Why Your Business Should Be Excited About Lead Nurturing
Your business has moved beyond the launch phase, when your most creative talents were focused on filling blank sheets of paper with ideas. Looking to ramp up and scale, your team has purchased a strong CRM system and a marketing automation platform to help manage your leads and run your operations, while you aim to work on the business. With consistently strong execution of those promising ideas, your company will soon enjoy the benefits, capturing profit and share, and force your competitors to react to your ground-breaking apps and services. But, does the process end there? Does this glittering stage of “exploitation” continue forever, and your company magically grows its revenue?
Rita Gunther McGrath asks business leaders to face the brutal truth, that they need to accelerate the reconfiguring of the business model and resources. To stay ahead, your team must constantly start new strategic initiatives, “building and exploiting many transient competitive advantages at once.” So, in such a high-velocity business cycle, while your company is constantly developing new services or products, how do your leads and customers even keep up with your offerings? How do you engage in valuable and meaningful ways, and hold your basket in just the right place when the ripe spring plums are ready for harvest?
Anyone reading this post probably already knows the importance of building a nurture track in a rapidly scaling company — it’s all about meaningful touch-points without exhausting all of your resources. B2B buyers now complete about two-thirds of their purchasing journey online, as they educate themselves through online and social channels, then compile a short list of vendors to contact. Chuck Schaeffer warns, “If you’re not found during that discovery process, or fail to nurture leads during that process, then you’re excluded from the sale opportunity.” The challenge now is to deliver pinpointed content to buyers during their self-education process, and not suffer from the filter applied to vendor marketing.
In my other life in sales, I know how difficult it is sometimes to disqualify an enthusiastic lead, because often it seems like your precious prospect will then fall into the dark abyss of neglect. Instead of thinking that the lead is disqualified or an opportunity is forever dead, a marketing nurture track keeps the conversation alive, especially if your company is able to pinpoint what your lead cares about, and engage with them like a trusted advisor. In other words, the perfect sales and marketing partnership is not only a one-directional flow of MQLs to the sales team, but also for sales to trust their marketing battle buddies, and reverse handover the prospects.
How do we build a nurture program that builds on the relationship the sales team has cultivated with a prospect? How do we interact and engage in ways that really bring value to the table, without exhausting your resources, or taking away the focus of your sales team, so they can keep selling, not just preparing to sell? How do we provide the information your prospects are looking for, at just the right time, without overwhelming them?
Your marketing automation platform may already have the answer.
Customer Engagement Engine
If you’re using Silverpop, Hubspot, Eloqua, Act-On, or other enterprise level marketing automation tools, you have the ability to script interactive responses to using conditional logic or flowcharts, and inform your prospects and customers about all your fantastic new product or service offerings. Marketo, just last week, released what seems like an upgrade of all of its competitors’ features, in what it calls Marketo Customer Engagement.
What’s so exciting about this new release?
1. Analytics! The sparkling, new, Engagement Score.
Using a proprietary algorithm, the Customer Engagement engine will score the impact of your content, taking into account open rates, click-throughs, and other touchpoints. The at-a-glance metric and Dashboard allows you to easily compare against other content tracks, indicate which Streams are under performing, and where to replace content. Yes, that means a single place where you can find answers to the question, “So how is all this nurturing going?
2. Smart Stream
The entire interface is drag and drop. Zero software programming skills needed. Want to promote your new app’s upcoming product launch party? Just drag the related promo into the Stream, put it first, so everyone receives a notification the next time Marketo sends out an email, then set an expiration date, so you don’t even have to manually remove the content after the event.
3. Not too hot, not too cold, just right: Smart Engagement
Afraid of overloading your Leads’ mailboxes? Limit the number of emails in a given time period. Skip sending content that your Lead has already obtained from your landing page on her own. Oh, and Marketo will even let you know when you’re about to run out of content for your Stream.
Finally, a platform that is smart enough that allows marketers to focus on the creative stuff, instead of maintaining complex and rigid logic. Will you acquire this new feature for your team?
For marketers in the trenches: How have you designed your nurture tracks in other marketing automation platforms? If you’ve got your hands on Marketo’s Customer Engagement engine already, what are ways your team is using it?