Sales and marketing are often treated as two different disciplines, but they are more like two sides of the same coin. These two disciplines are tightly interwoven and interdependent: marketing attracts and nurtures a prospect, and sales converts that prospect into a customer. Marketing provides an environment where sales are possible and abundant, and sales leverages that marketing investment to its full potential. When sales and marketing are working in concert, businesses run like well-oiled machines, and growth seems to come easily.
In the last decade or so, the most notable development in the marketing ecosystem has been automation. When done right, marketing automation not only helps the marketing team become more efficient and effective, it can also empower your sales team by increasing their efficiency and by giving them more—and more relevant—leads.
Here are four tactics that can help your sales team get the most out of your marketing automation platforms by leveraging it to increase sales, increase customer value and shorten the sales cycle.
Analyze every visitor on every customer facing channel
It’s important to understand your visitors. A visitor can be a first-time reader, a prospect, a lead or an existing customer. Segmentation starts the moment an individual land on your website or other channels for the first time. But segments are only powerful when they are accurate and specific. It’s essential that you use all the behavioral data you can to create rich segments that you can then target with highly relevant messaging.
That’s why analyzing your visitors individually (not just as bulk segments) is every bit as important as producing the material that attracted the user in the first place.
How can you do this?
User analysis can be done in a variety of ways. The important thing is to choose tools and approaches that enable you to identify key insights about your individual users: What are they interested in? How engaged are they? Where are they in the sales cycle? Here are a few tools that could help you out:
- Google Analytics – Google Analytics is a very powerful tool that every webmaster and marketer should learn to take full advantage of. For instance, you can set up goals and user funnel flows to create different user segments based on behavior, demographics, and content.
- Kissmetrics – Kissmetrics is another tool that is adept at targeting users on an individual level. You can connect Kissmetrics directly to your marketing automation platform and automatically segment users and trigger communication based on their behavior.
- Heatmaps – Heatmap Tools help you see how your users are interacting with your website. What CTAs are working, what regions of your landing page are most engaging, and what parts are getting ignored. When connected to marketing automation platforms, heatmaps can help you tailor messaging automatically, based on the content a user is most interested in. There are various services that you can use to deploy heatmaps, including Hotjar, Zarget, Crazyegg, and more.
Personalize each interaction
Smarter platforms don’t just automate their sales and marketing communication, they personalize it. Despite the fact that studies have repeatedly shown how user personalization lifts results, many sales teams are still only basic marketing automation features (e.g. sending one-size-fits-all messages to new leads).
When done right, user personalization gives you a 1:1 interaction model with all your customers, while minimizing manual communication. Customers get communication and content that is personalized based on their behavior and their interests, and as you get to know the prospect better, the communication can be further personalized based on their relationship and where they are in the sales funnel.
A 1:1 interaction model improves customer engagement and loyalty as they receive an exclusive and highly relevant experience, demonstrating that the brand “gets them” and considers them to be important customers.
So, how do you provide a user experience like that?
- Offer exclusive incentives to customers based on their activity – Customers who purchase more from you, or use your service regularly are the ones that you should hold on to. They deliver more value and can become advocates for your brand. Here are a few ideas to offer incentives for your customers and prospects:
- Behavior-based user targeting – Behavior based targeting helps increase user interaction. An example of user behavior targeting would be Etsy triggering cart reminders when a user abandons their shopping cart. This provides Etsy a way to bring back the customers who did not complete their purchase by reminding them of the specific content they were interested in.
- Use Mobile Push and SMS – Mobile Push and SMS are great ways to interact with modern consumers. In fact, it’s probably the best way to interact with consumers who have abandoned their cart or reach out to your most frequent shoppers to notify them about a sale event, because the response is nearly immediate and unlikely to get overlooked in an inbox. You can trigger individually personalized mobile push messages and SMS messages based on what content these users have engaged with. Want more? 6 advantages of implementing mobile push in your marketing stack.
- Use AI and Machine learning to personalize communication – Being able to create highly-relevant product/content recommendations based on user behavior are the holy grail of sales and marketing. Just ask Amazon, Netflix, Facebook… When you initiate a sales communication based on the content you know to be relevant to a user, you earn credibility, which is the first step towards earning loyalty. Amazon (like many other category leaders) uses machine learning to identify and deliver product recommendations, which makes their recommendations more accurate because they are constantly evolving and improving their understanding of that individual.
Want more? You can learn about the wonders of AI-powered marketing automation here.
- Implement a “Recommended for you” section on your app or website – Sales and marketing communications are highly controlled, but users will also want to do their own research, and your website will likely be a place they look. Using marketing automation platforms, you can actually leverage everything you know about a user to personalize their experience on your site as well. Using algorithms and rule based settings, you can automatically adapt certain content sections on your site based on past—or real-time—customer behavior. A great example of this is Spotify’s “Your Daily Mix” section, which is curated based on your recent listening preferences.
Provide an Omnichannel Experience to your customers
Have you ever browsed a product on Amazon’s website in your office then purchased that product from your cart on Amazon’s mobile app while you are taking a taxi back home? That seemingly effortless transition from one environment to another is incredibly powerful, and is something users are coming to expect. Your digital experience is your brand, and users expect that brand to function as a seamless entity, no matter what channel or device they use to engage with it.
This new level of expectations from customers has given rise to Omnichannel Marketing Automation. This big buzzword simply means providing the best and most uniform user experience across all consumer touchpoints: web, mobile, app, social, email, ads, push notifications, and even IRL/brick and mortar experiences. The result is an omnichannel environment where the user has the freedom to engage the brand on their terms, online or offline, in app or in browser, and across any device.
Want more? Check out 5 reasons to implement Omnichannel Marketing Automation.
Use a platform that can collect data from all customer facing channels
Traditional Marketing Automation services lack the means to extract useful customer data from mobile platforms. This means that even if your mobile user experience is solid, you’re not learning from customers interactions there and you’re not able to merge that data with what you already know about them from interactions in other channels. And if you’re ignoring mobile data today, chances are you’re missing A LOT. Every channel you ignore is a leak in your sales funnel. Smart marketing automation tactics can plug those leaks.
By using cutting edge Marketing Automation services like Boomtrain, you can track user activity regardless of what channel they are active on. These platforms enable any brand or business to collect valuable user-information. Implementers get real time insights into which tactics are working where, and high-level decision makers get a single comprehensive set of insights to build their marketing and sales strategy around.
Another advantage is that by collecting and analyzing data across all channels, you can reduce the need for continuous experiments like A/B testing, constant email open rate and push penetration rate tracking, and overproduction of marketing creative. The system is smart enough to figure out what works and what doesn’t and automatically optimize around the metrics you choose.
Marketing Automation systems are getting smarter day by day, giving brands more control over personalized customer communication and personalized customer experiences. And let’s face it, your customers have been conditioned to expect nothing less. In today’s sales environment, the personal touch still matters, but you need to be able to deliver that personalization instantly and at scale. Marketing automation platforms don’t just lighten your workload, they help you tap into vast wells of customer data to build better relationships faster.