Material specific to marketing automation such as needs, best practices, lessons learned, and benefits of marketing automation.

5 Reasons Marketing Teams Benefit from Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Marketing Automation Integration

What are the 5 ways marketing teams benefit from Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Marketing Automation integration?

In this article we’ll discuss 5 ways marketing marketing teams benefit from integrating Microsoft Dynamics CRM with marketing automation. Sales reps have always had their system of record, a CRM. A CRM is a common repository, a place to keep notes, contact information, and opportunities. Besides a need for pulling reports, marketers never had the need to access the CRM. The demand for businesses to grow, increased competition, and advancement in software as a service, has fostered a new suite of software capabilities – commonly referred to as marketing automation. Marketing automation is a suite of software services that help marketers do their job better and more efficiently. The problem is that marketers have their software to work with, and sales has their own. By integrating the two systems together sales and marketers can share data and help each other get the job done faster. In particular, there are 5 ways marketing teams benefit from Microsoft Dynamics CRM and marketing automation integration:

  1. Integrated views that include prospect activity.
  2. Better segmentation.
  3. Trigger actions on data changes.
  4. Integrated lead qualification.
  5. Data is in sync.

Integrated Views

A marketing automation platform, such as Lead Liaison’s Lead Management Automation software, helps marketers with outbound marketing, as well as inbound marketing. One key aspect of these platforms is being able to track all inbound marketer and engagement with outbound marketing. A marketing automation platform will build rich profiles of prospects as they download documents, watch videos, click paid ads, submit forms, visit web pages, and more. This information is crucial sales insight that needs to be available to sales reps in real-time. When integrating marketing automation and Microsoft Dynamics, this insight is mapped to Lead and Contact records in Dynamics. As a result, a sales person never has to leave Microsoft Dynamics to understand how their Lead/Contact has engaged with their company. It’s all inline in the Lead/Contact record.

Better Segmentation

Marketers used email systems like Mailchimp and Constant Contact before marketing automation existed. In the “olden days”, a marketer would use a “batch and blast” approach. They’d create a single email and send that email to a large list. With modern marketing platforms, marketers can easily segment their database. Not only can they use demographic data from Microsoft Dynamics CRM (things such as job title, industry, location), they can segment off of engagement data. For example, easily build a one-time list, or ongoing list that’s dynamically created, of all prospects who’ve had inbound activity within the past 30 days, live in five states, and downloaded a specific piece of content. What’s the point? Instead of demographic criteria, they’ve got more criteria to choose from, allowing them to build smaller segments (groups) of people to better tailor the message to a recipient’s interests. This helps marketers deliver a more personalized message – driving higher click through and open rates with email.

Trigger Actions

Marketers have greater control over how and when they send follow up content for nurturing when integrating marketing automation with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Using automation, a marketer can monitor changes in a data field to detect if the value changes to any matching criteria. When this happens, the marketer can execute any number of tasks. For example, if the Lead Status field changes to Customer, they could trigger an automation that onboards a client and walks them through the customer experience, getting them closer to cross-sell and upsell opportunities down the line.

Integrated Lead Qualification

Prior to having marketing automation integrated with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, all leads look the same to a sales rep. In other words, the database is flat. The only way to differentiate leads is to use some sort of weighted scoring system. Marketing automation platforms refer to this as Lead Scoring, in Lead Liaison’s world it’s simply Scoring. For example, when your key documents, such as Case Studies, get downloaded, individual scores can be assigned to the action. With granular level control over scoring various interactions with prospects, the marketing automation system sums all individual scores into a single score, which is then shared with Microsoft Dynamics CRM in a Score field. Now, sales can create reports that give priority to their Leads and Contacts. Reps can make better use of their time by focusing on the highest scoring Leads and Contacts first.

Data is in Sync

With sales reps having their own stack, and marketing having theirs, it would be awful if the two systems did not communicate with one another and had data out of sync. With systems like Lead Liaison and Microsoft Dynamics CRM integrated, marketers don’t have to worry about disparate systems. When Lead, Contact, and Opportunity data changes in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, it also gets updated in Lead Liaison…and vice versa. Marketers are not slave to the way the data exchange works either. They can set which fields in the CRM map to fields in the marketing automation platform, and set the syncing direction. For example, if the marketer never wants the marketing automation platform to update the Lead Source in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, then they can set the sync direction to one-way, going from CRM to marketing automation only – and not the other way around.

