Sales and marketing techniques are advancing at an amazing rate and the concept of ‘workflows’ is one you just can’t afford to let pass you by.
Simply put, workflows are an automated set of actions that will happen if someone acts and behaves in a certain way. But don’t be fooled, we’re not talking about simple marketing automation here and the odd ‘thanks for your enquiry’ email. Workflows take the communication sequence to a whole new, intelligent and highly personalised level. It’s about sending the right message to the right person at the right time – so wave goodbye to one big email going out to everyone.
For teams, if you can nail putting strong workflows in place then you’ll soon be reaping the rewards – not least of all in your conversion rates and results. They’ll save you time, help you better qualify leads and you can also use them to nurture and segment your leads, so you target a customer’s individual needs and interests.
How they work
A workflow will have a ‘trigger’ that sets a specific chain of actions into motion, all of which are designed to achieve an end goal.
Many workflows will start at your website, as for most new prospects this it likely to be the first place they go, whether they came across your products and services through a social media post, content sharing, an ad, networking, or an email.
After working so hard to generate these web visitors, you’ll want to ensure you’re making the most of every single one and workflows are a key ingredient in this process. They can help you capture and nurture your relationship with new customers, as well as your existing ones.
On your website you’ll want to present visitors with a number of different ways to start a relationship and dialogue with you, and give them reasons to return. For example, you may offer them interesting downloadable content like an eBook. When a visitor takes you up on one of these things it should acts as a trigger for your workflow to kick in. A trigger could even be that someone is simply on your site for a certain amount of time, or visits a certain page.
For each of the triggers you need to plan out the actions that will be set off. Think about the sequence of communications – what are the most effective follow up actions going to be? What should the messaging be? When should they be sent? In what order? And how frequently? This sequence will vary for different triggers and take some time to get right.
Each workflow should have a set goal, such as qualifying that someone is a good lead so they can be passed to sales. This should shape your communications.
Downloading content for the first time
The easiest way to explain workflows is to look at one in action…. Say you are offering a fantastic eBook that can be downloaded from your site. Here is a typical journey this may follow:
A visitor may begin by entering some simple contact details to receive it, so the first message they’ll receive from you will be to thank them for their interest, to confirm their details are correct and that they’ve opted in. Once this part is out of the way, then your workflow can really come into its own.
Now you have more of an insight into that person. You have some basic information about them and know at least one topic and content type that interests them. Using this information you can then keep sending them other relevant information (blog posts, other eBooks, etc) that might also interest them. Do this at specific intervals and it will help you stay top of mind.
How often you send an email is going to depend on who your customers are. Don’t be afraid to send them too often (if you’re thinking one a month you’re probably being far too cautious!). Remember you’re not spamming if you’re sending content they are likely to be interested in. That said, for B2Bs you need to be more careful that you get the balance right. It’s not quite the same as being an ecommerce company, some of whom will issue messages on a daily basis.
Marketing Qualified Leads
Some larger automation systems now make it very easy to include ‘if this happens then do that’ style scenarios and other more sophisticated functions within a workflow. For example – ‘if a person downloads content C then they are moved from workflow 1 to workflow 4.’ Or ‘If a person visits page X then stop all workflow emails and send a notification to salesperson Y’.
While these functions won’t be needed by everyone, as you increase the leads you’re generating through your website you may want to consider using them. They’ll help you be even cleverer and generate even more conversions.
Overall, workflows are all about nurture and that’s a key aim of any marketing department. You want to nurture potential new prospects, to nurture your existing contacts and grow their accounts, and of course nurture those contacts who can be identified as a marketing qualified lead in the future. With intelligent automation in place, you can do just that and more.