Influence The Buying Process with Automated Marketing
WHITE PAPER | ENGAGEMENT SYSTEMS
influence the buying process
with AutomAted mArketing
10 TAcTicS For iMproviNG rEvENuE ANd roi Now
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influence the buying process
with AutomAted mArketing
10 tactics For improving revenue and roi now
Today’s decision maker has changed. He now scrutinizes his buying options more
The traditional selling carefully. His expectations are higher across the board. He wants to understand
process has become the opportunity costs of making a purchasing decision; or rather, the value of the
a buying process alternatives that he is giving up to choose you. He may even want to feel more
controlled by the buyer, confident about your company as a whole. undoubtedly he controls the buying
not the supplier. 80% process. And even with established customers, all this research and analysis may
of decision makers take place before a conversation with a salesperson has even occurred, or before
research and reach out the new purchase is in sight.
to technology vendors
and don’t wait to be decision makers want more information. We’re not just talking about an
contacted. This buyer extended list of features and benefits. We’re talking about empowerment
behavior is repeated in through education, fact finding and knowledge acquisition. companies
other industries as well, are currently grappling for pole position as the trusted advisor, a role now
clearly demonstrating paramount to success for not only new business, but for up selling and cross-
that in today’s world selling existing clients as well. The question for you is whether your company will
the empowered be the source of this information, whether your company will craft the messages
customer controls the the buyer receives, or whether he will go elsewhere to satisfy his curiosity.
chances are, you purchased a crM (customer relationship Management) system
- Marketing Sherpa’s
Business Technology Marketing to help you achieve these goals. You sold it to your sales team as a better
Benchmark Guide 2007-08
means to manage and track customers’ and buyers’ behavior. Your marketing
department hoped to gain keener insight into market needs and interests.
ultimately you were hoping to use crM to influence enough new buyers and
customers to see a significant sales increase.
if you are now struggling to achieve your sales goals, you are not alone.
However, there are immediate actions that you can take to influence decision
makers and buyers to increase revenue and roMi (return on Marketing
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Influence The Buying Process With Automated Marketing
in this paper, you’ll learn 10 hands-on tactics you can start using today to begin
improving your revenue and roi.
using Automated marketing To Inﬂuence The buying Process
10 tactics for improving revenue and roi Now
Tactic #1 delivering leads to sales at the right time in the buying process.
Tactic #2 Getting Sales and Marketing to work together.
Tactic #3 The five phases of the customer life cycle and which produce the highest roMi.
Tactic #4 driving the buying decision process with the right types of marketing.
Tactic #5 How to map out the buying decision process.
Tactic #6 using your crM system to trigger automatic marketing communications.
Tactic #7 Making automated marketing campaigns relevant.
Tactic #8 obtaining ongoing intelligence on your customers and prospects.
Tactic #9 When to use what marketing medium for communications.
Tactic #10 Building trust and rapport while reducing the cost of sales.
Tactic #1: Develop Qualified Leads
Delivering Leads to Sales at the Right Time in the Buying Process.
Here is a typical scenario: marketing is under constant pressure to deliver more
leads. often, there is no process in place to qualify where the lead is in the buying
process before passing them off to sales. Marketing believes that they’re passing
along good leads. conversely, sales feels the leads aren’t very good. However,
when leads aren’t ready to buy when a salesperson makes an initial contact, they
often drop them in favor of prospects they believe they can close right now in
order to hit their monthly quota.
For the company, this means that good leads are falling through gaps in your
sales and marketing process. Soon, a giant black hole is created in your crM
system. Studies show that as many as 80% of leads passed to sales never have a
Automated lead nurturing
meaningful conversation with a rep because they are either abandoned after two
can be the cure for the attempts or disqualified because the prospect is not immediately ready to buy.1
common cold call.
80% of marketing efforts to generate leads are wasted and ignored by sales. - The Aberdeen Group
it takes an average of 12 attempts for a salesperson to get a decision maker on the telephone, but 83 percent of
sales professionals report that they only have time to make one or two attempts. - Wendover
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When there is poor lead follow-up, it’s not surprising that conversion rates are
disappointing. Your company also incurs greater expense when the same leads are
recaptured over and over again as prospects.
So what should be done?