We hope you enjoyed this article on 5 ways marketing teams benefit from Microsoft Dynamics CRM and marketing automation integration! For more information on Lead Liaison’s integration of LMA and Microsoft Dynamics CRM see this page.

 

Why Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Marketing Automation Integration Matters

Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Marketing AutomationWhy Does Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Marketing Automation Integration Matter?

In this article we’ll discuss why Microsoft Dynamics CRM and marketing automation integration matter to businesses with a sales and marketing team. I’ve always been a proponent of CRM systems. As a user myself, I first started using Salesforce.com. I couldn’t imagine trying to keep track of my activities and tasks anywhere else (oh no, not a spreadsheet!). When I hear about companies that don’t have a CRM, I cringe! Whether you’re using enterprise-level CRMs such as Salesforce.com or Microsoft Dynamics, or something with the essentials such as OneFocus™ or Pipedrive, having a marketing automation system coupled with your CRM is vital these days.

Let’s focus on Microsoft Dynamics CRM for the sake of discussion. Without a marketing automation system married up with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the CRM is just one big database. A large data repository.  Companies can “bring their data to life” by implementing a number of different automated processes. For example, nurturing, qualification, tracking, and more will all make your operations run smoother. Without establishing these processes, businesses risk not being able to effectively scale. Below are four reasons why integrating Microsoft Dynamics CRM and marketing automation matters:

Four Reasons why Integrating Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Marketing Automation Matters:

Nurturing

Nurture prior to sales interaction. Sales and marketers widely view Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a standalone software system for sales. When pairing up a marketing automation system, such as Lead Liaison’s Lead Management Automation (LMA) platform, this changes. Marketers can take part in the traditional sales funnel, and support their sales teams. For example, Lead Liaison’s LMA has a concept of Lifecycle Stages. Lifecycle Stages provide a framework for marketers to “own” the top of the funnel, to transition prospects from anonymous > known > engaged > marketing qualified, and then hand warm leads off to sales for them to qualify. During these initial stages marketers can use lead nurturing to build stronger relationships with prospects. They’ll be able to educate them in ways that are important to them.

Sales Insight

Sales has greater visibility. A huge benefit of using marketing automation with Microsoft Dynamics CRM is that sales has more insight. This applies to both Leads and Contacts inside Microsoft Dynamics. When the sales team opens up a Lead or Contact record inside Microsoft Dynamics, they will see marketing metadata (score, last website visit, etc.). They’ll also see recent inbound and outbound activities (website pages viewed, documents downloaded, tracking links clicked, videos watched, forms submitted, email engagement, etc.). This insight helps prepare your sales rep. Sales people will be more successful when they reach out. Sales reps will be equipped with more knowledge about their prospect’s key careabouts and interests.

Prioritization

Prioritize leads. When using Microsoft Dynamics CRM and marketing automation, marketers can establish scoring rules. Scoring is a way to measure engagement. Marketers can configure individual scores to be associated with different types of inbound activities. For example, 10 points for an email link click, 50 points for submitting a form, 100 points for visiting your pricing page, etc. The higher the score, the more qualified and “hot” the prospect is. Using marketing automation, marketers can then establish a score threshold, to trigger an alert to the sales rep to take action. Another feature that’s not commonly used, but should be, is the ability to decrease a prospect’s score if they don’t engage. Lead Liaison’s LMA offers a feature called “Inactivity Periods”. If there’s no inbound activity within the inactivity period time frame, any number of actions can be triggered. For example, you could notify the sales rep, reach out to the prospect on behalf of the sales rep, or send the prospect and incentive to come back.

