3 Ways Marketing Automation Helps to Build Your Buyer Persona

Marketing Automation Helps to Build Your Buyer PersonaImplement successful marketing strategies and make the most of content-driven, scalable automation confidently through understanding your buyer persona. Marketing automation is a useful tool in gathering the analytics you need to build your buyer persona, strategically reach your target audience, and truly understand what they’re looking for.

According to an article by Tony Zambito, thought leader on the topic, buyer personas describe “who buyers are, what they are trying to accomplish, what goals drive their behavior, how they think, how they buy, where they buy, when buyers decide to buy, and why they make buying decisions.” That’s quite a bit of information to gather. In the end, building accurate models of buying behaviors helps you to understand how your prospects expect and prefer to interact with your brand. Use marketing automation to build your buyer persona. Uncovering such knowledge will arm both sales and marketing teams with the information and assurance they need to seal the deal.

Integrate the Analytics

With features such as Lead Liaison’s Social Append, marketing automation allows you to gather data available from a variety of sources and channels and build a telling profile of your ideal prospect. Not only will you understand their social interactions, but you’ll also have a grasp of how they expect to interact with your brand and product. Another useful way to implement the numbers and stats you’ve gathered is to sort your prospects: what actions were taken by you that won a prospect over? What were the signs that you were about to lose a prospect? Building out a thorough analysis of this data will help to create a persona based on previous experience that will ensure a successful plan for the future.

Work with the Sales Team

Get insights from the sales team to refine the personas. They’re the ones with the most direct contact with prospects, so take advantage of their findings. When using marketing automation to build your buyer persona, marketers and sales teams need to maintain a two-way communication plan so that they can nail down the specifics- what questions are your prospects asking during their buying process? What are their goals, or what are their company’s goals? What are the signs that a prospect is ready to buy? Productive lead tracking and nurturing can provide the data you need to see what action steps the marketing team is taking that lead to higher success and ROI in the sales interactions.

Create a Range of Different Personas

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket by creating and implementing just one persona. Recognize the common factors in your buyers’ decision-making process, and develop a few different personas that are testable. When thinking about a relevant range of personas, utilize customer surveys, case studies, and other tools and strategies already in place. Having a broader perspective allows you to try out various strategies to discover which works best.

When Visitor Tracking Violates the Law

Where Visitor Tracking Violates the LawMake sure you understand where visitor tracking violates the law. Utter the term “sharing data” and most IT groups cringe.   Your legal team pulls out their cease and desist demands.  Your customers collectively scream “hell no”. Your company might be subjecting themselves to being involved in a lawsuit, such as what happened to Facebook in this lawsuit. The lawsuit stated Facebook violated Right of Publicity, Right of Privacy laws and consumer protection laws in California by sharing members’ personal information with others for commercial purposes.

Now ask your sale and marketing team if they like the concept of opening up your CRM and sharing your contacts with your competitors and anyone else.  Would you knowingly do this? Is your current provide sharing data for commercial reasons similar to Facebook and also in the state of California?

If you are using a number of “Visitor Tracking” aka Visitor Identification tools, you are likely doing exactly that!  Here is how it works:

Your company invests money in a technology that helps you create relationships with individual visitors to your website usually by putting a “cookie” on an individual’s device when they fill out a form on your site (as an example).   That allows you to know that “Customer: Sarah Smith” is on your site; and you can help her find the information that she cares about in less time, customize her experience, or as a way to trigger future discussions.   In short, Customer: Sarah Smith is happy to have this personalized experience with your company.

The problem arises when Competitor “X” decides to invest in the same Visitor tracking product.   The Visitor tracking provider will sell their ability to track more visitors than their competitors.   How do they do that?   Simple: they violate Right of Publicity and Right of Privacy laws.  When a prospect that you have identified goes to Competitor “X”’s site they are searching the customer’s computer for all cookies they added regardless of the source.   Thus, they are using your data to 1.) Help them sell their software to your competitors 2.) Help your competitors identify competitive opportunities against your company.

