The stakes are higher than ever in today’s fast-paced marketing world.
And there’s plenty of technology to gamble on. While it’s easy to plunk money down on the table, it’s harder to win.
Winning is never as easy as it appears. You can’t just show up without a plan and expect to run the table. That takes equal parts process, grind and luck.
But you don’t want to rely on luck with marketing automation. In fact, it’s impossible. So you have to fall back on process and grind. Here’s a list of four things you can do to run the table with marketing automation.
1. Focus more on buyer personas, less on number of leads
As marketers, we play our cards very tactically to acquire new leads. Once we have them, we nurture them. Your boss (and your boss’s boss) might be totally focused on lead gen and the number of new names won each month. Heck, you might be too. But you need to keep your eyes on the prize. So, play intelligently by aligning your acquisition strategy to your buyer personas.
Marketing automation platforms enable you to zero in on buyer personas and then put your cards down at just the right moment. If haven’t revisited those buyer personas in a while (you know you have them somewhere), take them out and dust ‘em off. Give the targets an identity, map out their workflow, nail down their pain, anticipate their questions, and answer them with content.
Stay away from constructing personas around old-school segments like job titles and revenue points. Does your job title encapsulate who you are as a person? Do your company’s receivables define how you establish trust? No. Our prospects are people, not job titles. Our personas should reflect this fact.
Once you start aligning your lead acquisition strategy with your buyer personas—and allowing your marketing automation platform to nurture accordingly— your lead acquisition numbers will drop. Accept that and move on, because your conversion rate will skyrocket.
2. Simplify your scoring methodology
Lead score is fluid. It moves up and down. It varies by buying role. It’s influenced by demographics, firmographics, and psychographics. And it moves with behavior.
Scoring doesn’t have to be complex. In fact, it shouldn’t be. It should be simple and scalable. If you’re struggling with your lead scoring process, try this user-friendly scoring methodology:
Create naming conventions based on stages of engagement, marketing channels, content types, and movements. Then, when you produce new content, you simply use your naming conventions and observe the content’s impact on lead scores to measure its effectiveness.
For example, when you roll out a new video, you simply name it “video” and then the score reacts when a buyer clicks it.
This approach eliminates the confusion of integrating new content into the existing model, and if you’re doing this marketing automation business right, you’ll be adding a lot of new content to your marketing automation machine. Simple, scalable processes can help you stay on top of your growing library without butchering your lead scoring process.
3. Work on your content library
Today, marketers are also publishers. If content is a secondary concern to you, or if the extent of your content is a cache of Top 5 lists, then it’s time to take a hard look at your marketing strategy. Content powers the conversations that engage buyers and your buyers want different kinds of conversations.
Of course, content creation takes time. And time is money. If you don’t have a huge budget, get creative. Freshen up old content. License preexisting content. Bulk up your blog posts. Your content library requires constant attention and should offer a variety of topics and mediums for every persona.
And here’s a twist: If you have a big budget, act like you don’t. Justify every dollar spent on content with the airplane relevancy test. Would you read it on a plane? If it’s top-of-the-funnel content, would it compel you to download something and move closer to a close? Think about that before blowing the budget on videos and white papers that no one will consume.
4. Evaluate your technology investments
Technology is a tool, not a strategy. For example, buying a social monitoring tool will not give you a thoughtful social media strategy. It’ll just expose the fact that you don’t have one and you’ll end up with a new budget line item magnifying your pain.
First, define your need in the context of your overall strategy. Then, meet the need with a tool. You’ll save yourself grief in the boardroom if you’re calculated about software acquisition. Plan ahead, create a strategy, hire or partner as needed, and only then add technology.
You might also find that your existing tools can do exactly what you need. A little extra training can help you maximize your current investment. Additionally, just about every marketing automation, CRM, and email marketing tool available has a corresponding community of apps, plug-ins, and forums that were designed to help you do more with what you already have. Check them out.
Oh, and if this is your first time buying software, admit it and ask for help. This purchase may mean your job if it flops, so borrow your IT department’s software evaluation matrix. The old saying that “No one was ever fired for buying IBM” is just that: Old. Learn the new rules before you buy.
Marketing automation doesn’t have to rely on luck. Clean up your buyer personas, simplify your lead scoring, beef up your content, and get to know your tech and you’ll soon find yourself in a position to run the table.
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