Here be an excerpt from the freshest eBook of all time, The Super Awesome, Totally Wicked, Definitive Manual of Marketing Automation. Don’t miss it!
Let’s face it: if you can’t (or don’t know how) to make a connection with your buyer, all they will hear is blah, blah, blah. In today’s crowded marketplace, that’s a deal breaker.
To set yourself and your team up for successful conversations with your buyers, you’ll have to look inward and shore up and processes that may be a hindrance. It’s the only way you can lay the foundation for future success with marketing automation.
The first step is to consider the conversations your sales and marketing team are having with prospects and customers on a daily basis. Without this step, building successful processes around these conversations, and the associated buyer’s journey they represent, is impossible.
While other elements, like buyer surveys and CRM, can provide some answers, it’s vital that you tap the data and resources that are inside of your company. This will shed bright, golden light on what your buyer’s journey looks like. You know what else will be lit up like jingle bells? Any (and all) breakdowns that occur along the way.
Get your team together
Bring your team to the table. Since they are on the front lines, they will be able to provide first-hand insight into your current processes and the conversations that result, both successful and unsuccessful.
In doing this, you’ll also get an idea of what the different stages of the buyer’s journey look like. Here, you’ll find out about murkier stages you may otherwise know much about, such as acquisition, purchase and retention. Knowing and mapping these stages will play key role in building a successful Marketo instance.
Seek out key members of your team and ask them:
• What are customers experiencing, and saying about it?
• What are their priorities and deal-breakers?
• What pains do they have that you can solve?
• How did your solution capture their attention?
• What was their experience post-purchase?
• From these buyers, what type of characteristics and traits you are running into over and over?
• What types of conversations are you having over and over?
If you have a very young business, it’s possible you don’t have many customers to analyze yet. If that’s the case, consider hiring a research firm to supplement your data.
Pro Tip: Social insights
Social media is a great window into how your customers are consuming content, and how they what kinds of conversations are intertwined along the way. It’s not a bad idea, either, to look into what your competitors are doing to gain insight into their processes, and the conversations they initiate.
Go as far as to sign up for competitor newsletters and email updates. See how they are interacting with you, or where they are falling short. Don’t be afraid to co-opt tactics that you think would be successful, either. Everyone does it.
Further defining the buyer’s journey
In gathering this valuable feedback from your team, you can start to understand what your current buying experience looks like.
From this feedback, you’ll get an overview of the types of conversations you’re having over and over and the people who are a part of them. Hopefully, you were able to get a better idea of how they come to your business and ultimately buy your product. Here’s where you can begin to dig in.
In analyzing these buyer characteristics and the conversations, you’ll begin to see patterns and develop stereotypes of each kind of buyer and their associated conversations. You’ll also get a clear picture of what the buyer’s journey looks like.
Humans deal with stereotypes in almost every dimension, for better or worse. It’s one of the shortcuts that our limited brains use to make sense of the world. Bring this to bear when analyzing your processes, as you can’t customize every process for every type of buyer.
With clearer picture of what these customers experience and ultimately need, you can begin to map your daily workflows to those needs. Maybe it’s getting your teams together to collaborate on better handling objections, or an emphasis on checking in more frequently after a purchase.
Either way, from marketing to account management to sales, the goal will be to create processes that provide great service and inspire loyalty. Don’t assume your current policies and infrastructure already do this, though.
Where are your processes broken?
Like many businesses, you’ll find disconnects and breakdowns between your processes and the actual needs of your buyers. You’re not alone, either this is frequent in most organizations.
But after any failure, it’s essential to take the right next step. And in this case, the right next step is to determine if these process breakdowns are occurring in sales or marketing. It might be both.
Whether in sales or marketing, technology is likely a culprit of the breakdowns you’ll find. And of course, modern technology is always tied together in an ecosystem, so even one breakdown can lead to many.
For example, if your marketing automation process isn’t ideal, then your sales efforts will suffer because leads can’t be tracked efficiently. Likewise, if your sales process is a limiting factor, and your CRM isn’t transparent, then your marketing will suffer because you won’t know who you are trying to reach.
Here’s a little more insight into both of those areas:
Earlier, we mentioned using CRM to look at internal data. But, CRM is only as effective as the effort (and data) you put into it. It’s imperative that you work to define and segment your audience based on “who” they are. If you don’t have a clear definition of who is an actual “lead” instead of a more evolved relationship, like a customer contact, the situation gets worse. Once you have these buckets defined, you’ll have the foundation in place for further success.
Your CRM data is the backbone of your marketing efforts. Processes must be in place to reinforce the collection of data at sales touch points. Ask yourself these critical questions:
1. How does your sales team organize their day from a list building perspective?
2. What happens in CRM when a representative engages with a potential buyer?
3. How is activity tracked?
4. What dispositions on the data record take place when the buyer moves through the funnel?
5. What happens to data records when the buyer is not yet ready to purchase?
6. Do each of the above steps provide clear visibility to the rest of the organization?
Often, efforts inside of Marketo function as a one-way conversation, without measuring or reacting to what’s happening inside of CRM. Untargeted batch-and-blasting messaging is common. If that’s the case, take a hard look and change that before pursuing into any of these other elements.
Marketo is a slave to CRM. It’s a fact. You cannot initiate a buyer conversation based on one-way email messaging. A true buyer’s journey is enabled via relevant and consistent communication.
After digging into these internal and external conversations, you should have a good idea of the journey your buyers take – and how your systems need to react. By examining how your processes do or don’t support that journey, you’ll begin to understand just how you should be operating.
Need more? Like, right meow? Get the Super Awesome, Totally Wicked, Definitive Manual of Marketing Automation HERE