In an upswing market, how do you find time to deal with the onslaught of new leads?
(Originally published in Sales+Marketing Ideas Magazine)
For executives in today’s home builder marketing, there are more opportunities than ever to generate leads: web contact forms, newsletter interest lists, email links, trackable phone numbers, SMS engagement, Live Chat, and on and on.
When the market was struggling, the idea was to take advantage of as many lead opportunities as possible to open the top of the funnel. As the market rebounds, this means record numbers of new leads coming through the marketing pipeline. As well as enough foot traffic to consume all available sales resources at the model center. So which of these leads are most likely to get the undivided attention of the sales team: the anonymous, faceless “e-leads” that magically appear in their inbox? Or the smiles and handshakes that walk through the door, ready to start the buying process? It’s pretty obvious (and rightly so) – but what about the e-leads? They’re people too. They’ve done their research, and could be just as ready to buy as the walk-ins, especially if your website has done its job properly. Or they could just be tire-kickers. But how do you find out, without wasting valuable time and resources to do so?
Enter Marketing Automation: A Smarter Way to Manage Leads.
Marketing automation offers an answer to this problem with ready-made, analytic information on lead quality and customer profiles. As well as automated methods to prioritize and nurture leads based on where they are in the home buying process. Goodbye one-off email responses, hello intelligent drip campaigns. Marketing wins because they now have the ability to deliver contract- ready e-leads with little effort. Sales wins because they spend less time qualifying, and more time closing.
How Marketing Automation Works
- By working from your existing CRM, software uses information on browsing habits and other customer profile information to score leads based on the buying stage. It then generates tailored, valuable content to prospects through social media, email marketing, website integration, and personal drip campaigns to nurture them through the buying process.
- Even with marketing automation, the content you provide still has to be of high quality to generate results. Automated analytics allow you to spend more time developing that content, with the software progressively “scoring, profiling, and prioritizing leads.” With that information in hand, you can ramp up your marketing efforts in a calculated manner. Then you can provide useful, well-timed content and interactions, ultimately building to a seamless A-lead handoff to sales.
The Benefits of marketing automation for home builders
- For home builders, automated scoring and categorization of leads is a breath of fresh air. Let’s face it, there are plenty of tire-kickers out there anxious to learn every detail of every floor plan with absolutely no intention of buying. Automation allows you to keep your marketing and sales departments lean and efficient, focusing only on the leads worth the effort. This also creates trust between these departments, which improves teamwork, attitudes and job satisfaction.
- Consumers don’t want their time wasted and appreciate original, relevant content above all else. A customer who is just beginning the research phase may not respond well to an immediate, head-on sales approach when they simply need more information about a particular plan or feature. Through the methodical process of progressive profiling (imperative to Marketing Automation), you learn whether a contact is a qualified prospect and if so what makes them tick. With a comprehensive profile (not just name and email), you can then provide prospects with information of real value through relevant event invitations, personalized email content, graphics or other important communications. This builds brand value, fostering trust in your company, creating meaningful relationships which ultimately result in improved sales and higher Customer Lifetime Value.
- In the internet (and social media) age, customer referrals are more prevalent than ever, but they aren’t automatic. Progressive profiling and lead segmentation allow you to focus on real prospects, knowing their wants and needs. By offering the customer something of value, and avoiding boilerplate responses or poorly timed sales pitches, you improve customer satisfaction exponentially. This creates raving fans and the referrals that come with them.
- The sales cycle for home builders is lengthy and complicated, due to the many moving parts that influence the prospect’s decision-making. Come with a sales pitch too soon, and you lose them for good. Wait too long, and they move on to a more responsive builder. Automation helps you hit the sweet spot, streamlining the sales cycle through statistical analysis that is either impractical or impossible to do manually.
Save time. Improve both Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and ROI.
Marketing automation is both a money-saver and a money-maker, resulting in higher marketing return on investment. It also improves customer lifetime value, by allowing you to create meaningful, long-term relationships. This is because you're providing prospects with the information they actually want, based on their browsing habits and other relevant information. In the end, Marketing Automation saves you time and money, while consistently improving your marketing and sales process. Which means you’re getting the absolute most out of your valuable resources, in any market.