Sometimes it seems like there is never enough time in the day. From prospecting to emails, phone calls, presentations, and everything in between, you can feel like you are constantly chasing your tail. So it makes sense to look for ways to save time and automate processes. And thanks to marketing automation software, time-consuming tasks can be eliminated, leaving time for other projects. Think of marketing automation software as a digital assistant that can play a tremendous role in lead generation and lead nurturing. If a customer comes to your website and fills out a form, marketing automation software will start getting busy as soon as the user clicks “submit.” Once the form is submitted, the software not only informs the company of the new lead via an internal email but it can also send a confirmation email to the lead, informing them that their request has been received and a sales rep will be in touch shortly. Sounds great, right?
The example I just mentioned is just a fraction of what automation software can do. Today, marketing automation systems can execute complex email drip campaigns based on customer behavior, territory, purchasing decisions, company size, and various other variables. Take a look at a few scenarios where marketing automation software can aid an organization:
- A car repair business wants to inform its customers of upcoming service reminders.
- A SaaS provider wants to send an email campaign to prospects that have completed a demo of a specific product.
- A bank wants to send a series of emails to customers who have not used their card for more than three months.
- A water softener provider wants to remind their clients of upcoming filter changes.
- A financial adviser wants to send a series of marketing emails promoting its services to individuals identified as having a net worth of more than $5 million.
Mundane, repetitive tasks such as these are handled with an efficiency that no human is capable of, no matter how organized or streamlined they work.
But with convenience can come distraction. Because these tasks are handled by software with little thought or effort required, there is a danger that we in sales become complacent and assume that the marketing automation software (or any software automation tools) can do the hard lifting for us. It becomes a problem when we rely 100% on these processes and forget what true lead nurturing involves. This software can automate many processes, but effective lead nurturing still requires an integrated approach with sales.
Today, many organizations rely on automated nurturing campaigns to stay in touch with their leads and customer base and now we are starting to see the side effects of this technology. Customers are being bombarded by emails from multiple outlets. The emails often pile up so quickly that the customer becomes overwhelmed and begins to ignore much of what originated from your nurturing campaign. Of course, I’m not arguing that nurturing campaigns are ineffective, but you shouldn’t rely on them solely and hope they will butter up your leads and serve them to you on a silver platter.
However personalized these automated emails may seem, they will never be able to replace a personalized note from a salesperson who can cite a recent event or fact that is only relevant to a single client. Instead, the primary focus of marketing automation should be to warm up the lead, build name recognition, and share relevant white papers or information your contacts may find interesting.
There’s also something to be said about building rapport and making yourself available to your leads, prospects, and clients without the objective of walking away with a sale after each interaction. Personal lead nurturing is a process, not an event, and it’s important to build that level of trust so that you become their “go-to” source when they realize they need to fill the gap for a need that you can satisfy.
Automated lead nurturing can be an effective and efficient tool, but don’t rely on it as your sole means of prospecting. Instead, use it in conjunction with your own efforts of reaching out to and staying on your prospects radar. It’s the personal touch that can make a fundamental difference. Don’t leave prospecting up to chance (or your marketing department). Send a personalized email and pick up the phone to follow up with your leads.