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

We’ve talked about the 5 ways that marketing teams can benefit from Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Marketing Automation integration here. Today, we want to take a look at how sales can benefit from that same integration.

Let’s face it: time is not the sales person’s friend. I’ve seen far too many talented people fail in B2B sales because they couldn’t manage time. You certainly don’t need to waste time on courting unqualified prospects, hopelessly dialing bad numbers, and sending nurture email after nurture email to the “call me next year” crowd.

Having a CRM like Microsoft Dynamics will certainly help. You can use it to schedule tasks, keep prospects organized, and track your opportunities. But that’s just step one. You’ve still got to figure which prospects are worth your time and make sure you keep the data up to date.

That’s where marketing automation like Lead Liaison’s Lead Management Automation™ comes in. We have multiple ways to help you make the most of your time and find the right prospects. In fact, we’ve got five major ways that sales teams benefit from Lead Liaison and Microsoft Dynamics integrated together.

1. Get quality Leads straight to your CRM.

Adding qualified Leads to your pipeline isn’t an easy task. By far, the most time-consuming thing in a sales person’s life is prospecting. In most industries, you’re lucky if 10% of the people you talk to are qualified (even less with cold email and cold phone calls). Even if the prospect has gone so far as to fill out a demo request, they might just be another sales person trying to sell to you!

Lead Liaison tracks visitors to your website and scores them based on engagement. Every time they engage with a piece of content, their score goes up. We also grade them based on your organization’s ideal buyer profile from A-F. When we know that they’re a good fit and have shown real interest, we can send an alert, sync them to Dynamics as a Lead, and even assign them to the appropriate prospect owner.

Now you’ve got a steady stream of Leads in your CRM that you know are qualified.

2. Easily gauge your prospect’s interest.

How many times have you sent an email to a prospect and never heard back from them? I probably just described 95% of your prospecting emails. Even once you have a steady stream of Leads from your site, what’s the point if you don’t know who’s responding to your communications?

Our Send and Track plugin has you covered. We can tell you when your prospect has opened your email or clicked on a link inside. We can even send a browser alert to Google Chrome so you know right away. You get to learn who is interested in what you’re sending, even if they don’t respond. And, because we track them from the moment they click the link, you get to see what they’re looking for on your site.

What does this have to do with Dynamics? Our plugin lets send a copy to your CRM. That means the email and its contents are logged for your reference. If the prospect doesn’t exist in Dynamics already, we’ll create a new Lead for you. No need to manually create new records after a cold email campaign!  

3. Automate your nurture.

We’ve all run into prospects that just aren’t qualified yet. They could be the perfect fit for your organization, but for one reason or another a deal just isn’t going to happen right now. However, it’s important you don’t lose track of these people. They’re the ones helping you make quota six months from now. If you’ve got an opportunity in Dynamics that has stalled out, we’re here to help.

With Lead Liaison, you can drop these prospects into an automated nurture campaign. The prospect will get occasional follow ups, interesting articles, or links to relevant videos straight to their email. The emails come from your email address, signed by you, and if the prospect replies, it goes to your inbox. You just put them in the nurture campaign, and we do the rest on your behalf.

We’re not limited to email, either. Lead Liaison supports multi-channel marketing efforts. You could automatically send them a postcard, have us text them for you, or write a handwritten letter on your behalf. You can even choose the type of handwriting we’ll use!

4. Always have the most up-to-date information.

Have you ever called an old prospect in your database to reconnect and found their number was no longer valid? Or worse, they didn’t work there anymore? It’s happened to all of us. Now you must take the time to find a new contact, get the right info, and hopefully get it done in time to finish your tasks for the day.

That is, unless you had Lead Liaison. We sync our data with Microsoft Dynamics every five minutes. If a prospect has filled out a form or marketing has just updated your master list of key accounts (without telling you… again), we’ll know about it and send that new information to Dynamics.

But it gets even cooler than that. We use the prospect’s email address to crawl social media websites like LinkedIn and Twitter. We capture data like their company and job title, and we check back in with them from time to time. If we’ve noticed a change, we update it on their profile. And yes, that means it gets updated in Dynamics, too!

