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Tuesday, 20 May 2014 00:00

Add a Human Touch to Marketing Automation for Awesome B2B Sales Lead Generation

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According to International Data Corporation (IDC), the market for marketing automation technology will expand from $3.2 billion in 2010 to $4.8 billion in 2015. It’s not surprising given that this technology can automate all the routine aspects of sales lead generation, lead nurturing, lead scoring, customer retention, testing, measuring, and optimizing marketing campaigns.

As amazing as it is, there’s one critical element that’s missing—human beings. That’s right—technology just can’t do everything. Marketing automation is best used for repeat tasks that require no judgment; steps in a process that need to happen like clockwork.

People, of course, have qualities that technology cannot duplicate. They can develop one-on-one relationships with your prospects and customers, ferret out the information you need to qualify leads, and add the judgment required to go beyond lead scoring, which is based only on a sales lead’s actions, and determine whether a lead meets your qualification criteria.

So how do you decide which marketing processes to automate and where you should be using people? Simply follow these two rules. 

  1. Automate the Routine
  2. Not every prospect reacts the same way to your marketing offers. The beauty of marketing automation is that it enables you to set up different workflows depending on prospects’ actions.

    For a simple example, suppose you invite a group of people to a webinar. Some people see the invitation and sign up on the spot. You immediately want to send them each an email confirmation of their registration and a reminder as to why it’s valuable to attend. But others wait and wait to respond. So a few days after you sent the invitation, you want to send a reminder to those that did not register. And on the day before and the day of the event you want to remind those who’ve registered to attend the event and those that did not register, the chance to register last minute. Finally, once the event is over, you want to follow up with attendees and non-attendees with different messages.

    All these responses to different situations would be tough to keep track of and implement if we had to rely on people to do the job. There’s room for human error in the process and, on top of that, implementing a mechanical follow-up procedure is not the best use of living, breathing associates’ time.

  3. Add Humans for Judgment and Relationships
  4. Now that the webinar is over, you have a list of people who attended. They’ve invested time learning about how your product or solution can help them conquer a problem or exploit an opportunity. It’s likely that within that group of attendees are some hot prospects who’d like to learn more. But you don’t know who is ready to spend time with a field sales person, or who is not as far along in the buying cycle, but could benefit from talking with an inside sales person or telesales agent.

    To discover the answers and start to build relationships, you want to add a human touch to your marketing. After the thank you email goes out, have your inside sales people call the event attendees, learn more about them and answer their questions.  If during the conversation they determine someone is a sales-qualified lead, they can set up an appointment. If, on the other hand, someone is interested but not ready yet, your inside sales person can set them up on a personalized nurturing plan, providing helpful content and perhaps scheduling a future follow-up phone call either at a set time or after the prospect takes specific actions (i.e., opens a specific email and/or downloads a specific document).

The bottom line is that marketing automation is an extremely powerful tool, but you’ll add the greatest impact to your sales lead generation process if you combine it with a human touch.

For more information on marketing automation and tele-services, call us now at +1 718-709-0900 (Americas) / +39 06-978446-60 (EMEA).