Revitalization

Revitalize old leads. Using marketing automation, it’s easy to segment and target leads/contacts based on last inbound activity. Without hooking up your Microsoft Dynamics CRM instance to marketing automation, this wouldn’t be possible. Dynamics will be a great database of record to track demographic data (job title, role, location, name, etc.) – things you might find on a business card, but it won’t track behavioral information (how the prospect engaged, inbound/outbound activities, etc.). All of this wonderful inbound activity that’s tracked by marketing automation gets appended to each record in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. As a marketer, you can use this information to better segment and nurture prospects that might need to be re-invigorated. After all, according to  Demand Metric, 60% of customers are encouraged to seek out a product after reading content about it

We hope you enjoyed this article on why Microsoft Dynamics CRM and marketing automation integration matters to sales and marketers! For more information on Lead Liaison’s integration of LMA and Microsoft Dynamics CRM see this page.

 

The Real Cost of a Legacy Marketing Automation Package

pexels-photo-75083Have you ever considered the real cost of a “spaceship” marketing automation platform (MAP)?

All too often we look at the subscription price of software as our “total investment.” You might even be willing to spend an extra $10,000-$30,000 on the software itself because a friend or sister company has had experience with it. But let’s dig deeper.

The bells-and-whistles companies that tout large user conferences and an abundance of consultants usually have secondary costs which are rarely investigated.  For example, I saw a recent posting for a “Marketo Expert.” The pay is $100,000+ per year (plus benefits). This tells me three things:

  1. The company is no longer looking for the best marketing mind. They are looking for a robot that knows how to use a complex software package that is already an anchor tied to their ankles.
  2. There probably isn’t a back-up resource with the expertise to use this software, meaning that they are in limbo as a result of lacking this resource.
  3. I would bet you dinner at a nice steak house that when the budget was submitted (and ROI was calculated) that a figure north of $200,000 was not presented to the CEO to buy this software. I’m also going to bet that this decision was driven by an employee that was looking to increase their personal value/salary as opposed to making the recommendation that was truly in the company’s best interest.

What’s even more upsetting is how discriminatory such rocketship systems are. If you need to be an “expert” in the software, it makes you wonder how the rest of your sales and marketing team will be able to collaborate and improve upon the value of such software via execution. How will the maximum number of our employees be able to benefit if the marketing automation platform that you’ve chosen needs someone solely dedicated to that particular brand?

Here is the good news: Even at a price point of $200,000+, and even after leaving untold thousands (or millions) of dollars on the table, this company’s marketing automation program is still likely to be profitable. What we should be asking ourselves is this: Why did we make this decision, when there are so many other programs out there that could have a greater impact on our bottom line. Why didn’t we demand ease of use over functionality that is difficult to use? Why are we willing to place our marketing execution program on the head of a single person, when we should rather be looking at things on a much broader scale?

There’s a better answer. Choose a marketing automation platform that is easy to learn, and doesn’t come with a bunch of hidden, extra costs for it to function properly. Choose a marketing automation platform that has a Support Team that will bend over backwards to help you achieve your marketing and sales goals, which simultaneously automating your lead scoring, segmentations, campaigns, and more. Choose Lead Liaison. 

Ten Things Marketing Should Review with Sales When using Marketing Automation

marketing and salesMarketing automation software is a necessary solution that all viable businesses should use. I’ve said many times that marketing automation is like CRM 20 years ago. Companies that are not using marketing automation risk losing ground to their competitors, who likely are using marketing automation. Unfortunately though, companies seem to think that marketing automation is just for marketers – when it’s not! Salespeople can realize a number of gains from marketing automation software, such as better, more qualified leads, key alerts, reports that identify new leads, and more. Marketers are the main buyers of marketing automation software. However, they’re not always clear on what they should tell their sales team once they bring the software in-house. Here’s a list of ten things marketing should review with sales when using marketing automation:

