In a recent webinar, Mac McIntosh, Founding Partner of AcquireB2B, and Jep Castelein, Founder of LeadSloth (and new Principal Consultant at Marketo!) discussed the top seven ways to utilize marketing automation to generate more sales revenue. Read the detailed summary below or download the full webinar here.

1. Nurture your leads to get 3 out of 4 sales opportunities that come from prospects with longer-term needs.

According to AcquireB2B research, 25 – 33% of prospects buy your product after 1-18 months. This means you need to create and leverage your lead nurturing strategy using multi-touch, multi offer lead nurturing campaigns to build sales-winning relationships with your prospects as they move from stage to stage throughout the buying cycle. Concurrently, you should attempt to identify the qualified, sales-ready opportunities. Finally, the keys to lead nurturing success include: communicating often enough to stay top-of-mind, sending relevant messages and offers based on where the prospect is in the buying cycle, and starting off with a simple nurturing campaign.

2. Use outbound marketing to follow up, nurture and qualify your inbound leads.

Use those that are finding you from search, or following you on LinkedIn or Facebook, and the actions surrounding these channels as a trigger for campaigns. The lead generation media that is working best today for inbound is online marketing (e.g. search engines, industry portals, directories and social media marketing). For outbound it is direct marketing (e.g. email, e-newsletters, phone and postal mail).

3. Use marketing automation driven campaigns to generate more referrals.

Your best source of referrals are happy customers. It’s best to start with a customer satisfaction survey. Ask a question such as “how likely you are to recommend a (company/product/service) to others?” Send an email campaign requesting referrals to those who answered “Likely” or “Very Likely”. Create a “referral” landing page. Other people you should ask for referrals include your suppliers, key influencers, fellow members and your prospects.

4. Use marketing automation to upsell, cross-sell, and resell your existing customers.

While marketers mostly focus on new business, selling to your existing customers can make marketing into the real heroes. Campaigns that will help you do this can include: creating a “new customer” campaign (e.g sending a ‘thank you for your business” email and a follow up offer), creating an “existing customer” campaign (making special “customer only” offers), and creating a customer “renewal” campaign.

5. Increase sales productivity.

Focus on qualified leads. Provide sales with a prioritized list of leads by creating the ideal customer profile and monitoring activity level and recency. Use a lead qualification specialist to manually qualify leads to sales as well. Be sure to collect info on all leads by building a rich demographic profile and capturing web visits, email opens and clicks, form submissions, etc. Through the use of lead nurturing, you can allow Sales to push unqualified leads back into marketing as well as provide real-time web alerts for named leads and anonymous visits.

6. Get more out of acquired lists.

Make sure to have educational offers. Not everyone on the list knows who you are, so asking for an “appointment” you will only get today’s hot leads and you’ll miss out on those that need more time and nurturing. Instead, offer useful content because everyone wants to learn best practices and new techniques. This thought leadership also builds your credibility. Remember to make sure the copy is brief and useful.

7. Reactivate old leads.

Find out how much your leads are worth by looking at the following: Acquired names vs. inbound leads, length of buying process, recency, activity level, list fatigue, cross-sell opportunity and fit with the ideal customer profile. Finally, make sure to follow the lead nurturing process, which includes these seven steps: creating sales and marketing alignment, choosing the right audience, investing in personas, providing valuable content, creating the right offers, having conversations, and tracking and measuring.

To learn more, download the full webinar.