How to Do Sales Nurturing with a Marketing Automation Platform

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You’ve just launched your inbound campaign and high-quality leads are beginning to flow into your Dynamics environment. Your work here is done, right? Of course not! This is only the beginning. Now you have to make sure those CRM-ready leads remain high-quality by developing them into sales-ready prospects. And sometimes, that can take a while. The sales cycle can be long, especially if your marketing efforts are targeting B2B customers. It’s not always easy to nurture these leads in an efficient, timely manner. That’s where your marketing automation platform can really help. Using automated nurturing tactics as part of your campaign ensures that your leads are sent the most appropriate content for them, at exactly the right time, no matter where they are in the sales journey.


Let’s define exactly why the nurturing phase of the campaign can be so challenging, then examine some best practices for conducting a successful automated email campaign of your own.


The Challenge of Effective Sales Nurturing

Sales nurturing with a marketing automation platform is a proven way to significantly increase sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads. The problem is that, without a marketing automation platform, the nurturing phase is labor intensive, and the content that informs a potential buyer as they journey along the sales funnel must perfectly align to the prospects needs at that time. The occasional one-off email to contacts in your CRM won’t be nearly as effective as a well thought-out and targeted message. For example, it won’t do much good to present an in-depth description of your solution’s great features if your audience isn’t yet aware of the problems those features solve. In contrast, an automated nurturing program that includes a systematic approach to engaging leads through your content and website site, correctly identifying where that lead is in the sales cycle, gives you the best chance to convert them into paying customers. Here are some of the more important elements to get right for your automated nurturing efforts to succeed:


Segment Your Leads

Sometimes it might make sense to target everything marked as a Lead in your Dynamics instance. But generally speaking, you need to be able to separate leads into different segments or lists based on a variety of criteria, like demographic or firmographic data. Once formulated, you can use these lists to target specific customers that are at similar places in the customer journey. With an integrated CRM and marketing automation platform, you’ll have a variety of segmentation tools at your disposal, including subscription centers that allow your contacts to manually opt in or out of newsletter and other marketing materials.


You should also have the capability to track lead responses to your content. This allows you to further divide contacts into appropriate contact lists, like by niche or specific pain point. With an automated process, the next round of emails can then be drip-fed to the appropriate Leads, delivering the most relevant information at exactly the right time.


Prioritize Multi Channel Touchpoints

Today, your prospects are able to interact with you in a myriad of ways. You shouldn’t rely on email drip campaigns alone to generate and nourish all of your leads. In order to maximize the effectiveness of each channel, you need to consider how they work for your different targeted segments. You can then utilize the most relevant channels in your nurturing process. Are events and webinars a way that your organization generates excitement for potential buyers? Make sure these are included in your plans. Set automated emails with invites based on the criteria that has indicated interest in this approach in the past. Or, if a certain group of prospects might respond better to a phone call, make sure an alert is set to trigger that action as well.


Automate your Lead Lifecycle Stage Management

Lead lifecycle stage management allows you to identify and label contacts based on their lifecycle stage, or buyer journey stage. These labels can be set to activate with an automated trigger, such as when a customer takes a trackable action, like downloading a gated asset from your landing page. You can usually automate the same identifiers you have always used to mark a qualified lead, saving a lot of time and ensuring that opportunities to reach out to your prospective buyers are never missed.


Identify and Segment your Sales-Ready Leads

Lead scoring has been a tried and true method of qualifying leads for a while now. Each time an interaction is executed within the customer journey, the score is adjusted, helping you pinpoint the level of interest in your products or solutions. You can and should automate your nurturing tactics based on lead scores. Set your triggers so that contacts at the top-of-the-funnel receive the right content (often blog posts or infographics). Save gated-assets, like solution briefs or events like webinars, for middle-of-the-funnel prospects. Those contacts who are most-likely to buy should be targeted for demonstrations or sales visits. Your marketing automation platform, integrated into your CRM, will help you get the right content to the right segment at just the right time. And don’t forget about the power of multiple contact scoring models, which will help you create nurture strategies for long-term prospects, short-term prospects, customers, resellers, and more.


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