Automated lead nurturing programs can quickly repair the black holes in your
marketing and sales processes by keeping prospects engaged and maintaining
TACTIC #1 TAKEAWAY top-of-mind awareness for your company throughout the buying process. Lead
don’t let prospects fall through nurturing programs usually consist of a series of marketing touches that develop
the cracks. protect your
marketing investment and a relationship with the prospect, break down common sales barriers, and gauge
maximize resources through their progress in the buying process. When the lead completes certain qualifying
better lead qualification and actions, such as requesting a product demo or visiting a number of pages on your
website, signaling that they are getting closer to a buying decision they can be
automatically transitioned to your sales team.
Tactic #2: Redefine the Metrics for Sales and Marketing
Getting Sales and Marketing to Work Together.
it’s time to take a closer look at the metrics companies use to monitor results.
A huge problem is the misalignment of the metrics used to motivate sales and
marketing. Sales and marketing are in essence driven to different end points using
Sales tends to be focused on achieving short-term revenue goals – making
monthly or quarterly quotas. Marketing tends to be focused on the number of
leads generated. Both lose sight of the main company objective: to influence
the buying process in order to generate new business and increase revenue from
existing customers. performance measurements based solely on monthly sales
quotas and response rates for individual marketing initiatives create conflicting
objectives and polarize the effectiveness of the two departments.
Both sales and marketing should be measured based on the organization’s goals:
increased revenue, lower acquistion cost and improved profitability. Your chosen
metrics should recognize and reward coordinated sales and marketing efforts that
spur positive changes in customer buying behavior.
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And meAsures tied response rates of Latest
Monthly and Quarterly
to compensAtion Marketing initiative (number
And success of leads generated)
Aligned metrics return on investment
And meAsures closed Sales
for sAles And cost per Qualified Lead
TACTIC #2 TAKEAWAY mArketing cost per Lead converted
customer retention rate
unify sales and marketing in
the pursuit of common goals.
Tactic #3: Address All Phases of the Customer Life Cycle
The Five Phases of the Customer Life Cycle
and Which Produce the Most ROMI
Academically speaking, the customer life cycle begins with a prospect: an
interested party who may potentially need your product or service.
Adept companies qualify their prospects to pinpoint their sales efforts on leads
who are ready to buy, while using lead nurturing tactics to continue to develop
leads at the beginning of the buying process.
Following a first purchase, a period of customer assimilation or on-boarding
takes place. This is a prime time to start building loyalty and influencing ongoing
purchases. particularly adroit companies employ retention programs to continue
Five Stages of Customer Life Cycle to provide value and to educate their customers to enhance cross-selling and up-
Lead Generation - Suspects selling opportunities. The final frontier recognizes when a customer’s attention
Lead Nurturing - Qualified prospects has waned, and alerts sales and marketing to deploy a winback strategy to
onboarding/Assimilation - New customers preserve the customer relationship and future revenues.
retention - Established customers
Winback - declining/Lost customers While everyone knows that it costs 6-10 times more to acquire a new customer
than to maintain a loyal customer, most marketing budgets are heavily weighted
toward lead generation. Minimal effort is given to nurturing qualified leads until
they are ready to purchase. At the other end of the spectrum, responsibility for
improving the customer experience is largely a reactive tactic left to the customer
service department, which usually means trying to appease a customer after they
have become dissatisfied and have a complaint.
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By reviewing your marketing focus, and adjusting it if needed to address the
TACTIC #3 TAKEAWAY entire customer life cycle, you can significantly improve lead conversion and
continue generating leads,
but put greater emphasis on customer lifetime value. Because this not only increases the flow of revenue
nurturing activities as well but “stops the bleeding” from customer attrition. companies that implement
as retention and winback complete-life cycle approaches can experience dramatic improvements in revenue
strategies to maximize
customer lifetime revenue. and marketing roi.
Tactic #4: Audit Thyself
Driving the Buying Decision Process with the Right Types of Marketing.
perform an audit of how you support buyers and current customers in their
education process about your product or service and their impending purchase
decisions. Make a list of all the potential touch points with prospects and
Ask yourself the following questions:
1. do you have the appropriate sales and marketing processes and materials in
place to be proactive rather than reactive?
