Joe Girard is considered a legend in the sales industry, more commonly known as THE most successful salesperson ever. His success formula stems from never letting any potential sales lead go, understanding every potential client’s needs, and customizing a one-to-one service for each client based on their individual characteristics and requirements.
Joe also utilizes a myriad of “tricks”, like the use of personalized holiday and birthday greeting cards to remind clients of him. These are now a “commercialized” and commonly used technique by marketers in their communications strategy. The idea of customized one-to-one communication is by far the most effective and has become a nuclear part of marketing today.
How can Joe Girard remember all of his customers’ information and preference, you may ask. This is not such a difficult task if you put your mind to it; with a determination to track and record, this could be easily done. However, when your customer numbers grow to the thousands and millions, what can you do then? How can you manage such scale? The answer lies in the development of machine learning, AI and marketing automation tools.
Today’s focus will be on marketing automation, namely automated nurture. Automated nurture can be divided into two general stages. The first being data integration and classification, which requires a complete understanding of each potential client. For marketers, it is crucial to know what every different action mean, e.g. a visit to your website, following you on WeChat, attending your offline activities, etc., as well as WHO that action belongs to. With these data, you can then start using different tags to subdivide the potential clients into clearer, and more defined segments.
The second stage of automated nurture is message delivery. With a now clearer and more complete understanding of your target audience after the segmentation mentioned earlier, you can then deliver different customized messages to the individual audience segments based on their tagging. It is important to observe and analyze the action taken on the different message delivered, and then to optimize this process and the content used through continual testing. This will give you a better understanding on what makes your prospect tick. This method is great for converting MQLs to SQLs,,and is equally effective with existing active users for better activation and/or higher engagement, increasing success in up-selling & cross-selling.
Oracle’s Eloqua and Adobe’s Marketo are currently the most widely used and sophisticated automated nurture tools globally. Others include Pardot, Hubspot, Sitecore, etc., follow same underlying principles, and ALL of these tools were designed for the Western markets, leveraging Western best-practice communication methods like email and SMS to reach their target audience. With the advent of social and instant messaging apps, there are now also available integration with Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Viber, etc..
While these automation platforms are working to keep themselves up-to-date with market trends, most of these Western “tried-and-tested” communication methods do not work well in non-English Asian markets, much less in China, where eco-systems and content consumption behavior are worlds apart from the West. We have seen the birth of local China companies who have started looking into designing local alternatives and localized software integrations to meet China market demands. These developments tend to combine automated nurture tools with social CRM (SCRM) ones, utilizing WeChat as the core communications medium, and aim to fulfill the needs of both marketing and sales at the same time.
Without going into technical details, let’s look at the localization point above from a more human angle. We have noticed when working with companies in the MarTech industry, most pre-sales and sales reps tend to emphasize on technical advantages and the final ROI these tools can deliver, yet few highlight the most crucial underlying clause to achieving all these… targeting strategy, buyer journey accuracy, and, CONTENT (both in terms of quality and quantity). Without these input, even the most intelligent tools are just tools. We see a huge trend of brands understanding the importance of automated nurture tools, but not knowing exactly how to maximize its use to generate maximum value. A perfect example is Oracle’s Eloqua suffering a drastic drop in sales, especially renewal sales, in the second year of their big push into China. Marketing teams who purchased Eloqua in the first year ended up using Eloqua as a super-expensive email blasting tool, and did not want to renew the second year.
In summary, here are some key focuses you should take note of when it comes to implementing automated nurture to bridge the gap between your marketing and sales. You will require human expertise and input on :
- Audience Persona and Segmentation
- Content audit & Mapping, Categorizing and Utilizing
- Leads Scoring
- Marketing-Sales alignment
- Nurture stream design and optimizing
- A/B testing
Which of the above-mentioned interests you the most? Leave us a comment and share with us and we can discuss in more details. Stay tuned as well for other relevant topics coming up in the next article!