Let’s imagine you have won the lottery and decide to buy yourself a Ferrari. And then you use that beautiful, new, expensive Ferrari to go to the supermarket and back for your weekly shop. Again. And again. And again. Wouldn’t that feel like a little bit of a waste of your investment? Wouldn’t it feel like you just weren’t getting the best out of a phenomenal piece of engineering?
All too often, this is exactly what we see with companies that invest in marketing automation platforms. They buy the solution and then proceed to use the platform for the day to day activity of email send. Maybe they are able to send out more emails. Maybe they’re able to do it faster. But they’re absolutely not making the most out of their investment.
Used correctly, marketing automation allows businesses to provide a cross-channel personalised experience at scale which, can say, be mapped to the stage of which the lead is at within the lifecycle, thus accelerating their journey to becoming sales ready. Not only that, but the data and reporting capabilities far exceed that of just a standard email marketing service. For this reason, Agent3 is a big supporter of enabling our clients to think “beyond email” and execute a truly holistic marketing approach.
Let’s explore what we mean by ‘Beyond Email’. Firstly, using marketing automation tools should allow you to look at your entire lead and customer journeys. Being able to generate leads by capturing them through form fills across your website and landing pages, sync them directly from integrations across third-party channels, and building out your marketable database is stage one.
Once you’ve obtained that lead, you might then want to look at how those leads are qualified, and that would entail lead scoring. Being able to score your leads on both behavioural interactions across the web, and how they engage with your content, such as the emails being sent out. On top of this, demographic data also plays a hand, so qualifying leads based on whether their company has a certain no. of employees, or if they’re the Chief Technology Officer (HELLO! Let’s score you high!). Once you’ve qualified your leads, where do they go? A marketing automation platform can actually manage the entire lead routing process and assign leads to specific members of your sales team, or perhaps regional queues for sales teams to pick up, and that can be done on say a lead’s country, so for global organisations it’s a dream!
From a visibility standpoint, Marketing can then track lead progression – Marketing has handed over a set of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) to Sales’ and now we need to understand if, and how, marketing is supplying quality leads. This can all be done by building out a lifecycle model. For example, Marketo has what’s known as a Revenue Cycle Model which essentially allows you to categorise and identify the types of leads in the funnel, from a Marketing Captured Lead all the way through to a Won Prospect (New Customer), and you can also understand the velocity at which that is happening. This is really powerful because it allows you to course-correct with agile campaigns to drive pipeline velocity when needed.
To give a concrete example, imagine the majority of your leads are sitting in a pre-MQL stage for 90+ days, you’ll be able to recognise that and then devise an appropriate marketing program to then get those leads further through the funnel and into the grateful hands of sales!
And there’s more… Through marketing automation, you’re able to apply some really clever personalisation, and this is often where we see overlap with our ABM counterparts at Agent3 – personalising emails, landing pages, and delivering bespoke content truly enables us to deliver more targeted and relevant messaging. By delivering a custom, personalised experience to your leads or customers, you can have a real, demonstrable impact on engagement.
A/B testing is something we still push our clients to do, too. It might seem basic, but the whole point of marketing should be to go to market with a particular message, or a particular strategy, and test the theory. What are the outcomes? What are the results? Did it work? Did it fail? Why did it fail? Let’s try something else and test again… We often get asked what the best time to send an email is. And the truth is, there is no one size fits all because audience needs differ. Sometimes the content itself warrants a different send time (As an example, when working with a Financial Services organisation, we found that market news is best delivered first thing in the morning, or last thing at night) so A/B test! Perhaps by understanding that your audience is more engaged with email at 2:20pm on a Tuesday means that they’re also browsing the web at a similar time, so launch some organic social posts alongside it. Optimise not just your email marketing, but your multi-channel efforts too!
To conclude, making the most of an investment in marketing automation requires the mindset of wanting to go ‘beyond email’ and thinking about the bigger picture. Are you an Enterprise that’s really looking to drill into the leads that marketing generates and how they contribute to opportunities / pipeline? Maybe you’re an SMB that perhaps just wants to understand where your leads come from and how they engage?
Marketing automation platforms and tools can do what you need them to do, and are at your disposal but if you are just using them to do email, then you really are using a Ferrari just to do your weekly shop!
If you feel you need some pointers, Dr Chris Boorman recently posted a guest blog on our website following his closing keynote presentation on ‘Slowing down to speed up’ at the B2B Marketing Get Stacked event, and it’s a great place to start. In this presentation, Dr Boorman shared with the audience his approach at Forcepoint of slowing things down in order to optimise their martech engine to achieve the needle-shifting results desired.
Please feel free to get in touch with us directly if you’d like to discuss going ‘beyond email’ and optimising your organisation’s marketing automation platform.