Guide: 50+ questions to prepare your marketing automation strategy
On Tuesday, Adviso participated in the second edition of the B2B marketing summit organized by Les Affaires. At the event, I presented a talk on the different marketing automation tools available for use in a B2B context.
By looking at real messages and concrete examples of situations experienced by B2B companies, we were able to get an overview of the criteria that make a tool a good, or even an excellent choice, depending on what the B2B company wants to achieve: Lead generation and retention, development of existing accounts, e-commerce, etc.
Here is the presentation (in French), for those who weren’t able to attend:
The presentation aimed to equip sales and marketing managers with the knowledge to choose the right marketing automation and email marketing tool.
Still, having the right tool is only one component of a successful marketing automation strategy.
To create a customer experience that generates meaningful results in a specific context, companies need to ask themselves several questions. To help, we prepared the little guide below.
50+ questions to ask yourself to prepare your marketing automation
1. What goals will marketing automation achieve?
- Do we want to qualify visitors and turn them into leads?
- Maintain the interest of influencers in specific accounts?
- Get more online orders?
- Ensure the success of an event?
Establishing specific goals will allow you to set priorities and better select the campaigns that will make a significant difference in a particular context. Automation tools are specialized and don’t all have the same strengths. Additionally, having goals will allow you to create an appropriate structure for the use of these tools.
2. What accounts should be prioritized?
- Are major accounts already better served by our sales force?
- Do smaller accounts have the biggest opportunity for growth?
- Do accounts with occasional activity have the potential to become recurring?
- Can recurrence be automated?
Marketing automation is more suited to some accounts than others. Companies that know the value of their customers (and their profitability) can use variables like the average value of an opportunity (or a shopping cart), conversion rate, and cost per acquisition to identify situations where automation will be the biggest help in developing accounts.
3. What customer profiles or personas are most likely to be interested?
- What types of messages are currently being opened? By whom?
- Who is most likely to visit the site, to make contact, to sign up?
- Can these people be reached in any other ways? (e.g. through a representative?)
- What kind of information is each type of user looking for?
The people consuming content on a site are not always the same people who will use the product or service, or who will make the decision to buy or place the online order. That’s why it’s essential to identify who the automated campaigns should be addressing, how you can get contact information for each profile, and what their interests and expectations are.
4. Which key moments in the customer purchase cycle are most valuable?
- Does the customer need help after making initial contact?
- Should we reach out or ask for an opinion following a request or order?
- Should we contact people with inactive accounts?
- What will trigger their interest in our offering?
Listing all the key moments a customer will experience throughout the purchase cycle will allow you to identify the situations where making contact might generate value. At times, reaching out with a simple, specific message at an unexpected time will result in unwavering commitment to your brand.
5. What offer, what messages, and what attitude do we want to convey?
- Do our offers and messages require the target customer to give consent?
- What message topics will drive the customer towards each key moment?
- Should we send text-based emails that encourage dialogue, or graphic emails that feel more promotional?
- Who signs each type of message? A human? The customer’s usual contact?
Marketing automation allows you to respond at key moments of the customer journey, provided you are intervening in a relevant way. Automated doesn’t mean robotic: The subject, the sender and the tone of each message should align naturally with the moment the customer just experienced.
6. How can we personalize and optimize our messages?
- What automation rules apply to each key moment?
- How are contacts stored for segmentation? Automatically?
- Will we offer personalized recommendations or content?
- How many versions or tries will it take to test the effectiveness of our campaigns?
The tools offer an infinite number of possibilities for automation, which only makes it easier to get lost. In addition, advertisers owe it to themselves to think about the interactions they want to encourage, to explore and be inspired by the range of possible tools, and to test various versions and approaches in a process of continual learning.
7. What landing pages will the automation drive to?
- Is it easy to create landing pages?
- What should visitors do on these pages? Where do they lead?
- Will the user submit information? What will this be used for?
- Should we integrate the forms on the page with the automation tool?
The messages you send should be treated as just a first step towards eventual greater engagement. The links included in these messages should lead to landing pages themed around the same key moments, in order to deliver on the value promised in the messages.
8. How does our automation line up with our website?
- Where will we get contacts and consent?
- How will we track our contacts’ interests on the site?
- Do requests, transactions, and shopping carts on the site inform our automation?
- Do messages automatically include content or products from the site? How?
Marketing automation tools offer several ways to utilize your website traffic to both get new contacts and understand them better, for example by tracking the products or services they look at. Integrating marketing automation with a company’s CMS or e-commerce platform can save a lot of time.
9. Does our automation integrate with our other sales and marketing efforts?
- Will we get contacts anywhere other than online?
- Will the automation take offline actions into account?
- Once the customer is engaged/qualified, who will follow up? How?
- Should the CRM provide information to or obtain it from the automation tool?
A contact’s key moments generally happen in several places: On a site, with a representative, in a branch, during a service call, etc. In an omnichannel world, automation should take all of an account’s activity into account, and coordinate harmoniously with the company’s other points of contact.
10. How will we manage automation?
- How many automated series will we create? Who will maintain them?
- How will we manage language, regions, currencies?
- How will we ensure the compliance of our lists and campaigns?
- Who will have access to which contacts? Which functionalities? Which reports?
It’s easy to try out a new technology, but adopting it in a sustained and systematic way is more difficult. Sometimes, a simple campaign needs to be rolled out in multiple ways to respect the organization’s practices. Thinking of all the players who might be influenced by automated campaigns will allow you to avoid unpleasant surprises and guarantee the engagement of key stakeholders in the organization.