How to Excel With the Most Underused Marketing Automation Features

Posted by Dmytro Matvisyk on Wed, Mar 14, 2012 @ 16:03 PM

From the results of its Marketing Automation Survey last year, Loopfuse released some interesting data about the adoption of advanced marketing automation features. Based on 361 respondents, Loopfuse showed that, while many users have adopted the basic features of its marketing automation tools, most haven't started using many of the more advanced features. 

This raises the question: Why are the more advanced marketing automation features tripping marketers up, and how can you prevent yourself from getting snagged? Let's take a look at the 4 least used advanced marketing automation features, explore why marketers get hung up them, and discuss what you can do to prevent it from happening to you.

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Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing is a fantastic way to continue moving your leads through the sales and marketing funnel. According to DemandGen Report, nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads. And using marketing automation, you can set up your lead nurturing emails to get sent automatically as leads progress, without any additional maintenance required. So if it's so effective and easy to maintain, then why are only 49% of marketers utilizing this wonderful tool? 

The Challenges

There are two main reasons marketers struggle when trying to get started with lead nurturing:

  1. Overcomplicating Lead Nurturing: They make it more complicated than it needs to be. There are a million and one different ways a lead can move through your sales and marketing funnel. If you try to create a customized nurturing campaign for each, you will be quickly overwhelmed by all the options.
  2. Content Deficiencies: Many marketers don't have enough content at their disposal to keep lead nurturing campaigns interesting and relevant throughout the sales and marketing funnel. This leads to emails that don't add a lot of value to the sales cycle, preventing leads from moving further through the funnel. 

The Solution

To prevent yourself from running into these problems, focus first on content creation. If your marketing team isn't continually creating new and relevant content through blog posts, ebooks/whitepapers, and webinars you will always be struggling to keep your lead nurturing campaigns interesting and relevant. Make sure you have a variety of the following three types of content to suit leads in each stage of the sales cycle:

  • Top of the Funnel Content: content suitable for leads when they first discover your company
  • Middle of the Funnel Content: content suitable for leads when they  know who you are, are familiar with your company, and are interested in learning more
  • Bottom of the Funnel Content: content suitable for leads when they are looking to make purchasing decisions

lead nurturing statsFor a deeper dive into what type of content is suitable for each of these stages, read this post. Once you have the right content and marketing offers to fuel your lead nurturing campaigns, map them to these different stages. A basic, educational ebook about your industry is a top of the funnel offer, so if a lead downloads this type of content, they should be followed up with a series of lead nurturing emails that provide additional top of the funnel content. A demo or trial request, on the other hand, is a bottom of the funnel offer and should be followed up with a different series of emails containing content that a lead who is closer to making a purchasing decision would be more interested in. 

When you're just getting started with lead nurturing, the key is not to get overwhelmed by all the options. You don't need to craft enough nurturing emails to get through a six month sales cycle. Instead, work on nurturing a new lead through the first 2 or 4 weeks. If they haven't taken the next step, then move them into a more basic weekly newsletter that will introduce them to a variety of your content. The beauty of setting up your lead nurturing based on stages of the funnel is, when leads are ready to move into the next stage, they will automatically start getting nurtured by the right level and type of content. 

Lead Scoring

Lead scoring is a great way to make sure your sales team is spending their time calling the right, most likely to convert, leads. So why do only 29.6% of marketers say they're successfully using lead scoring, even though doing so can be a wonderful time saver for both Sales and Marketing?

The Challenges

The truth is, sometimes it's a waste of time to score your leads. If your sales team doesn't have enough leads or doesn't like the leads they already have, you need to focus on getting more of the right leads first. Many marketers think they have a middle of the funnel problem (i.e. they have enough leads, but they aren't converting into customers) and that they need marketing automation tools to solve it. In reality, much of the time we see companies with top of the funnel problems (i.e. they're not generating enough leads or they're generating too many of the wrong leads) that they need to solve before they implement a lead scoring system.

The other reason marketers fail to set up lead scoring is that they don't have enough data or analytics in place to create an indicative lead score. You need a mix of demographic data (or data collected from a lead on conversion forms) and lead intelligence (data gathered by a lead management system about a lead's behavior) in order to calculate a lead score. Marketers often either ask the wrong questions on their conversion forms or don't have a lead management and analytics systems in place to collect the right information needed to implement lead scoring.