5. Find out what the heck Marketing is doing.

Sales and marketing have a love-hate relationship in a lot of organizations. Sales depends on marketing for qualified leads, marketing depends on sales to close the leads. Sales feels like marketing wouldn’t know what “qualified” was if a prospect came banging on the door begging for service, marketing feels like sales just cherry picks the easiest prospects and whines about the rest.

Let’s take a step and look at the root cause: sales and marketing almost never talk to each other! Not so with Lead Liaison. You have an insight to the inbound and outbound marketing efforts your prospect has received. The data marketing collects is stored in their prospect profile, so you have just as much insight as your marketers.

This is embodied in two of our Lifecycle Stages: Marketing Qualified and Sales Qualified. This is a two-step process to allow both teams to equally vet new prospects. No more working separately; it’s time for sales and marketing to both be a part of the funnel once and for all.

When that qualified account becomes an Opportunity, we’ll pick that up from Dynamics and automatically move them to the Opportunity Lifecycle Stage. And on the wonderful day you get to click Closed-Won, we’ll move them to the Customer Lifecycle stage. You’ve got your deal, and marketing can move on to generating new leads.

If Microsoft Dynamics and Lead Liaison are not a win-win for sales and marketing, then I really don’t know what is. We hope you enjoyed this article on 5 ways sales 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.

 

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.

 

Leads, Contacts, Accounts, and Prospects – Making Sense of It All When Using CRM and Marketing automation

Let’s talk about CRM objects for a minute. If you look at most major CRMs like Microsoft Dynamics or Salesforce.com, you’ll notice a few different objects: Leads, Contacts, and Accounts. But then look at marketing automation like Lead Liaison and you’ll see one object: Prospects. Does this mean that the two systems are incompatible? Not at all.

This is where Account Based Marketing (ABM) meets Inbound Marketing. You probably use ABM marketing when you’re bringing in new accounts. To get in, you find your suspect (Lead); then, you build a relationship with them and build rapport (Contacts); next, you qualify them by learning about their organization and meeting the key players (Account); eventually, your proposal is out and you have an opportunity in your sales funnel.

Still not seeing the connection? Here it is: at the end of the day, all of these objects represent people.

We use Inbound Marketing to connect with those people and build a personal experience. It’s this kind of relationship building that will get you into those big accounts. That’s how you go from having a list of suspects to a list of Closed-Won opportunities.

Now, let’s look at those CRM objects and learn about marketing to the people behind them.  

Leads

Leads are people that you think might be your entry point to an account. They have the right job title, the right industry, and you think your service could benefit them. However, you don’t really know them yet. Maybe you got their card while cold calling, briefly met them at an event, or even just got their name off a list. It’s going to take some time before you can even think of writing that proposal!

As a marketer, these are the people that will need some love. They might not have even heard of your organization before. You’ve got to create content that will appeal to them and bring them to you. You can’t just rely on sending them an email blast; there’s a good chance they won’t even read it. Create a blog, send them videos, interact on social media. Every different type of content you have is another way to get them to your website.

And if they do make it to your content, how will you know? Luckily, Lead Liaison makes this super easy. Through visitor tracking and our powerful lead qualification tools, you can find out what your Leads are responding to the most.

Contacts

When you’ve finally made a connection with a Lead, it’s time to convert them into a Contact. Contacts have shown at least some interest in your organization, and you know they are a good starting point. Not all of them will be the decision maker either; anyone in B2B sales can tell you that building a good relationship with an influencer will eventually get you to the right people.

It’s time to get personal. You’ve learned more about these people, and you should know what interests them. Stop sending them generic marketing material! For contacts, it’s important to use nurture campaigns that are relevant. Through Lead Management Automation™, you can create personalized content automatically from the prospect owner. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Accounts

Accounts are the actual organizations you’re targeting. Chances are, you’ll be working with more than one contact at the account level. Don’t be fooled though; it’s no less personal here than it was with Leads and Contacts. To be successful in ABM marketing, you’ve got to prove to your Contacts that you know and care about their company. You’ve also got to keep track of the moving parts. Who needs to sign off on the deal, who handles the budget? The Account object gives you a consolidated place to organize that.

