Automation Is Taking the Lead in Modernizing Marketing
According to a report published by Mckinsey Global Institute “advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are ushering in a new age of automation.” And forward-thinking companies are leveraging artificial intelligence tools to reshape their marketing.
In what specific areas will increased efficiency translate into increased efficacy? Let’s take a look today at 3 marketing applications for which automation, when done correctly, could really help your company’s messaging be more timely, more impactful and, ultimately, more profitable.
1. Lead scoring.
We already know that salespeople waste anywhere from 20 to 40% of their time chasing down bum leads. And even if they’re qualified leads, not all leads have an initially equal chance (given enough time, attention and incentive) of panning out.
Savvy sales managers know that leads are subject to a steep success gradient — especially in high-value/low-volume B2B sales or in scenarios that require sign-offs from many different stakeholders across an organization. The more complex the purchase process is, the steeper the drop-off becomes.
This means that lead scoring has become an important tool that companies use to screen out candidates that have a high likelihood of becoming time wasters. But for a lean sales department, lead scoring can become a significant time sink on its own.
For example, you may know that a potential client is following and reposting your company’s social marketing content on LinkedIn, or has downloaded a whitepaper or two, so there’s a high probability that this prospect is interested in what you do. But how far does that interest extend?
Does she already have the resources at hand to make a purchase or would she have to generate them? Is the prospect a demonstrably good fit for your product or service? Is she ready to buy? Is it worth picking up the phone, taking that initial meeting and spending time figuring out her interest level?
Automating the lead scoring processes help your sales team know when the time is right.
Your data stream can be optimized to include not only qualification but interpretation of intent — as can be determined by remotely watching and automatically profiling prospective clients — you can save your salespeople the time they would otherwise spend scoring leads themselves.
2. Lead nurturing and relationship building.
How do you automate a business relationship? How could a computer program, even one powered by AI, ever stand in for a handshake, a phone call, a personalized note, or a pleasant lunch meeting?
How do you automate trust?
That’s simple. You optimize your marketing automation so that segmented, personalized content reaches the right prospect, via the right channel, at the right time.
Automated content delivery — especially when backed by AI — can instill a sense in a site visitor that your business knows him, even if he has never before interacted with a member of your sales force.
If you have the ability to discretely profile prospects, you have the ability to deliver content that speaks to his needs and to the problems his business faces. You have the ability to propose solutions that would solve his challenges and fall within his budget and his company’s capability to implement.
When a prospect continually receives such content from you, across various channels, it can build within him a sense that your company truly empathizes with his situation. When we humans empathize, we’re more apt to trust.
If you can follow up with reactive content that demonstrates — even if seemingly — your company is attentive to his objections and concerns, your prospect will be even more likely to trust you.
So, automation has now put your sales team 3 steps ahead in the sales process: the lead has been identified, appropriately scored and a trust relationship has been established. How can automation then facilitate that initial human-to-human contact and facilitate a close?
3. Integrated social media marketing.
What if your social media channels could be automated to generate online discussion with a qualified, scored, already-trusting lead?
What if your brand’s automated “voice,” on a specific channel or channels, began to ask questions of your prospects, without a live sales person ever having made contact? These approaches could occur either out on the feed, for all to see, or via an automated direct message behind the wall.
And what would happen if, whenever a prospect responded to an automated approach, your social media management program could in real time alert a live sales rep, who would then step in and assume control of the conversation — from the client’s perspective, seamlessly?
With sales people freed from lead generation, prospecting and initial nurturing, they could focus almost entirely on closing, onboarding, deployment facilitation and service after the sale.
They’d have more time to work hands-on with your product, or live-demonstrate in the field, and in so doing, become better versed in the goods and services your company provides. They’d have more time to read trade journals and research literature, to stay on top of new developments in your industry.
And they’d have more time to devote to the life side of their work-life balances — without negatively impacting profits. That would make your employees happier, more productive at work and less susceptible to distraction and less prone to mistakes.
Marketing automation shows great promise for improving efficiency and efficacy.
The question, then, is whether or not marketing automation is the best tool to improve your digital marketing results. Let’s find out.
To continue your discovery, you could check out our email workflow how-to or read our 4 examples of real-world marketing automation that our team here at Cleriti has called out for being particularly successful, engaging, or otherwise smart. Then, if you’re interested, tell us more about your needs and see how we can help you use automation to supercharge your conversions.