The best manufacturers already know that customers are actually eager to be loyal. Consistently deliver what customers need when they need it—and maybe even tip them off to new trends and opportunities before they recognize them themselves—and you will dramatically up your chances for a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship.
The ability to provide this sort of highly personalized and relevant customer service is why so many manufacturers have embraced the use of CRM. But here’s the thing: Before CRM is able to help manufacturers deepen and expand relationships with customers, manufacturers first have to help them make the leap from prospect to actual customer.
Of course, that requires skillful and dedicated lead nurturing, a process that is equal parts relationship building, education and assistance as prospects make what is often a meandering journey to an actual purchase. Fortunately, a CRM for manufacturers—the very tool that so effectively helps solidify existing customer relationships—is also extraordinarily helpful in nurturing leads.
That’s because marketing automation is a key feature in the most sophisticated and effective CRMs. And just why is marketing automation so important? Remember, every prospect has to travel his or her own path to reach a purchase decision. The best manufacturers clearly understand the steps that are involved on the journey that prospect takes and the types of marketing messages and communication required at each stop in order for someone to ultimately choose you.
How marketing automation can smooth your nurturing process
What marketing automation can do for manufacturers is help make sure that the right messages are delivered to the right people at the right time. Here’s how:
- Making follow-up automatic It’s hard to overstate the importance of the automation in the term marketing automation. But it is incredibly important and provides an important level of efficiency to a manufacturer’s marketing efforts. For example, manually sending out prospecting or follow-up emails can chew up a huge chunk of time—time, frankly, that staffers could devote to the still vital human-to-human contact needed to nurture prospects. But marketing automation that can automatically send out email responses to prospects avoids the risk of being inadequately responsive to potential customers. Even better, marketing automation has the capacity to provide prompts to a manufacturer’s sales and marketing teams whenever they need to pick up the phone or send a highly personalized email to cultivate a prospect.
- Increased relevance Not every prospect is created equal. Some may have already traveled far in their buying journey and are ready to make a purchase while others need and want additional education. The types of messaging appropriate for these two groups are distinct and CRM that has sophisticated marketing automation can ensure that the most relevant marketing materials get in front of people at the right time.
- Improved personalization Anybody who studied physics will recall Newton’s third law of motion: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. While not exactly similar, successful nurturing does basically follow Newton’s law. When a prospect takes some sort of action—perhaps downloads a white paper—a marketing reaction should kick in. Marketing automation makes that reaction automatic. This has big benefits for lead nurturing because messages that respond to actions a prospect takes recognize what’s on that person’s mind at the time. In other words, they are more personalized than marketing messages that rely on guesswork.
Helping someone travel that long path from indifferent prospect to loyal customer is the job of all marketers and sales people. Marketing automation is one tool to make that journey faster and easier.