Do you remember about five years ago when companies were starting to realize that social media wasn’t just a fad? A lot of marketers had the same thought: “Okay, so social marketing actually works. Now let’s figure out how we can game it.”
Since then we’ve all learned that gaming social media isn’t really an option.
Shortcuts don’t work all that well; it takes smart strategy and great content to drive results. And now that most teams are using marketing automation, CRM, content and social tools in their funnel, they have an even more complex task on their hands. Just mastering those technologies, let alone making them talk to each other, can be daunting.
But while this might be a newer challenge, it’s also a widespread one – which is why I’m speaking about it this month at AMPlify, a conference hosted by GaggleAMP that focuses on employee and partner engagement. If you’re not familiar with GaggleAMP, the company helps marketers boost traffic, leads and sales through social media distribution, analytics and reporting. LeadMD has been using it since around 2011 and we’ve found it to be a fantastic tool for reaching new audiences.
Last week I talked to GaggleAMP’s Glenn Gaudet and gave his AMP UP Your Social Media podcast a sneak peek at my panel discussion. I know most of you won’t be able to make the AMPlify conference, so here are a few pointers on how marketing automation, content systems, social media tools and other tech can work together for maximum impact in the sales funnel.
Anyone with a credit card can buy new technology. Using that technology skillfully is another matter. Consider how radically the marketing paradigm has shifted in recent years, with data scientists and marketing psychology rising to the fore. Now imagine what the future might bring. It’s clear that marketers will always have new skill sets to acquire, which means training should be an ongoing part of your marketing life.
Manage your technology stack in the funnel.
Any team that juggles CRM, social tools, content management systems and marketing automation platforms reaches the same conclusion: you have to make them work synergistically. MA is the most broad-based marketing solution, but you’ll need to strategically integrate those other tools into an effective buying cycle. For instance, a tool like GaggleAMP needs to be employed in different ways at each stage of the funnel.
Align your teams.
The lack of alignment might be an old bugaboo between sales and marketing, but in the multi-tech funnel, it’s more critical than ever to resolve. The good news: some of this will be resolved naturally with the education you decided to get a few paragraphs ago. But there still needs to be a top-down initiative where different teams get in one room and agree on their definitions for leads,buying cycles, engagement points and other components. The classic advice for marketers to spend a day with sales is especially useful here.
Evolve out of the traditional funnel diagram.
I think we can all admit that old-school funnel diagrams just aren’t accurate anymore. Today’s B2B funnel typically looks more like a bell curve, and it’s often bloated in the middle with leads who’ve been stagnating for more than a year. To stimulate them to take the next step, teams must create personalized and meaningful content.
Let me leave you with one final piece of advice. Marketing automation success doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The same holds true for social media. You have to go into this with your eyes wide open to understand just what victories it can bring you and what those victories will cost. So go out and find some businesses that look like yours. Ask what their spend is on content, development and design. Ask where they’ve stumbled and what they might have done differently.
It might not feel like it sometimes, but we’re all in this together.
Reach out and share what you know and what you need. It’s the best way to understand how marketing automation and other technologies can turn your marketing programs into a strong and successful revenue engine.
Meet Justin Gray
Justin is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of LeadMD, the world’s largest revenue operations agency having implemented over half of the Marketo user base. Justin has made a career of launching successful companies and scaling them, with successful exits of over 200MM+ in the last decade. Justin’s latest endeavor launched in 2016 when he co-founded Six Bricks an online learning startup designed to combat employee and customer churn through experience-based education. Over the past 10 years, Justin has emerged as a strong voice for entrepreneurship, marketing and culture. As a recognized speaker, Justin has been published over 350 times in industry publications and holds his own column, Tribal Knowledge in Inc., while writing for Entrepreneur, Tech Crunch and others. Justin and his wife Jennifer met over marketing and three years later welcomed their son, Grayson, into the world in April of 2017.