Lengthy lead capture forms are as off-putting as bad breath and pit stains on a first date. Good marketing requires a solid relationship between you and your prospects, so you want to make the “getting to know each other” process easier and more fun.
In the last several years, marketing automation has helped digital marketers manage and nurture these relationships at scale, but at the expense of extremely terrible first few dates. More often than not, the relationship fizzles out quickly. The question is, how do you get past the first dates phase and get to know your prospects. Does your marketing automation platform have enough data points to deliver the campaigns necessary to nurture those relationships?
Let’s try to get a better understanding of how the use of company information and sales intelligence can radically transform your marketing automation strategy and avoid blind date disasters.
Getting to know your prospects
Marketing automation largely depends on contact information. What you know about your prospects and customers, the actions they take on your website, or how they interact with your marketing emails and social posts. Each time someone visits your website, subscribes to your newsletter, downloads one of your ebooks, sign-ups for a free trial, or clicks in one of your ads, they're providing you with valuable data.
Such wealth of behavioral data is incredibly valuable. Marketers use it to create workflows—a series of pre-defined actions that automate sales and marketing efforts based on certain triggers. In other words, a workflow is the answer to this question: if this happens, what’s next? For example, if a prospects downloads an eBook, what would you want to happen next?
Marketing automation workflows are the answer to this question: if this happens, what’s next?
That sounds like a sweet setup for targeted marketing campaigns, doesn’t it? The more you know your contacts, the more complex workflows you can set up. And since you’re collecting data every time your users interact with your website, the limits of marketing automation are just your imagination and the scenarios you can create.
Hold on. There’s one caveat.
Company information for marketing automation
Yes, the limits of marketing automation could be your imagination… if you have proper contact data with multiple data points that construct a rich profile of your each of your contacts beyond behavioral data.
Marketing automation excels at collecting behavioral data, but this data alone can't tell if a particular lead is a good fit for your business. Any visitor to your website that shows some level of interest in your products and services is a potential lead, but not all leads are created the same. Consider Julia. Her lead score is high. She's downloaded all your ebooks and even attended one of your webinars. She finds your content very valuable for the school paper she must write. But, no, she has no intention of becoming your customer.
Passing this lead to sales would be a waste of time. Blog content, ebooks, and free trial are excellent ways to attract people who might be interested in your offering, and get their contact information—that is, generate leads. But you also need to find out if those leads are a good match for your business.
Build a data foundation first
There's no easy way around it. You need to build and maintain a contact database and feed high-quality data into your marketing automation platform. No matter how smart or sophisticated the software is, without a neat and tidy database, you won't be able to segment your audience to a very high degree so you can deliver tailor-made messages to very specific types of people—remember, that's the key tactic that drives marketing automation.
To overcome this obstacle, marketers have usually added several questions to the forms that unlock the most valuable content. For example, asking the industry a person works in, the company name, or the number of employees. However, you can only request a limited amount of information before turning away potential leads with long, cumbersome forms. Before, marketers needed to strike a balance. How much information they can ask before turning a lead away.
Forms, therefore, will only get you so far. What if you could create drip campaigns based on other company characteristics like growth stage or expansion? Enter sales intelligence.
Tap into sales intelligence
Company information from a sales intelligence tool provides an alternative, enriching your contact database with additional data from multiple sources. Once this information is integrated correctly, you can construct more accurate lead scoring and account scoring mechanisms that reveal best-fit prospects. You not only will know if a lead is highly engaged with your contact but also if such a lead is a fitting prospect, for instance, if it falls within your ideal customer profile. The process that enhances marketing is data enrichment.
This way, data supports different parts of marketing automation:
- Enriching incoming inbound leads
- Improving lead scoring by using company information
- Distributing leads to the right people
- Setting up ABM campaigns based on signals within your target companies.
5 ways of using company information in marketing automation
Marketing automation is often associated with email marketing, but in reality, it is much more than sending out pre-defined messages automatically. One of the most exciting parts of marketing automation is that there are almost as many uses as a smart marketer can imagine. The power of workflows and automations reaches anything from lead scoring to internal notifications.
Given that marketing automation is a significant investment for any business make sure you're really taking advantage of what the technology has to offer. Let's dive right into the essential uses of marketing automation.
Capturing a lead is the first step of marketing to someone online. This often means collecting an email address from a variety of sources. A marketing automation tool is the hub where all the avenues to generate leads come together. With company information feeding into your own tool, you can reduce lead capture forms to the bare minimum.
Lead nurturing via email marketing
With a pool of leads ready to move down the funnel, you can create and distribute it across channels more efficiently. The data that populates your CRM and your marketing automation will allow you to move your leads from one sales stage to another based upon their activity and interactions. The more data points you have, the more tailor-made and timely your campaigns will be.
Marketing automation gives you the opportunity to do extremely powerful segmentation. When you gather enough contact data, you can group your leads based on a myriad of properties and behaviors. This allows you to target your messaging and nurturing process to groups with very specific interests and needs. As a result, you can, for example, send a series of emails to leads from companies with more than X employees and that have downloaded a certain ebook from your website.
Account-based marketing relies on data to allow marketers focus on acquiring specific high-value customers with highly targeted, personalized campaigns. Data-driven insights from company data directly influence which accounts receive what content and when, so the sales efforts are transformed into a time-based and need-based process.
Lead enrichment and account scoring
Building a robust lead scoring (or account scoring) model is a critical component of an effective marketing automation system. You want to qualify, or score, your leads by analyzing the information you collect on them, so you can determine which leads you should spend your time nurturing. A marketing automation solution lets you define lead scoring rules (e.g. number of clicked emails, visits to a specific page). This way, you can monitor the level engagement of each lead and yield those more likely to become a customer. By adding a lead enrichment process to the mix, you’ll improve your lead scoring models through more data points.
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Don’t let your marketing automation be alone
In today’s data-driven world, it is difficult to think a company that would not benefit from marketing automation. Suddenly, managing large contact databases becomes feasible, and even smaller teams can scale their activities much more effectively. When you’re able to automate much of the grunt work, you can focus on other activities that robots are not as good at. For example, you’ll be able to spend more time writing epic content and awesome copy that converts.
However, as powerful as marketing automation technology is these day, it’s only one part of the big sales and marketing tech stack puzzle. To get the most out of your marketing automation platform, you need to ensure a tightly integration with other tools in your stack, and more important, build a a strong data foundation.
You can read more about marketing automation and dozens of sales tools in our eBook The 100 Best Sales Tools.