It gets worse.   Many of these visitor tracking companies are touting their ability to provide email addresses along with the names of the people identified.  Most won’t tell you if they secured this email because a visitor opted in via one of your forms, or if they “borrowed” the data from one of your competitors.   That makes it very difficult (and often illegal) for you to contact these people through automated email methods since they have never opted-in to receive email from you.  In fact, those that HAVE opted-in may become polluted.

How do you avoid hurting your company, and helping your competition?

  1. Make sure your Visitor Identification provider is not sharing data amongst its customers
  2. Make sure the source of all email triggered communications are segmented to only people that have opted-in to receive messages from your organization
  3. Demand that your provider indemnifies you against willful data breaches and “sharing” of data with any other companies
  4. Make sure your provider understands they could be violating Right of Publicity, Right of Privacy and consumer protection laws

The bottom line is that while it may be alluring at first to go with a company that shows you the most name/email addresses in their daily reports of site visitors, there are a number of other marketing techniques that can be employed to keep your company safe and within the guidelines of the law.

Lead Nurturing Best Practices and Your Organization

Lead Nurturing Best PracticesIt’s true that lead nurturing best practices are important to establishing good relationships with prospects, though many small businesses don’t really have the time or the resources to think about it. The act of adopting marketing automation into company processes is about giving your organization the ability to start nurturing leads and developing a deeper, more intensive and effective funnel over time. For many businesses, understanding the best ways to nurture leads aren’t a part of this process from the get-go.

When considering how to nurture leads for your business, it’s best to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Here are some ideas on how you can get the type of familiarity that will help you best turn your prospects into completed conversions.

Lead Nurturing Best Practices

At minimum, nurturing leads is about developing a relationship of trust with your customers. Because many modern business relationships start and continue over the internet, the in-person, ‘human touch’ component of interaction and communication is sometimes lost.

To give you a good example, many of us would never buy a car over the internet without test driving it, feeling the steering wheel under our hands and being able to experience being in the car and seeing the exterior first-hand. With recent economic issues these past few years reducing the income of many, customers want to “feel out” your product or service and feel they’re getting the best bang for their buck before making a deeper commitment.

Take a step back and ask yourself how your website, self-presentation and various sales materials stand up to the test of time with regard to how much customers trust you. If your offering was a car, do customers get a good feel for the product and develop trust before making a big commitment?

Making it Personal

The more personality and trustworthiness you put across in your marketing materials, the more it’ll be likely that clients trust you over time. It’s important to give your marketing materials that personal touch – for example, if your business happens to be family owned, this is a great way to tell your clients more about you and establish that trust. Try writing a company blog or recording a video where you showcase members of your staff or a specific team.

Lead nurturing best practices are all about getting to know the client better and putting personalization into practice. Marketing automation can help you track data, and the right marketing automation team can help you figure out what your clients want to see from you before you even start tracking, as well as how to better nurture leads. Find out more by consulting with Lead Liaison’s friendly staff today!

Pardot Competitors and Pardot Alternatives – What to Think About When Engaging with an Enterprise

Are you considering Pardot for your marketing automation system? Are you looking for Pardot competitors or Pardot alternatives? Pardot might be an excellent fit for your organization, but there’s a chance it might not be as well. If you’re considering Pardot make sure you realize you’re now considering Salesforce.com. It’s not like you’re dealing with a smaller company that serves small business, you’re now dealing with a large-size enterprise. When it comes to strategic software that often times needs to be tailored to your business, being a customer of a large enterprise may not be a wise move especially if you’re a small to mid-size company that needs the attention.

This blog post provides free flowing, independent thoughts for consideration when looking at alternatives to Pardot. First, some background. Pardot was included in the acquisition of ExactTarget by Salesforce.com. It was a nice “throw-in” and wasn’t the target of Salesforce.com’s acquisition. Now it’s floating around in their stack with change on the horizon. ExactTarget is part of the Marketing Cloud and Pardot is part of the Sales Cloud, does that make any sense? Pardot is marketing automation but in the Sales Cloud? In reality, the two technologies have a ton of overlap and the struggles to integrate it all are just under way. Expect a lot to change.

