When Should Sales Contact Marketing Automation Leads?
Automated marketing is making it easier to attract and nurture leads prior to a sales engagement. But when should a sales agent contact a lead from a marketing automation platform? Today’s B2B companies are adapting their marketing to the customer-is-in-control environment, and marketing automation platforms enable sales teams to monitor inbound behavior and nurture leads through the marketing funnel. So at what times should sales be in touch with marketing automation leads? We’ve got three that work.
Following Initial Inquiry
This may seem counterintuitive to the automated marketing paradigm, but early introduction of a dedicated sales agent can be effective as a method to deepen the relationship with a lead. A simple “Hello. How are you? Can I help answer a question?” with an agent’s contact details provides a lead with a human connection to your company.
Some MA vendors recommend repeated outbound calls following the initial inquiry. We don’t advise an aggressive policy but companies that ignore opportunities to introduce sales early in the engagement process may be missing out on potential conversions. Sending a simple introductory message via email when possible can provide assistance to your leads, an opportunity to accelerate the relationship, and a way to qualify leads early in the process.
(Chat plug-ins are effective but all too often we see chat pop-ups appearing within seconds of a page display. Timing is essential when setting chat enablement. Page visitors should be allowed to digest content before a chat is offered.)
Following a Specific Inquiry
Once you’ve discovered that a lead has engaged with your brand through a specific marketing asset, there is an opportunity to address needs, questions, etc. A robust marketing automation platform will allow you to deliver a message that is specific to a lead’s interest at the moment. This provides a great opportunity to provide value to the relationship.
For example, when a lead arrives on a landing page through an organic search for ‘marketing automation prices’ your MA platform should send an alert to the sales rep who “owns” the account. The rep will know that the lead is focused on pricing and can take the opportunity to engage by following up on the message that was delivered.
At a Lead Score Benchmark
Your MA platform should have a lead scoring feature that allows you to define scoring parameters. Determine a scoring threshold that will be used to deliver the lead record to your CRM and use that threshold as an opportunity to immediately send an automated message.
Once a lead has achieved a score, which is a combination of explicit (attributes) and implicit (behavioral) data, a message with a time-sensitive offer can be effective. At this point, the lead will be marketing-qualified and ready for sales engagement. Your sales rep can then follow up on the message to try to convert early in the sales pipeline.
Automated marketing is recognized as being a powerful B2B sales tool. To make it even more effective, deploy sales engagements at times that will be recognized as helpful but not intrusive. For more thoughts on using marketing automation effectively, visit our blog.