In all likelihood, you’re familiar with the concept of the marketing funnel. The metaphor can be a useful way of describing a very common strategy, one that ideally moves potential leads step by step, closer and closer to the final endpoint, the sale. But there’s one big way that this image can provide a flawed impression: the likelihood of any given lead reaching the bottom of the funnel. When you pour water down a funnel, you’re not going to miss a drop – everything’s going to wind up where you aim it. What’s more, the liquid in a funnel will go down smoothly and without effort, as Business.com contributor Brian Hughes pointed out. With sales, though, nothing’s guaranteed, and even the best marketing funnel cannot convert every lead into a sale. That’s why it’s so important for businesses to embrace any strategy that can improve this percentage and make sure as many leads become sales as possible.
That’s where the one-two punch of marketing automation and lead nurturing enter the picture. By combining these two strategies, businesses can make it easier to drive more leads through the marketing funnel and achieve greater success as a result. Of course, this is only possible when both marketing automation and lead nurturing are handled in the right manner.
Moving through the funnel
As Hughes noted, Focus Research found that marketing automation has proven to be the fastest growing CRM-related segment over the past five years. Among the key reasons why marketing automation is outpacing other customer relationship management elements is the simple fact that the sales cycle is getting longer. The distance between the top of the funnel and the bottom has grown as business decision-makers have become more hesitant to commit. Before deciding to settle on a particular product or services provider, these business leaders want to make sure they have all the facts and have fully evaluated their available choices. Put simply, leads today require a lot more nurturing than they did just a few years ago, and that means there are many more chances for a potential sale to evaporate.
“Marketing automation was the fastest-growing CRM-related segment over the past five years.”
Marketing automation’s recent surge in popularity is due largely to the fact that it addresses this changing state of the marketing funnel. With automation, a business can instantaneously respond to its leads’ needs for greater information.
“Effective marketing is all about delivering the right message at the right time,” Hughes wrote. “Action-based triggers, like downloading an eBook or signing up for a webinar, will generate a specific, intuitive response.”
One more benefit: Automation, as the word suggests, allows businesses to automate a wide range of tasks that are essential to lead nurturing. Specifically, it enables business leaders and their employees to avoid the need to manually oversee all lead behavior and then send out the relevant messages or content based on those actions. This can be incredibly time-consuming, which means that marketing automation allows firms to devote themselves to bigger-level issues and strategies, all while improving the likelihood that a given lead will become a sale.
With all of that established, it’s easy to see why marketing automation and lead nurturing go so well hand-in-hand, and why so many companies are jumping on this bandwagon. However, that doesn’t mean that success is guaranteed. To see the best possible results from the one-two punch of marketing automation and lead nurturing, organizations need to embrace the right approach to both.
One of the most important considerations here is the return on investment that a company sees from its marketing automation and lead nurturing efforts. If a company cannot accurately measure this performance, then it will have no way of knowing if the strategy is working perfectly or needs to be refined in some way, and that will lead to guesswork and missed opportunities.
To accurately measure the ROI here, CRM integration is key. By integrating all of a company’s various CRM components, decision-makers gain the ability to quickly and accurately see the effectiveness of their complete online marketing efforts – including marketing automation and lead nurturing elements. Advanced CRM integration can even visualize the path that any single lead follows as it moves through the marketing funnel.
To enjoy these benefits, firms need to work with a proven digital marketing solutions provider that offers advanced CRM integration services, such as Core and More Technologies. Our integration solutions deliver clear, simple, easy-to-understand results, empowering clients to make the best choices in all areas of marketing