Each person in this account needs something different. What’s great is that like Contacts, you can personalize your content through Lead Liaison using attributes like their company, job title, and area of interest just to name a few.

Want to look really cool? Through SiteEngage™, you can create custom rules that change what is displayed on your website! Imagine how awesome it would be if someone from your biggest account visits your site and gets a banner with a special video produced just for them.

Prospects

Like we said before, people are at the core of both ABM and Inbound marketing. Through our deep integrations, we take all of the information we know about a person from all three objects and create a Prospect Profile. Then, you can use any piece of information for segmentation, automation, personalization, and more. Heck, we can even trigger automations based on a prospect being upgraded from a Lead to a Contact.

Through Lifecycle Stages, we keep track of the prospect’s journey. You can always tell where your prospects are in the funnel, and give them the right kind of marketing. Lead Management Automation™ powered by Lead Liaison is the perfect complement to your CRM.

Schedule a demo today to learn how Inbound Marketing can get the most out of your ABM strategy.

CRM and Marketing Automation: How Do They Work Together?

Customer relationship management (CRM) software collects customer data and manages sales opportunities. It’s basically used as a sales tool. Marketing automation generates leads and collects data to create personalized communications. It’s essentially a lead generation and nurturing tool.

They might be two different things, but they only reach their full potential if you use them together. They’re like peanut butter and jelly. Sure, you can put them on separate sandwiches, but they become so much more when you mix them together.

Let’s look at some reasons why you need to combine your CRM and marketing automation processes.

Build Relationships Before Sending a Lead to Sales

When your CRM and your marketing automation solution work together, you can interact with and nurture your leads before they even make it to the sales team. This saves the sales team time since they no longer have to sift through the sales data to determine how to nurture the leads. Instead, the marketing automation process takes care of this. It analyzes data and sends the right information to the right people. It moves people through the sales funnel and qualifies them. By the time the sales team gets the lead, they know so much more about the person.

Closed-Loop Reporting

Have you ever wondered which campaign closes the most deals? You can find out when you run your marketing automation and CRM systems together. You can use closed-loop reporting to find out what revenue goes with which campaigns. Then, you will know what’s working and what isn’t.

If you run the two processes independently, you won’t see the whole picture. You will know that you’re making money, but you won’t know how. That means you won’t have the information necessary to tighten up your marketing campaigns.

Assign Lead Scores

Your CRM collects all kinds of data for each lead, and it can be overwhelming. When you pair it with your marketing automation system, you can assign scores to each lead based on the data. Then, your system can rank the leads and send the data out to your sales and marketing teams. Everyone can have access to this important data and act accordingly. This allows both teams to communicate and understand each other better.

Your CRM and your marketing automation solution should go hand in hand. Don’t make the mistake of separating the two. When you pair them, your sales and marketing strategies will finally align.

If you are interested in learning more about how a CRM and marketing automation interact, request a free demonstration with an expert today!

What is the Difference Between a CRM and Marketing Automation?

When you step into the world of marketing and sales, two phrases you will hear a lot are CRM and marketing automation. They can often be used within the same sentence, but they are not synonymous with one another.

A CRM, which stands for customer relationship management/manager, does exactly that – it manages your customer relationships by organizing your contacts (by company name, job title, potential deal size, etc.) and the interactions your company has with those contacts.

A marketing automation solution specializes in communicating with those contacts based off of many different factors that may are may not be tracked within the CRM. The goal is to educate or nurture those contacts until they are ready to buy. Or, if the contact has already made a purchase, marketing automation can help continue that relationship to encourage renewals or repeat business.

What is the difference between a CRM and marketing automation?

CRMs manage your company’s interactions with current and prospective customers, while marketing automation helps create, automate, and distribute those interactions. Marketing automation can also measure the effectiveness of those efforts, so that companies can minimize “wheel-spinning” and really focus on what works for their specific business.

