The ultimate goal for any business is to be profitable, and, as most of us know, the path to doing that is to generate demand and win more deals. Attracting, nurturing, and converting new customers, however, is not an easy thing to do — even for the most profitable and notable brands.
For some companies, the greatest challenge is getting in front of their target audience, so demand generation is the first obstacle they’ll want to tackle. Meanwhile, other companies might have a well-oiled demand generation machine and still struggle to seal the deal when the time comes to talk business. For these organizations, lead nurturing and sales enablement are probably the areas they want to focus on enhancing and refining.
Regardless of your challenge, optimizing your sales funnel is a crucial step toward streamlining the customer journey and getting more customers across the finish line. After all, you can’t win more deals if you have hiccups along the customer journey that prevent your target audience from learning more about your brand and why your solution stands out above the rest.
Today, we’ll walk you through how to empower your marketing and sales teams with the right tactics and tools to help them attract, engage, and convert more new customers. The following tips will help you ensure your customers have the resources they need to keep moving through the sales funnel with confidence to make informed buying decisions.
Sound good? Let’s get started!
Leverage Your Website and Social Media to Engage Your Prospects
The process of prepping your customers to convert begins far before they ever schedule a time to talk with one of your salespeople. When it comes to winning more deals, one of the most common challenges for new and well-established companies is simply attracting their target audience and generating pipeline.
Getting your prospects to notice you and hand over their information can be difficult, but if you have the right essentials in place, things become that much easier. Implementing and refining the following strategies can help you attract and capture more prospects that you can then nurture into customers:
Optimize Your Website for SEO
You can’t capture leads if your audience can’t find you in the first place. Ensuring that your website is packed with the right keywords, free of HTTP error codes, and structured in a way that is easy-to-follow can get you in the good graces of Google and help you appear high in the search rankings. This tactic increases your chance of getting your name and website in front of your audience without having to spend a fortune on paid ads.
Having solid personas and performing keyword research is the first step toward developing a website that resonates with your audience and is optimized for SEO. If you want even greater peace of mind, a tool such as Act-On’s SEO Checker can help ensure your pages are optimized with the right keywords and free of errors before you hit publish.
Gate Content Behind Landing Pages and Forms
Generating pipeline requires you to capture important contact information so you can continue to engage your target audience long after they leave your site. But there are very few customers that willingly hand over their information without some sort of incentive.
Gating valuable content that cover relevant topics (such as eBooks, webinars, and eCourses) behind adaptive forms on landing pages is a great way to encourage customers to submit their name, email, and other useful information. Landing pages are effective because they direct your contact to the exact information they’re looking for while minimizing distractions that might prevent them from taking your desired action.
Boost Your Social Media Presence to Improve Engagement and Brand Visibility
You can count on a large portion of your audience to be active on social media, making it one of the best places to grab their attention. A social media tool such as Act-On’s Advanced Social Media Module can help you use this medium to its full potential by allowing you to schedule posts in advance, monitor mentions and promptly respond when needed, and even create advocacy boards to motivate your staff to spread the word about who you are and what you do.
These demand generation strategies will not only help you attract new leads but also give you a chance to make a great first impression. Starting the customer journey off on the right foot sets a good foundation for you to build a relationship with your target audience and keep them moving through the sales funnel.
Nurture, Engage, and Delight Your Customers Through Personalized Messaging and Content Recommendations
Most sales leaders would like to get a hold of new contacts as soon as they enter the pipeline, but that tactic seldom leads to more closed deals. Today’s consumers like to take their time doing their research and evaluating their options before making a final purchasing decision, and they also expect organizations to deliver the information and resources they need to get them there.
This consumer expectation requires modern marketers to move beyond batch-and-blast email to develop and deliver more targeted campaigns that speak to their consumers’ specific pain points, interests, and stages in the sales cycle. The best way to deliver the right message at the right time is to adopt the following strategies:
Segment Your Audience
If you take a close look at your contact lists, you’ll find that your leads all have different interests, pain points, work in different industries, and are probably at different stages of the sales cycle. Grouping your contacts into segments that reflect those commonalities can help you deliver more targeted and effective communication that will inspire them to engage.
Nurture Leads Through Automated Campaigns
Regardless of how long the sales cycle is, you have to stay on your leads’ radar if you want to remain an option when they’re ready to make a purchase. Automated nurturing campaigns allow you to continue to build a relationship with your prospects while directing them to valuable content and information.
If you’re used to using a basic email service provider (ESP), launching multiple campaigns might seem like a huge undertaking. A marketing automation platform, however, can eliminate most of the manual labor traditionally involved by allowing you to automate many of these processes. All you have to do is develop a campaign, choose a target segment, and your contacts will automatically get entered as they meet the specified criteria.
