To sell, or not to sell? That is the question.

5 minute read

It’s easy to think of Marketing Automation in the context of sending emails – things like welcome messages and birthday greetings, but Marketing Automation can also be a useful tool to keep your sales team informed of potential future sales opportunity.

Alert

 

Using Marketing Automation it’s really easy to set up an alert, that is an automated email to yourself or your sales team, when a specific trigger action occurs. This could be a subscriber opening an email or clicking an included link to view additional content. Taken in context, both are potentially useful intelligence which can help paint a picture of and awareness of and engagement with your outbound content.

What’s the next step?

The most common question I hear from the sales team is ‘what do I do with this information?’ It’s not exactly a lead (depending on what you capture and how you qualify your leads) but it is valid information which shows interest and potential follow up opportunity.

Think of it as the body language of the sales process.

I’ve seen it done, but an immediate approach with something like ‘Hi, I see that you’ve been on our website looking at our new range of healthcare supplements…’ is perhaps a little too direct. Many consumers will find this intrusive. More importantly if your customers feel you are watching them in this way, it’s likely to change the very engagement behaviour that you are trying to encourage.

On the other hand, doing nothing (other than viewing the information purely as an FYI) seems a waste. After all, you’ve made the effort to capture and alert to this and you know these people are alive and well and are browsing your goods and services. So how do you capitalise on this in a way that is beneficial for both you and your customer?

One way is to selectively target an automated response (we’re back to email here) with information which is specifically relevant to their action. This could be after a suitable interval or simply on your next ‘scheduled’ campaign. Too targeted or explicitly referencing their previous action will put you back into unwelcome territory, but subtle guidance towards relevant information or the next step in your sales process is perfect – after all relevance is the key to engagement, and engagement leads to business.

Another way is the conversation ‘drop in’. It’s usually easy to guide the direction of your next sales call and drop in conversation based on what you know about your prospect’s latest engagement behaviour. It depends on the relationship you have but again, subtlety is probably best. If you’re still worried about introducing what you know, then don’t, just use your intelligence to prioritise your calling list to those who you know are likely to be most receptive.

The ideal solution is an automated lead nurturing approach. There are lots of variations but the basic approach is to score subscribers according to their sales readiness based on their behaviour. Positive buying characteristics progressively alert your sales team to sales readiness and indicate when is the optimum time and with what intelligence to step in and make a sales contact. These actions could be in relation to your emails or website activity – things like engagement profiling and Audience Insights can help here, but for a completely holistic view you should also include other activities in your buying process like attending events. Most CRM systems include lead nurturing capability but on a small scale it’s also relatively easy to administer this more manually.

Either way this gives your sales team useful information which they can monitor and act upon when they feel the time is right.

By the way – I hope you enjoyed my last post on the unusual approach of ‘Pool Flair‘ and yes, of course! Check the anagram – it WAS April 1st.