A marketing automation platform is nothing more than a tool in the business development toolbox. It is a powerful tool, an essential tool, a time-saving, insight-gathering, results-generating tool, and so much more, yet only a tool. Like any tool, you have to know how to use it for the specific job at hand. When you consider that as much as 60% of users don’t use their MAP properly, if at all, you have to look at the setup, training, and adoption to find out why such a powerful tool is wasted.
You can’t just log in and expect the magic to happen. You have to know how to set it up, how to customize it for your work style, how to leverage all its sophisticated features, and how to get everyone on board. One reason why so many companies fail to see value in their platform is this very reason. They think it will be as easy as using Word. They think they can prospect just like they always have. They believe they will figure it out as they go. Sadly, too many get stymied, frustrated, and give up.
In my experience, which includes many failed attempts at adopting new technologies, it requires an intentional three-step approach. Like a musical instrument, first you have to learn the notes, then apply them to simple tunes, after which comes the confidence to make beautiful music. Unlike music, you’ve got to get your MAP working as quickly as possible to turn the investment into results. Such is the challenge between training and ROI. Is it 30, 60, 90-days, a year? How about a week?
Making marketing automation work
I’ve been using SharpSpring for about 2 and a half years now exclusively for ad agency business development with many different agencies. In that time, I’ve learned how to make SharpSpring work best for ad agency prospecting. That’s why I call it the ad agency prospecting platform. While it is true that each agency is different and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all, knowing the right features to activate, the best automation, the essential lists, the correct email approach, the best reports to generate, all contribute to the most productive experience for agencies.
If you’ve used a MAP, CRM or EMP before you know that they are designed and configured for the most common use case or more aptly put, the lowest common denominator. Most are customizable to some extent to support your approach to marketing, but many have limitations, some are very limited with the intent to make it “easy.” I’ve found that those limitations together with the lowest common denominator configuration result in frustration and uncertainty. You either have to call customer services, again or you stop trying. I can’t tell you how many agencies I’ve seen using their costly platform for nothing more than a spreadsheet. Remember, Google Sheets are free.
Start with a plan
No matter what system you use, you have to start with a plan. That plan begins with your prospect. You probably have a prospect list, or many different lists compiled over the years. To be more successful you need to distill those lists into groups of similar characteristics like industry or audiences and decide on the kind of information you want to know about each prospect to understand their potential and create personalized marketing campaigns that catch their attention and inform their perception of your agency. I know exactly how to configure my prospect records to inform my outreach properly. Too much information can slow your process while too little can minimize your results. Who is connected on LinkedIn? Who has any past relationship with the prospect or the company? Who as previous experience in the vertical? What has the contact been with the prospect over the years? Where were they before? All the questions you seek to know before reaching out sits on one simple page when you need it.
Your prospect embarks on a journey to identify, qualify, and verify agencies before they pick. Research tells us that prospects typically travel about 60% of their journey before you know they are checking you out. Today, agencies must connect and influence decisions during that 60% if they have any hope of making it on the list. Tracking visits to the website, automating responses, pushing out content, bringing lookers into the blog, showcasing the right positioning and value to the right prospects take so much mystery out of a mysterious process. Knowing how to set up the triggers and automation to guide unknown lookers along their journey can have a significant impact on all your funnel metrics.
Out of sight, not out of mind
The other statistic to keep in mind is that only a small percentage of your potential opportunity is looking for help today. No matter what kind of agency you are, the majority of prospects don’t need your help until sometime in the near or far future. Unfortunately, it’s human nature to forget about those future opportunities. Out of sight, out of mind. Setting up strategies and automating them for future opportunity ensures a flowing pipeline both short and long-term. It also captures potential future revenue to use in forecasting and planning. Correctly set up and configured, a MAP allows you to manage exponentially more prospecting, both for today and tomorrow.
Speaking of mysteries, what used to be a complete mystery, the early engagement behaviors of prospects is now a little bit clearer. With website, landing page, and content tracking, you can begin to connect the behavior dots of your prospect to understand better what they are interested in, what stage they are in their journey, and whether they are serious or just kicking tires. Setting up and defining your assets in the right way and then connecting them along the journey will provide a complete picture and better inform the next steps to take to keep the prospecting moving through the planned steps you set up in the beginning.
The most valuable marketing automation features
In my opinion these are the most valuable prospecting features of SharpSpring’s marketing automation platform to guide your next client through their journey.
2) Sales Pipeline and ROI Tracking
3) Dynamic Landing Page and Website Content
4) E-Mail Integration
5) Social Media Management
6) Blog Integration
7) Campaign and Prospect Analytics
8) Visitor ID with Zoom Info Integration
I have no doubt you can figure all this out yourself. Moreover, with the time, initiative and help from the right people in the agency, you will become a MAP aficionado. However, why reinvent the wheel when you and I can get the agency up and running in a week, more or less? Why not combine hard-earned experience with your ingenuity to short-circuit the learning curve, adoption, and ROI? Why not cheat your competition and jump to the head of the line? Why not give me a call, so I will tell you what we will do to get you your own ad agency prospecting platform.
I want to help you get your own Agency prospecting platform. Click on Schedule a Call and let’s talk about your experience with marketing automation. If you like this post, click the thumbs up, so I’ll know and then sign up for my new business newsletter. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn for daily tips, tricks, and insights. #LetsGrow!