Excellent customer experience is vital to the success of your manufacturing business, and marketing automation solutions can help you not only sell your business but maintain your customer base as well. In this episode of MakingChips, Jim and Jason discuss the importance of utilizing marketing automation correctly with B2B consultant and advisor, Todd Hockenberry. Author of Inbound Organization: How to Build and Strengthen Your Company’s Future Using Inbound Principles and host of “The Industrial Executive Podcast,” Todd shares how to customize your marketing automation to your customers and how to map customer behavior so that you can provide the best service to each individual.
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“Marketing automation is using technology to facilitate conversations so that you can build relationships.” Todd explains that it all begins with the conversation between you and the customer. Many businesses aren’t even aware that the conversation is happening - how a customer found the business, what they were looking for, if or how they found the solution to their needs, and how they interacted with the people and media of the business. Without some type of automation system in place, you won’t be able to map out the journey that your customer is taking - and how you can best meet their needs.
The role of the salesman is changing in the fast-paced world that we live in. Automated marketing is a necessity, and it is extremely powerful - if done well. Just as no one has time to invite a salesman in to talk and show off a product, no one has time to participate in poor marketing. Todd encourages marketers to consider whether the tools they are using are achieving the results that they want. Email, free downloads, and website forms have all been automation staples of the past, but they aren’t effective at speaking to the customer. Emails go unopened, downloads go unread. Marketing isn’t about how you want to communicate with the buyer. It’s about how the buyer wants to communicate with you. Familiarizing yourself with how the buyer acts and what they want can help you better serve them.
Everyone processes information differently. Some people absorb a message better audibly, visually, or through actual hands-on experience. Your automated marketing strategy must take this into consideration and be customizable to the buyer. Todd explains that he uses a myriad of mediums to relay a message and provide opportunity for conversation. Personalized video messages, pop-up chat boxes, marketing personnel available to answer phone calls, texts, and emails are all ways to make that personal connection with the customer.
The key is to make sure that your customer needs are being met. Automated chat-boxes - or chat-bots - are a useful tool, if handled correctly. If customer questions are being answered then all is well, but if they aren’t being answered, how long does it take for the customer to reach an actual sales rep? Immediacy is vital in our fast-paced world of communication. If you do provide a phone number, make sure that there is actually someone there to answer it. Time is money, and people don’t want to wait for information. Todd gives some excellent insight into the importance of immediate gratification when it comes to your customer, so be sure to listen to the entire episode!
Mapping out the journey of your customer is an extremely helpful step in understanding how to best serve them. Match technology with the needs of your customer - don’t just go shopping for technology and implement it into your systems without knowing if it is what your customers need to better communicate with you and vice versa. People want a seamless, helpful experience that helps them achieve their goals. Being able to track what an individual has downloaded, what they have clicked on or opened in your website or emails, and what mediums they have used to contact you - if any - are all part of the map that helps you locate what to improve in your marketing system.
People want to see themselves when they go onto your website - but you also want to see your business values in your customer. All relationships are two-way, and Jim and Jason understand the importance of aligning company values with the customer for an excellent, long-term relationship.
Jim, for example, has set up filters that keep those he may not want to work with at bay. He doesn’t list his available machinery on his website - instead, he promotes the core values of his company and highlights what makes Carr Machine & Tool unique. His goal is to get people into a conversation with someone on his team as quickly as possible - whether that be through a chat-box, email, or phone call so that the relationship is built before anything is sold.
While there are numerous tools out there to help you track and map customer behaviors, you don’t need every bell and whistle to get started. HubSpot is a favorite of Todd, Jim, and Jason. Automated marketing is a continuous task, needing a high level of attention. HubSpot helps cut back on time spent logging information and allows you to see what each website visitor is clicking on, if they signed up for a newsletter, or if they have opened an email once, never, or several times. Being able to see what a customer is interested in will allow you to better market to them so that they are given only what they need.
CRM systems are also extremely helpful in building the relationship between you and the buyer. Don’t just use CRM systems as a place to drop email addresses to send automated messages to. Know the behavior of a person and send them the automated message that will speak to them personally. Keeping track of previous customers is another helpful aspect of a CRM system. If someone who bought your product a year ago is on your website again, then you know to reach out to them and update them on the latest and greatest that your company has to offer.