When it comes to email marketing, there is no shortage of literature on how to maximize open rates, a/b test the best subject, and leverage in your email copy. While testing strategies play an integral role in increasing your email marketing performance, the crucial and painstaking piece of the process is getting your reader to become a customer.
The journey from email open to becoming a customer is a long and difficult path that requires a high level of persistence and nuance. In this article, I’m going to cover what you need to effectively nurture your leads by leveraging artificial intelligence. But before we do, let’s talk about how email chatbots, conversational marketing, and ai sales automation are being utilized today.
Headlines around artificial intelligence negatively portray the exponential benefits of AI, leading to a growing consensus that automation will replace sales and marketing teams. While the sweeping impact of AI is inevitable, AI technology today helps teams automate away the redundant, time-consuming tasks while opening up resources for higher-value projects.
This is more pertinent to email marketing. Traditional sales and marketing teams are tasked with manual tasks including manual follow-ups, meeting scheduling, and lead scoring. AI is automating this entire process and changing the way leads are pushed down the funnel.
Lead nurturing for most marketing and sales organizations involves sending content based on their stage of the funnel. Page visits, email opens, content downloads, and website behavior are then used as a scoring system to gauge which leads are most likely to convert.
While this method has proved useful for many organizations, there are serious drawbacks to be considered. According to a DemandGen report, 59% of marketers say that their lead nurturing programs are failing.
This is because web behavior doesn’t necessarily reflect the unique needs and motivations of each individual lead. In order to gauge this effectively, you need two-way conversations at scale.
Instead of hiring hundreds of sales representatives to carry these conversations, AI-driven conversational marketing platforms can effectively pinpoint each lead’s unique challenges, timelines, and purchase authority. This human-like engagement is achieved through natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning, so humans aren’t left managing and tailoring each conversation by hand.
Be available 24/7: Most companies don’t have a sales representative available 24/7 to speak to prospects and leads. AI chatbots can run while you’re offline and book meetings on your calendars directly.
Minimize friction: traditionally, leads need to fill out a form and wait for a sales representative to call them. The process can take hours, if not days, risking losing the crucial window of opportunity. An AI platform can push a lead down the funnel more accurately and at greater speeds.
Speak on their preferred medium: Customers are calling less and chatting more. With a conversational marketing platform, you can speak directly to a customer in a way that they communicate regularly on a day-to-day basis. Whether it’s via text, email, or a chatbot on your site, you can meet your customers on the channel they prefer to communicate.
Create an instant connection: Answering your prospect’s questions and paint points quickly and accurately can create a crucially positive first impression. It sets the tone for future communications.
While we’ve established the needs for a conversational marketing program, let’s discuss how we can leverage AI for your email program.
The first step is to be aligned on defining your ideal customer. Marketing and sales teams often possess different criteria of what qualifies as an MQL and an SQL, so the first step to creating alignment is to identify buyer profiles. Go beyond surface-level job statistics, and dig into your historical data to see what strategies and tactics have worked for you.
Now document what your current lead qualification process looks like. What does the handoff from marketing to sales look like? What are your definitions of a lead? What is your lead scoring and attribution model? Once you’ve successfully answered these questions, it’s time to get started with a platform that works for you.
Now that you have a full view on your greatest friction points, it’s time to go shopping for the right conversational marketing platform for you and your needs. Find a platform that provides comprehensive email capabilities including features like: meeting scheduling, meeting no-show follow-ups, AI-powered qualification, out-of-office follow ups, lead re-engagement, and more. Additionally, find a platform that provides comprehensive onboarding and training to ensure you’re up and running seamlessly and as quickly as possible.
Once you’ve established a platform you’d like to move forward with, you need to establish a business case for your organization to consider the investment. In step two, you’ve established your biggest friction points. In this step, quantify how many hours you’ll save with a conversational marketing platform and put a dollar amount to that value. Once you’ve done so, you can create a business case and communicate your case more effectively to all your organization’s stakeholders.
As mentioned previously, it’s important to find a platform that provides comprehensive onboarding and training. Work with your dedicated onboarding manager to see how you can effectively use their platform.
There’s no better time to leverage AI for your sales and marketing operations. A robust conversational marketing platform can help you transform the way you qualify and close leads at scale. For more information on how to get started, visit exceed.ai today.
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