CRM: Four dirty little secrets of marketing automation

By David Taber, CIO |  Enterprise Software, business intelligence, CRM

To be effective, Marketing Automation systems need to be tightly integrated with your sales force automation system. The goal of marketing automation -- a well-nurtured lead that is willing to take things further -- means that the prospect has to be delivered to your telesales team (or whatever the next step of your sales process is) fast. Studies by market researchers show that the "next step" has to be within hours, so you can't wait for an overnight batch update.

Further, the people working the prospect will need to see a lot more than just the name and phone number. They need to know what the prospect has already seen, and what they've reacted to. Best practices are to show your team the entire sequence of communications and responses the marketing automation system has had with the prospect, so they get the basis for a good live conversation.

This integration is best done with everything in one place, so all of the email sequences, web registrations, downloads, and phone calls are in a single chronological list.

Scoring Needs Tuning

Marketing automation systems use a range of scoring systems to gauge the state of readiness of the prospect, and to promote the ones that are the highest quality. Typically, the scoring systems contain explicit elements (attributes of the prospect's profile), implicit elements (scores based on their actions), and time-based functions (more recent actions are more important than older ones).

Off the shelf, the systems will have coefficients and sensitivities set for all the scoring elements. But they are merely a starting point, and there may be dozens of factors that need to be adjusted to fit your customer base. The factors need to be tuned to optimize the quality and conversion rate of the prospects, and the tuning should really be done in two stages. The first stage is to minimize the reject-rate of the prospects produced (as measured by "dead lead" or "no deal" percentages from the telesales team). The second stage -- that's trickier and takes longer -- is to maximize the closed deal value at the end of the pipeline (as measured by number and value of sales cycles completed).

Naturally, these scoring factors can't be set in stone. As you get new products and develop new vertical campaigns, the implicit and time-based scoring factors will need to be re-tuned.


Originally published on CIO |  Click here to read the original story.
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