It’s no surprise – the relationship between buyers and businesses has changed dramatically over time. Customers are doing most of the “legwork” before a business is even aware that the prospect is in need of a solution. This has transformed the roles and responsibilities of marketing and sales.
The new buyer’s journey follows five stages:
- Awareness: Buyers realize they have a business need but are unsure of the solution.
- Research: Buyers are researching to learn what is necessary to solve their business problem and investigating potential solutions.
- Evaluation: Buyers are narrowing down potential options and evaluating the solutions of possible vendors.
- Purchase: Buyers are making purchases and becoming customers.
- Retention / Loyalty: Buyers are customers and are looking for ways to be engaged and satisfied with their chosen solution.
Marketing automation is an essential tool for creating a cohesive and coherent experience throughout each stage of the buyer’s journey, which will ultimately lead to revenue generation and business success.
The new buyer’s journey hinges on content. During this stage, businesses should work to make prospects aware of your brand and to keep it top-of-mind. It’s all about starting a conversation.
Social media, online advertising, and other marketing channels attract the attention of new leads. To capture information, marketing automation tools can be used to collect information through landing pages and web forms. With Dynamics 365, a new lead or contact is automatically entered into the system.
As new prospect information is collected, leads can be nurtured with content that introduces them to your business using automated campaigns. This keeps your business on the radar when prospects move closer to making a purchasing decision.
Buyers spend the most time in this stage. While prospects are researching, businesses must focus on educating prospects on how their product or service will solve the buyer’s problem – content is key.
At this point, leads are typically not ready to purchase immediately. Instead, marketing automation allows a company to keep these leads warm while Sales focuses on hotter leads.
The goal of the automated campaign is to provide valuable information and become a trusted source of information. For example, a real-estate firm targeting new home buyers can set up a marketing automation campaign that shares the newest listings in the area where leads are looking to buy, as well as content around making a first-time home purchase.
While these leads may not be ready to purchase right away, this campaign allows the company to maintain a touch-point with them as they continue their research. Emails with valuable and personalized (leveraging the leads CRM record) content can be spaced out over weeks or months to nurture leads until they are ready to buy.
As buyers narrow down their options and evaluate solutions, businesses should look to build credibility and trust with leads, as well as overcome their objections.
The objective is to create differentiators to showcase how their solution is superior to a competitor’s. Case studies, whitepapers, and testimonials are great content types for building credibility and making a case for a business’s offering.
Campaign automation and one-off emails are ideal in this stage of the buyer’s journey. What’s important is to ensure they are being opened and engaged with in order to more effectively target individuals and better understand their needs.
Within marketing automation software, a business can use email reporting features to see if leads are engaged with the message, as well as use web tracking to see every page a visitor has viewed on the website. Using ClickDimensions and Dynamics 365, this information can be seen right within the CRM record.
After a prospect makes a purchase (the end goal), the business needs to ensure the customer has a successful start. Using marketing automation for customer onboarding campaigns is a great way to provide helpful information post-purchase and enhance the customer experience.
In conjunction with onboarding campaigns, a business can enable subscription management, which provides the customer with control over the types of messages they’d like to receive and, in turn, reduces global unsubscribes.
5. Retention / Loyalty
Marketing automation is not just for marketing. It can be equally as effective for loyalty and customer retention initiatives. To build on-going relationships with customers, automated campaigns can be used to regularly communicate with customers, keep them engaged with the company’s brand, and to look for upsell or cross-sell opportunities.
Surveys are a perfect way to gauge a customer’s opinion, satisfaction, and other interests. With Dynamics 365, when a customer completes a survey, all their responses will be linked to their CRM record.
If you’re interested in discovering how ClickDimensions is natively built into Dynamics 365 for marketing automation, watch our on-demand webinar: Lead to Loyalty.