If you are familiar with marketing and sales terms, you may have heard some (or many) references to “the sales funnel.” At the top of the funnel, you’ve got a large group of people who may or may not be interested in the products or services your company has to offer. As the funnel narrows, uninterested leads are filtered out, leaving Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) at the bottom – those that are ready to buy.

Marketing automation helps track prospect activity closer to the top of the funnel (but not the very top, as is commonly misconceived!), while CRMs are used to track interactions closer to the bottom of that funnel.

It’s important to note that marketing automation is not for the tip top of the funnel. It should not be used to “spray and pray” or “batch and blast” marketing material. Doing this will result in being flagged a spammer. Marketing automation should focus on prospects that are interested enough in your product or solution to be on your website, reading your educational content, and actively reaching out to learn more. They provide their email address to you.

Another common misconception is that sales teams and marketing teams are communicating to different audiences. This can be a dangerous and divisive way to think. In reality, marketing and sales teams should be working side-by-side to generate revenue. Marketing teams build brand awareness, educate and nurture prospects until they are ready to buy. Then, those prospects are handed of to the sales team as Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs), however the communication and nurturing should NOT stop here (and neither does the involvement of marketing automation!). It only needs to shift gears. Once a prospect has become a customer, the education and nurturing should shift gears again – but never cease.

If you are interested in learning more about how a CRM and marketing automation interact, request a free demonstration with an expert today!

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.

Marketing Automation is for Universities

Educational Institution

Educational institutions don’t often realize that marketing automation is for universities and colleges, too. The key to any department at your educational institution being successful is rooted in a foundation of strong communications with your stakeholders.

Unfortunately, small departments are often tasked to communicate with thousands of people. This can be time consuming and expensive. The alternative is often selected: a single emailed laundry list for all. The result is that your audience will quickly tune out.

Platforms like Lead Liaison position you to drive the interest and involvement of your key stakeholders. The more that they associate with being “part of” your university, the more likely they are to help you. And, it’s often without even being asked!

But wait – you say, “we don’t sell anything within my department!”  I would disagree. You are selling your brand. You are selling a connection. You are selling information to your audience, even if that information isn’t paid for with immediate dollars.

If you can do a great job communicating during a student’s life cycle with your university; you will see:

  • Higher Enrollments
  • Deeper support for academics and athletics
  • Enduring support through a strong alumni base
  • Increased fundraising opportunities
  • A stronger network

Lead Liaison is on a mission to be on the front lines of colleges and universities that want to strengthen the bonds between your message and all of your prospective students, students, and alumni.

Some of the areas that we have served in colleges and universities are:

  • Continuing Education
  • Athletic Departments
  • Alumni Relations
  • Fundraising for capital projects
  • Community Relations
  • Volunteer/Outreach

It doesn’t matter if your school is designated for profit or not-for-profit, Lead Liaison has an unique staff and set of functionalities that has been built to help you.

To learn more, contact one of our industry experts today!

The #1 Mistake that Prospective Marketing Automation Buyers Make

marketing automation decisionsWe won’t beat around the bush.  The number one mistake that prospective marketing automation buyers make is delaying a decision.

This results in:

  • Lost opportunity cost for your company
  • Jeopardizing your current and future employment opportunities because you are missing out on providing your organization a basic necessity
  • Giving your competition a bigger head start in marketing
  • Failing to support your sales staff (and we’ve never met a sales manager that said “let’s not sell anything for the next few months… while we get our ducks in a row.”)

Now, let’s look at some of the reasons that you might delay your decision (and why you are wrong if you do):

1. You don’t want to be “tied down” to a technology until you are sure that you have found the right one.

The reality: Most commitments are only one year in length.  If you look at three marketing automation providers and choose one within a month, you might be questioning your abilities as a marketer.

2. You want to make sure you have all of the features that you need.

The reality: While this is a very justifiable goal, the reality is that this is a moving target. It’s far more important to do something today, than to worry about not being able to execute an advanced functionality 8 months from now. Why? Well, first of all, 8 months from now you won’t be in a position to use that functionality because you are so far behind already. Secondly, if you lack that functionality at that time, you can make plans to upgrade vendors as you learn from doing. You will still be 8 months ahead of schedule!

