Inbound Marketing Automation [How to Generate Leads in Your Sleep]

Inbound Marketing Automation [How to Generate Leads in Your Sleep]

Imagine a world where you were generating leads, even while you were offline, away from your desk, and yes, even sleeping.

Believe it or not, it really is possible to generate leads without lifting so much as a finger.

Seriously. No more cold calls. No more knocking on doors. No more elevator pitches. When done properly, you can delegate most of that awkward, uncomfortable and usually frustrating outreach work to your website and your marketing strategy. The solution is marketing automation.

What is Marketing Automation?

Neil Patel says, 'Marketing automation is the process of using software and technology to optimize, automate and measure repetitive online marketing tasks.' Click To Tweet

Basically, it’s the process of using technology to automate marketing tasks that you would otherwise want to do yourself. The computer does it, so you don’t have to.

Most often, we think of marketing automation in the form of email workflows — you have a prospect’s contact information, and they’re sent a series of emails based on the landing pages they’ve viewed and forms they’ve submitted on your website.

Hot Tip: While there are tons of other forms of marketing automation, we’re going to stick with email workflows as our example for this blog, because they’re easy to conceptualize, and because most companies, even SMBs, use some form of email marketing.

While you do have to set up those workflows and optimize them occasionally, once they’re working it’s a set and forget tactic that allows you to generate and nurture leads whenever your leads are cruising your site.

It’s important to note that In the past, there’s been some really terrible marketing automation.

One look at the inbox of your junk email is the perfect example of marketing automation gone wrong. Hundreds of emails shouting at you about sales, last-minute deals, and “just for you” promotions that you really just don’t care about. It’s a nightmare.

While this is an example of marketing automation, it’s not good marketing automation. Tactics like this favor a quantity over quality approach that doesn’t deliver the “qualified leads in your sleep” results you’re looking for.

This is where inbound marketing automation comes in.

What is Inbound Marketing Automation?

Inbound marketing automation is any type of marketing automation tool that is applied with the inbound marketing methodology in mind.

It’s important to remember that inbound is a methodology. It’s a practice and a way of marketing that is actually helpful to your potential clients. The inbound methodology is not a tool.

Marketing automation, however, is a tool you can use to make the inbound marketing methodology come to life.

For example: Inbound methodology tells us that we need to deliver highly relevant, personalized content that answers the questions our leads are asking, even before they ask them. That’s what you’re supposed to do, what inbound methodology dictates.

Inbound marketing automation is the tool that makes that action happen.

Inbound marketing automation allows you to deliver personalized emails to individual leads with content they are likely to be interested in, based on all of their previous interactions with your website and your marketing/sales team.

This ensures the delivery of content with context, fulfilling the inbound consumer’s need for relevant content that answers their questions and solves their challenges. Best of all, it does it while you’re at home still brushing your teeth.

Check out this HubSpot video for a really clear explanation of what inbound marketing automation is, and why it is so effective for today’s consumers.

hubspot-inbound-approach-to-marketing-automation

The Inbound Approach to Marketing Automation

Why Use Inbound Marketing Automation?

Did we mention generating leads in your sleep? Hello, longer lunches and going home on time.

But in all seriousness, marketing automation is a key tool for inbound marketing because the inbound methodology is so customer-focused. Here are a few key ways inbound marketing automation makes your life easier.

Inbound Leads Aren’t Always Ready To Buy

Inbound marketing does a great job of drawing in qualified leads who are a perfect fit for your product or service. But, they’re not always ready to buy.

The inbound methodology puts a heavy focus on developing content that’s suited to leads in all stages of the buyer’s journey, which means you’re going to get a lot of leads in the awareness and consideration phases who will likely need/want your product, but who aren’t ready to buy yet.

Instead of having your sales team hound them with calls and emails, inbound marketing automation offers a simple, effective tool to keep those leads moving through the buyer’s journey.

Your automated workflows can send them relevant, interesting content that speaks to their stage of the buyer’s journey, as well as their particular industry or position, keeping them from dropping out of your sales funnel and moving them closer to a sale.

Inbound Leads Have Diverse Interests and Needs

If you’re one marketing or salesperson, you probably don’t have time to analyze the unique interests of every lead that comes in on your own. This is where technology comes in handy.

With a quality CRM, you can set up workflows and content delivery systems that automatically send the right content to the right leads, at the right time.

