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Marketing Automation Strategy

Marketing automation is a name for a broad range of technologies, but ultimately we can think of it as a set of tools to solve business problems. The first step is a planning stage which involves identifying the specific marketing challenges, and then building a marketing automation programme around those.

We can broadly define two categories of challenges, or automation opportunities.

To learn about how to use our Marketing Automation tool, please look at the Workflows article.

Existing manual processes

The first is where you have existing processes that could be improved through automation. In a financial services environment we might be talking about processes like client reporting, event management, fund document delivery, or client services communications. They’re often manual processes, involving a lot of time and resource, and with the element of risk attached. If you’re manually sending clients holdings reports, it’s easy to attach the wrong document. Automation can offer solutions here to reduce the pressure on resources, improve delivery times and reduce risk.

New processes

The second category covers things that you’d like to be able to do, but would be impossible without automation technology.

Here we might be looking at lead nurturing programmes for example – you could actually just check on each client and prospect every day, look at what they’ve engaged with and drive them to the next piece of content on their journey with our brand, but that’s a practical impossibility. It would take far too much time and resource.

Likewise, our problem might be revenue generation – we might actually want to feed the sales team with sales-ready leads. One way would again to be to check on all of our contacts every day, check on our email activities, social activities, who’s registered for events, watched videos or been to our site, and we could take a call on whether to flag a contact to the sales team.

Planning stage

To start off, we’re going to need to identify what challenges we’re going to solve with marketing automation. Typically clients will list out:

  • Lead generation
  • Client service reporting
  • Client onboarding

Firstly, we’re going to identify the processes that we already have that we could automate.

Do we have a client services function sending out client reports? How do they do that? How long does it take? How much resource does it take? Does it always run perfectly or have we had any mistakes? What would be the ROI in resource terms of being able to automate that process…3, 4, 5 days a time?

What about fund documents, do we send those out to clients or subscribers? (If we don’t already, then let’s put this in the next section, things we’d like to do to improve client experience but haven’t got around to doing). Who does that, how much time and resource does that take?

Marketing campaigns… are you already running multi-stage, multi-channel campaigns? Do you manually schedule each content piece or can you automate this? How do you report back to the business on the success and the engagement?

What about events? How do you invite clients to events now? What’s the process like, both for your teams and for the clients? Who lets the relationship managers know who’s accepted and coming? What happens if you’re over or under-subscribed?

Email marketing – are you manually creating emails now with content from other places, such as the website? Is that a process that could be automated?

What about the relationship management process? How does the split of responsibilities lie between sales and marketing? Are there processes in place for sharing content that could be improved?

If you start by listing out your existing processes and where the improvements are, you can start to build a business case for some of these quick wins.

Process definition

We can also share a basic planner for defining your business process, and then work through the resulting automation.

Example programmes

Below are some examples of where you can identify opportunities to introduce new processes.

Lead nurturing/workflow programmes.
These are often what people first think of when they hear “marketing automation”…they’re the typical journey-builder, workflow programmes. Firms looking to build lead-generation programmes will identify gaps in their existing processes (not enough leads to sales? Too many, unqualified leads to sales?), or a disconnect between sales and marketing teams and then look to fill that gap with automation programmes.

Lead scoring/sales enablement/lead generation programmes
These are similar to the above, but provide more engagement from and with the sales team. We can use these automation tools to bring sales and marketing closer together, to share insights into client behavior with the sales team and to enable them to develop richer relationships with their clients.

Onboarding programmes
Are useful where you either have a defined process for bringing new clients into the business, or where you could define and review the process. Typically these would include a stream of communications introducing the business’ capabilities, points of contact and client servicing functions available to them. With CRM integration, these workflows can be pre-configured and simply triggered by a field change in Salesforce.

New contact sign up programmes
Are also an effective, and GDPR-compliant way, of introducing new prospects to your marketing content and collateral. A typical programme will be kicked off by a form such as an event form or sign up form, and will then trigger a series of communications tailored to that audience, often with a user branch out to a preference centre to encourage them to subscribe to additional content. Triggers and alerts to the sales team can also be built in.

Lead nurturing campaigns
These tend to be more marketing-driven, and often involve drip campaigns around a particular product or strategy aimed at warming up a group of prospects with marketing content until they’re ready for the hand-off to sales.

If you need any assistance, please contact the StoneShot Team who will be able to help.