I wrote briefly last month on ‘Planning for Failure‘ in marketing automation campaigns (the idea that we should spend more time thinking about what to do with people who don’t respond rather than concentrating only on the ones that ‘click’).
Today I was in another marketing automation campaign planning session and the main lesson for me was “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
Let me explain…
We were looking at how to better ‘integrate’ the campaigns that will be running in Eloqua with the Inside Sales team’s calling activity. Obviously, there’s a lot of excitement with a new marketing automation implementation so the early conversation was about how we would push all the leads that will be created from the Eloqua campaigns through to Inside Sales to be qualified and then handed over to the sales team. And it would be easy to have left it there, but that would have left Inside Sales with basically just a ‘box ticking’ job.
It is easy to relegate Inside Sales to the end of the process when it comes to marketing automation. “The contact comes inbound from the link in our tweet, they register and download our whitepaper, then they click on the email survey, and then they attend our webcast. Then they’ve reached a high enough score and we funnel them to Inside Sales to call.”
But I think it’s wrong to see the phone as a qualification tool at the end of the process – the reality for higher value deals is that it’s another channel to be used at broadly the same time as email, webinars, social, sponsored media, direct mail etc. Yes, it’s potentially higher cost so it needs to be focused on the right people (and marketing automation can help there too of course).
There are so many people who will never respond to your emails or fill in your contact forms. If you wait for these people to respond or hit a set lead score, then you may never reach them. But sometimes they’re the kind of person who will respond to a simple phone call (whatever stage of the buying cycle they’re at) – and then you need to make sure that the results of that call are properly integrated with the ongoing Marketing Automation programme: should they be nurtured? put on a different track? qualified before being passed to sales? When you look at it like this, there might even be more of an argument (or as much of one) to call a senior contact who hasn’t responded to an email campaign, compared with one that has!
So in the early days of a new marketing automation system, don’t throw the baby of Inside Sales out with the bathwater of generally inefficient marketing processes. (hmm, is it too late to change my metaphor?)
By the end of the meeting, we came up with three broad use-cases where marketing automation will integrate with Inside Sales:
- New or inbound contacts who reach a set score in the system will be passed to Inside Sales for qualification (the basic level).
- Inside Sales will continue to campaign as before in some areas, but taking advantage of the system to (i) nurture contacts who don’t have an immediate next action against them and (ii) use intelligence about contacts’ behaviour (e.g. on the website).
- ‘Joint’ campaigns will see Inside Sales deployed at key points alongside the rest of the campaign flows (events would be an obvious example where calling will be used to target senior contacts who haven’t responded online).