email marketing automation

Do your 2021 marketing plans include automatic, strategic outreach that seamlessly creates opportunities for your sales and support teams? If you are not using a marketing automation tool, you are certainly missing out on the full potential your marketing plan could have. And if you are, here are some different strategies to add to your 2021 marketing plan.

1. Take time to understand the sales process

Before investing in an automation platform, there is a lot to think about. Is it going to be worth the price of admission? Who is going to work on this? How much work is involved to achieve your automation dreams? Most importantly, how can this tool support your sales team?

Sending a series of emails to a specific list is great – but it is not using the marketing automation tool to its full potential. The first step to mastering your automation platform, even before purchasing it, is a full understanding of your sales process, team, and their approach to creating a successful strategy. You’ll need to fully understand how long the sales process takes in each phase and how many phases there are and how you can support it as much as you can.

Take a moment and break down each and every aspect of your sales process. Evaluate each step so you can support the sales team with automated tasks, emails, or any other forms of communication. Don’t be afraid to speak to your sales people; they like making more money while doing less just like anyone.

2. Create customer retention post-sale

The base level of marketing automation is to create additional workflows to help your contacts move from marketing qualified leads (MQLs) to sales qualified leads (SQLs), all while supporting the sales team to close deals. But there is even more opportunity after the sale. Someone once said, “a customer isn’t a customer ‘till they had the chance to leave and didn’t.” I think that’s how it went… Creating a post-sale campaign can do wonders for your company to retain current customers and also help your services team. It can even get you content to help your marketing efforts in the future.

I’ve seen service teams on busy days and it is not a pretty sight. A lot of stress and frustration. Let’s say your team sold a piece of software on a 3-year service plan that takes a few months of training and setup. After those training months, what kind of ways can you continue being helpful for your new customers? How can you bring more value to the relationship?

There has been great success with workflows highlighting little known items that are helpful in the tool, tips and tricks, best practices, product updates/advances, and customer success stories just to name a few. Set the workflow up in a specific order and revisit these every few months for an update. These can even sprout upselling or cross-selling opportunities for your sales team (don’t forget to buy your service team lunch if they assist!) With the help of a services workflow, customers feel like a part of the family and (some) will gladly help out with reviews, case studies, surveys, or even speak at a conference for you. All you have to do is ask.

3. Communicate with your audience on their level

Communicate properly and be on the same level as your target audience. When starting your new life with marketing automation, the planning involved with how to speak with your audience is imperative. This means, relaxing a bit on those aggressive CTAs. Let’s be helpful and solution-based, subtly pushing to a CTA, without a heavy dosage of sales pressure.

Being solutions driven requires knowing the best way to communicate with each and every persona in your target market. There is a problem with sending the same messaging to your whole contact list and expecting positive results. Classifying content you are delivering gives your message more meaning to the right audience. Before sending an email, understand who is on your list, if they would find your message useful, and if it will bring them one step closer to committing to your product or service.

4. Don’t forget about what could have been with lost opportunities

When old contacts slip through the grasp of the marketing automation machine, there is a gold mine of opportunity to dig up. If you properly plan ahead, your sales team should be noting why some of your leads have turned into duds. Turn those reasons into Miracle Grow(r) and you have yourself a blossoming handful of automated workflows trying to get those lost opportunities back without even thinking about it. You can strategize messaging based on the main reason they did not commit while timing the communication properly.

Step outside your box and dive into automation

A marketing plan can be so restrictive when it comes to an entirely manual process. If you are still comfortable with a completely manual process and find comfort in it, stick with it. Just know that there is ample opportunity to step out of those boundaries and to create automated opportunities much like your competition is. Marketing automation is not just about passing leads to our sales team but also providing value any way we can through strategy and logic.

Originally published by the Rochester Business Journal