The Solution

leads kirkIf you don't have enough leads to keep your sales team busy (or happy), focus first on creating more content to attract more people to your website. Launching a blog or increasing the frequency at which you currently publish to it is the best way to do this. Then work on building up the number of marketing offers and conversion events you have at your disposal. Boost your visitor-to-lead ratios by testing and improving your landing pages and making sure people are finding the right offers at the right time. If your sales team doesn't call the leads you generate, work on establishing a sales and marketing service level agreement

If you don't have the right data to set up lead scoring, start by talking with your sales team about what makes a lead "qualified." Test your conversion forms with different form fields and lengths to make sure you're capturing the right information you need to decide whether a lead is qualified. Then ensure that your lead management and analytics systems are collecting information about activities and behaviors such as how many pages your individual leads have viewed, how often they've visited your site, how many and which offers they've downloaded, etc. Pull the different pieces of data together, and work with Sales to prioritize and weigh the value of each item compared to the others. Once you have an initial lead scoring system in place, test it with different sales team members and a variety of leads. Then iterate and test until you have a lead scoring process that both you and Sales trusts. (For more in-depth information about how to implement a lead scoring system, reference this post.)

Social Media Monitoring

Social media monitoring can help make the wide world of social media digestible for marketers. With Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, niche networks and new options like Pinterest and Google+ cropping up what seems to be weekly, it can get overwhelming. However, only 50% of marketers indicated they use social media monitoring to help sift through the mess

The Challenges

One likely reason marketers don't use social media monitoring tools is because they don't know where to get started, especially considering the vast array of monitoring tools at their disposal. Not only are there countless social media sites to monitor, but there are also countless monitoring tools to help you do so.

The Solution

describe the imageAs a marketer, you need to narrow down which social networks you need to monitor, and then find one social media monitoring platform that brings all those sites together. The first step is to figure out where your prospects and customers hang out in social media. Are they all over Twitter? Or do they mainly congregate on Facebook and Pinterest? Is it a B2B crowd leveraging LinkedIn? Or a B2C crowd leaving reviews on Yelp? Are there any niche, industry-focused social networks you should watch? Chances are your customers don't use only one social network, but there's also a pretty good chance they don't use all of them. Spend time looking for the influencers in your industry to see where they hang out. Then look for your potential customers and where the conversation about your industry is happening. Identify the top 2 or 3 networks, and get started there. 

The next thing you want to do is take a look at the various social media monitoring tools, and find out which one supports the social networks you're looking to monitor. Whether you're checking out HubSpot's social media tools or another platform, look for tools that allow you both to monitor the conversation and respond all in one place. Then, depending on your needs, consider additional features like analytics and the ability to manage monitoring through a collaboration of team members. Every marketing team will have different needs, but your life will be significantly easier if you can find one monitoring tool that can track the social networks that matter to your business.  

Campaign ROI Reporting

Campaign ROI reporting allows marketers to understand the value of their marketing campaigns and determine what's working for them (and what isn't). Measuring the return-on-investment of marketing is key to determining which tactics to invest your marketing dollars in, yet only 39.1% of marketers are using it

The Challenges

One of the main reasons marketers aren't able to successfully implement campaign ROI reporting is because they don't have closed-loop reporting in place. Closed-loop reporting takes your marketing analytics one (big) step beyond traditional web analytics. In addition to knowing how many visitors an element of your marketing generates, you can also track how many leads andcustomers it generates. Setting up closed-loop reporting generally requires integration between your web analytics and your CRM (customer relationship management tool). 

The second reason campaign ROI reporting can be tough is that many marketers don't have the ability to track multi-touch campaigns. It's rare that a lead or customer will have been touched by just one campaign or one campaign element during the sales cycle. Chances are much more likely that they'll interact with your marketing in a number of different ways through a variety of channels. As a marketer, you want to be able to track an individual lead's first conversion event (i.e. how they found out about you the very first time) as well as their most recent conversion event (i.e. how they interacted with your company most recently or just before purchasing). In a perfect world, you'll also be able to identify what other elements of your marketing they touched in between their first and most recent conversion events. 

The Solution

sources chartIn order to make sure you don't run into these problems when trying to conduct campaign ROI reporting for your business, you need to conduct some very thorough research about the tools you're either already using or thinking of using. When considering a marketing automation solution, having campaign ROI reporting tools isn't enough. Your tools also need to offer closed-loop reporting and easily integrate with your CRM. When researching options, be sure to dig into the tools' multi-touch campaign capabilities. Make sure you can track and report on first and most recent conversion events as well as monitor conversion events that take place in the middle. 

Advanced marketing automation features can be wonderful additions to a marketing team's day-to-day efforts. However, getting started with these tools can often be a really tough challenge. In order to make sure your team doesn't get tripped up like so many others do, put these solutions in place so you can be sure you're focusing on the right marketing automation strategies for your business. 

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Topics: n5r blog, marketing ideas, linkedin, linked in, marketing, n5r, online marketing, online media


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