5 Ideas to Drive Sales Through Marketing Automation and Microsoft Dynamics 365
Author: Sehmi Lee
Marketing automation – the name really doesn’t do the technology justice. While it’s true that a marketing automation platform can help you automate marketing campaigns, these robust systems are capable of so much more and benefit many areas within an organization outside of marketing. Sales is one such beneficiary, particularly when marketing automation is paired with Microsoft Dynamics 365.
In recent years, the internet and social media have changed buyer behavior, which has in turn changed how companies sell to their buyers. Consider these sales statistics:
• Today’s buyers are anywhere from two-thirds to 90 percent of the way through the buying process before they reach out to a vendor. (Forrester Research)
• 50 percent of qualified leads are not ready to purchase immediately. (Gleanster Research)
• The average sales cycle has increased 22 percent over the past 5 years due to more decision makers in the buying process. (Sirius Decisions)
While these changes in buyer behavior present significant challenges to organizations of all kinds and sizes, a marketing automation system combined with a CRM system like Microsoft
Dynamics 365 can drive sales success. Below we cover five ideas for how these powerful systems can do exactly that.
Effective email marketing starts with great marketing lists. Using Dynamics 365, you can create static or dynamic lists that can be used for email endeavors that drive sales. Lists can be segmented by behavior, demographic information or any other CRM data. In addition, lists are generated in real time, and lead and contact information is always up to date.
While email marketing is most often thought of as mass emailing to a large list of recipients, that may not always be the most effective option from a sales perspective. Fortunately, most of marketing automation solutions give you a few different email options to suit your needs and your audience:
• Bulk: Send to any combination of leads, contacts, accounts and/or marketing lists
• Single: Send any template directly from a lead or contact record
• Workflow: Send from any CRM workflow process
In addition, personalization is an effective tool you can utilize to grab your audience’s attention and help boost sales. You can use dynamic content to add personal touches to email templates, inserting information about the lead, contact or account from the CRM record. As an example, in the email below, you can see how an insurance company uses dynamic content to add their policyholder’s name, dependent’s name and policy number.
Adding marketing automation to Dynamics 365 not only enhances your ability to send emails that can drive sales, it also gives you visibility into the performance of those emails. You can view email data – both at the aggregate and individual levels – directly in CRM, which allows you to see if your leads or contacts are interacting with those messages.
First, the bad news: According to MarketingSherpa, 79% of marketing leads never convert to customers. The good news is that there is something you can do about that poor performance. It’s lead nurturing, and a marketing automation system can give you the tools necessary to nurture leads effectively.
Campaign automation, also known as nurture marketing or drip marketing, involves sending a series of relevant and timely communications to prospects or customers over time. These automated campaigns respond to the recipients’ actions, thus creating a more personalized experience.
If a prospect that you’re nurturing within a campaign automation does not click a certain link in an email, for example, you might send them a follow up email. On the other hand, if they do click on that link, you might send them a different email or even notify a salesperson to call the individual.
The example campaign automation below for a real estate brokerage includes several emails spaced out over the course of a few months to nurture leads until they are ready to buy. Emails are personalized with the potential homebuyer’s name and the city where they are interested in buying for a customized email experience. Agents are notified when a lead clicks a link in any of the emails.
By helping collect leads online, landing pages and forms are also useful marketing automation tools for lead generation. When a visitor submits a form created in a marketing automation tool that is embedded on your website or a landing page, his or her data is automatically entered into CRM as a new lead or contact, which can be used for nurturing or other sales outreach.
According to Forrester Research, it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one. That means low customer retention is a challenge that it pays to overcome. An automated customer retention campaign helps customers stay connected with your organization and builds trust with your brand.
The messaging, structure and timing within this campaign automation will vary greatly according to your industry. For example, an organization that relies on annual renewals may only run this nurture campaign yearly, while a business that sells to customers throughout the year may rely on retention campaigns more frequently to keep customers happy.
The example below shows a renewal campaign automation for a baseball team, the Springfield Sharks. Inside the campaign automation, which is aimed at encouraging renewals among season ticket holders, the first message is scheduled to send shortly after the end of the current season. When an email recipient clicks on the renewal link, a member of the season ticket sales team is notified and a task is created for them to call that individual.
The Springfield Sharks’ campaign includes several emails encouraging recipients to renew their season tickets, and a web form for capturing referrals. All of the marketing activity is linked to a Dynamics 365 campaign record. This enables the team to measure the success of their season ticket renewal efforts – right from within CRM.
Existing customers are a great source of new sales, and often require less effort to close than new leads, especially when using marketing automation combined with CRM. Cross-sell and upsell campaigns can help educate your customers about other products or services in your lineup that might be of interest. To avoid alienating your customers, be sure to tailor the messages within these campaign automations so they speak to the audience’s preferences, rather than sending general sales pitches.
An example of a cross-selling campaign could be a lawn equipment manufacturer who wants to showcase their full line of golf course landscaping equipment to a customer who already owns a golf course mower. Different products are featured in each email, and a sales person is notified when a recipient interacts with an email.
Surveys could also be used to gauge customer opinions, satisfaction and other interests in order to more effectively cross-sell, upsell and retain customers. Using a marketing automation tool, surveys are easy to create and when a customer completes the survey, all of their responses can be linked to their CRM record.
Web intelligence, also known as web tracking or web analytics, uses a tracking code inserted into web pages to provide insight into how that website is being used and record data about the traffic that accesses it. Using this marketing automation feature, you can see which pages have been clicked on, how long a user spent on a certain page, how they got to your website and other valuable information.
Web intelligence goes beyond typical web analytics while still coexisting with tracking services like Google Analytics. The web traffic data can be tied directly to individual contacts or leads within CRM within seconds of when those visits happen.
Web intelligence is the end of traditional cold calling as your sales team knows it. While they still have to make sales calls, they aren’t flying blind when it comes to prospects that have completed forms on your website. They know the web pages a prospect has visited and the products and services that are of the most interest to that prospect, so they can tailor that first call or email to suit that individual. Anonymous visitor data can also help inform sales calls for B2B businesses, as salespeople can often see a company’s IP address, even if an individual from the company has yet to be identified.
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The article was modified from the original article published by FMT Consultant’s partner, ClickDimensions.