One-To-Many Campaigns Have Evolved Into One-To-One Based On Prospects, Not You
A lot has changed in marketing over the past few years, but much more change is coming. Technology is now a requirement. While your data is becoming increasingly important to the success of your effort, what’s still lagging is how marketers design campaigns.
They are still, in most cases, one-to-many efforts, with little understanding or capability to adjust the campaign tactics based on the prospect’s individual behavior.
This is going to be the next big evolution in marketing. Finally, marketers will be able to deliver highly qualified sales opportunities to sales reps who can work to close those opportunities in days, not weeks or months.
Here’s how those changes are being installed today.
I’m not talking about adding a prospect’s name or the name of their company in an email. I’m talking about personalizing every aspect of the campaign to align with each aspect of their specific buyer journey.
An article from Marketo shares insight from “Elle Woulfe, a revenue-focused marketer with expertise in digital marketing and demand generation. ... Woulfe shared interesting insight about the future of personalization in marketing:”
“The next wave of personalization techniques will manifest themselves in offline touches. Smart marketers are tapping into predictive analytics and are using account-level buying signals to make sure their sales reps know that a prospective customer has a product need even before the customer does. Brands that successfully implement these technologies and harness all the relevant buying signals stand to achieve a substantial competitive advantage.”
To illustrate this more, the level of personalization I’m talking about involves having access to data that most marketers don’t currently have.
Most of us have access to on-site behavioral data for prospects. We know what website pages on our site our prospects have visited, how long they’ve stayed, what buttons they’ve clicked, what content they’ve downloaded and maybe a bit more.
But very few marketers have that same data for off-site activities. By adding this data to your personalization profiles, you can up the ante on the experience you provide so that prospects almost always lean toward working with you instead of your competitors.
Here’s an example: A prospect of yours (a targeted account) searches for information related to a competitor’s product. They visit the competitor’s website and download product spec sheets. They do two more long-tail searches directly related to specific operational challenges.
You notice that two more people at that same company do similar searches. You see that they start visiting a few other competitor sites, but not yours.
Opportunity? Maybe, but definitely an opportunity to reach out with highly personalized and targeted emails. You could include offers to discuss their issues and educational content to help answer some of their search-related questions. In addition, you could use search-based and social ads that serve up similar content and educational offers, as well as lead scoring that puts them in an automated nurture sequence based on their challenges.
Done correctly, the people at this targeted account could quickly contact your company to speak with a sales rep about doing business.
Again, this is not your grandma’s segmentation based on industry or even role (title) but rather segmentation based on a more intimate understanding of your prospects.
One way to rethink campaign design is to embrace new segments in your prospect database by building a much more detailed personal profile. You might have 20 different personal segments when you dig into this.
Yes, industry and role will play a part, but so will stages in the buyer journey. The prospect’s technology profile might be something you never considered, but it’s quickly becoming very important to our clients.
Being able to segment prospects based on their stage in the buyer journey is yet another way to consider segmenting your prospect database and designing marketing outreach based on this data perspective.
As prospects move through their journey, their on-site and off-site behaviors trigger their movement from segment to segment and the marketing then adjusts accordingly. It’s a smarter way to use segmentation and take full advantage of the marketing technology you probably already have and use.
Your customers shouldn’t be overlooked from a segmentation perspective either. Consider segmenting them based on what they purchased and their buyer profiles. This will allow you to build ongoing marketing designed just for customers and allow you to focus on upselling, cross-selling and increasing your customer retention rate.
All of these customer marketing and customer segmentation campaigns will drive significant revenue over shorter periods of time because these people already know, like and trust your company.
If you’re still thinking about the buyer journey as that traditional three-stage sales funnel, you’re way off. Today’s buyers are entrenched in highly complex, multi-stage, nonlinear buyer journeys that marketers and salespeople need to understand and activate.
McKinsey & Company research published this finding:
“Research revealed that the customer journey is not rigidly linear, as depicted in the sales funnel model, but rather circular. It is a network of touch points, decisions and opportunities that are either appropriated or rejected by the buyer.”
This clearly signals an opportunity to adjust your thinking around campaign structure and start designing campaigns specifically for people based on their buyer journey stage.
