles or personas. What are the key demographic/firmographic values that constitute a lead?
- Establishing your lead stages is next. This can be as simple as traditional lead stages like MQL, SAL, SQL, etc. Or, a company can create custom lead stage definitions that more accurately identify steps that are unique to their customers' buying process.
After, lead definitions and stages, you want to map existing content to each lead stage. This will help you execute lead nurturing depending on the lead's current stage. This is where the solid content library comes into play. By having great content to share at all parts of the sales funnel, marketing automation has a purpose. Without a good content library, you'll have little to say or share of any value.
Creating Your Lead Nurturing Program
Returning to lead nurturing, outlining and creating lead nurturing programs is a critical step in deploying marketing automation successfully. The steps to define a lead/lead stage play an important role here which is why I mentioned them, but your lead nurturing programs will make or break your marketing automation investment.
For lead nurturing programs, it's highly recommended to create a flowchart of your lead nurturing programs to help build the nurturing paths, define necessary triggers, identify content gaps and coordinate sales & marketing responsibilities. By creating and reviewing this flowchart with stakeholders (e.g. sales and marketing teams), you can come together on effective campaigns, troubleshoot potential conflicts and assign responsibilities throughout the campaign process as needed.
In order to most effectively nurture leads, however, you need to be able to deliver relevant content at the right time. Having a strong content library and mapping it to lead stages isn't enough. Having your marketing automation trigger the delivery of relevant content is dependent upon creating smart business rules that automatically fire off the content related to a lead's specific activities.
The deeper you can track lead activity and create respective lead nurturing campaigns that respond respectively to demographics+activity sets, the more successful you will be with marketing automation. Broadly focused lead nurturing will have minimal (if any) positive return. Highly targeted lead nurturing using advanced database segmentation and valuable, relevant content will create meaningful experiences for your leads and ultimately help you hit the goal(s) for marketing automation that you originally defined.
Segmenting Your Marketing Leads
With Net-Results Marketing Automation, we pride ourselves on having the best advanced database segmentation and lead nurturing tools in the business. Delivering highly targeted messaging with relevant content is the new standard for all marketing campaigns and we've made that easy for marketers to do with Net-Results. Our segmentation functionality is the core of Net-Results and helps guide your lead nurturing programs amongst other important marketing automation functions like lead scoring, instant alerts, reporting and more.
You can create deep segmentation rules to launch any nurturing campaign and each branch in the campaign is powered by the same powerful segmentation engine, allowing for hundreds of segment combinations to intelligently and easily move leads through the education and buying process.