You still have to lay a little bit of the groundwork, by telling your CRM which leads fit into which personas, and where they are in the buyer’s journey, but after that, the system can manage that lead on its own.

That saves you thousands of emails, and it provides the leads with a better experience. They’re getting information and content that’s relevant to their experience and their challenges, and you don’t have to work as hard to make it happen.

Inbound Leads are Content Hungry

We’ve talked a lot about the modern consumer. The short version is that today’s consumers are content hungry. They want to watch videos, read reviews, analyze comparison blogs, and truly learn about every product and service they think about buying.

As a sales or marketing person, you don’t have the time to have all of those conversations, and more importantly, your leads don’t want to talk to you yet. The modern consumer wants to do their own research before they’ll even consider giving a company a call or letting them know they’re interested.

Inbound marketing automation solves this dilemma.

You can still deliver great content about your product or service to those qualified leads, without scaring them away or making them feel like you’re being too pushy by using marketing automation.

With inbound marketing automation, your leads are getting the content they need to complete their research, and you don’t have to lift a finger. Even better, by simply handing over the content that your leads want without a whole lot of trouble, you’re earning their trust.

And when you have a lead's trust, and they're ready to buy, they're going to buy from you. Click To Tweet

How You Can Implement Inbound Marketing Automation

Inbound marketing automation has some pretty attractive benefits. But how do you get it, and how do you set it up so you can roll into work at 10 with Starbucks in hand?

The best way to implement inbound marketing automation is to get a CRM. If you don’t have one, check out our blog about what to look for in a CRM, and choose your favorite.

We like HubSpot because it’s really easy to use, it’s less expensive (read: they have a version of the software that is totally free) than many more traditional platforms, like Salesforce, and it’s got all of the tools we like, plus they regularly add new tools when they see a need.

It’s possible to do a bit of marketing automation with an email service, like MailChimp, for example, but if you’re looking for legitimate results, you should really go with a CRM.

If you’re not sure about the process yet, we really recommend the free version of HubSpot. It’s a great way to learn how to implement a little marketing automation, and it’s always free — so you don’t have to worry about spending a lot of money learning a tactic you’re not sure you’ll use.

Once you have your CRM, you can get started with inbound marketing automation.

We’ll explain how to to that in-depth in another blog, but if you’re looking for a how-to right now, check out this page from Neil Patel, this guide from Moz, go back and click on that video we linked above, or just give us a call. We’re always happy to walk you through it.

And if you know you want to use inbound marketing automation, but you don’t want to fiddle with it yourself, we’d love to help.

We use inbound marketing automation every day for ourselves and for our clients, so we’ve gotten pretty good. Whether you’re looking for a little content, a completely new campaign, or even help getting set up in HubSpot, we’ve got the resources to help you. Get in touch.

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How Hubspot Helps Align your Sales and Marketing Teams

How Hubspot Helps Align your Sales and Marketing Teams

Effective sales and marketing alignment is proven to increase revenue by 208%.

via GIPHY

That’s quite a nice little revenue jump.

The benefits of having the two teams work together are very clear: your marketing team draws in the clients your sales team actually wants to deal with, and your sales team can help your marketing team optimize their efforts to draw in those qualified leads.

Sales and marketing alignment makes for a seamless, effective sales cycle that is shorter, and has a higher success rate. Click To Tweet

How Can I Implement Sales and Marketing Alignment?

While it’s clear that sales and marketing alignment is a must, there’s not much information about practical application.

Sure, you need to facilitate greater communication between both teams, but short of having so many meetings that no one has time to do actual work, it’s tough to figure out how you get everyone on the same page. That’s where HubSpot comes in!

The HubSpot Breakdown

HubSpot is an inbound marketing company that developed a customer relationship management software (CRM) by the same name, HubSpot. HubSpot was the first to make the inbound methodology popular, and they continue to stay at the forefront of the inbound marketing industry by putting out quality content and resources, and by continually finessing their sales and marketing CRMs.

As an inbound marketing growth agency, we at HA Digital Marketing are proud HubSpot agency partners. We recently made the HubSpot Gold Agency Partner status, which basically means we’re good at using their software to win our clients more business.

A question we hear often from our own potential clients is, “What is HubSpot, and how can it help us align our sales and marketing teams?”

