In a recent webinar, DemandCon CEO Shawn Elledge and Act-On Software CMO Atri Chatterjee discussed how marketers can accelerate their sales funnels using marketing automation. According to Aberdeen Group, marketing automation’s benefits can include:
- 46% increase in annual revenue
- 26% increase in lead conversions
- 25% decrease in cost per lead
Five Steps to Increase Revenue Today
Chatterjee presented five key strategies to realize the potential of marketing automation for your organization’s sales funnel performance:
- Develop Content
According to Chatterjee, some marketers have the misconception that because they’re using marketing automation, content isn’t needed, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Creating rich content is still very important and your first step should be creating a content plan.Make sure that your content is fresh and relevant, so people will be interested. Know who your audiences are, and what their specific issues are; the mid-sized tool manufacturer has different concerns from a high tech company. You need to speak to each of them with different content. You should also consider targeting different job titles and functions in the same vertical. Marketing automation makes it easier to know who those audiences are and target them with specific content.
- Keep Score
Lead scoring wasn’t done much before marketing automation; it was too time consuming and tedious, and results were delivered too slowly to be useful. Now it can be done instantly, making it valuable and relevant. Most lead scoring techniques fall into two broad categories:
• Profile-based, such as title, industry, location, etc.
• Behavior-based: what are prospects reading or downloading on your website, how are they interacting with your social channels, etc.?
Lead scoring, both positive and negative, allows marketers to have a better idea of which leads to act on.
- Align, and Hand–Off
Marketing and sales alignment is crucial to the success of an organization, as is the handoff between the two. As Chatterjee points out, marketing and sales alignment is about people and process as much as technology. Both teams must communicate, first determining and agreeing on definitions for both marketing qualified leads (MQL) and sales qualified leads (SQL). The organization should also have an agreed-on plan for dealing with leads, as well as shared goals.
- Intelligently Nurture
Lead nurturing is a valuable tool not only when dealing with new leads, but as a way to re-engage old leads. With new leads, lead nurturing can help further qualify prospects and maintain prospect mindshare. When it comes to old leads, lead nurturing provides a way to reach back to contacts that may have been lost to “no decision.” When a prospect opts not to buy, this may not mean “no;” they’re often saying “not right now.” Lead nurturing allows your organization to stay top of mind so that when your prospects are ready to make a decision, you’re still there for consideration. Again, this is a laborious process made feasible by marketing automation.
- Measure, Refine and Repeat
“You won’t get it right the first time,” said Chatterjee, who stressed the importance of tracking and measuring all activities. Such measurement lets you decide which are the leading indicators for the success of your marketing programs, and determine where changes need to be made to improve your results.