For stage three in our blog series, we’re going to take a deeper dive into an often-overlooked step: optimizing and automating your prospect process flow. (Missed a previous post? View all the lead management process stages here.)
This is an important stage in the lead management process because, while it’s certainly possible to do everything manually, it’s much easier and more efficient to work using an automated system that integrates all of your technologies together:
- You’re less likely to lose leads through the cracks
- Prospects are more likely to have a positive experience.
- Sales won’t have to remember to do as much updating in the CRM to keep leads moving through the pipeline or ensure the latest information on a particular prospect is in the right place when they need it
- Marketing can oversee the process and make adjustments, providing greater ownership and line-of-sight to lead velocity
It cannot be understated how important these last two bullets are: One of the most common challenges we’ve seen clients have is up-to-date records that both Sales and Marketing leverage on a daily basis. Any delays in updating can lead to slow response times or accidentally placing people into incorrect categories.
Marketing Automation Is Key
Using automation to optimize your prospect process creates a defined flow for what happens to a lead upon acquisition. Marketing automation ensures that no lead is left behind, and it helps make sure the prospect/customer has a positive experience.
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Marketing automation helps you acquire inbound leads via top of the funnel marketing such as website personalization, SEO, landing pages and forms. It then helps you engage your customers and provide the right person an experience that matches how interested they are in your product, service, or company.
Nodding your head, saying “yep, I know this, I already run marketing automation?” … then jump to step four!
The graphic below illustrates where marketing automation fits into the life of a lead.
You can see from this graphic that the marketing automation platform plays a central role in the integration of your technology and the life of your lead.
Once a new lead is created in the marketing automation platform (MAP), it’s dynamically passed between Marketing and Sales as it is nurtured, potentially recycled, and either won, lost, or rejected.
Without This, It’s Chaos
If you don’t have marketing automation in place, you like face some of these challenges:
- Sales remains too busy to update leads and key metrics that let marketing know if leads they’re passing are high-quality
- Details that would help lead segmenting are left untouched and stale
- Marketing is left guessing as to what sales is doing
Even companies with well-established MAPs can still face these challenges without proper implementation or have the right processes and rules in place!
Wait, what’s a MAP?
Maybe you’re at the very beginning of your lead management journey, and you’re not sure what a MAP is. It’s an automated marketing platform that helps you manage your leads and campaigns. Marketo, Pardot, and Eloqua are well-known MAPs (though there are others).
MAPs also help you engage your leads. Instead of waiting for you to contact them, new, hot leads can be immediately presented with relevant cross channel content via email, mobile, web and social channels.
Once a lead is in the MAP system, it is scored and either nurtured by Marketing or dynamically passed to Sales. The MAP system dynamically empowers sales reps with synced data, dashboards and activity, making it easy for them to strike up meaningful conversations with prospects and close deals.
Finally, Marketing can use a MAP to optimize their campaigns. Using the powerful analytics in a MAP like Marketo, Marketing can identify campaigns with positive returns and become known as a cost center.
Now that you understand the importance of having a marketing automation platform, it’s time to look at how best to use it. Next, we’ll take a look at automated lead processing and routing, stage 4 of lead process management.
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