According to recent research by Regalix, the top three objectives for marketing automation in the B2B sector are improving lead nurturing, improving lead quality, and increasing lead generation. All of these aim at improving the customer experience by serving each channel through which a customer can interact with an organization.
The ROI of Omnichannel Experience
That’s why, when faced with how to handle not-yet-sales-ready leads and how to serve customers through the channels they prefer, investing in marketing automation tools still proves more cost effective than wasting money on pre-selling efforts for non-nurtured leads.
A recent Aberdeen Group research study found that “companies using marketing automation receive 53 percent higher conversion rates than non-users and [realize] an annualized revenue growth rate 3.1 percent higher than non-users.”
What’s more, 90 percent of marketing automation users consider it the one tool that’s worth the price. This has led to a boom in marketing automation and CRM as businesses take advantage of this technology to more easily provide omnichannel experiences for their customers.
Nurture, Personalize and Score!
Marketing automation is revolutionizing the B2B customer experience in three important ways:
1. Lead nurturing
According to research, as many as 80 percent of your leads will make a purchase from you within the next six months, but they may not be ready to make a purchase decision today. Proper lead nurturing through the proper channels will shorten sales cycles to help you generate more revenue faster.
2. Personalized content marketing
Delivering the right content at the right time is the key to acquiring quality B2B leads. Mapping your content based on your prospects’ user profiles, their browsing histories and their lead scores is the first step to ensuring content relevance. Not only does targeted content play a helpful role in attracting quality leads but generates higher ROI as well. Nurtured leads make 47 percent larger purchases than non-nurtured leads, making the ability to capture data from each channel more essential than ever in providing exceptional and more personalized customer experiences.
3. Lead scoring
Simply put, lead scoring maximizes sales productivity. Focusing your sales team’s attention solely on the hottest leads can dramatically increase conversion rates and shortens sales cycle.
ToFu, MoFu and BoFu
Marketers are well acquainted with terms like ToFu (Top of the Funnel), MoFu (Middle of the Funnel) and BoFu (Bottom of the Funnel), which represent the stages in the lead generation pipeline.
Although the concept of lead nurturing through ToFu, MoFu and BoFu content may sound fairly simple in theory, in practice it takes a lot of time and effort to execute properly. And since this process is so complex to manage manually, a robust marketing automation tool becomes almost a necessity to provide an omnichannel experience at each stage of the marketing funnel.
At the ToFu stage, marketers should focus on getting found online and generating leads. Marketing automation tools help to create campaigns, spread the word about brand or products across the web and manage the leads acquired. The main challenge at this stage is lead retention because there is very little marketing automation can do to keep unidentified site visitors from dropping off.
Key to converting unidentified leads to identified leads is understanding their behavior and engaging with them while offering alternative relevant content through their preferred channel(s) of engagement.
MoFu is all about nurturing and scoring identified leads. Once you’ve been given permission to initiate direct communication with your leads via filled-in registration forms, you can enrich your prospects’ profiles and deliver personalized nurturing campaigns based on their web behavior.
Your marketing automation system can then pick the right content and send it out with an appropriate frequency, ensuring consistent brand voice and personalization through all appropriate channels. That way, only after the system scores your lead as a hand-off to sales do you guide this lead down the sales pipeline.
BoFu helps your sales team act quickly and efficiently. Scoring is the main player on this stage of the funnel, sending alerts once the lead reaches certain scoring criteria. With each action a qualified prospect takes, the lead score will change and a re-scoring process will be triggered automatically.
This is crucial for cross-channel marketing campaigns where, depending on the event, a given lead score could advance to sales-ready very quickly. In cases like that, a marketing automation system can send instant notifications to the sales team so they can react quickly and efficiently.
Connecting the Dots on the Customer Journey
Using marketing automation throughout the customer journey allows you to plan, personalize and optimize your interactions with prospects across all channels and devices to leverage your knowledge of customer preferences and behaviors.
It lets you deliver the right messages through the right channels at the right times, thus increasing your chances of converting them to long-term loyal customers.
By connecting your advertising campaigns to live CRM, the emails and push notifications you deliver to your customers will be the most relevant content based on their browsing histories.
With the insights marketing automation can generate for you at every step of the customer journey, you can make sure that no lead is left behind and every lead is nurtured properly. In the age of the digital customer, using marketing automation to provide personalized omnichannel experiences can be the difference between closing more business and closing your business.
Title image “Mirror Clouds” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by LabyrinthX-2
About the Author
Michael Rooney has responsibility for the bpm’online (www.bpmonline.com) operations in Americas. He possesses proven expertise in developing, implementing and managing CRM, and brings to bpm’online deep and comprehensive sales and management experience.