Building up a client base for B2B businesses is a combined effort of marketing and sales teams. However, friction between the two is not unheard of and is pretty common in most companies. The cause behind this is oftentimes misalignment. Leveraging marketing automation for lead generation, however, is definitely a way to tackle this misalignment.
Conventionally speaking, marketing teams are required to bring in leads and pass them on to the sales teams, who then track the lifecycle stages of these leads and take actions to convert them into clients eventually. But problems may arise due to the quality of the lead or untimely action, which could lead to loss of significant business opportunities.
While it’s easy to shift blame to either side, it’s more important to seek a solution. Enter marketing automation!
Marketing automation, also known as lead generation software, can play a significant role in getting marketing and sales teams on the same page. This solution helps marketing teams move a lead down the funnel and pass it on to the sales team once it’s ready. The data captured by the marketing automation software can then be leveraged by the sales team for getting insights regarding a contact.
In this blog, I am going to talk in detail about how you can effectively use marketing automation for lead generation.
Managing Evolving Marketing Channels
The way digital content is perceived these days is completely different from say 5 years ago. It can further be argued that the elements involved change radically at times due to some phenomenon or the other. Consider the pandemic for example- it led to a sudden surge in digital content consumption. People started relying on online channels for entertainment, seeking information, shopping, and several other purposes. This rise in content browsing gave marketers a chance to target an increased number of people.
Similar trends can be witnessed during occurrences of different events such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday. The point I am trying to get at is that the digital industry, and marketing channels by extension, is in a state of constant evolution, which marketers should thoroughly consider when they think of building lead generation strategies.
Today, the need is to make effective use of social media, email marketing, content marketing, campaigns for lead generation, SEO best practices, and landing pages to target and nurture audiences for eventually converting them into clients.
Now, the problem with multiple channels is that their management requires different software, thereby leading to a scattered approach altogether. Hence, in order to generate quality leads, this is the foremost issue that marketers need to deal with. The lead generation process can be simplified extensively by combining the efforts of all marketing channels and having multiple data points in a centralized software. This is where marketing automation comes in.
How Marketing Automation Binds Lead Generation Processes
Marketing automation is essentially a one-stop-shop solution that unifies your lead generation processes. If you look at any marketing automation software, you’ll notice that it is an amalgamation of different tools that allow you to take care of all the processes involved in lead generation.
For example, you take into account the people who visit your website to build the right audience base. Some of them will exhibit the accurate intent for you to take the conversation forward. You’ll know this when you start nurturing these leads through different email campaigns and by the way they engage with said campaigns. Those who show further interest in your offerings will turn into sales-qualified leads and can be handed over to the sales team.
Hence, you see, the process is multi-staged and it’s only natural that you’ll require different tools for every stage. What marketing automation does is provide you with all those tools in a single platform for a hassle-free experience.
Automation for Enhancing Efficiency
‘Automation’ is undoubtedly the major aspect when we talk about marketing automation. While fundamentals of lead generation remain the same, which mostly includes email campaigns, it is improved scalability that marketers are after these days.
We are looking at trends such as personalization and hyper-personalization in the digital industry. On top of this, user intent cannot be taken for granted. If you are not approaching a prospect in the right manner and with the right service/product/offerings, someone else is bound to.
Therefore, in order to remain ahead in the game, it is imperative to leverage automated workflows. Such an arrangement will help you personalize the content to effectively target prospects, let you know which prospects to prioritize, and allow you to have detailed insights about the journey of each and every one of your leads.
Nurturing leads is where marketing automation actually plays the most vital role during the entire lead generation process. In fact, automated processes come into effect at this stage when your visitors have turned into leads. What you need to do next is to keep them engaged through your content, educate them about your niche, and eventually loop them in conversations about your products. All this is achieved through sending informational content to leads after determining their lifecycle stage.
Now that we are done with the basics of lead generation marketing automation, let’s take a look at the elements that are involved in lead generation automation.
Marketing Automation Lead Generation Elements
The lead generation process basically starts with landing pages and the conversion forms that you insert on those pages. A visitor with the right intent will convert into a lead when they fill a form on your website (a subtle hint about how important landing pages and conversion forms are for your business).
If you have done a good job with the form, the visitor will likely share their information which then will go into the repository of your CRM. Now, you have certain details about your new lead depending upon the information you asked for in the form. This information about leads is crucial, as it is what allows you to run further campaigns and personalize the content. Therefore, you need to ask for all the important information on the forms while making sure that they don’t get overwhelmed with the number of fields.
Autoresponders and triggered email sequences
If a visitor fills up a form to download a guide from your website, you ideally need to keep them engaged through further conversations. One way to do this is through autoresponders or triggered email nurture sequences. For example, once they submit a form, they would receive a ‘thank you’ mail and you could also provide a pdf version of the guide or ebook in the mail itself. This can be set up with the help of marketing automation tools.
Triggered email sequences are also essential in the sense that they ensure the delivery of content that is personalized for each contact and based on their engagement. The automatic lead generation process is heavily dependent on such tools.
