Marketing automation systems are basically a set of tools to help generate new leads, track leads’ digital behavior, nurture leads throughout the buying cycle, and deliver higher-quality leads to sales at the proper time. This set of tools includes Web forms to capture new leads, an email marketing platform, tracking capabilities across websites, and intelligence capabilities to discern top leads and deliver relevant content based on data and segments.
Here are 7 ways that marketing automation can be used to capture additional behavioral data, continually nurture leads and deliver key information to sales counselors, resulting in better sales.
1. Tracked Digital Behavior Feeds Sales Process
Marketing automation platforms can track and consolidate all this digital behavior for each individual lead. Mary Smith, for example, may have completed an information request form on your website, viewed website pages on life care and the CCRC lifestyle, taken a virtual tour, opened your latest email, clicked on an email link to two-bedroom floor plans, and viewed two floor plans for your smaller one-bedroom units. All this information can be captured and made available to your sales team.
2. Respond to Web Leads Faster with Greater Relevance
Most Web leads welcome communications via email. In fact many may prefer it, so why not design an automated email onboarding campaign? This will ensure that every Web lead receives an immediate reply to their information request, as well as a short series of emails with relevant information on CCRCs and your community. These emails can also be used to introduce your sales team as a way to facilitate a more fruitful initial call.
3. Keep Sales Team on Top of Hot Leads
Once an automated email nurturing program is in place for Web leads, each lead’s engagement with your emails and website visits can be monitored by the marketing automation platform. This allows for automated routing of leads who are opening and clicking on emails, so the sales team can work leads who have indicated their quality via their behavior.
4. Manage the Different Pace of Independent Living and Health Services Leads
The cadence of communications and the message content must be different for IL and HS leads, and marketing automation provides the flexibility to nurture these different segments. HS leads have a shorter, need-driven buying cycle, so immediate response and a quick cadence of communications is needed. IL leads have a much longer buying cycle and the proper cadence and message content depends on the phase of the buying cycle. Marketing automation allows you to define automated communication plans for both of these segments and for each phase of the IL buying cycle.
5. Segmented Communications for Greater Engagement
Marketing automation platforms have built-in segmentation tools where audience segments can be defined using both data pulled in from your CRM system and the lead’s website and email behavior. These segments are updated in real time as data changes or additional data is collected. This enables the delivery of highly relevant emails in terms of both timing and content. Leads early in the cycle might receive more CCRC category content and then more community-specific content later in the cycle.
Dynamic email content can feature varying images and copy based on a lead’s financial qualifications, family makeup, answers provided on Web forms, previously viewed content and a slew of other pieces of information. Leads are accelerated through the buying cycle by delivering content that is most helpful to leads, whether they’re just beginning to research senior living options or have decided on a CCRC and are choosing their future community.
6. Focus Sales Attention on Those Most Interested
Many of our clients have large lead databases, and each sales counselor is assigned more leads than they can reasonably keep completely up to date on. Lead scoring is a technique for ranking all leads in a database based on whether they look like a good lead (age, income, residence, etc.) and are behaving like a good lead (inquiry/reinquiry, event attendance, appointments and digital behavior). Marketing automation platforms have lead scoring capability, where an algorithm can be defined. Lead scores are then available for use in prioritizing communications and determining where a lead may be in the buying cycle.
7. Deliver the Right Information at the Right Time
Marketing automation platforms allow you to track each lead’s behavior on your website, including the date and time of each visit and, more importantly, what content they consumed while on your site. Emails can be triggered based on this activity and alerts to sales counselors can be generated. Think about the power of receiving an email alert that a health services lead has just been on your website researching your assisted living offerings. Or that an IL lead spent the previous evening browsing floor plans prior to their scheduled appointment today.