Revenue generation is the life-blood of every business. When we say life-blood, it can't be off at any time. It has to be consistent and predictable and its velocity should change based on your capacity.
How do most businesses generate revenue? Ideally, the sales/marketing will identify prospects and qualify them if they would be a fit for your product and/or service and then you put all your efforts into converting them into your customers.
But how do you ensure predictability and consistency?
You need a marketing automation system that boosts your content marketing and help you educate your prospects at various stages of their buying cycle.
Let me explain this with an example of a cherry tree here.
All the cherries on a tree represent your leads. Some of the cherries are ripe, but most of them still need a little bit (or a lot) of nurturing on the tree. The ripe ones are easy. These are the leads you call on with an immediate need and you happen to be there and get a sale. This is not where you get rich. Your potential wealth lies in the green ones still on the tree.
Your average 9 to 5 salesperson will pick all the red cherries off the tree, throw them in his/her little bucket (no need for a very big one), and run off to the next tree. Maybe your next tree is a pay-per-click campaign, trade show or a networking group or a telemarketing list.
But wait for a second...don't you think some of those green ones might pan out in the future?
So your salesperson suspects his green cherries might turn red someday too. So he sets up a great system for cultivating them. He dumps them into a spreadsheet and every so often calls the leads on the list asking them if they need his product.
Is there anything wrong with this approach?
This makes your salesperson look very selfish and pushy. And you leads might never return to give you their business. This is like picking your ripe cherries then leaving the tree alone for two months. No watering. No fertilizing. No spraying for bugs. No pruning. No nothing. It ain't gonna happen. YOUR TREE WILL DIE!
Similarly, you lose your leads without nurturing.
So, what happens after you abandon the tree without nurturing it?
The next day after you leave your tree for a new one, your competitor comes along and throws a little bit of his fertilizer on it and guess what? A few more cherries turn red and he picks them. Those were your cherries!
Your competitor stole your cherries while you were busy on another tree picking cherries that somebody else left there, almost ripe, from the day before.
If I were you, I would want the all the cherries- the ones that were ripe and the ones that are not yet ripe. I will put all reasonable efforts o cultivate them and pick them when they are ripe. Basically, I want to pick cherries every day and I want to know how many raw cherries I have and how many days would it take for them to get ripe. This way, I can predict the supply of cherries for the entire season.
So, how do you nurture your leads?
In sales, remember there's an educational process a prospect must go through before someone is ready to buy from you. They may need to learn more about your industry in general or they may want to know about you and why your offer is any better than anyone else's he's considering. Or maybe they just don't need or can't afford what you have...for now.
So, you need to think of the way you can help and educate your leads until they are ready to buy from you. In order to that, first you need to understand your target market and create personas. Based on a persona, you will identify buying stages and their pain points and provide answers to their questions.
For example, these could be some questions that your prospects might have months before they are ready to buy
- Why this solution versus the other solution?
- How to choose the right product?
- What are the pros and cons of different approaches to the problem/opportunity?
- How do I know if I'm ready to use this product?
- How are their competitors coping with the same problem your prospect is having?
- How your prospect can beat their competition?
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With some research, you will get an idea of how much education and how much time it takes for a typical persona. This way you can calculate or predict the number of leads you need to generate from persona "Sam" so that"x" number of leads convert into customers generating "$XYZ" revenue for your business over next "N" months.
Once you define your personas and their pain points, your challenge is to educate and nurture these leads along. But that's a tough deal if you've got more than 10 prospects.
Let's go back to the orchard again.
In the orchard, you cultivate cherry trees by watering, fertilizing, etc. and you also let nature take care of some things (sun, rain, and so forth). But remember, prospects are like cherries, not entire trees. Building a relationship with every prospect is a lot like paying a lot of attention to every cherry on the tree. Imagine inspecting all the cherries for bugs every day or somehow adding a small but precise amount of water to each cherry each day. This sounds dumb and inefficient to make a point.
In the orchard, you could set up an irrigation system that would automatically come on every day to water the trees. You could hire an airplane to drop pesticide on your trees once a week. In other words, you can treat the entire orchard at once. All the cherries will ripen when the time comes. Then you just sit there and pick.
This is where marketing automation comes into play.
With marketing automation, you can educate your not-ready-to-buy leads and establish a nurturing relationship with them until they get ready-to-buy from you. And you can do it at a scale without compromising personalization.
Marketing automation helps you to carry out the following tasks easily and quickly, giving you the extra time for coming up with great marketing ideas:
- Email marketing
- Generating Leads
- Personalization of website
- Creating landing pages
- Customer retention
- Customer segmentation
- Cross-channel marketing campaigns
- Nurturing and scoring of leads
- Cross-sell and up-sell
- ROI measuring
With marketing automation you can:
- Engage with, identify and track online customers individually
- Filter leads according to interest and engagement
- Prioritize customers from a list according to likelihood to buy
- Give useful, measurable data about individual marketing campaigns
As well as being a useful tool for the marketing team in a business, marketing automation is also extremely useful to the sales team.
The sales team can get prioritized leads so that those with a higher likelihood of converting to a sale become available first.
Leads can be sorted into groups with different definitions, allowing for different sales approaches. Through more specific marketing, potential customers are better informed and this (should) make selling easier.
When running alongside a good team, marketing automation will become a core tool in the effectiveness of your marketing and sales efforts.
Contact us today to discuss how marketing automation can work for you.