Man vs Machine
What Digital and Automation Can’t Tell You
We have more information at our fingertips than we ever have before. The issue we have is how can we digest this information and make sense of it all?
If you want to find out more about your B2B prospects or even your key accounts then you can look at their website, check out their social media feeds, see if they’re blogging about anything and after you’ve done a bit of research you can find out a bit more about the type of organisation they are. We can also learn more about the industry they’re in by scouring the internet and reading industry reports, articles and blogs. However, all of this is very time consuming and you can’t take all the information you come across at face value. There is as much misinformation on the internet as there is good information so you need to be able to discern what’s relevant and what’s subjective. Having said that, the internet is still a great place to do some secondary research about your target audience but it’s only one part of the jigsaw.
Another part of the jigsaw is marketing automation. Done properly marketing automation can tell you a lot about an individual’s behaviour in your neck of the digital world such as what parts of your email content they read and what web pages they visit. This helps you to build a picture of their potential buying behaviour and the type of content that they respond to and this is all good powerful stuff. However, it gives us very little information about their responsibility or how decision making works within the company. The person who may be clicking on your emails and looking at your website is not necessarily the person you need to engage with if you want to convert electronic traffic into tangible business. Ultimately it’s the decision-maker that you want to be talking to.
Making Direct Contact
In light of this, how can you strike up a meaningful dialogue with your prospect? This is where the human touch comes in, picking up the phone and talking to them or meeting them face to face will pay dividends. If you want to find out more about your prospects then you can’t beat speaking to them. By speaking to your prospects directly you can ask them questions, listen to their answers and tailor the conversation so that you both get the information you need. This is what customer engagement is really all about. It’s about starting to build a relationship whereby you can learn more about their organisation, find out their needs and then identify how you can address those needs.
Through active engagement with your prospects you can start to develop trust, show an interest in their perspective and provide them with added value information which will enable them to make a decision about your proposition. Let’s see digital and automation do that!
Nurturing the Relationship
Having said all that, internet research, identifying and pushing out personalised and relevant content using automation, and then following up with a phone call all have a place in the marketing mix and using a combination you take the profiling of your prospects and clients to another level. Through a combination of marketing automation and direct engagement you are able to nurture your prospects until they are ready to buy and in the process build and strengthen an ongoing profitable relationship for both parties. Digital and Automation are the future but don’t forget that they are just a means to end to reach out to the human sat at the next computer.