One of the biggest challenges for marketers is knowing how to move their leads through the different stages of the marketing funnel. How do you properly engage leads and visitors with information that is relevant to them, and push certain leads to the next step in order to identify those who are ready-to-buy?
There is no doubt that workflows, when executed well, are the most useful way to nurture leads, as well as to identify quality leads from those people interested in your offer. So, why am I telling you to forget all about them?
Who are your prospects?
Let’s go back a little bit and look at the complexity involved in creating an effective workflow. For it to work, you need to have an achievable goal in mind. Secondly, the workflow needs to be relevant to the particular lead you are targeting. If you have different offers within your company, segmentation is key. Basically, you really need to know who your lead is, why they’ve come to your site and what they’re looking for. After that, identifying the correct content and steps is necessary. This can be complex when deciding content, timing, next step, triggers and cut-offs.
In fact, what a workflow is supposed to do for a marketer is automate steps to nurture a lead, while they concentrate on something else. What it often turns out to be, however, is an inexact art that is tremendously time-consuming, and finally – once those messages are sent out – could end up alienating the very lead you wanted to impress.
The key to automation: personalisation
What’s more, as the world, for better or worse, has become more and more digital and, let’s face it, more and more automated, one of the keywords being thrown around at the beginning of the year was personalisation. Being human – speaking directly to someone based on their needs and interests – is now more essential than ever. So how do we make that happen?
Being human, or sending messages that feel like a real connection, is an extraordinarily complicated thing to do. What’s more, under the pressure of a marketing campaign – from mailing, to social media, to retargeting, to pop-ups, etc – a genuine prospect can often feel bombarded with messages and be turned off. Unfortunately for marketing and sales, no one likes being sold to.
Make it relevant
What they do like, particularly when it comes to B2B, is content that speaks to them and content that will help them. If they are receiving communication which talks about their needs; which identifies and gives a solution, not just through articles but with practical help such as templates, kits – things that can be put to use and put in to practice – you will start to engage the leads that you want.
If you created a workflow six months ago and it is still being sent to new leads now, is it still relevant, does it reflect your brand now, have your offers and content changed? How can you really tell what it is that someone needs after they joined one of your webinars last week, for example?
What people are yearning for when they connect to a brand is an authentic connection. Something that speaks to them in terms of who they are and what they are looking for. What’s more, if you can personalise it, make it relevant, offer content with a purpose that is educational and quality-driven, you’ve hit the jackpot.
I’ll add one more point: imagine you’re a small marketing team – already rushed off your feet creating content, producing a webinar, getting your next campaign ready – and all that your boss or sales team are looking for are leads (good ones at that). Do you actually have the time to create, execute and assess how well your workflows are performing? Or did you simply set it and forget it, and hope for the best?
So if it’s not workflows, how do you engage your leads?
At Plezi, we don’t use workflows. Okay, well, we do use a few, but mostly for very simple messages such as welcoming new leads to our site – but that’s another story. What we rely on to really engage our leads, is our Smart Campaigns. Smart Campaigns are smart enough to know what interests a lead has when they enter your site and what stage of the buyer journey they are at, and they are able automatically, through a system of algorithms, to send personalised messages that are relevant to that lead.
How does it actually work?
You keep control over a whole range of parameters that enable you to tailor a Smart Campaign to meet your needs and day-to-day requirements.
You get to choose:
- which contacts to speak to from your database, based on specific conditions (eg position, language spoken, type of persona, business sector);
- the frequency of emails – the best fit with both your leads’ expectations and your prospecting methods;
- the length of your buying cycle, to make sure it is fully in sync with your specific context for sales;
- the score used to move a lead through your purchase funnel: awareness, consideration or prospecting;
- the content and format of your marketing emails.
Marketers can draw on actual figures to optimise both their nurturing strategy (moving leads down the purchase funnel) and content. You’ll be able to see what is working and what is not – stats on open rates, click-through rates, and get highlights where you may have content missing.
What this really means for a marketer – particularly those working for a startup or within a small team, perhaps those that are already outsourcing a large part of their marketing because they are overwhelmed – is that purpose-driven content that is actually of interest can be sent to your leads automatically without you doing much set up.
The hit-and-miss nature of a workflow is gone. This allows you to change and adapt content very easily and it means that your time is spent doing the fun stuff: strategy, content creation, ideas.
Do you want to automate your marketing this way? Get in touch with Plezi and take advantage of our special offer.