Now that it’s been added to the Salesforce.com mix, we’ll see the exact same effect that happens with companies like IBM, Oracle or Microsoft. See our post on Oracle Acquires Eloqua here. Has Oracle called your small business lately? Technologies get folded into a larger enterprises portfolio and get lost in the shuffle. The focus on the solution dies down considerably, innovation on the technology loses steam and all efforts are directed to integrating the disparate technology into the companies overall offering. At the end of the day, the customers pay the price.

Here’s some food for thought:

  1. Service:  Call Pardot up and tell them that you want a new feature.  Ask them how long it will take. The reality is that any marketing person worth their salt has a couple of creative approaches.  Impossible to do with a large enterprise. You’re not dealing with Pardot anymore, you’re dealing with Salesforce.
  2. You want a partner that cares, not a vendor trying to impress Wall Street:  Don’t believe me?  Sure, they will tell you that every customer matters, but call Salesforce and ask to speak with their President.    See if he wants to meet you for lunch to discuss your account.
  3. Value:  You’re paying investors back if you like it or not. You’re paying for a name.  Buying Pardot is like buying your car radio from GM.  Eventually you are going to be paying $700 for a Delco Radio in a world where you can buy an Alpine for $ 149 and get much better performance.
  4. Consistency:  New points of contact every 6 months (or less).  Do you love explaining your problems to five different people?  Do you love a million “first dates” with your vendor?  Then you will love dealing with an enterprise.
  5. Future change is certain: Salesforce has 16.1% market share in the CRM space.  That means there is a lot of movement in this area.  Why put all of your eggs in one basket?  It’s very easy to switch CRMs when the time comes.  Its relatively easy to switch MA platforms if the infrastructure is set up to allow you to do so.   It’s REALLY REALLY hard if the provider goes out of their way to make you start from scratch.
    • Companies  banking on Pardot will be tied to Saleforce eventually if you like it or not:    They make it hard to transition content and users to a new system on purpose.  Salesforce is “hot” now, but Siebel was hot not that long ago.
    • Control: Salesforce is like Microsoft.  Both had their heyday, but would you want to have to use a Windows phone (or Blackberry) today because your team decided that it would only use Windows products?
  6. A Chemical Experiment?  What happens when they merge the two together and make you pay?  Right now one is on the Marketing Cloud and One is on the Sales Cloud.  Why?   You’re trapped.  It’s like renting a house that you know the owner is going to sell next year.  You better factor in moving expenses into your rent rate.
  7. Pardot itself uses Eloqua… not Pardot.   When asked, Pardot will tell you that its built for SMB.  The fact is that you should ask Pardot why the product isn’t good enough for its own company to use, but they think that it’s good enough for you.
  8. Pricing:  Pardot’s entry point is too high.  They water down editions to tell you that they can be “as little as $12,000/year” but in reality it’s going to cost $ 25,000+ when you are done.  Be honest Pardot… serve existing customers…don’t try to upsell them.
  9. Integration: There are 2-3 Marketing Automation platforms that do a better job of integrating with Salesforce than Pardot does.

Using the Right Tools for Calculating Lifetime Customer Value

Using the Right Tools for Calculating Lifetime Customer ValueMost business owners know what a lifetime customer is – but calculating lifetime customer value is another story. It’s easy enough to determine what your ROI is on specific marketing keywords or facets of your campaigns – however, when it comes to calculating the lifetime value of customers, many businesses simply aren’t thinking long-term.

From the first customer a business brings in to the most recent, the product or service being sold and the customer’s relationship with the company work together to produce potential lifetime value. Large ticket items may only be purchased once – a good example being a home, a pool or the vacation of a lifetime – yet, many businesses don’t think about the value of current customers when it comes to referrals.