3. You are “too busy.”

The reality: If you are telling your management team that you are too busy to maximize the success of your sales and marketing team because you can’t automate, you clearly are not looking to end your struggles anytime soon.

Cost

There is a HUGE cost in going through too many rounds of reviews (or looking at too many vendors). Consider one company who went through at least 5 rounds of reviews as they whittled their list from 20 to 3 vendors! Each review had 3-6 employees involved. A conservative estimate is that they spent 450 person hours thinking about which software they would buy. To put another way, they spent $30,000 to make sure that they didn’t overpay for a $15,000 software decision. This doesn’t even factor in the $100,000+ that they lost in missed sales opportunities during that time.

So, what are our recommendations?

  1. Look for products that are highly rated on vendor review sites.  Pay particular attention to reviewers that are in your line of business. G2 Crowd & Capterra are perhaps two of the best sources of legitimate reviews for software products.
  2. Be prepared with 2-3 core strategies that you would like to execute in the first 30-60 days. Insist that the prospective vendors are able to meet those needs.
  3. Once you know you can accomplish your central needs, focus on the marketing automation vendor’s reputation for execution and support. Software is only 40% of the equation. The other 60% lies in how the well that vendor actually performs and supports their clients. We’d much prefer a vendor that has excellent support and onboarding over someone with an esoteric plug-in!

Here are a few tips for success:

  • Have a plan before you speak with any vendors.
  • Know what your budget is.
  • Know what you want to do.
  • Know who will have the final decision on the project.

That information will give you much more leverage to negotiate the best deal for your company and your potential marketing automation partner.

Most of all: Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger. Regardless of who you chose to work with; you are going to learn more (and experience more success) by doing. Don’t fall victim to paralysis by analysis in your marketing automation decision-making process.

 

Interested in seeing what a great demonstration should look like?

Marketing Automation Like my Pool Guy

Background on Pool Shopping

Professionally, I work for Lead Liaison as a technical solutions specialist. Personally, I’m a father of two beautiful girls, 10 and 7, with an amazing wife that puts up with my shenanigans – for 12 years running now! Occasionally my professional career and personal life overlap. When you’re immersed in your job, and understand the real benefits of marketing automation technology, you start to look for real life use cases for how this technology is used. You’re more aware of it once you understand it. A recent experience in my personal life made it easy to discover how a company is benefiting from the power of marketing automation. My experiences starts with shopping for a pool in our backyard, only because the kids and wife really need it (ha!).

I started pool shopping pretty much clueless. I was uneducated. Most of my initial knowledge base was built up from talking to friends, family, and neighbors about their own experiences. My final list after conducting my research included 10 pool builders, so I began making calls. Most of the providers stopped by our house and gave us their pitch. Through the information from the pool designers and salespeople, I began to build up my knowledge on pools. As a buyer, I tended to gravitate towards the companies that didn’t give me a hard sales pitch or bash other pool companies. I gravitated towards the companies that educated me the most, the companies that really highlighted why they were unique, the companies that made me feel comfortable about the process and what would happen from our meeting to actually diving into the water.

The ones that fell off my radar sounded good at first, but they never followed up and didn’t continue to educating me or build the relationship. After getting to the 10th pool builder, they all started to blend together. I took copious notes on each provider, noted their pricing, and tried to decide who to partner with on the project. My budget was small. It turns out that it wasn’t possible to get what I wanted for our budget, so something had to give. Fortunately, the budget expanded – because we really wanted a backyard haven and outdoor quarters to relax!

Selecting a Pool Builder

Marketing Automation Like My Pool GuyI narrowed my list down to three providers. One had a great reputation. They were #1 in the marketplace, but their price was high, I knew multiple people would be involved, and I was concerned we’d just be another number in the 100s of pools they build. If this provider had used technology to support their sales process, I probably would have chosen them. The 2nd provider was a smaller company, building 30 to 40 pools a year, but the salesperson was the owner, who was also the project manager. I felt like I’d be taken care of. This person also had a ton of knowledge. Since I’m a first time pool buyer, I thought from the very beginning that I would be comfortable putting my trust with this provider. The 3rd provider really caught my interest though! Their bid came in as the most expensive bid of all ten providers, which I kind of knew coming in. And their sales person was new to the pool industry, so didn’t have a ton of knowledge to offer in our conversations. But, they really shined with their approach to pool buying. They were different. They focused on educating me, with a process that is bullet proof – regardless of the sales person running the deal. Although I went with the 2nd provider, the 3rd provider is worth talking more about. They did it right for sure.

