When it comes to marketing and sales, one of the most important developments in strategy in the last decade is the understanding that all leads are not created equal. The rise of more personalized marketing messages, micro-targeting, more specific audience segmentation and SMART content means we face the greater challenge of getting it all right, with more pieces of the puzzle needing to fit seamlessly together.
But it’s a challenge that we, fortunately, have solutions for, and they’re getting better all the time. In order to maximize the value of your leads and increase conversions at every stage of the buyer’s journey, you must be making the most of your marketing automation.
What does true marketing automation look like?
There’s a misconception about what marketing automation is. When companies finally buy-in, or are on the verge of investing in MA software, there is often an optimism about marketing automation being an out-of-the-box solution, ready to save marketing and sales teams an enormous amount of time and energy. Well, yes and no.
The thing is, true marketing automation is an investment - and not just monetarily. It often takes a lot of up-front commitment to set up, and some ongoing oversight in ensuring that there are no gaps in customer journeys or leaky buckets where leads are being lost due to missing pieces in the processes.
True marketing automation does not look like “set it and forget it.” But what it should look like is a powerfully comprehensive, data driven approach to marketing and sales that enables teams to have a total overview of the customer journey, giving businesses more control over leads to help them move forward and make informed decisions.
How lead scoring can enable marketing automation
In setting up marketing automation and gaining control over customer journeys in order to maximize leads, we need to identify patterns in behavior, leverage high intent activities, and understand customer wants and needs based on measurable interactions.
In order to do this, lead scoring can play a major role. When set up correctly, lead scoring is a method for qualifying leads as marketing or sales-ready. On the other hand – set up incorrectly, leads scoring can reduce trust between marketing and sales and make investments in marketing automation be counterproductive.
With proper lead scoring, leads can cross pre-set thresholds depending on their actions and their qualities (such as job title or company size) that we know to be greater indicators of likeliness to buy. These pre-set thresholds can then trigger actions in the marketing automation tools, such as email sends, on-site personalized content, ad retargeting and more.
Marketing automation and lead scoring won’t work without marketing and sales alignment
There are very few (perhaps no) business tools available today that don’t require at least some human brainpower and strategic thinking to set up and get right. Because of this, there will always be some risk for human error, and with modern marketing and sales being increasingly complex, there are a lot of ways businesses can get it wrong.
This is why marketing automation, lead scoring, and maximizing the value of leads will not work without internal organizational alignment of marketing and sales. These two departments play crucial roles in ensuring leads are approached, nurtured, and converted in one smooth process. While marketing automation can give greater oversight and control, marketing and sales need to see their roles in the process, establish attribution of activities that lead to a sale, and have clear and easy handoff procedures for when a lead moves from marketing qualified to sales qualified.
Marketing automation is the number one solution for businesses to ensure they are maximizing the value of their leads. But organizations must understand that it takes critical time and strategic investments, that lead scoring will help enable the execution of your marketing automation strategy, and that without internal marketing and sales alignment, you could still be missing out on the full potential of your solutions.
Want to learn more about how you can leverage marketing automation? Check out our webinar on 'Unlocking the full potential of marketing automation: how to maximise the value of your leads':