Calculating Lifetime Customer Value

The way to determine how much a lifetime customer can earn you is to first take an in-depth look at your product or service’s price point. Are customers likely to buy from you multiple times in the next few years? Have current or past customers already bought products from you multiple times?

A business with customers who already purchase regularly might consider canvassing them to understand what’s working. This is a great way to understand what sets any company apart from its competitors. Having a great relationship with current customers allows decision makers the opportunity to survey them or ask them personally about what they’d like to see more of. This is a great way to engage any customer base while deepening trust and personal relationships with current customers.

If there isn’t an opportunity for multiple purchases, a business can consider referrals. Many businesses don’t have referral data handy – so ensuring to ask current customers how they found the business can determine whether or not referrals are happening. Developing a referral program is a great way to increase customer base and turn one purchase into several.

Checking the Numbers

It’s often difficult to nail down whether or not a customer has lifetime value – particularly if a company has several orders coming in at any given time. The key to assessing lifetime value is to have the right tools in place. Marketing automation is a great way to do this – particularly if a company’s existing automation tools allow for tracking individual IP addresses and user data.

Marketing automation is quickly becoming an efficient tool for businesses due to how streamlined automation processes can be – including methods for validating lifetime business customers down to the penny.  To find out more about how marketing automation services can help your business track and retain lifetime customers and referrals, contact Lead Liaison today.

Marketing Automation to Meet All Business Needs

Marketing Automation to Meet All Business NeedsLead Liaison is busy adding bits and pieces to our marketing automation software that deliver a better customer experience all the way around. With marketing automation, it’s important to bend your solution to what your business needs – not try to change the way your business operates to best fit your marketing automation purchase. This is why partnering with a company that’s changing its offering to better suit what customers need over time is a good solution for your business.

Event Planning

Many companies have event planning needs – consistently scheduling conferences, meetings and impromptu phone or Skype chats to get the job done. Without a system in place to get meetings off the ground at a moment’s notice, many companies have headaches ensuring that associates check their emails or phone messages in time to make crucial meetings or to prepare necessary meeting elements.

This is where marketing automation steps in – with the right company, event planning assets can be incorporated into the company’s marketing automation back end, creating an opportunity for employees to keep and access all necessary meeting information in one place and receive meeting reminders and scheduling details. Marketing automation for companies can be more about tracking leads when event planning capabilities are available.

Marketing Automation and Advanced Reporting

Marketing automation tools should come with easy to run and understand reports. These reports should be able to pull data that will shed light on the finer details of your company’s marketing automation efforts. From responses to a certain marketing campaign to fine data that can be used for quality control, the right reports should be run and viewed on a regular basis to give clients access to details and data that help make marketing decisions.

Your marketing automation team should be able to train you in running these reports as well as understanding them. It’s best to run and review reports on a schedule, perhaps as part of a regular departmental team meeting.

With changing technology, companies need to be ready to change their offerings to give better service to their clients. This includes incorporating phone, text, email marketing, social media tracking, article writing and other services into marketing automation offerings. At Lead Liaison, we’re proud to offer this technology as part of our increasing efforts to upgrade client services and provide integration of the latest technologies into our own services. We’d love to show you more – talk to us about how we can best service your business today!

Lead Liaison Finishes With Strong End to Q2 2014

With another record breaking quarter behind them, Lead Liaison execs look to the future

Allen, TX (PRWEB) July 21, 2014

Marketing automation innovator Lead Liaison announced this week that overall sales growth for 1H 2014 is up 120% relative to 1H 2013. Net-new customers also grew, soaring 133% while average sales price expanded 89% against 1H 2013. Sales in Q2 2014 grew by 319% from Q1 2014.

Lead Liaison’s small to medium sized business offerings were enhanced in the last quarter with the integration of multi-channel marketing such as text messaging and direct mail functionality. By integrating services of technology companies with intersecting goals and offerings, Lead Liaison executives hope to continue providing cutting edge marketing automation services to their valued customers.

