Marketing automation isn’t just for large corporations anymore. Many small businesses and professional service firms are adopting automation tools to help systematize their marketing efforts. In addition to helping marketers do more with less, these tools can also be a boon to the sales department (or the sales role for those of us who wear many hats). Here are 5 ways that small business owners and salespeople can use marketing automation to close more sales.
Lead Capture – Marketing automation tools can help you identify who is visiting your website in a couple of different ways. Most marketing automation tools will help you identify the company that is visiting your web site based upon the IP address of the visitor’s computer. This technique requires that the company has registered their IP address (vs. the IP address being registered to their internet service provider, i.e. AT&T). Some marketing automation tools integrate with other databases like Data.com or LinkedIn to provide additional demographic information about the business – number of employees, industry, revenue size, etc.
Company information is interesting, but many small business owners and salespeople become frustrated because they don’t know who from that company visited their site, so they don’t know who they should be following up with. This is where lead capture forms come into play. Once a visitor fills in a form, the marketing automation tools can match up the visitor data it previously collected as anonymous visitor tracking data and match it up to the name provided from the lead capture form.
Lead Qualification – Another key feature of marketing automation tools is the ability to track the behavior of visitors on your site. Pages visited, visit duration, number of visits, registration form submission, file downloads are some of the behaviors marketing automation software can track.
Lead scoring allows you to assign a point value to each type of behavior so you can assign a higher score to someone who attended your webinar and a lower score to someone who only looked at your careers page. This helps small business salespeople identify which prospects are ready for a sales call and which ones still need to be nurtured.
Personalized Email Automation – many marketing automation tools also provide the ability to track individual sales rep emails. Sales driven nurturing programs are also a great feature of marketing automation tools. These programs allow you to continue nurturing leads but the email messages come from the sales rep. More importantly, the replies and notifications go directly to sales.
Lead Intelligence – in addition to the ability to look up company demographic information and the tracking and scoring features listed above, many marketing automation tools will integrate with CRM systems. Having this information centrally located in the CRM allows salespeople to frame their conversation based on the leads past behavior and experience with your company.
Automated Lead Alerts – Last, but not least, marketing automation systems will alert you items that need attention from sales. Rather than depending upon running and reviewing reports, many tools allow you to define your criteria and then will alert you by email, text message, etc. whenever those rules are triggered, giving you a better chance of connecting with a prospect when they are ready to buy.
Are you using marketing automation in your small business? Tell me what you like or don’t like about them in the comments below.
Bill Brelsford Small Business Marketing Consultant