In the B2B world, many of us experience times where we’re too busy with the daily grind to focus on bigger picture business development. At Gorilla, we’re certainly not immune to this. Sometimes a handful of prospects wind up unattended because there just isn’t enough time to pursue them all or determine which are the right opportunities. And when we DO give the necessary attention to “hot” leads, there’s often no time remaining for the others. So what’s the answer?
This blog post is about one of our favorite solutions to this dilemma – automated email workflows. This is also the first in a series of posts about marketing automation – a concept that we believe is the future of marketing.
What’s an email workflow?
In short, an email workflow is a series of automated, pre-written emails triggered when a prospect takes a specific action on your website or meets a predetermined criteria in your marketing database.
Let’s look at an example to help illustrate what this means and why it’s valuable.
Example email workflow
Let’s say you’re a supplier of some kind of industrial equipment and your website has 2 different contact forms:
- Request a bid
- Download our Buyer’s Guide
And let’s say in a given week, you receive three “request a bid” submissions, but 15 Buyer’s Guide downloads.
In this scenario, those requesting a bid are the priority leads, right? They’re asking you about providing a service to them right now. The Buyer’s Guide downloaders on the other hand might still be researching and exploring options. They’re less ready to buy at this moment in time.
While you’d love to address every interested prospect personally, your business development time is limited. This week, it’s eaten up writing proposals for those three hot leads. So what happens to those 15 Buyer’s Guide downloaders? They might not be asking for a bid at this very moment, but they’ve certainly expressed enough interest to become potential customers in the foreseeable future.
This is where email workflows come into the picture.
A carefully constructed email workflow might look like this:
- A prospect searches for your product or service in Google and stumbles across a page on your site.
- He visits your site, reads a few pages and informative blog posts, and eventually clicks your call-to-action “Download our Buyer’s Guide”.
- He’s taken to a page with a form, asking him for his name, company, email address, phone number and industry in exchange for the guide. He fills out the form and hits the “submit” button.
- He immediately receives an automated, pre-written email that includes an attached Buyer’s Guide PDF, a thank you note, and links to a few informative blog posts on your company website.
- Seven days later, he gets another automated email with a link to a case study documenting services you provided for a client similar to him.
- A week after that, he receives yet a 3rd automated email, asking if he’d like to set up a consultation phone call.
- He responds to set up a call with you, and you begin dialogue with a prospective customer that may have otherwise been left unattended.
- In the meantime, the same automated workflow has been triggered for the remainder of those 15 Buyer’s Guide downloaders as well.
Just scratching the surface
The concept of automated workflows extends far beyond the example I used above, and even beyond email marketing. With the assistance of a smart marketing automation software like the one we implement for our clients, there are many workflow applications that strengthen your prospecting efforts. A few more examples follow:
- Once a visitor returns to your website for the 3rd time (a sign of engagement), trigger an “engaged” leads email workflow.
- When previous website visitors haven’t returned to your site in more than a month, trigger a “re-engagement” workflow.
- When a visitor indicates through a form on your website that she is a member of a key industry, trigger a workflow written specifically for her industry. And when another visitor indicates he’s part of another industry, trigger a different workflow targeting his industry.
Aren’t workflows an excuse for laziness?
Not at all. Email workflows are by no means a replacement for real dialogue with a human being. Rather, they exist to help you manage leads during the early stages of their buying processes – before they’re ready to have a conversation, and while you’re making 1-on-1 contact with others.
When you commit to a lead-generation marketing program for your company, you’ll inevitably begin seeing prospects come through the door at a higher rate. And when these new prospects begin piling up in your marketing database, staying on top of them all becomes difficult. Email workflows are there to support your sales efforts by mirroring your lead-nurturing process in an efficient way and leaving no prospect unattended.
Let’s talk about marketing automation
If you’re interested in a conversation about marketing automation for your company, sign up for a free assessment. We’d love to talk.