Marketing automation is a core tactic of inbound marketing, and marketing automation is a one of the core construction industry trends. By contrast, traditional marketing tactics mostly rely on manual methods of marketing and selling.
I’ve spent my business career almost evenly split between the B2C and B2B sectors. Back in the 80’s and 90’s, cold-calling and following up by phone were normal ways to find leads and to nurture them into customers. I once worked for a large OEM company (General Electric was one of our customers) doing cold-calling. I made some good sales—then.
Today, cold-calling is so utterly dead. That means it’s time to stop doing it. Some other things are pretty dead too, like selling. Today, making a sale requires two things happen: Your prospect must realize you have a product they would die to get, and they 're dying to buy it from you. You can no longer push them in the direction of buying. You must attract them to becoming leads and you must nurture them to becoming customers.
The image above represents the core of inbound marketing methodology. The Awareness stage is the attraction stage. Leads are attracted in the awareness stage into the top of the funnel where you nurture them into the Consideration stage, and then convert them into sales at the bottom of the funnel in the Decision stage. So how does all this work? Let’s have a quick look at the nuts and bolts of automating your lead generation process and how you can get leads and increase sales from the process.
Automating Your Lead Generation Process
There one software suite you should try right now: The Hubspot inbound marketing suite. Just go ahead, download a trial and check it out, or call us and we'll supply the trial and give you some other things too. Of the 230 or so SaaS marketing software packages out there, most either won’t do what they say, won’t do enough to grow your business, or have horrible customer support—all but Hubspot, which works and you get outstanding support.
Here’s how inbound marketing automation works:
- You publish a blog article on your website or publish on social media.
- Somewhere on the page, you place a clickable call-to-action (CTA).
- The CTA leads to a landing page containing a premium offer.
- The visitor downloads or otherwise requests the offer and fills out a form.
- You now have a lead.
- From this point on, everything about that lead is indexed, tracked, analyzed, quantified, nurtured, and notified.
Most other marketing software packages do okay on points 1-5 above, but fail horribly at #6, the most important point. What good is getting a lead if it just stays a lead and eventually drops out of the top of the funnel?
How to Nurture Leads—Automatically
At this point, you have a CRM full of leads. The leads could have come from inbound campaigns, from a lead-capture campaign at a trade show, or were manually entered.
It’s marketing’s job to take those leads and nurture them down the funnel into SQLs where they can be handed off to sales. Has this process caused you endless frustration? It doesn't have to.
True lead nurturing is a twofold process. First, you must move the lead down the funnel toward the place where sales can close them. Second, you should quality the lead so both marketing and sales know a lead’s status. When these two concepts are executed correctly, they can save enormous time, energy, and frustration.
Lead Nurturing Through Email Marketing
In Hubspot’s workflow tool, you can set up triggers that send a lead a specific email depending on the action they took. For example, if a lead downloads a white paper, you can send them an email a few minutes later thanking them.
These emails are personalized, so they are addressed to the lead by name and are sent from a real staff person’s inbox from your company.
From there, other emails can be sent, triggered by the lead's further action on your website or are time-bound. For example, say the lead who downloaded the white paper is scheduled to receive four follow-up emails over the course of a few weeks. But they return to your website, view your product page, your pricing page, and perhaps download something else. You would want to stop sending them nurturing emails and do something else, like send them an invitation to connect with you. All these actions can be done automatically, and without great difficulty.
Lead Scoring—Solving Conflicts Between Marketing and Sales
Solving stress (or conflicts) between marketing and sales is very easy. Here’s how:
- Marketing and sales must come together and agree on what constitutes a sales qualified lead (SQL).
- In Hubspot, the lead actually can be moved to the lifecycle stage of SQL, or given a lead score.
- Lead scoring is simple. Every meaningful action a lead takes is given a score. For example, if the lead visits your pricing page, that action may be assigned 10 points. If they download that white paper, perhaps 20 points.
- On a scale of 1-100, marketing and sales need to agree on the number of points that should be assigned to an SQL—perhaps 75 points.
- Once the lead reaches the SQL value (75 points), an internal email automatically is sent to sales indicating the new lead’s status. This is the point of “handoff.” It’s at this point sales takes over, begins working with the lead, and recording every touch into the CRM.
Tracking in the CRM is important so marketing, sales, management, and whomever else you choose can see the lead’s status and offer input. This team or hive approach creates amazing productivity through collaboration.What do you think? Are you ready to start changing your marketing and sales processes? Please share your questions or comments below. Let's get a discussion going!