Using tactics, such as lead nurturing, personalization, lead scoring, and predictive analytics, marketing automation helps direct prospects along the buying journey, from awareness to consideration to selection.
The majority of your leads are not ready to purchase, let alone speak to a salesperson. That’s where lead nurturing comes in. Through regularly scheduled emails, lead nurturing helps you stay in touch with leads, keeping your brand top of mind when they are ready to engage further. Lead nurturing captures the actions each lead takes on your emails (e.g., open and click), thus enabling you to determine when leads should be passed along to Sales.
Marketing automation helps you present the right content to the right person. Personalizing the content and offers on your site leads to higher response rates. As you connect directly with the needs and requirements of prospects, you increase the likelihood that they’ll consider your products and services.
Lead scoring is a mechanism to help marketers determine which leads to distribute to Sales. The most common approach is to assign weighted scores for particular activities (e.g., 5 points for visiting a product page, 15 points for downloading a white paper, and -10 points for visiting the “Careers” page). Once leads cross a defined score threshold, they are passed to Sales to contact and pursue.
As a methodology used to complement or replace lead scoring, predictive analytics uses machine learning algorithms to predict the likelihood of converting a lead to an opportunity or an opportunity to a sale. Predictive analytics compares lead and opportunity characteristics (e.g., demographics, activity profile, company size, etc.) with the profiles of your existing customers. Those that more closely match your customers are scored higher by the predictive algorithm.