In part 1 of this article we looked at the goals of Marketing Automation and how we can leverage it to generate awareness of our brands. In part 2, now that the prospects are in your funnel you can see how to leverage marketing automation to move them through each buying stage.

Eliciting Consideration and Interest

Now that you’ve captured these prospects in the system and they have received the welcome emails and first follow-up from the event, it is time to drive interest in your product and to sort your prospects into groups so that you can begin tailoring messages to their level of interest and propensity to purchase.

In the follow-up email you offered the prospect an option to visit the company blog, or to download a white paper. You may have also included a link to pricing or features of your product depending on what your sales cycle looks like.

Based on the action the customers took with your follow-up email, you can branch your campaign out, using a lead scoring model to determine who is a good prospect to follow up with. Anyone who clicked on multiple links, and visited multiple pages might be the most likely to convert at this point because their buying signals are the strongest. Using information that is tracked by your system, these leads are sent an offer to signup for a demo or webinar, or even a deal to make a purchase. This could be sent a day or a week after the follow-up email, all configurable and automated by your system. Prospects who visit an online store or sign up for a demo are obviously interested and are moved to a targeted list to convert.

Customers who don’t click any links, or don’t fill out the form/make a purchase might still be interested but just not ready. This branch of prospects should receive more information about your company, another unique use for your products, or even a customer testimonial in a follow-up message. All these options are focused on driving continued interest in your brand, and getting a prospect ready to buy.

But as I said, email isn’t everything. Maybe at this point you also want to send a direct mail piece to these prospects. Anyone who as opened the emails but aren’t moving to the next stage could be targeted to get a glossy catalog, or a coupon deal to drive traffic to your retail store. Your marketing automation tools could manage this list and fulfillment.

Decision Making

Customers who’s actions are expressing interest by either clicking email links, visiting your site directly, downloading materials, but aren’t converting currently have moved into the decision making stage. They are interested, but there is some point of friction keeping them from taking action. It’s time to get serious with these prospects. At this point, its time to get a salesperson involved if you have them in your organization. Marketing Automation allows this to be done automatically once your criteria are met. The follow-up task is generated and assigned to the sales executive and who can follow up with the prospect, and ultimately get the customer to convert.

Other prospects who have stopped clicking links, or may just read the emails but not take any action aren’t ready to make a decision and would just feel bothered by a salesperson calling them. It’s time to split them off into a list of prospects that have show awareness but don’t have distinct interest. Maybe you’ll send them your quarterly newsletter, and a few other major announcements. Until they start raising their hand and expressing interest again, let the system automate these customer and keep them in the loop. This frees up the sales executives time to focus on the best customers, while not letting potential future customers fall away completely.

Converting to a customer

Whether a prospect becomes a customer on his or her own, or through the help of a sales professional. It is important to attribute this conversion to the original campaign and source that drove them to your business so that you can track the return on investment of your marketing. It’s also time to take the customer out of the sales cycle so that they don’t continue to receive sales messages. Instead, they should be moved to your customer focused campaigns which make sure they are receiving the level of quality and service you expect, as well as showing them additional items they could purchase to compliment what they already have.

This is just one example of a way to setup your marketing funnel using marketing automation. The power in Marketing Automation is about the process that takes a customer through the journey, and when you think about all the actions that you would have to take manually to achieve the same level of marketing it becomes clear why this buzzword is picking up steam.

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