Automated lead management relies on sales funnel stages. With the help of marketing automation tools, you can strategically move the leads down the funnel until they are ready to get on a demo call.
Sales funnel stages are:
- Marketing qualified lead (MQL)
- Sales qualified lead (SQL)
Funnel stages are also important because they tell you the kind of content a particular lead will potentially engage with. For instance, consider an MQL- the content you target these leads with should range between industry-related information and information about service/tools that could be useful for them.
On the contrary, an SQL would have moved down from the above stages and would already be knowledgeable about the industry. Now, you would need to educate them about your own services/products and tell them why they should choose you instead of any other competitor.
However, you can only be this precise with all your leads if you are aware of their funnel stages, which is exactly the knowledge marketing automation provides you with.
Automating the Lead Generation Process
We have discussed in detail why marketing automation is crucial for lead generation today and where exactly marketing automation comes in the entire lead generation process. The next step here is to see how you can exactly automate processes for generating high-quality leads.
Marketers have probably realized by now that without considering user intent they cannot get too far and certainly cannot build lasting relationships. User intent and personalization are connected in the sense that without accounting for the former you won’t be able to deliver a personalized experience, which is necessary for businesses today.
- Marketing automation allows you to deliver exactly such an experience through a variety of tools. We have already touched upon automating email campaigns, but it’s worth mentioning again in relation to personalization. By automating email campaigns, you wouldn’t have to worry about a lack of personalization. Marketing automation tools allow you to personalize the entire campaign for multiple contacts.
- Other than emails, you can also leverage chatbots to enhance the customer experience when they land on your website, which will further increase the chances of generating better leads. Chatbots can be hard to manage manually unless you have a dedicated team or at the very least a person to handle things. With marketing automation, however, you don’t have to worry about replying to every single message yourself or at least keeping a tab on conversations 24*7. You can set up a time and let the visitors know when you’ll be available.
These smaller aspects go a long way when you want to improve customer experience. If the visitor feels valued and gets answers to their queries right away, the chances of them converting are much higher.
- If you want to go a step further, you can also personalize the website experience for recurring visitors. This can be done by mapping the behavior of all visitors and then categorizing them. Customer personas will further help you target visitors in a much better way, thereby allowing you to generate better-quality leads. And while taking care of all this data could be hard, marketing automation tools can help you achieve it easily.
Automated lead management
We talked about funnel stages in the last section and saw why segmentation is important for delivering the right content to the right contact.
Everything starting from segmenting leads to lead scoring can be efficiently done with the help of marketing automation software. Automated lead management can make things for you incredibly easy because, let’s be honest, it’s impossible to manually deal with large-scale data, especially when you have more important tasks to take care of.
With the help of marketing automation, lead scoring becomes a piece of cake. Furthermore, you’ll know exactly how engaged you need to keep a lead for them to keep moving down the funnel. A lot of time, marketers miss out on important deals because their process is slow. They may have forgotten about a follow-up or didn’t find the time to deal with the lead at the right moment. Marketing automation tools are built to take care of such tasks and ensure timely engagement with leads.
However, you should take care to choose the right marketing automation software since poor integration could get you in a ditch. A robust integration system is the backbone of automated lead management.
Lead magnets for automated lead generation
Building a marketing automation list is probably among the very first steps when we talk about lead generation. However, it can be a pain to get details of quality prospects. A lead magnet can help you solve this issue though. A lead magnet is offering free content or services to prospects which may ultimately incline them to sign up for your product/service.
You can offer eBooks, reports, free audits, or guides to engage prospects. This will also serve the purpose of educating them about your industry. What you have to ensure is that any content or service you offer for free should provide value to the prospects; otherwise what’s the point, right? Offering a solution to key industry problems could be a way around this.
Lead magnets primarily allow you to showcase your expertise in industry matters, which will further entice prospects to consider you when they are actually ready to leverage your product/service. They are further an easy way to kickstart the automated lead generation process.
To sum up
Lead generation marketing automation- a process that lets you build a content client base- needs to be tackled strategically for the most benefit. As a marketer, you should focus on getting behind on every aspect entailed in the entire process. Without educating yourself, you could be doing more harm to your business than good. But, if you leverage it wisely, marketing automation has the potential to help you generate leads that are just the right fit for your business.
Automating the lead generation process allows you to focus on the necessary tasks while taking repetitive, time-consuming, but necessary tasks off your hands. Here’s the summarized version of ways in which marketing automation lead generation benefits you:
- Automated email campaigns free you from sending follow-ups and personalized messages for an enhanced customer experience.
- Lead scoring and automated lead management allow you to track the journey of every contact in your list.
- Marketing automation tools help you send relevant content to prospects, which speeds up their journey down the funnel.
- Triggered email campaigns increase the chances of engagement.
- Salespeople can focus on building relationships with warm leads rather than spending excessive time on cold campaigns.
- Marketing automation deals efficiently with information about your leads and lets you know when and how to act upon a certain contact for maximizing the chances of conversion.
- Lead generation marketing automation gets marketing and sales teams on the page, thereby reducing friction between the two.
- Automating processes allow you to combine the effort of different marketing channels.