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Lead scoring, lead nurturing and other marketing automation features

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Jovana Stevanovic
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The advent of marketing automation tools has brought a whole lot of benefits  in the marketing realm and above all, a feeling of comfort knowing that you can accomplish more by doing less. While there are many trustworthy vendors in this area, the article zeros in on core features popular marketing automation tools such as Eloqua, Pardot and Marketo offer and highlights their benefits.

Lead scoring and grading – why does my business need it?

Not all leads are equal. Some are better than others and it is the practice of lead scoring that makes the difference. Using it, you can automatically rank leads based on their sales-readiness and identify which are ‘hot’ and ready to speak with a sales person.

One of the many benefits of lead scoring is that it aligns sales and marketing.  It requires close cooperation between the teams in order to create the profile of an ideal buyer. Only when you know what constitutes a sales-ready lead and have a scoring system in place can you kick start the process utilising lead scoring features such as demographic  and behavioral scoring, grade scoring, multiple scores, user scoring, forms and landing pages, to name a few.

  • Score leads based on who they are and what they do, i.e. demographic and behavioral data (reading emails, viewing website pages, completing forms, downloading white papers, attending webinars).
  • Grade leads. Pardot differentiates between scoring and grading. Leads are scored based on their activities on your website and graded based on how well they match your ideal customer profile.
  • Change scores manually depending on your personal interactions with a prospect.
  • Have multiple scores per lead to calculate a company-level score, a feature offered by Marketo and Eloqua.

Effective lead scoring is about taking the most out of every single lead in your database. While fewer but hotter leads are passed on to sales, others are not yet ready and may go cold. This is where lead nurturing comes in.

Lead nurturing

Lead nurturing is about building a relationship with your prospects and inspiring trust. It’s nowhere near a quick sale but anticipating the needs of your prospects and engaging them with relevant content, messages and tone based on their digital body language. With marketing automation technology, you can automate this process and spend more time with leads that have a higher chance of conversion.

A way to nurture leads is through drip campaigns. Drips are the emails sent on a regular basis. Automating this process means you can send a number of emails to your leads based on their actions or a predefined time interval. You can also automate multi-step drip campaigns or transfer a lead from one campaign to another. You decide whether to execute a campaign on a regular schedule, manually or based on an event.

Bear in mind that lead nurturing is not just about prospects. It’s about customers too so make sure you have a customer nurturing strategy in place.

Forms and landing pages

Marketing automation software comes with a variety features that empower you to create and optimise landing pages and forms with no knowledge of HTML or IT support required.

  • WYSIWYG editor with a drag-and-drop interface to easily create landing pages.
  • Progressive profiling – incrementally asking contacts for additional information.
  • Smart forms that recognise known visitors.
  • Abandonment data – the system can capture the information a visitor enters into a form field even if they never hit the submit button or even if they later change the information submitted.
  • Multivariate testing run to compare multiple landing pages at the same time in order to see which one performs better.
  • Subdomains to maintain brand consistency.

Pitfalls of marketing automation to avoid

Implementing marketing automation is no easy ride. It is fraught with its own problems. If you are confused about it, you are not alone. The underlying challenges are as real as benefits ahead and require loads of things to be considered.

Sometimes purchasing the most feature-rich solution may not solve all your problems. It all depends on what your key priorities are and how far you want to go. The fact is 85% of marketers do not believe they are using their marketing automation software to the fullest, according to Sirius Decisions.

Whichever tool you’re considering to use, one thing is sure. Each has its strengths and weaknesses and you need to be focused on what your specific goals are and find a vendor who best meets them.  And yet, the story doesn’t end here. The success of your marketing automation will be about the way you are actually using the system because strategy is one thing you cannot automate.

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About Jovana Stevanovic

Jovana Stevanovic
Having studied, worked and lived abroad for a number of years, Jovana has developed a diverse set of skills and a unique perspective into the business world, which she applies in her current role as Marketing Automation Consultant. Her passion for online marketing and a keen interest in global marketing trends are what drives her to produce effective online campaigns for international clients in the IT sector. Jovana graduated from St. Cloud State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and a minor in Public Relations. Jovana enjoys learning languages and is fluent in Serbian, English and Italian. Her other interests include social media, travelling and cooking.