Understanding the roles best played by Microsoft Dynamics and marketing automation platform is key to developing technically strong lead nurture campaigns. Let’s set the actual content and design of your campaign aside for a minute and think about the technical makeup of how it will be executed.
But first a quick reminder of why we’re executing lead nurture campaigns. Not all leads are created equal. They run somewhere in spectrum of complete stranger to your brand to sales qualified prospect with need, desire and budget established. Somewhere in that spectrum, it’s appropriate for the Marketing team to develop and manage lead nurture campaigns. Most likely that occurs when you can track some sort of engagement with your brand that would indicate current or future interest.
There are two key applications playing roles in the technical development and execution of a strong lead nurture campaign, your CRM and marketing automation platform. In most cases, Microsoft Dynamics should be your master data source. You’ll likely keep the most complete set of data about each lead in your CRM and use it to define the who, what, and when of your lead nurture campaign. There is no limit to the number of ways you can segment and target your leads, so developing your strategy is, as always, the most important part of your campaign. Your strategy will include bucketing your leads into segments and sending appropriate, timely, relevant messaging to each of those segments. A well setup CRM will include some time-tested data points that are excellent for segmenting. For example, lead stage is a great data point around which you can develop your strategy and messaging. A lead very early in the funnel will likely be less receptive to messaging that is too salesy. And a lead who is further down the funnel may be more receptive to content that is specific to the problems your solution can solve. It’s appropriate to craft nurture campaigns specific to each major stage of your funnel.
Microsoft Dynamics will also be a key source of information for the personalization of your messaging. For example, if you want send an email that is personalized with a first name greeting, a mention of the company your lead works for, and a reference to their industry, the CRM will supply this information to the marketing automation platform so that it can be merged into your campaigns.
This brings us to the role of your marketing automation platform. The marketing automation platform will contain any personally identifiable information (PII) data you plan to use for segmenting and personalization in your campaign, and adhering to data minimization principles, it should include no more than that. It will also house engagement and lead or contact scoring data which will also be useful in how you strategically target and message to your leads as they progress through the funnel. In addition, the marketing automation platform will be the engine behind automated decision making for the path a nurture campaign will take. For example, a nurture may switch from a very early funnel messaging tone to a mid-funnel tone when a prospect’s contact score reaches a particular level.
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