Pool Builder’s Use Marketing Automation Too!

This company used marketing automation to it’s fullest potential by educating the buyer, me, with different ways of communicating. They sent me emails, a brochure, and postcards. Their themes changed, but their core focus was on educating me.  They knew that most pool buyers probably have no idea what they want, what they are doing, and what a pool costs. They sent me a brochure along with a CD about two days (since I’m local) after our first meeting. The CD provided “backyard ideas”, totally appropriate for someone like me in the early buying stages. I thought that was impressive. It was a great follow up, and gentle, educational reminder from this company that got me thinking more about them.

After this impressive touch point, I was pleasantly surprised to receive more communication. They sent me the Top 10 questions to ask your pool provider, another very relevant touch point. They knew that buyers will talk to other companies. They phrased their questions in a way that also highlighted their strengths and differences. Then, they sent me something with a little humor in it, a postcard with the top ten reasons to buy a pool over an RV.

Marketing Pool BuilderAll things considered, they walked me through the buyer’s journey, over the typical timeframe – also known as the sales cycle – for buying a pool. Communication was spread out about every 1-2 weeks. The communication was gentle, informative, educational – with different types of media (mail, email, etc.). Being critical here, they could have sent me some text messages, or maybe a real handwritten letter from the president of the pool company thanking me for their inquiry. These educational touch points were complemented by two phone calls from the sales person. The sales person didn’t have to be the authority here, since the material was helping to educate the buyer. The material was likely created from experienced pool professionals that work at the company. The key is that they transferred this knowledge from their heads, into sales and marketing material that wasn’t pushy, but was educational. In general, they nailed it! As a potential buyer, I remembered this company. Their brand and company name is at the top of my mind. They helped me through the process.

 What Could they do Differently?

After seeing their marketing, here’s what they could have done differently:

  1. Sent communications from their sales person. This would have built more trust and the overall relationship during my research phase.
  2. Used marketing automation to onboard me as a new customer, sending me tips, keeping me updated on the schedule, etc.
  3. Used a hand written letter
  4. Sent a gift card thanking me for the inquiry

Summary

The takeaway here, is that the pool provider used technology to differentiate themselves from a saturated pool provider market. If I wasn’t on a budget, and finances were not that much of a concern, I probably would have selected this provider. The provider knows this though. They are aware that they install premium pools, at higher costs – they admitted that and were upfront about it. Less pools, at higher prices, probably nets them about the same amount of revenue as other companies doing more pools at lower prices. The company can invest in marketing automation technology to reduce the cost of sales, and help educate prospects through the buying process. Technology works for them – and they’re the only company doing it!

I’ve added some pictures of what the pool provider sent me so you can get a glimpse. If you want to know how your company can use multi-channel marketing to assist your sales team, let us know. We can help you build a scalable, systematic process, that stands the test of time and employee turnover, that your company can use to differentiate themselves and walk your prospects through the buying cycle. We can help you send postcards, handwritten letters, emails, and text messages – to build stronger relationships with your potential buyers as they navigate their buying journey. Whether it’s a pool, a car, enterprise software, professional services, it doesn’t matter! Every company has something to offer, something to educate their buyers with, unique philosophy’s or approaches that prospects would benefit from. Help your company by taking the initiative to:

  1. Map out the buyer’s journey. What decisions do they need to make, what do they need to know, what questions do they ask.
  2. How long is their journey? What is the typical sales cycle.
  3. Transfer knowledge from brain to paper, then put this knowledge into marketing technology from a company like Lead Liaison to help scale your business and reduce your operating costs!

Interested in utilizing marketing automation for our own business? Sign up here to receive a complimentary demonstration of all that we can do!