Once you have your prospect database, lead scoring and behavior models built, creating campaigns designed for all eight stages of the Cyclonic Buyer Journey™ is possible.
At Square 2, we’ve always used a methodology with our clients to leverage content to pull people through the buyer journey or to use content to signal their intent and nurture accordingly.
People at the early stages of their buyer journey need a lot of educational material that helps them but doesn’t try to sell to them.
People at the middle stages of their buyer journey need information to help them narrow their options and perhaps do some comparisons.
People at the later stages of their buyer journey want to see social proof with actual examples that prove your messaging and some of the details associated with their specific purchase.
You should be thinking about campaign assets and campaign tactics that align with those different needs based on stages of the new buyer journey.
This is how you move people though the buyer journey proactively instead of sitting back and waiting for them to get through it on their own. Influencing them is what great marketing looks like in 2021.
On-site And Off-site Lead Scoring
I’m sure you’re familiar with lead scoring. You can find a ton of articles on the web related to it. It can be simple or it can be complex, but most people use scoring models that solely rely on the information they collect when a person visits their website.
This is fine, but advanced marketers are starting to look at behavior lead scoring based on activity before a prospect even lands on your website. Would you want to know if a prospect visits a competitor’s website? What about if they search for a particular keyword? What if they watch a video or visit an event website?
You can now include these off-site activity-based signals in your lead-scoring model to trigger certain rep outreach or lead nurture strategies that get the attention of someone who is clearly in an active buyer journey.
If you’re creating campaign tactics designed to take advantage of this advanced intelligence, you need to consider outreach that cuts through the clutter, has solid pain-based messaging, includes educational material designed around their specific pain, and leverages personal outreach and digital outreach.
You might also consider different role-based outreach to a single company. By connecting with the CEO, COO, CFO and VP of sales, you are likely to get different views of the company’s overall issues and can triangulate your solutions accordingly.
This does make campaign planning, design and execution more complex, but it also ensures you proactively target the right people at the right company at the right time. You’re using a laser instead of a shot gun to pull these people into your sphere of influence.
This more scientific and proactive approach to lead generation means you’ll have to build out more personal, specific and intelligent lead nurturing campaigns.
Traditionally, your lead nurturing is designed to pull people through their buyer journey and get them to raise their hand, signaling a desire to talk with a sales rep.
But in this more behavioral campaign design, you’ll need traditional lead nurturing and more scientific lead nurturing to move sales qualified-leads (SQLs) toward being highly qualified sales opportunities.
Here’s how you do that. First, don’t stop lead nurturing once you get sales involved. Continue to track behavioral triggers to design lead nurturing campaigns that help sales.
These signals also help sales create a sales process that includes the right content for the right person at the right time based on prospect intelligence now available to marketers.
Your prospects might be visiting a competitor’s website and signing up for webinars or virtual events. They might be reading blogs or running searches all while sales is working with the prospect.
Use this intelligence to nurture the prospect and position your company. It can also be used to help the sales rep personalize and highly customize the sales process to align exactly with the challenges facing your prospects.
This type of campaign design is proven to reduce sales cycles and increase close rates. One of our services firms recently saw their sales cycle drop from 115 days to 77 days in just a few months. The more personal the experience, the more likely the prospect is to want to hire you.
Handoff To Sales
Speaking of sales, there is work to be done in your campaign planning to ensure your sales reps are on board. We’ve seen sales fumble far too many quality leads because they didn’t know what to do with them (I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true) or they weren’t aware of the campaign details.
Both of these situations need to be resolved in advance. There is no point in creating highly qualified sales opportunities if your sales team isn’t prepared and capable of turning those opportunities into new customer revenue.
First, make sure your sales reps are open to being supported in this way. They should be open to personalizing the sales process based on data. They should be trained on any technology that you’re asking them to use, and they should be trained on any new tools you’re providing them, even if those tools are content pieces.
Showing them where and how to leverage new stuff is key to getting them to execute a sales experience that matches your campaign experience and helps prospects feel safe regardless of where they are in their buyer journey during the sales outreach.
Sales and marketing must be aligned, and campaign planning must include sales. Without those key pieces, I’d hesitate to move forward with advanced campaign planning and the investment required in behavioral signaling data we’ve been discussing here.
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