  1. Ask them if they want to get a daily alert via email that sends them a list of businesses checking out your company’s website in the area they are responsible for. For example, a rep covering Texas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska might only want to see companies visiting your website only in these states. Also, it’s possible to see the people that visit your website, but limit that to only people with whom the sales rep is the “lead owner” of. Ask them if they prefer to filter out what’s on the daily report. For example, only see leads they own, etc.
  2. The Automated Lead Flow Management guide would be a good document to read through to see what’s possible: http://www.leadliaison.com/resources/library-of-resources/. Can your sales team agree on a flow for all inbound leads that help your company establish a process for managing, distributing, and nurturing inbound leads?
  3. Try to better understand from them how they segment clients, so the marketing automation provider can help you build dynamic segmentations from your database. In other words, what “groups” of people do they want to communicate with frequently and why?
  4. Do they ever want emails to be sent by marketing on their behalf? Most marketing automation platforms can send emails from the Lead or Contact owner.
  5. Better define lead distribution processes with them. Most marketing automation systems can help you set up a rock solid lead distribution process.
  6. Get a feel for the buyer’s journey. The Marketing Content Map, http://www.leadliaison.com/resources/library-of-resources/, can help you map out the buyer’s journey. Make sure you build nurturing around each of these journey’s to build the relationship as prospects move through the sales cycle.
  7. Ask if they want to nurture customers (up sell, cross sell ops, birthday wishes, contract anniversary reminders, etc). Marketing automation is not just for top of the funnel activities, but also for bottom of the funnel relationship building.
  8. You could ask them what activities make a qualified lead in their mind, and start building a scoring model with them (what activities to score, what points, etc.). If you’re really digging in, we have a guide that kind of acts like a contract between marketing and sales, called the service level agreement between sales/marketing. You can download it here: http://www.leadliaison.com/resources/library-of-resources/.
  9. Ask them if they want to add a plug-in into their email client (Google Mail, Outlook, etc.) to send trackable 1:1 email. Most marketing automation providers offer plugins to email clients. We do this with our Send & Track plugin.
  10. Ask them if they could use help nurturing trade shows leads (if you attend trade shows). This last one is sort of specific to Lead Liaison. We have a mobile app to simplify the process from lead capture, to transcription, to nurture! It’s a pretty slick end-to-end process.

How to Prepare Your Business for a Marketing Automation Tool

marketing automation checklistAre you wondering how to prepare your business for a marketing automation tool? Marketing automation lets you automate various processes, but before you can enjoy the benefits, you need to prepare your business for the software. Otherwise, you won’t be able to use the various features. If you take the time to prepare your website and your business for visitor tracking and other marketing automation tools beforehand, you’ll enjoy the wealth of benefits they provide.

Set Goals and Identify KPIs

Your marketing automation success rests with your ability to identify goals and develop key performance indicators based on those goals. Once you know your goals, you can program your marketing automation tools to help you achieve them. At the same time, the KPIs will ensure that you collect and measure the right data at all times. Then, you’ll know if you’re on the right track or if you need to make adjustments so you can reach your goals.

Build Up Your Content

Many companies start with marketing automation tools, only to realize they don’t have enough content. These tools work best when there is a lot of content available. In the marketing world, there is no such thing as too much quality content. Put your team to work and have them create some great content for you. Build it up as much as possible before you deploy your marketing automation software.

Identify Your Funnel

Companies often have poorly defined sales funnels, even within their own walls. For example, sales and marketing teams might refer to different groups as leads. In order for marketing automation to work, you need to have a clearly defined sales funnel, and everyone in the organization must understand the funnel and how it works. Discuss the names for each part of the funnel and agree on how people pass through the funnel. Also, discuss the probability of people moving from one point of the funnel to the next. In addition, determine when you need to send someone from the funnel to your sales team so your team can close the deal. You need to iron out all of these details before moving forward.

Once you have everything ready, you are ready to take the plunge with marketing automation! Everything will be ready, making the integration much smoother. Then, you can dive right in with minimal downtime. Your processes will be up and running before you know it.

Buzzwords in Marketing Automation: Database Segmentation

Database Segmentation

Database Segmentation: its meaning and how to apply it. A part of the series Buzzwords in Marketing Automation.

Many small businesses use tracking services to find information about their prospects or leads, be it contact information, age and gender, or even things like their buying behavior. Database segmentation refers to the organization of that data in a way that can then influence outreach such as email marketing campaigns, or strategic company decisions like selecting new product lines or determining pricing strategies. A few examples of ways to segment your data could be…

Lead quality – Within marketing automation software, leads can earn a score. Ten points for opening an email, 100 points for downloading content, 500 points for watching an entire video, etc. Lead qualification is a great way to segment. You could have different buckets according to lead score (i.e. 0-100 score, 101-500 score, 501-1000 score).

