Make the Most of Your Marketing Automation Platform
October 31, 2016
By Tim Cook
It's October: that time of year when even the smallest pipeline problem can make any marketer nervous. After all, the end of the year is coming fast. To make your 2016 numbers, you can't afford to let any sales slip away. If you're not getting enough leads, or if the ones you're getting aren't qualified enough, you might think you've run out of time to make a change.
But what if I told you your company was sitting on a gold mine of highly qualified leads you could convert before the end of the year?
It's true — and that gold mine is your marketing automation platform (MAP).
There's a reason 91% of the most successful marketers believe their MAP is "very important" to the overall success of their marketing. Your MAP helps you move beyond batch-and-blast messaging, targeting specific segments of your database with personalized messaging based on their needs and place in the buy cycle. The more specific your targeting, the more effectively you can nurture leads ... and the better your odds of closing a sale.
Unfortunately, when it comes to realizing these benefits, most marketers fall short. SiriusDecisions reports that 85% of marketers feel they aren't using their MAP to its full potential. And if you're struggling with your pipeline this quarter, chances are you have untapped opportunities in your MAP, too.
If any of these pipeline problems sound familiar, I have good news! There are steps you can take to overcome these problems and score some quick wins — before the end of the year.
Problem 1: You have a high volume of unqualified leads
Of course, lead qualification is essential to any marketing strategy. You don't want to waste Sales' time by forwarding leads that won't convert. But if it seems like none of the leads in your database are qualified enough to send to Sales, it's easy to get discouraged.
Quick Win: Pipeline acceleration programs
Pipeline acceleration programs are an excellent way to help get leads ready for Sales faster. Use your MAP to create targeted email journeys that reach out to less-qualified leads. By providing helpful resources that speak to buyers' specific pain points, you can provide value, nurture a relationship and get those buyers ready to close.
Problem 2: Once-active leads have gone dormant
There's nothing more frustrating than putting in the effort to advance a lead through your pipeline — and then suddenly getting radio silence in return. Buyers' interest can fade for any number of reasons, some of which have nothing to do with your company. However, it's your responsibility to spark that interest again.
Quick Win: Win-back journey streams
Win-back programs use your MAP to specifically target dormant leads, and they can take many different forms. You could try sending special offers or discounts, or create a one-to-one rapport with buyers through surveys or open-ended requests for feedback. And if you do it right, the results can be impressive: Research from Marketing Land suggests that 45% of win-back email recipients will read subsequent messages from your company.
Problem 3: You're not getting enough leads from your website
Your website should be a major driver of traffic for your business ... but if that's not the case, your website may need an update. A full site redesign will help in the long run, but that takes time — and without a steady supply of leads in the short term, trying to meet your 2016 revenue goals can feel overwhelming.
Quick Win: Outreach journeys
Fortunately, there are ways your MAP can help drive more leads. Build a list of leads in your database, segmented by product interest, buy readiness or any factor you choose. Then, send them highly targeted emails that encourage interaction. Filling out a form, requesting information and downloading an asset are all great ways for buyers to raise their hands and demonstrate interest — and for you to get enough information to move them through the pipeline.
These Q4 problems are common, but if you use your MAP effectively, they're also fast and simple to address. Here's to quick wins this quarter!
"Make the Most of Your Marketing Automation Platform." Tim Cook, Vice President of Client Services at The Mx Group, October 2016.
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