At Manticore, we think a lot about the value that is derived from our marketing automation platform. We’re continually asking the question, “Who benefits from our services and how?” One of the interesting aspects of our discussion has concerned the value delivered to the individual sales person by marketing automation. At its core, a lead nurturing program is really about the sales process.
In Sales 1.0, lead qualification and prospect education was done by a sales person (or perhaps a tele-prospector) who either called or met face-to-face with those leads who fit the demographic profile of a good prospect. Presentations, demos and discussions over lunch were all key to establishing the need for the solution, how your product or service was the best fit, determining if there is budget available and if there is a real timeline for the project.
With Sales 2.0, lead nurturing programs delivered by a marketing automation platform can take on many of these functions. Most prospects prefer to start their purchase process online, doing core product research, building their business case, and doing competitive comparisons. A good lead nurturing campaign can track the lead’s progress through this process and deliver the right content at the right time to advance their education. Furthermore, inferences can be made about how qualified the prospect is based on the content being viewed. Most importantly, once the prospect has fully self-educated and self-qualified, an alert can be sent to the appropriate sales rep so that the sale can be closed.
Replacing lots of phone calls and face-to-face meetings with automatically delivered content and detailed tracking? Sounds like Sales Automation to me.