Ideal Buyers – Who are your ideal customers? Do they have certain job titles, company sizes, demographics or criteria. Ask your sales people, and then utilize your database segmentation tools. Once you’ve done that, you will be able to treat that group differently than you would a group that may not be as inclined to consume your product or services.

Geography  – Maybe certain areas of the world are more important to you than others. Or perhaps they should just receive separate content that is specific to their region. The folks down in Austin might need to know when your new barbecue recipe is available, whereas the crowd up in Chicago are more interested in when your winter boots are on clearance.

What’s even better (and more effective) is that you can then combine these! Perhaps you would like to send a handwritten letter & company t-shirt out to only your highest scoring leads in California. If you’ve utilized the data segmentation features within your marketing automation tool, you can get that personalized content out to that specific group of prospects in no time.

Reflections on Marketing Automation in 2016

Reflections on Marketing AutomationWe live in a time of extraordinary change. Marketing has come a long way in a small amount of time. And the industry is just continuing to refine itself! To be able to entirely appreciate the current state of marketing automation, it’s best to briefly acknowledge where it has been.

Marketing automation first came into existence in 1992, focusing on email alone. Businesses did not have a lot of online presence at the time, so there wasn’t really a huge opportunity for it to take off until the late 2000’s. Now, it has grown its capabilities so greatly that it is able to help companies deliver various marketing content through different channels to customers based on their online behavior.

As digital platforms become increasingly more powerful, there is more untapped data at our fingertips than ever. The need for organizing, integrating, and maximizing the benefits of that data has become essential. The phrase “work smarter, not harder” rings true. We have access to increasing demographic, psychographic, historical, and behavioral information. It’s information overload!

Marketing Automation now has the ability to capture all of this data, listen to it, interpret it, and utilize it in the most effective ways possible. The field of marketing automation is something that started small, exploded, and is now refining itself. Technology is more intuitive. Platforms are becoming easier to navigate. Consequently, the tools are more often used to their fullest potential.  Companies such as us have mastered content personalization, customizable resource centers, and integration.

What’s to Come in Marketing Automation

The marketing automation industry is somewhat saturated. This can be beneficial to the end user, in that companies must listen to their clients’ needs, wishes, and dreams. Even more customization, personalization and integration (with systems like mail or additional CRMs) is in the near future.

Another thing that is fast-approaching is an upgrade to the customer journey, or more specifically customer journey optimization. Instead of combining many customers’ courses of action into a few general paths, automation is challenged to grow to support infinite customer journeys. According to industry expert David Raab, this is “quite different from pre-determining an ideal customer journey and trying to force customers to follow it.” The industry seems to be taking back control over the user experience, instead of just reacting to it.

It’s an exciting time in marketing automation. With every challenge comes greater exploration and innovation. What do you see on the horizon for the industry? We look forward to hearing your feedback below!

Personalize Your Website to Convince and Convert

Personalize Your Website to Convince and ConvertPersonalize your website with the use of dynamic content to make a tremendous difference in your conversion rates. As the world of online marketing has grown increasingly competitive, it is no longer enough to simply update your website with new content. Instead, you must focus on creating dynamic user experiences that encourage visitors to convert. The use of personalized content makes this possible. By moving visitors to conversion faster with a personalized website, you can significantly reduce the sales cycle.

Benefits of Personalized Website Content

Simply relying on generic content is outdated. Today, you must make web experiences as relevant as possible to each individual user. Personalization offers a number of benefits, including a highly targeted approach that helps you cut through all of the noise, clutter, and distractions faced by your visitors. Providing a personalized experience encourages visitors to remain on your site longer, download more, and in the end, make more purchases.

To maximize the benefits offered by a personalized website, it’s important to use on-page content in conjunction with targeted emails. Doing so helps to ensure that visitors see an offer designed to move them to the next part of the sales funnel.