2. What does the buyer or customer have to do in order to access that
information? Make a phone call? visit a store? Go to your website?
3. is the medium used to deliver the message appropriate for the
communication and comfort level of the buyer or customer? Email is typically
ignored until a relationship has been established, and mail does not provide
an immediate delivery. Keep in mind that it can take up to 12 attempts for a
salesperson to get a decision maker on the telephone.2
4. is a timely response required?
5. What kind of follow-up is expected?
remove any excessive hurdles keeping your potential buyers and customers from
the information that they are seeking. consider marketing technologies that
are less dependent upon sales intervention to provide the initial touch points. A
TACTIC #4 TAKEAWAY strong website, an investment in keyword searches using search engine marketing
Make sure that you have all
tools, or other methods of providing resource materials through the myriad of
the materials in place to be the searchable trade publications is a wise investment. However, all methods need
resource for information to to be tied back to your buyer’s ability, interest, and time to make use of these
support your buyer.
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Tactic #5: Design a Roadmap for Access to Your Products and Services
How to Map Out the Buying Decision Process.
Before the roadmap can be built, both sales and marketing have to understand
that it is the customer or potential customer who is behind the wheel. it is the
buyer or customer who controls the buying process. He or she needs to feel good
about his or her buying decision. The job of sales and marketing is to
help the customer make a choice, fill a need, or answer a question.
Your sales and marketing people are problem-solvers who must
continually build credibility, comfort and trust.
Bring key sales and marketing players together. Have the team
map out the decision process of your potential and existing buyers.
imagine your team of sales and marketing professionals as city
planners; or moreover, heads of transportation. it is their task to
build onramps and highways, and to coordinate the traffic lights
throughout town. in the center of town are your products and
services. it is the job of your team to keep the traffic moving to the
center of town to the destination: a buying decision.
Use information to help buyers
through their decision process. As heads of transportation, sales and marketing need to define the key points
in this educational and relationship-building process. Not every interaction with
the buyer or customer is about closing a new deal; it’s about delivering relevant
information at the right time to the right individual.
TACTIC #5 TAKEAWAY This activity tactically pulls sales and marketing back to the drawing board.
Map out the buying process it cohesively identifies the entire buying process. it forces both sales and
and help prospects and marketing to adjust to the ever-changing profile of the buyer, and the current
customers navigate their way to state of the industry and economy. Marketing campaigns and initiatives must
a buying decision.
work together towards a common purpose. Add too many haphazard campaigns
and congestion ensues.
Tactic #6: Automate For Systematic Success
Using Your CRM System to Trigger Automatic Marketing Communications.
crM was designed to collect, store and track information, but a crM system
alone is just a data warehouse if additional technology isn’t added to trigger
communications that reach out to customers to influence the purchase decision.
The key word is trigger.
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using intelligent marketing automation, triggers detect a change in behaviors
or events by keying off the data in your crM system; triggers are what turn a
database into an automated marketing machine.
To continue with the roadmap discussion, triggers identify when the buyer
or customer gets to an intersection. Automated touch points deliver what is
needed in order for the buyer or customer to pass through that intersection.
can their question be answered by an email? does this intersection require a
sales call? What do they need to see or hear to keep driving to the center of
town? in areas where the buyer or customer is nearing a purchase decision,
Automatic touch points what types of actions are necessary to build momentum? You want to carefully
guide leads and customers
to buying decisions. place street signs - or automated touch points - to direct buyers and customers
towards a product or service and motivate them to progress more quickly towards
a purchase decision.
Triggers can anticipate where the buyer or customer may veer away from your
TACTIC #6 TAKEAWAY product or service. Automatic touch points help route that lead or customer back
Automate the sales and to a buying decision.
marketing process by setting
event and behavior triggers
that utilize intelligent Automated processes alleviate the complaint that crM creates additional work for
marketing automation to auto- users. This will go a long way in addressing the adoption issue most organizations
execute marketing touches.
face. With no extra work for the sales team – they can focus on selling activities.
Tactic #7: Make it Personal
Making Automated Marketing Campaigns Relevant.
What’s the best way to engage someone in a conversation? use their name and
make it about them. one-to-one communications have greater impact because
the customer receives a message that is tailored to them, with content focused on
their unique needs and interests.
