From lead generation to customer retention, marketing automation can optimize your sales funnel, improve digital marketing campaign performance, qualify potential leads, hand-off marketing qualified leads to sales team and retain customers. Here are 5 marketing automation strategies that will optimize your sales funnel:

1. Email Marketing Automation

Imagine the days when a marketer had to write a thank you email every time someone fills out a form on your website. Today, this task can be fully automated by using email automation tools.

An email automation tool can run and execute email sales funnel campaigns based on pre-defined triggers, track performance and help you optimize your sales funnel process.

Email Marketing Automation Strategies to Improve Sales Funnel:

  • Setting automatic email response
  • Drip campaigns – sending sequential emails over a period of time.
  • Lead nurture campaigns – Send targeted emails based on audience.
  • Lead follow-up – Send follow-up emails after an inquiry.
Email Automation for Sales Funnel
Image Source: Zapier

As seen in the above examples, an email sales funnel is an automated series of emails with the goal to warm a cold lead, nurture existing leads, educate and promote products and services and finally nudge them to make a purchase.

2. Marketing Automation for Lead Segmentation

Segmentation is the act of dividing your contacts into groups based on characteristics, needs, contact attributes or interests who are likely to exhibit similar purchase behavior.

Segmentation can be done based on conversation data, lead generation, purchase behavior(Explicit Segmentation) or based on actions and demographics(Implied Segmentation)

By using a marketing automation tool, you can set triggers to segment leads based on where they are in the buyers journey.

Buyers Journey - Lead Segmentation
Buyers Journey – Lead Segmentation

Here are few ways to automate lead segmentation using marketing automation tools:

  • Lead Scoring: This is a great way to assign score to various lead activities such as viewing product pages, filling out forms, clicking Call-To-Action buttons, watching videos etc. A prospect with the highest lead score can be automatically qualified as marketing qualified lead.
  • Segment Based on Sales Funnel Stage: Most of the B2B companies align the sales process based on customer’s buying process. Typically, the sales funnel will have an introductory phase, trial phase, proposal, negotiation and contract signing.
    By setting milestones based on communication activity, you can filter and put contacts into each of the sales funnel stage bucket.
  • Segment Based on Customer Satisfaction Score: Most of the marketing automation tools provide a way to send customer satisfaction surveys. By collecting responses and calculating NPS score, you can segment contacts by promoters, demoters and influencers.
  • Segment Based on Customer Lifetime Value: Life time value is a good metric to categorize customers and use this information to fine-tune digital marketing campaigns. Customers with higher lifetime value can be retained better with providing value-added services, additional offers and discounts.

Advantages of lead segmentation:

  • Improved Targeting: With lead segmentation, you are able to provide content, information, resources and marketing materials that are super relevant and concise.
  • Analytics and Metrics: You are able to analyze the progress of your team, capture metrics that will help you analyze the performance of marketing campaigns and determine which segment is generating maximum ROI
  • Acquisition and Retention: Lead segmentation can provide a great deal of information about your customer needs. You can modify your content strategy so that you are able to tailor your communication depending on customer lifecycle.
  • Digital Advertising: This is one of my favorite! Most of the digital advertising platforms such as Facebook, Google and Linkedin, allow you to upload customer list and build custom audiences. By having separate lead lists, you can use those audiences to run optimized ad campaigns and scale further with lookalike audiences.

3. Marketing Automation for Lead Nurturing

Marketing automation can set in place a systematic lead tracking, engagement and qualification mechanism that can scale your business fast and efficient.

You can use targeted content such as flyers, posters, e-books, webinar video recordings, product demos and discount codes in your drip feed campaigns and target audience based on where they are in their buyer’s journey.

Lead Nurturing Using Targeted Content
Lead Nurturing Using Targeted Content

Here is how lead nurturing can improve your sales funnel:

  • Effective usage of content: You can re-use existing assets and automate the task of sending them using email automation. Since relevant content is shared based on buyer’s journey, the chances of prospects consuming that content goes high.
  • Increased Personalization: By using personalization tokens, you are able to send highly personalized content that improves the chances of leads taking an action.
  • Lead Hand-off: The moment a lead sends a signal about buying a product, you can immediately hand-off that lead to the sales team. By nurturing leads, you are only sending warm leads to the sales team, thereby saving time and resources on both the side.

4. Marketing Automation Analytics

Every marketing automation tool provides exceptional reporting and analytics infrastructure. These reports are great as they offer useful insights regarding the impact of your digital marketing campaigns.

5 Best Marketing Automation Strategies to Optimize Your Sales Funnel

Top sources for marketing automation analytics are:

  • Website Traffic Source: Most of the marketing automation tools track which sources are bringing traffic to your landing page.
    The best part about using marketing automation tool is they associate visitor data to real users in your contact database.
    This information is critical in sales funnel because you are able to see your content consumption pattern, best performing traffic sources and which source is generating maximum revenue.
  • Email Marketing Campaign Statistics: Email marketing can be taken to the next level by using automation tools as they provide functionality to build contact lists based on open-rate, click-rate, opened but not clicked, and many such variations.
    By segmenting your audience based on various email campaign parameters, you can refine your sales funnel and make it more email-marketing friendly.
  • Custom Reports: This is what excites me the most! Marketing automation tools can build custom reports based on custom parameters and contact properties.
    You then combine this data with Google Analytics, third-party data-sets, and take your digital marketing analytics report to next level.

5. Customer Experience and Engagement

5 Best Marketing Automation Strategies to Optimize Your Sales Funnel

Automation tools will help you create an omni-channel experience. You can create cross-channel campaigns and cater to their needs to maximize customer satisfaction

You can use personalization tokens that can pull custom contact properties to deliver the right message, with the right context at the right time.

Tools like Hubspot, Marketo or any other automation platform has Live Chat, CRM system, Internal Messaging/Notifications and Workflows that can improve sales process, optimize sales funnel, increase customer enagement and overall customer experience.

Frequently Asked Questions about Marketing Automation in Sales Funnel

Why should you use marketing automation?

To optimize lead capturing, nurturing and content management/creation process.

What is marketing automation in a simple way?

Marketing automation is a modern technological platform(software) that helps in managing and automating marketing tasks such as email campaigns, social, web, lead generation and lead nurturing.

Can marketing and process automation improve sales?

Remember, anytime you automate something, you are freeing up your time to do something else productive. So, YES – marketing and process automation improves sales.

How to add more leads to my sales funnel?

Adding more leads will depend on diversifying your lead generation techniques. You can add more leads to your sales funnel by using a combination of Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click Advertising, Video Marketing, Creating Downloadable Resources, Email-Marketing and Social Media Marketing.

What is the best marketing automation tool available?

Hubspot, Marketo, Active Campaign, Mautic and Ontraport are some of the best marketing automation softwares.

What are some good blogs about marketing automation?

What tools are people using for sales funnel?