Deliver Personalized Content Recommendations
Content is the best way to provide your leads the information they need to learn more about your product and how you can solve their pain points. Your team should develop a variety of web pages, videos, eBooks, infographics, and other informative content pieces that your target audience can refer to as they progress through the buyer journey.
How you deliver this information depends on your target customer’s preferences and engagement history, so keep that in mind when developing your distribution strategy. A tool such as Act-On’s Website Prospector allows you to gain a sense of how specific customers interact with your website so you can identify trends in what they’re searching for and distribute your content accordingly.
Although many marketers are already familiar with the strategies listed above, the challenge in implementing them usually exists in the execution. Many of the tasks involved in delivering a personalized experience require a great amount of time and resources, especially for organizations using an ESP. Marketing automation platforms allow marketers to automate many of the processes mentioned above so they can focus their time and attention toward creating more creative and effective campaigns.
Leverage Account-Based Marketing to Target Better and Larger Opportunities
One of the main reasons that businesses (especially larger organizations) take such a long time to make final purchasing decisions is that there are usually numerous stakeholders involved in evaluating multiple options. This means sellers should engage, nurture, and guide several personas through the sales funnel. This can be quite an undertaking, but practicing account-based marketing can lessen the load and improve their ability to win the hearts of everybody involved.
Account-based marketing allows salespeople to deliver personalized messages and marketing to key accounts based on the collective needs and pain points of all stakeholders involved in the buying process. Because this approach improves marketers’ ability to get a “big picture” view of how their efforts are performing with an organization as a whole, they can easily tailor and adapt their strategy for maximum impact.
In addition to opening the door to better marketing, account-based marketing can also help organizations:
Determine When an Organization Is Ready to Buy
It’s common for different stakeholders at an organization to be at different stages of the sales cycle. When combined with tactics like account-scoring, account-based marketing allows you to see when all key decision-makers are getting close to reaching the finish line so your sales team can reach out at the most appropriate time.
Account-based marketing allows you to easily identify champions at an organization as well as contacts who will probably need more nurturing before they make their decision. This information allows you to continue to nurture contacts who are fans while giving those who are on the fence a little more marketing love.
Collect Valuable Insights for Sales
Marketing is not the only team that will have to engage with multiple stakeholders. Consolidating behavior and engagement insights in one place will empower your salespeople to understand who they’re talking to and come prepared to address the interests and questions of the entire buying team.
Although account-based marketing usually involves many moving pieces, implementing this strategy can be both simple and sustainable with the proper tools. A marketing automation platform like Act-On can equip you with the resources you need to develop and implement your strategy, consolidate insights, and measure your impact.
Implement Tactics That Bridge the Gap Between Marketing and Sales
A marketing and sales strategy designed to help your organization win more deals will only work if you are successful at targeting the right customers and guiding them through a seamless customer journey. For that to happen, however, you have to promote marketing and sales alignment to ensure that your strategy empowers everybody on your team to put their best foot forward.
Although promoting alignment between Marketing and Sales is a struggle for many organizations, it’s not impossible. Take the following steps to ensure both teams are working perfectly in sync.
Collaborate With Sales to Identify Their Ideal Lead
All the tactics mentioned above are only worthwhile if you’re attracting leads that are worth the time and effort of your sales team. Working with Sales to identify their ideal customer before launching your marketing efforts can help you embark on the path to success from the get-go.
Develop a Reliable Process for Transferring Leads
Letting your leads sit around for way too long opens the door for your competitors to step in and steal them away. That is why developing a reliable process for transferring and assigning qualified leads to Sales is crucial to keeping the momentum going. A marketing automation platform that integrates with your CRM of choice can enable you to set up alerts so that your salespeople are immediately notified when it’s time to make a move.
Provide Sales the Visibility They Need to Close a Deal
Every good salesperson knows that they can’t rely on the same talking points with every lead that comes their way. To make a convincing case, they have to be prepared to clearly address their lead’s pain points and interests. To do this, however, they must have knowledge about a lead’s previous engagement history, and it’s Marketing’s job to provide them with this crucial information.
Another benefit of choosing a marketing automation platform that integrates with your CRM is that it empowers your marketing team to easily transfer key lead information to members of your sales team. Sales can then leverage these insights to have more targeted conversations with leads, increasing their chance of success.
Leverage Marketing Automation to Make Managing the Customer Journey a Breeze
Attracting new leads that result in an increase in revenue requires your team to develop an enjoyable customer journey from the moment opportunities come in through the door to the point they’re ready to talk to Sales.
A marketing automation solution such as Act-On can help you execute all the strategies listed above while enabling you to bridge the gap between Marketing and Sales. Our platform gives Marketing everything they need to attract and effectively and efficiently nurture customers throughout the sales funnel while providing Sales the visibility and insights they need to focus on better opportunities and win more deals.