Q3 strategy is best summarized by a strong leap toward further innovation and facilitating ease of use for all Lead Liaison products. With a commitment toward creating partnerships that offer valuable integration features to customers, continued excellent customer service and technology training that helps marketing automation work, Lead Liaison expects the final quarters of 2014 to result in further customer on-boarding and greater sales in record breaking numbers.

Lead Liaison VP of Customer Success, Alan Page, spoke last week after hearing the Q2 results:

“We couldn’t be more thrilled with the company’s position in the market. Times are good and the numbers we’re posting support the leadership position we’ve taken to provide small to mid-sized businesses with professional-grade marketing automation technology. We’re excited to push the limits in the space and continue to carve out our own niche as a company that’s much more than just marketing automation. Our mission is to continue to focus on what matters, delivering sales, marketing and executive-level software technology in the cloud that drives more revenue for our customers. We look forward to continuing to separate ourselves from the crowd and deliver the highest value per dollar for our customers. We’re committed to making our software easy to use and easy to buy, that’s what companies want.”

For more information, please visit Lead Liaison.

About Lead Liaison:

Lead Liaison provides cloud-based marketing and sales automation solutions that help businesses worldwide attract, convert, and close leads. The company markets to small to mid-sized businesses and focuses on providing a user-friendly and innovative Revenue Generation Software® platform. Their software delivers powerful solutions that accelerate sales, improve efficiency and build stronger relationships with prospects, customers and partners through the use of automated processes.

Press inquiries:

Amber Turrill
VP, Corporate Communications
888.895.3237 (888 89 LEADS)

Marketing Automation: Do You Know Your Data Stream?

Marketing Automation: Do You Know Your Data Stream?Marketing automation isn’t just about gathering data – it’s about learning to collect data in a way that can be palatable, interpreted in a timely fashion and applied to your particular business situation. In general, the word ‘data’ tends to freak people out – many company execs anticipate binary numbers spitting out at them once data tracking solutions are in place, but this simply isn’t the case.

Today’s data sets are completely different than they were a few decades ago. The data marketing automation provides a company can include information like social media engagement statistics, email readability and click through and whether or not paid advertising campaigns are truly working for a business. Sophisticated marketing automation campaigns can even tell whether or not visitors to a business website are repeat customers or first-timers. What business decision maker wouldn’t want this type of information?

Starter Marketing Automation Data

Many companies put marketing automation on the backburner because they simply don’t want to worry about the incoming data. Regardless of whether or not marketing automation is the best decision for any business, chances are most businesses have a wide variety of different kinds of data coming in over time. Many companies don’t have anyone taking a look at this data in a collective way.

The problem becomes more significant when a company outsources marketing. If a firm overseas is handling your social media while a US firm is optimizing your website – all while your internal staff handles email and general marketing messaging – your attentions could be divided. Each different part of your marketing is one piece of a whole. Your SEO strategy is affected by PPC, your email strategy is affected by whether or not your website is optimized, etc. How can you know how different areas of your marketing are working the most effectively for your business? It’s simple: Marketing Automation.

Focusing on the Right Data

It’s more important than ever to ensure that you’re looking at data that will best benefit your business over time. One of the best ways to know whether or not your data stream is optimized is to work with a marketing automation company who can get you set up – then determining a person within your organizational structure who will monitor the data, report to you and help you assess whether or not marketing campaigns could be made more effective.

Working with a marketing automation company that can give your business the training and solutions you need for your data stream is critical to marketing success. At Lead Liaison, we’re integrating new and improved solutions on a monthly basis for clients all over the world. Talk to us about how we can meet your marketing automation needs today!

Email Marketing and Anti-Spam Laws in North America

Email Marketing Anti-Spam Laws in North AmericaIt’s important to be aware of email marketing and anti-spam laws in your country. If you’ve done any type of email marketing, you’re likely familiar with the CAN-SPAM act of 2013. This is the first bill outlining national standards for how email marketing should be used by United States businesses. CAN-SPAM details a procedure and fine/criminal penalty structures for businesses that blast recipients who haven’t opted in to a list with unsolicited advertising.

