How to Recognize Sales-Readiness With Marketing Automation
Digital marketing isn't the same thing as retail sales, but they have some things in common. Sales associates in retail stores are trained to recognize "tells" that indicate whether or not a shopper is ready to buy. Holding up a jacket in front of a mirror to check the size, then trying it on, are sure signs. Time to go offer assistance to help close the sale. How does that translate to a web presence, especially for a B2B business? What signs do visitors and leads leave behind that offer clues to their buy intentions?
Obvious Buyer Behavior in Digital Marketing
- Converting on bottom-of-the-funnel content, such as free trials, demos and consultations
- Downloads of mid-funnel content designed to support the buy decision, such as case studies and product specifications
- Visits to pricing pages and FAQs about your products and services
- Direct communication and requests for information
More Subtle Buyer Behavior in Digital Marketing
- Blog subscriptions and comments indicating engagement and high interest level
- Social media engagement, shares, comments and brand mentions
- Q & A on independent industry forums and blogs regarding product comparisons, opinions and reviews
- Attendance at webinars indicating a high interest level and time investment
- High email "open" and "click" rates
- Inclusion on multiple segmented lists for product promotion and lead nurturing campaigns
- Positive answers to segmentation questions on forms, for example product interest and timing questions
- Lifecycle (buy cycle) changes within a relatively short period of time (as measured by marketing automation) indicating accelerated interest
Automating Sales-Readiness KPIs
The trick for marketers is understanding how both obvious and more subtle sales-readiness indicators can be recognized automatically via marketing automation and putting those rules into place. As a best practice, start with your known customers and track their behavior backward through the sales funnel. How did they behave prior to purchase? How long did it take, and what were the key steps that apparently led to a purchase decision? Take those behavioral "tells" and turn them into lead intelligence mechanisms, for example rewarding them with high lead scores for bottom-of-the-funnel downloads, penalizing them for being competitors, and sending them straight to sales if they convert on high-value triggers, such as free trials. For more subtle behaviors, use marketing automation workflows to move them progressively into new lifecycle stages and target them for sales-supporting lead nurturing campaigns. For example, attendees of a webinar that highlights your products or services should be sent more product-centric information, such as recent updates, development roadmaps and customer testimonials.
Supporting the Bottom Line
Sometimes we forget the principal role of marketing is to support sales, not to generate high volumes of visitors or followers. Understanding how sales-readiness can be recognized automatically through marketing automation and passing that information along to your sales team should be your No. 1 priority. With a tightly integrated CRM and aligned sales and marketing process, you can deliver value and increase revenues on a sustained basis.
Photo credit: Bryan Baroni