Many of our clients are industrial manufacturing and construction companies who have either been working without at CRM, or are frustrated with their current CRM (not to throw shade, but it’s usually Salesforce).

How HubSpot Helps Align Sales and Marketing Teams

For companies who need a CRM, and are hoping to work towards closer sales and marketing alignment, we do recommend HubSpot. While we know CRMs aren’t perfect for everyone, HubSpot is our favorite option for qualified clients who need something that can genuinely get their sales and marketing teams on the same page.

If you’ve been weighing your CRM options, here’s a rundown of how HubSpot works, and specifically, how it can help align your sales and marketing teams.

Intuitive, Practical Communication Capabilities

One of the biggest killers of sales and marketing alignment is a failure to communicate.

via GIPHY

The best way to fix it?

Intuitive, practical communication.

It doesn’t make sense to set up a meeting every time something new happens with a lead or prospect, but you do need to have open lines of communication between both teams, so no leads fall through the cracks.

HubSpot helps by offering two CRMs, one that’s designed specifically for marketing teams, and one that’s specifically for sales teams. What’s best is that these CRMs work totally in tandem, and on the same platform.

That means that every interaction your company has with a new prospect is always logged, categorized, and automatically synced across both teams.

Your marketing team can easily look at a lead to see if sales has had the chance to reach out yet, and your sales team can jump into a conversation with a warm lead at the exact moment they’re ready to progress to the decision-making stage.

This helps eliminate interruptions in your day-to-day office work and makes it easy to recap progress at your weekly or bi-weekly sales and marketing team meetings.

Defined MQLs and SQLs

HubSpot also makes it easy to define each lead, and pass them along to the sales team, or back to the marketing team when necessary.

You define what criteria qualifies a marketing-qualified lead (MQL) or a sales-qualified lead (SQL), whether it’s downloading a content offer, booking an appointment, or responding to an automated workflow. From there, it’s easy to move the lead up and down the buyer’s journey based on the criteria you’ve set to qualify them.

You can also set criteria for site visitors, prospects, or subscribers. Say someone has just visited your blog and signed up for your newsletter. If they keep reading your newsletters and blogs, but don’t convert on CTAs or content offers, you might categorize them as a “subscriber.”

You can use that classification to send them information they might care about later on, and your marketing team can continue nurturing them until they take enough actions to pass them along to your sales team.

Automatic Notifications

The HubSpot CRM also offers automatic notifications. If there are specific actions — like downloading a particular content offer or submitting a form on your contact page — that signal to both teams a lead may be ready to convert, you can set HubSpot to send automatic notifications to the responsible parties.

This way, when a lead is on your website, visiting your pages and downloading your content, the relevant team member can strike while the iron is hot — offering up more relevant content, or suggesting they set a meeting — just as that lead is thinking about your company.

via GIPHY

A little creepy? Maybe. But, it’s a great way to offer the personalized, specific service today’s consumers expect from companies of any kind.

Analytics and Reporting

Another sales and marketing alignment benefit the HubSpot CRM offers is its exceptional analytics and metrics reporting capabilities. No matter what metrics you’re tracking, the CRM makes it easy to see and share those reports with anyone in your team.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: The key to sales and marketing alignment is communication. Click To Tweet Your sales team needs to know what the marketing team is doing to draw in qualified leads, and your marketing needs to know which of their efforts are contributing to a closed sale. HubSpot makes finding and sharing these metrics easy with open reporting that’s easily shared.

At your weekly sales/marketing meeting, your sales team can show the marketing team which leads have finally closed, and how they arrived to the sales team, whether from an organic, paid, or email marketing effort. Conversely, your marketing team can use the data compiled by HubSpot to show the sales team what content new leads are responding best to, and what potential sales angles they can use to close that lead more quickly.

The Ultimate Benefit of the HubSpot CRM Is Transparency.

Effective sales and marketing alignment can increase revenue by 208%. https://bit.ly/2QmDeAI Click To Tweet The best way to get those teams on the same page is a transparent, user-friendly CRM that allows both teams to interact, and see what the other team is working on. HubSpot’s software seamlessly integrates your sales and marketing teams software into one simple platform that offers transparency and encourages communication.

If you’re interested in increasing your revenue by 208% in the new year, the HubSpot platform could help. If you’re looking for concrete, specific ways to align your sales and marketing teams and grow your business, we can help. Get in touch today.

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