Marketing and sales automation is the process of taking your sales process and marketing efforts and plugging it into a system so that you can create and capture more high quality leads, convert more sales, master e-commerce, manage the sales process and create more time. It allows you to build a relationship with your customers and potential customers without physically being present.
The biggest questions businesses have are: “How can I get more qualified leads?”, “How can I stop losing potential sales and upsell opportunities?” and “How can I eliminate the wasted time spent on manual processes?”
Marketing and sales automation helps sort out the people who are browsing from the people who are ready to buy right now (your HOT leads) and enables you to keep top of mind contact with the people who do not buy right now, so that when they are ready, you are first on the list. Statistics show that 67% of people that visit your website or store will buy within 12 months – you just need to make sure it’s from you.
Making automation work for you
What do you need to do to make automation work for you?
You need to understand your sales pipeline. What are the biggest problems your clients deal with and how are you positioned to help solve them? What stage in the pipeline are your clients in? How long should they be in each stage? What is the probability of closing at that stage? What objections can you overcome before you speak to your ideal client? How many times should you be contacting them before they make a decision and without you being annoying?
If you don’t have all this information, you will have to test it out. You also need to be able to track each and every step of the way – this is where tools and systems come in, so you can see how effective you are and have it displayed on a dashboard for easy access.
These are great questions, but before you can answer these, you need to have a strategy, a blueprint if you will, of what it is exactly that you want to achieve. Without this, your whole system falls apart. We use ‘lifecycle marketing’.
Lifecycle marketing – the blueprint
Creating a sales and marketing strategy for your business can be a daunting task. Marketing your business involves more than a beautiful storefront, nice signage, a well-designed website and a whole bunch of ads across your marketplace.
It is your personalised blueprint that includes systems, tools and a few neat tricks to specifically target the audience you are trying to attract. This framework will allow you to get more customers, make more money and free up more time to enjoy it. It will help you understand your sales and marketing strategies and what is working and what isn’t. Understand that it will be hard work but the rewards are far greater.
There are two customer lifecycle models that businesses use today.
The ‘typical customer lifecycle model’ entails spending a lot of money on advertising and focuses only on hot leads while other leads fall through the cracks. With this approach you are missing out on the upsell and referral opportunities. This is the model where you are constantly trying to fill a bucket full of holes with water (leads) – it is expensive and time consuming.
The ‘perfect customer lifecycle model’ you should be using follows this process: attract the right clients; give them something of value and collect their information; educate and nurture them on your product/service and company; have your product and service clearly defined and make it easy to buy from you; deliver and create a WOW experience for the client; get them to buy more from you because they love you and then ask them for referrals and reward them for doing so.
The perfect customer lifecycle allows you to be at the forefront every time. Not everyone who visits your site or looks at your product is ready to buy and just because you have collected their information does not give you the right to sell to them. So rather than forcing ourselves down the customer’s throat, you will need to educate them, provide value, give them free gifts, position yourself as the expert and build rapport with your potential client while they are making their decision. With this approach you will be at the forefront every time.
Matt Clark is CEO of Virtual Edge.
Want to continue this conversation on The Media Online platforms? Comment on Twitter @MediaTMO or on our Facebook page. Send us your suggestions, comments, contributions or tip-offs via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.