Building a marketing campaign used to take a lot of work. So much so that marketers would only mount a few non-targeted campaigns each year. But marketing automation (MA) opens up a new, more systematic way of engaging with your customers. You can design and implement a personalised engagement program once…and then continually improve its performance.
A program for each stage of the buyer journey
Your customers are unique. Each is at a different stage of the buyer journey. One marketing program cannot get the job done. You need to design and implement several programs to cover different purchase journey stages and buyer personas. The order in which you roll them out can vary. Here is one template for rolling out a comprehensive marketing program portfolio in less than two years.
Phase 1: Set up an ecosystem and enable lead generation (0-6 months)
Marketing automation is an ecosystem made up of people, processes and technology. The first thing you need to do is put this ecosystem in place. Step one, of course, is to implement a marketing automation software platform, for example, Eloqua or Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
The following tasks and programs could also be part of phase 1:
- In Europe, you must establish a GDPR subscription center.
- Ensuring customer loyalty is important. A Net Promoter System is a great way to do this.
- Marketing and sales activities need to be closely aligned. On the platform side, this means that CRM and MA need to be integrated. This integration needs to be planned with a thorough understanding of both sales and marketing processes.
Phase 2: Align sales and marketing activities and sell more (6-12 months)
Now that the ecosystem is in place, you can build programs that shorten the sales cycle and help salespeople close more deals. You need programs that:
- Make getting prospects into sales meetings easier
- Ask prospects how they feel sales meetings went
- Automate communications related to product trials
- Target customers with other products (cross-sell and upsell)
- Reduce churn
- Create a program framework for Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
In this phase you also need to complete the CRM and MA integration project by bringing sales and marketing processes and people firmly together.
Phase 3: Generate more leads (12-18 months)
Everyone wants to generate more quality leads! You’re at that point now, but to generate a continuous flow of high-quality leads you need to targeting prospects with sophisticated content. At this point, you should also put programs in place that maximise the value of your sales pipeline. In practice this means ensuring that not a single prospect falls between the cracks due to lack of engagement.
There are many ways to roll out marketing programs. Depending on your business, you might want to run programs in a different order, but the portfolio of programs will be the same no matter how or when you implement them. The key? Automation. Build it once, refine it continuously.