Getting Started with Personalized Website Content

Personalizing your website content is easier than you might think. For instance, you might include text referencing the visitor’s location on your home page. Even something this simple can be all it takes to capture a visitor’s interest and encourage him or her to stay on your site longer. Another option for personalizing your website content is to upsell your current customers by displaying dynamic content for a solution for which the customer is not already paying. You could also use a visitor’s name to catch his or her attention. Case in point, with Lead Liaison’s solution, known as SiteEngage™, standard and custom fields can be used to create rule criteria to determine what is shown to a prospect and at what time and that data can also be included into the content.

While this may sound complicated, the right marketing automation package can make this a breeze. Not all marketing automation packages provide this level of personalization, so make sure you review what your package provides.

Integrating Your Website Forms to Convert More Visitors

Integrating Your Website Forms to Convert More Visitors

Integrating Your Website Forms

Adopting a marketing automation system can provide a number of benefits, including helping you save a tremendous amount of time and maximizing your resources. Unfortunately, many people miss numerous key opportunities to maximize their marketing automation system. The first step when you’re adopting a marketing automation system is to integrate all your website forms. From there, you can use one of several approaches.

Options for Integrating Web Forms into Marketing Automation

  1. One option is to have your existing form scanned. You can then pipe the data from your form directly into your marketing automation system.
  2. Another option is to replace existing web forms with forms that are developed by your marketing automation system.
  3. You could also post form results back to your marketing automation system and your own system using a parallel approach.

Using the web forms developed by your marketing automation provider offers several benefits, including progressive profiling that helps you collect new information on visitors rather than asking for information that has already been provided. Marketing automation forms can also often block or even redirect submissions sent by your competitors.

One of the most common concerns for many people is whether forms will reflect the same look and feel of their website. Forms built by marketing automation can be designed to look identical to the theme of your website, ensuring a completely natural look and feel. Integrating a form designed in another system is a snap. All it takes is a small snippet of code to insert such forms into your website.

Exactly what is provided with a form will depend on your marketing automation provider, but some providers will capture basic information automatically. Such information may include name, company name, and email.

Summarizing the Benefits of Integrating Forms with Marketing Automation

Regardless of the approach you choose, once you have integrated your web form the marketing automation system can correlate anonymous users with a recognized identity. Doing so can make tracking visitors more powerful, as well as easier. Once you have linked up your form, the marketing automation system will then be able to make necessary connections between past and future website activity, as well as other types of digital engagement.

3 Easy but Important Steps to Prepare for Marketing Automation

Prepare for Marketing AutomationAutomated marketing sounds complicated, but with some advance preparation, can be straightforward and managed with ease. The following three steps can make the process of launching an automated marketing campaign simpler, faster, and more effective. Let us help you with 3 easy steps to prepare for marketing automation.

1. Determine Sales Funnel Stages

Well-defined sales funnel stages are critical to automated marketing success. The goal of this process is to determine the various challenges and stages a prospective lead might go through before converting to a paying a customer. After these challenges and stages have been defined, marketing automation can be used to assist prospects in navigating the sales funnel with more ease. From sending prospects relevant, timely content at the various sales funnel stages to setting up campaign triggers to determine when leads are becoming hot, a well-defined marketing automation campaign can maneuver prospects through the sales funnel much more quickly.

2. Define Sales Targets

Far too many businesses skip over this step in preparing for a marketing automation campaign. It is vital to identify sales prospects along with their needs and wants. Consider the features of a product or service that prospects would appreciate most. What fears or concerns might prevent a prospect from making a purchase? What questions do prospects need answered? Understanding the answers to these questions makes it easier to identify prospects and develop content to drive greater success in an automated marketing campaign.

3. Match Content to Sales Funnel Stages

The entire goal of marketing automation is to provide the right content to sales prospects at precisely the right time. This means mapping content and correctly matching content to sales funnel stages at the appropriate time. Begin by identifying the type of content that will appeal most to target prospects, such as blog posts, videos, articles, whitepapers, etc. Next, determine which type of content sales prospects would find valuable enough that they’re will to provide personal information in order to receive that content. Finally, consider the type of content prospective customers would want once they moved further down the sales funnel.

Planning and preparing for an automated marketing campaign is vital to succeeding. With proper planning, automated marketing can help any business reach its expansion goals. We hope you enjoyed these 3 easy steps to prepare for marketing automation.