Would you send a new product promotion to a current customer who is already
TACTIC #7 TAKEAWAY buying that product from you? if you do, you have just trained your customer to
ignore future communications. The beauty of intelligent marketing automation
communications for more is that it supports a one-to-one outreach. one-to-one communications must be
meaningful dialogue with relevant and timely. These communications are only sent in response to a change
prospects and customers to
shorten the buying process. in an individual’s information in your database, or because the information is
highly relevant to the individual.
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Tactic #8: Focus on Gathering Information
Obtaining Ongoing Intelligence on Your Customers and Prospects.
Building intelligence into your sales and marketing process is
perhaps the most effective method of influencing the buying
decision process. However, learning about your prospects and
customers is an ongoing process. Their interests today will not be
their main points of concern or need tomorrow.
As you plan your roadmap, think about the appropriate times
to gather information to be stored in your crM system. This will
empower your marketing automation system to take additional
actions to influence buying decisions:
Gather information that can be 1. Observational Learning
used to take additional actions The prospect or customer may seek more information about your company
to influence buying decisions.
without contacting you directly. during this process you have the opportunity
to learn from that interest. observational learning uses tools to monitor and
record buyer interest and behavior. case in point, an interested party visits
your website or a purL (personalized urL). You can learn about her interests
by following the path she takes from one web page to another within your
site. What information is the customer interested in? How long does she
peruse each landing page? What links does she follow? Your crM system can
be optimized to track and record this information. pre-programmed business
rules then monitor the data and activate triggers for automated touch points.
2. Learning Through Surveys
Sometimes all you have to do is ask. utilizing marketing automation, surveys
can be deployed via email, mail, purL or live interview. prospects and
customers appreciate that you ask their opinion. What they don’t appreciate:
an all-out assault by a salesperson trying to force them to buy when they
respond to a survey. With marketing automation, survey responses initiate
touch points that help to advance the buying process.
TACTIC #8 TAKEAWAY
3. Learning Through Direct Contact
commit to an ongoing learning
process; employ a valuable Although today’s prospects and customers are in control of the buying process,
exchange of information to there are times that live interaction is wanted and needed. When a prospect
align your product and service
offerings with the changing or customer wants to see a demonstration, asks for a consultation, or just asks
needs and interests of each a question, he is engaging you in live conversation. utilize these interactions
individual buyer. to learn more about where the prospect or customer is in the buying process.
As knowledge is gained and crM fields are updated, triggers can detect those
changes and alter the touch points accordingly.
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Tactic #9: Employ Multi-Channel Marketing
When to Use What Marketing Medium for Communications.
remember the road map from Tactic #5? Multi-touch and cross-media marketing
campaigns put leads in the pencil of your sales and marketing teams, by defining
the best possible touch points to influence the decision process. it allows you to
use a combination of mediums, whether it be email, direct mail, personal purLs,
phone calls, or personal visits within a single campaign to best connect with the
TACTIC #9 TAKEAWAY prospect or customer.
deploy multiple means of
outreach to ensure that your New prospects may not accept your email messages, but will receive direct
message is received, and to
move the customer towards mail. Established customers are more likely to successfully receive email
a purchase position relative communications. By employing multiple mediums in your campaigns, you
to their individual needs
and interests. build synergy among your marketing pieces, ensure that your message gets
through, and gain the flexibility to communicate with your contacts in the
medium they prefer.
Tactic #10: Maintain a Continuous Dialogue
Building Trust and Rapport While Reducing the Cost of Sales.
The old traditional sales process is no longer profitable. in the old model, a sales
person was required to call, call, call, in order to generate business. This type of
push strategy is no longer effective, economically feasible or humanly possible
with today’s longer buying cycles. other forms of interaction must augment more
conventional selling efforts.
TACTIC #10 TAKEAWAY With buyers driving the timing of purchases, marketing must be in constant
Establish ongoing contact
contact to ensure that the company understands the buyer’s position and needs,
with customers to preserve
satisfaction, increase up-selling and the buyer understands the company’s solutions and services. This requires
and cross-selling, and decrease a cycle of learning with both parties engaged in “conversations” that share
information back and forth, and one that develops trust and rapport – marketing
initiatives should reflect this relationship building and provide for it.