When we talk about marketing automation, it is built upon the foundation of a CRM. This is where contact information is stored about suspects, prospects, customers, and past customers.
Suspects are leads that have not yet been qualified. If we follow the traditional funnel analogy, these leads are at the top. Our goal is to segregate suspects into prospects and those which are of no marketing value.
A prospect is a marketing qualified lead (MQL). This means that they have been recognized as having the characteristics to become a customer. They have both a need for our product or service and the budget necessary. It’s a no-brainer that we have to determine if the person or company has a need for our product, but when it comes to pricing we need to determine if we’re on the same page.
For example, I was looking for backup solutions. I was contacted by many vendors. I knew my budget was under $7000, so why would I even bother wasting time discussing solutions that were 15-20k? Not only did I rule them out, they ruled me out because I didn’t have the budget for their product. Naturally, if you’re disqualifying a lot of leads for price, one has to look at if your product is over priced or you need to build a cheaper product to meet lower budget requirements.
The Holy Grail is to convert a prospect into a customer. Part of that is to establish that we are working with a sales qualified lead. BANT is an acronym which stands for budget, authority, need, and timing. We’ve already established their need and budget. Are we working with the right contact though? Do they have they authority to make the deal? Or are they the one responsible for making a recommendation to be approved? In either case, this could satisfy the criteria to becoming a sales qualified lead (SQL). Good salespeople use pain points, the problem that your product or service solves, and makes sure their customer understands the pain and how your product or service solves that problem better than any other available option. Timing is also a big consideration. If it’s January and you tell me that this decision will not be considered until Q4, my time is better spent talking to someone who can buy now and I’ll call this customer back in late August.
Once a customer, we never want to lose them. In fact, our mission at that point is to turn them into an advocate. We want them to send us referrals and recommend our products to their network. Nothing, nothing, nothing beats a word of mouth recommendation from a trusted source.
If by chance we do lose touch we a customer, let’s find out why. Is there a fault in the product that caused buyer’s remorse? Did we fail in providing superior service? Is there a reason you no longer need these types of products or services? Maybe we just lost touch and need to reconnect in order to reestablish our business relationship? Either way, let’s find out the answers so we can bring this contact back into the fold.
Understanding your CRM and where your contacts are on their buyers journey, helps you to segment your list and provide relevant content to them depending on where they are towards buying your products or services.