Depending on your business your customers might buy from you regularly, or not so regularly. Either way we are yet to meet a client who only wants to sell to their customer once.
As a result, providing a great purchasing experience and then remaining engaged with your customers over the long term is really important so you're able to remain relevant to them and top of mind.
The new art of marketing is to define your customers' journey, engaging these people at the right time with the right message, so they do business with you when the time is right. This approach is known as marketing automation.
It's helpful to look at Marketing Automation as not a single process or initiative, but rather, a communications plan you develop for customers as they move through the various stages of your sales funnel.
Marketing automation is also not all about simply blasting customers with spam emails. Rather, it is about having a clear understanding of the various types of buyers you may be dealing with, and formulating a plan for each of them (within practical reasons), with relevant messaging based on the stage they are at in their journey with your business.
It's worth remembering too that often there are many stakeholders involved with a purchase, particularly when the product or service you sell is considered a "high involvement" purchasing decision. Per the Target Account Selling methodology, some of these people will be influencers, others approvers, and one person will be the decision maker. And if you are selling to small businesses, often one person (the owner) will wear all hats.
With that in mind, the hallmarks of a successful marketing automation plan are generally as follows:
- influencers have found it easy to find the information they seek;
- all purchasing influencers have established a sense of trust in your brand, and your ability to deliver;
- you have earned the right to have a 1:1 conversation with the prospect, and when your sales team have called them they have been receptive and keen to book a meeting;
- your cost of sale has reduced as a result of your prospects' dealings with your business online with your reps needing to spend less time in the education process of the sale;
- you have seen an increase in the quality and quantity of qualified leads (as opposed to "just leads");
- you have had a reduction in unsubscribes in percentage terms from your communications;
- an effective lead scoring process that ensures you are dealing with your audience at the right time with the right message; and of course,
- you have sold more!
Our lead consultants are senior marketers and sales professionals who have moved to professional services after 10+ years in industry roles. We can help you define your customers' journey with you, and devise a plan that you can follow to communicate to each of your customer's "persona's" based on where in this journey they may be.
We can also provide advice as to what level of automation you need to support your requirements - for example, if your needs are simple we often find Mailchimp will be sufficient, and if you need something more capable Hubspot is a great choice.
If you're in the business of selling high-involvement products (most B2B businesses, and some B2C's), we can also help you better understand your sales pipeline and where to focus your marketing efforts by linking your customer journey to your customer database (CRM)