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The real value of your business lies largely in the health and profitability of your sales pipeline. After all, the most wonderful product in the world will sit on a shelf collecting dust if it is not marketed effectively. Today’s global marketplace allows very little leeway for ineffective sales strategies. That being the case, what can you do to keep your product in the forefront of the minds of your customers? How can you ensure that your marketing message is on-point and that no sales opportunity falls through the proverbial tracks?

Nurturing is Key

Simply put, interest in your product or service must be cultivated. While a significant amount of your marketing budget may be spent on generating initial interest, you must capitalize on that interest to see a reasonable ROI for your efforts.

Lead nurturing must be an integral part of your marketing strategy. CRM software is your most effective tool to enable strong lead nurturing practices. Because CRM software allows you to easily visualize your entire sales pipeline, it provides crucial information about where each lead is in the sales funnel.

This information keeps your sales force on track, and helps each sales team member to prioritize daily tasks based on customer need and interest. In this way, sales opportunities are not lost in the shuffle of day-to-day sales routines.

CRM is also an effective tool for your sales manager’s use. Providing a bird’s-eye view of the efforts and tasks of all sales team members in a centralized database, CRM enables your sale manager to stay on top of qualified leads and the sales team members assigned to those leads. With comprehensive, robust analytics, your sales manager easily stays in the loop with a variety of customized reports and metrics.

More than a Task Manager 

However, to reap the most benefit from your CRM software, it must be utilized as much more than a task manager for internal sales workflow processes. CRM software can be easily configured to automate one of the most cost-effective and profitable lead nurturing tools at your disposal, the drip email campaign.

What is a drip campaign? Drips campaigns are automated processes that send a pre-determined set of messages to sales leads over the course of time. Ideally, these messages will be timed in such a way that they coincide with interest on the part of your prospective leads. The major advantage of using this “drip” strategy is that you are consistently reaching out to your leads with relevant content through automation. This saves time and money, and effectively nurtures certain segments of your sales pipeline with minimal additional expenditure of time on your part.

But how can you make your drip campaigns effective? Here are 5 tips for better drip campaign sales automation for your small business:

1) Define specific targets.

Drip campaigns are most effective when you are “dripping” to the right customer. Just as with any other marketing strategy, you must clearly define what segment of your customer base will most benefit from this type of campaign. Because drip campaigns are, by their nature, designed to work over a period of time, they are best employed in cases where your sell cycle is expected to be lengthy. Drip campaigns are not designed for the impulse buyer. Rather, they work best for customers who intend to buy a higher-value item with an infrequent purchase cycle. Thus, drip campaigns should target customers looking to buy, not immediately, but over the course of the next few months.

Fortunately, your CRM software can easily segment your sales pipeline into leads who are currently hot, and leads that require more time to mature.

2) Craft specific messages at each stage of the campaign.

Once you have defined your target audience, you must design a series of messages to send to that audience. For best results, the message must change over the course of the campaign. Sending the same message repeatedly does little to engage the lead. Just as a farmer must apply irrigation, fertilization, and pest control at different intervals to maintain the health of his crop, so too you must vary your messages to spark the interest of your leads as they move through the sales pipeline.

3) Define your message frequency.

This is a case of the “three bears” syndrome. Too little frequency, and your campaign is useless. Too much frequency, and your campaign is annoying to potential leads. Finding the right timing for your messages is essential for proper lead nurturing.

4) Make your content relevant.

One of the major pitfalls of drip campaigns is the possibility that your leads could consider your messages as spam. How can you avoid that scenario? There are two main ways to keep customers from deleting your emails without opening them. First, you must ensure that your leads have opted-in to your email campaigns. Second, you must make your content engaging and relevant. Providing interesting, informative content ensures customer satisfaction and ultimately produces more qualified leads.

5) Measure and adjust as needed.

It is imperative to measure the success of your drip campaigns. This is easily accomplished with CRM software. Using the metrics captured by your CRM, you can discern trends and inclinations of your leads. This information is like gold to your sales team. It informs your marketing strategy, and leads to more productivity and profitability. When you see areas of weakness in your campaigns, take quick action to address them. When areas of strength become evident, build on those strengths to create campaigns that hit just the right note with your customer base.

The Bottom Line

Drip campaigns are an effective, proven method of generating high quality leads. For best results, use your CRM software to automate your drip campaigns by targeting the right segment of your customer base with the right message at the right time. Measure your results and adjust your campaign strategy as needed. If you follow these simple principles, your drip campaigns will vastly improve the ROI for your CRM solution.

If you would welcome more information about how to effectively use CRM software, please contact us. We can help you get started today with a free, no-hassle 30-day trial.

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