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3 Tips for Creating Your Lean Mean Marketing Automation & Sales Machine

Marketing automation, or revenue performance optimization as some call it, is used by an increasing number of SaaS companies in different stages of the marketing and sales funnel. Its goal is to move leads from the top of the funnel, sift them, and hand the qualified ones to sales. Done right, it can help improve business productivity as well as collaboration with the sales team. The ultimate goal is to convert leads to deals.

The new generation of marketing automation is not only time-based as before but also customer-engagement based (lifecycle marketing) – and so, customers are not only nurtured with the content of what they need but also they get help when they need it. This ability turns marketing automation into something more intelligent (in tune with their needs) and extremely helpful for increasing sales and reducing churn!

There are countless ways for using automation rules, however, in order to identify potential users or keeping existing users, there are 3 things every SaaS company should focus on:

1 – Understand and define your business goals

Create a methodology and go through your company’s funnel and goals.

  • Describe basic funnel terms, for example:
    • What is a lead? – is it whoever filled out a form on your website or maybe whoever signed up for your service?
    • When do leads become customers? – is it when they signup for your service or when they purchase?
    • What is the definition of a qualified lead? It can be a lead from a certain industry, with a certain title who has filled out a certain form – you name it!
  • Grade your user’s actions by engagement – which action should be considered as serious and which is not? For example: filling out a form shows higher engagement than just visiting the homepage.
  • Define your nurturing plan – who should receive your email campaigns? Will you send different content for leads vs. contacts? When will each group stop receiving each campaign, etc.

2 – Create scoring for your goals

There are 2 types of score a user can receive when looking at the vast marketing funnel:

  1. Lead score– a score that is given to a lead due to an active or passive behavior (defined in our goals). Gather information on this lead using:
    1. Forms they filled out in your website
    2. Active actions they took (participating webinars, clicking links in emails, etc.)
    3. Number of web pages they visited on your domain

Salesforce print screen – lead score granted for a lead

  1. Customer score – a score which is given to a lead which is defined as customer, based on their engagement in your application (use Totango app to get that). The tags for this field are defined back at the goals. This information can be retrieved from a Totango field placed in your CRM:

Salesforce print screen – retrieve Totango field by pre-defined tags

Using scoring for qualifying leads
Once users have signed up or downloaded information from your website, there are several criteria you might look at to determine whether or not they’re relevant as leads. For example you could look for a certain job title, certain working/living area or specific pages that were visited on your website.

Create your methodology around your company’s target audience, giving users a certain score (or deducting points) based on these criteria and decide on a threshold that, once reached, will send the lead to the sales team marked as a qualified lead.

For example, if your company specializes in accounting and offers an application with a free trial in the US, you would want to grant a higher score to users who are from the US, have an accountant related title or have visited your pricing page.

You could, of course, also grant points for active actions as well. You could contact the users who have clicked your emails, registered or attended your webinars and filled out your forms versus users who didn’t. On the other end of spectrum, you could deduct points from their score if they opt to unsubscribe from your email campaigns.

3 – Nurturing your database

As your database grows, touching base often with your list will lead to your success in new sales and retention. You could use several types of marketing activities (such as webinars, newsletters, surveys, PRs, reports etc.) to keep in touch with your existing users or increase awareness and add value to your leads and new users.

Define and divide your audience to relevant segments and send each content relevant to their experience or stage. Make sure to always add value in your emails or risk being considered spam.

Here’s an example on how to segment your users during the free trial period:

Leads

  • Definition: Filled out any form in your website but are not users yet
  • Goal: Convince them to try your free trial
  • Automation offer: Pre-program and send a bunch of time-based emails that will be sent once a week, explaining the value of your product. Once leads are converted to customers, stop this cycle and start a relevant one.

Free trial users

  • Definition: Filled out your signup form and started application free trial
  • Goal: Solve any barrier that keeps them from purchasing
  • Automation offer: Create a special program which is triggered by the stage each user is at and nurture them by their needs and not based on time – a user might be 30 days in your application and still need basic help, whereas another user might only be several days and have your app up and running!

Use Totango to determine what stage your user is at. You can search your database for different Totango tags (that show progress in your app) and in the automation program detect users who still haven’t defined their initial goals, for example, and send them explanations on how to do this. You could invite them for a live chat or a personal meeting and by that reduce churn!

Existing users

  • Definition: Are paying for your application
  • Goal: Add value to your service so that the user would choose to renew
  • Automation offer: Announce new product features and write product newsletters as a means to increase value and reduce churn. At this stage you can use Totango fields to be notified of events like whether users are continuing to sending data to the application or when their most recent logins were and have it send alerts to the sales team when there’s a churn risk.

Summary
Harness the advantages of marketing automation by planning in advance and saving time. By planning ahead, describing your goals and dividing your audience to different sections you can easily create a custom scoring system which can be used to nurture your relevant segments. With the right rules and triggers, marketing automation can simplify reaching qualified leads for sales and optimize sales time and efforts!

Are you using marketing automation yet?

Ellis Luk

I'm the marketing and communications manager at Totango - but you can call me Chief Content Officer. When I'm not writing, you can find me obsessing over memes, debating grammatical usage or getting distracted by the latest Tumblr gif blogs. Customer love starts with a friendly hello!

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