Inbound: How marketing automation can help at every stage of my sales pipeline

Inbound

How marketing automation can help at every stage of my sales pipeline

By Beanca van Niekerk September 14, 2017 • 6 minutes to read

Marketing automation can radically reduce the administrative burden that sales teams face by automating a large portion of the sales-to-prospect communication. Smart tools are even able to handle tasks like lead scoring by assigning value to certain actions and tracking buyers’ movements through the sales pipeline. Advanced marketing automation tools can control all communication from emails to social engagement, and keep it on record so that sales reps can reach out to interested potential customers at the best possible moment using tracked data as an entry point to a sales conversation.

Marketing Automation and the Awareness Phase

This is the stage in which prospects become aware of the existence of a solution. Content pieces that speak to your prospect’s challenges will form the basis of your communications while your prospect is in the awareness stage. Salespeople need to identify and highlight the pain points that prospects face by providing a range of content made available through their digital marketing efforts. This awareness will lead to the recognition of the problem and the understanding that there is a solution.

At this phase, prospects start to show interest in a product by conducting product research. This is mostly done via popular search engines like Google, where they can enter general search queries to get more knowledge on the subject and the solution. Good content types for this stage include eBooks, whitepapers industry reports and well-designed infographics. A good salesperson will position themselves as a trusted advisor in this process.

How marketing automation can help:

Lead nurturing emails can be set up to automatically deliver valuable, stage-relevant content to your new lead which will ultimately help them to figure out whether your product or service match their criteria and their business needs. Marketing automation tools assist with publishing the content, tracking downloads and collecting the contact information of these prospects. These tools can also assist with the automation of social publishing like Facebook posts and Tweets through built-in scheduling and analysis tools.

Detailed reporting that often comes standard in the more robust marketing automation tools offers in-depth analytics, which shows you when your audience is engaging with your content. These insights can help your marketing team to design their editorial calendar with your future customer in mind.

Marketing Automation and the Evaluation Phase

In the evaluation phase, prospects examine their options as they move toward a final buying decision. The prospect goes back to research in order to dig a bit deeper into their potential solutions. A marketing automation tool can assist in lead scoring at this stage, helping your sales team to keep track and reach out at the most optimal time of the buyer’s journey. Buyers will consider vendor comparisons; look at pricing pages and request product demos in the evaluation, or consideration stage. Case studies are also an excellent tool to be used in this phase of the purchase journey.

How marketing automation can help:

Good marketing tools can assist with lead scoring, and well-timed emails can be sent to engaged prospects in order to deliver the right information at the right time. Potential customers want to understand the C-suite value of your solution, and therefore will be interested in what potential return buying into your product or service could bring to their business. The trick is not to be too forceful, when buyers are ready to buy, they will come to you.

Marketing Automation and the Decision Phase

Here, your soon-to-be customer has reached their final decision. The conversation will be initiated and a negotiation may ensue. The budget has been signed off by management and the customer is now thinking about how the solution will be implemented within the business, how much it may cost and what other areas of the business may be impacted on in the process. These types of hidden costs are what will eventually determine whether the customer will go with your solution or your competitors’.

You want to provide as much information as the customer needs in order to make the decision that is in favour of your business. Do not be afraid to promote the value of your solution and punt the value of your brand name. Customer testimonials will act to your advantage at this stage of the purchase funnel. Other relevant content types at this stage include best practice guides, tutorials and other documentation regarding the correct implementation or your product or service.

How marketing automation can help:

Drip nurturing can be used as a powerful tool in your marketing automation arsenal, delivering useful information in an ongoing way as your customer gets ready to implement your solution within their business. This will assist in keeping you top of mind, and will also put you in an excellent position down the road when it comes to repurchase or renewal. Once your customer has bought into your solution, encourage them to spread the word – word of mouth marketing remains one of the most effective types of marketing to this day. Satisfied customers are an excellent investment for your company to make, as they could generate additional sales from their promotion.

At every stage of the buyer’s journey, from awareness to evaluation to decision, the prospect is looking for relevant, useful information to guide their journey. Salespeople can act as trusted advisors, imparting the right information at the right time. Marketing automation tools can assist with publishing and sharing the content whilst scoring the lead and capturing data that can help your team send increasingly targeted communications.

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