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If you’re new to your marketing automation platform integration with your CRM system, this post is designed to give you guidance on best practices—and worst practices—for marketing automation. Let’s start with the good:
Your Email Must Add Value
People tend to subscribe to emails for one of three reasons:
- To receive discounts, special offers, etc.
- To receive ongoing education (e.g., newsletters)
- To receive product/service information about something they have already purchased
As you think through your email campaigns, ask yourself if you have emails that fit each category—or if you have emails that don’t service any of the goals above. More importantly, ask yourself if the people receiving routine emails asked for them in the first place.
Once you’ve confirmed your opt-in strategy, you can create an automation journey. Start by build a Customer Journey Roadmap (we like this one here)—this will inform what types of emails should be built to support sticking points in your sales funnel. It’s also a great exercise to facilitate better sales and marketing alignment! For a pro-tip, start with your most successful marketing campaign type (e.g., events or paid media or referrals) and map your journey from start to finish from that campaign.
With your customer journey mapped out, you can be more successful with automation by doing the following:
- Personalize based on time (e.g., what date or time-based events are coming), space (e.g., where are they located), or relationship (e.g., where are they in the customer journey). Think about what dates or events are relevant to your buyers—is it contract renewals? Industry happenings? Regional occurrences? Automate accordingly.
- Remember to consider Outlook—which if you’re B2B should heavily influence your design choices. Learn more about what to do (and not do) when sending to primarily Outlook inboxes in our guide here.
- Bring CRM data into your nurtures by thinking beyond triggers and segments and into what data points you could leverage in your automation strategy. Maybe you want to create personalized header images based on the state of each email recipient—that’s pulled from CRM data. Maybe you want to create campaigns that reference their last activity date—that’s CRM data, too. Insert variables where you can and pick a marketing automation platform that allows for you to customize data fields.
- Consider the climate by remembering to check your automation calls to action—especially in the time of COVID. For example, offers that require in-store or in-office redemption could benefit from virtual redemptions to match the varying comfort levels of risk exposure.
There are also things you should avoid as you’re building your automation plans. Those include:
- Don’t set and forever forget your campaigns
- Don’t opt in everyone your sales team meets
- Don’t batch and blast to “All”
- Don’t forget exit conditions
- Don’t stop at lead nurtures
- Don’t automate emails with hard and fast calendar events
- Don’t send the same thing everyone else sends
- Don’t be tricky!
Depending on how your business operates, there are a few items that you might consider as part of your automation strategy.
- Automate on behalf of your sales team to help them with follow ups, reconnections, and date-based reminders. You would want to send these “from” their email address in your marketing automation platform, so ensure you can populate record owner and record owner email address in your email system.
- Integrate contact score into your CRM so your sales team can prioritize follow up with leads who are most engaged with your content and website.
- Consider keeping your Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) separate from your Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) by keeping MQLs only in your marketing platform rather than in your CRM. That means you can keep leads that aren’t ready for a sales conversation away from the sales team until they are ready.
As you review your marketing automation strategy, be sure to take these tips into consideration for best success on your marketing automation goals, check out our full post on marketing automation success here.