While folks who have been routinely spammed may not be able to afford the legal bills and filing fees associated with going after spammers, the government has been cracking down on ESPs (email service providers) over the past few years. This makes purchasing lists wholesale from larger providers tricky. If users haven’t directly opted into your list, you could run into problems with your email service provider, including being banned from using the ESP, sending further emails until you disclose how you built your list, etc.

When it comes to legislation, it’s not just about understanding your country’s guidelines – new email marketing legislation is popping up all over the world, most recently in Canada. Doing efficient email marketing now includes understanding the laws of the country whose users you’re marketing to.

The CASL (Canada Anti-Spam Law)

The new CASL legislation went into effect July 1 of this year. Harsher penalties will be enacted for businesses that don’t comply with new regulations. The law defines businesses must obtain implied or express consent from recipients. Implied consent may include exchanging messages with friends or family members, business emails sent to you from a recipient’s business address or a customer who transacted business with in the past 24 months.

Making sure that you comply with the laws of countries you’re marketing to can save you headaches in the future. Losing the ability to send emails across ESPs can hurt your chances of reaching your audience and cause huge headaches for sending to a list in the future. It’s a good idea to do a Google search on the law changes in Canada to make sure you’re on the right side of the law – and your users.

Ethical Email Marketing

Legislation in different countries is essentially created with the goal of ensuring businesses do email marketing ethically – using emails that are given to them freely and willingly by users rather than soliciting to people who don’t want to receive marketing in their emails. Email providers like Google are also changing their algorithms to ensure that spammers make it to inboxes less and less. It makes sense to use a progressive ESP and take a good look at how you’re building your email marketing list.

Marketing automation can help connect all the different pieces of your advertising together. Doing efficient, compliant email marketing is a great step in the right direction of an effective marketing campaign. We can help! Contact Lead Liaison for more ideas on how we can help your email marketing ethically grow as your business grows.

Marketing at the Top of the Funnel

Marketing at the Top of the FunnelWhat does it mean to focus your marketing at the “top of the funnel?” The sales funnel is essentially a model that depicts the purchasing process of prospects. The top of the funnel, the widest part, is where your brand makes itself known to the potential customer; this is prospect awareness and education. As the funnel narrows, so does your prospect pool. Here, your marketing and sales efforts become much more direct and personalized and you can focus on quality lead nurturing. The bottom of the funnel is when the purchase is made—leads turn into paying customers. When you maintain strong marketing at the top of the funnel, the bottom of the funnel should never be empty.

Marketing at the top of the funnel can include several different types of practices; a couple of the most successful include social media marketing and content marketing (namely, via blogging). Take a look at all of your current marketing channels: email marketing, blog posts, search ads, social media posts, how-to videos, etc. Which are the ones that educate prospects and invite them to explore your website? In order to answer that question, you need to have a solid understanding of who your prospects are and what they’d like to know. The best way to figure that out is to monitor your marketing analytics so you can keep an eye on the numbers that matter in terms of your company’s goals. Taking a look at these numbers will show you which articles are most popular, what your social media followers like to read, and which landing page designs are most effective in terms of leading the prospect to the information they are looking for.

As far as the overall process of the funnel, here’s a simplistic overview:

  1. Start with content marketing (blog/social media).
  2. Insert links that take the visitor to your landing pages.
  3. Provide something of value on the landing pages (for example, whitepaper downloads).
  4. Continue to nurture the lead with personalized information that helps them to make their purchasing decision.

When implementing marketing at the top of the funnel, communication between marketing and sales is key. This allows the sales process to continually evolve and increase effectiveness with each cycle. An effective marketing plan leads to a more effective sales process. Involving marketing at the top of the funnel means implementing productive marketing strategies at the early stages of a prospect’s interactions. Here, you can weed out the ones who are not likely to turn in to paying customers, saving your sales team time on those wasted efforts.