Big things are happening in marketing automation, and SaaS, perhaps more than any other B2B industry, is poised to take full advantage of it.
By now, I'm sure you've heard about the main benefits of automation -- streamlined lead generation, email marketing, sales development, and all that -- but there are some lesser known ways it can accelerate software sales.
One of the significant developments in b2b marketing is the growth of chatbots.
Chatbots are apps that interact with people conversationally. You can program them to engage visitors using conditional logic and artificial intelligence, helping you answer questions and gather insights before you even get involved in the conversation.
If you are skeptical about using a bot to talk to customers for you, consider this: According to Chatbot Magazine, people are now using messaging apps more than social media.
This is a huge shift in user behavior and a strong indicator chatbots are becoming the preferred medium for consumer-brand interactions. Automation will be key to helping businesses benefit from them.
Chatbots can help you scale your business and build relationships with customers whenever and wherever they want to engage you. They are great for customer service, but don’t underestimate the implications for marketing and sales as well. They can help you capture leads by asking the right questions and channeling data about the user directly to your CRM, giving your reps the context needed to have a great, highly individualized discussion with the prospect when they join the conversation.
Brands have a lot of great options to choose from, and programming a chatbot is easier than ever. In 2017, Chatbot Magazine named Miksuku, Rose, Poncho, Right Click, Insomno Bot, Dr. AI and Melody as some of the best bots available online.
Many businesses are finding Facebook Messenger to be a great entry point, enabling them to interact with customers on the world’s greatest social channel. If this sounds good to you, ManyChat is a great way to get started. It’s a simple, freemium app that’s easy to set up and use.
If you are looking for an all-in-one marketing platform that includes a chatbot, HubSpot announced they will introduce a new AI bot with their free CRM in 2018. This tool conveniently pulls customer inquiries from multiple sources - including Facebook - directly to your HubSpot dashboard, where you manage your blog, social media, advertising and other marketing tactics.
Buyer intelligence is incredibly important for software sales today.
The top CRMs on the market, including Salesforce and Dynamics 365, have features that collect insights sales reps can use to improve conversations with prospects. While these apps are great for pulling in public data companies and individuals have shared, it's not enough to help you guide buyers through their journey.
Marketing automation can help you track user behavior and get deeper insights that will help you boost your closing ratio. HubSpot helps you collect data from users as they interact with your content and feeds it into your CRM:
This information can help you optimize your lead nurturing tactics by creating a more personalized experience for prospects. You can determine what their greatest pain points are, what lifecycle stage they are in (beginning, middle, or end of the buyer’s journey), and whether they are likely to buy.
One of the greatest advantages of the insights mentioned above is putting them to work with account-based marketing (ABM). This strategic approach focuses on a clearly defined set of target accounts, using highly personalized messaging and campaigns to maximize impact.
Both Marketo and HubSpot offer features that will help you employ an ABM strategy using advanced analytics and workflow automation. In HubSpot, you can aggregate lead scores from several individuals at a company and combine them into one score that helps you determine whether or not the company belongs on your target list.
You can then create workflows that provide structure to your sales and marketing outreach to these accounts, setting up tasks, personalized messages, CTAs, and conditional logic that guide the process based on the person’s responses.
Marketing automation is more than just a tool to save you time on email and social media. Smart features are starting to mature, offering marketers real opportunities to understand buyers on a deeper level and engage with them in new ways.
The time to get started is now.
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