Before you start walking, running and flying through the world of marketing automation, we need to have SharpSpring set up correctly.
This onboarding checklist is designed for your company as an audit. When getting started with marketing automation, we’ll go through the following process line-by-line with you. It covers every feature of the platform, and will effectively identify the next steps that need to be taken to get you up and running.
- Either, access to your web site is required, or a site tracking code needs to be given to your web developer to implement your site tracking code.
- Adding a tracking code establishes the tracking of on-site visitors
- This can vary depending on your organisation. A few questions should be asked:
- Are you using a CRM? If so, what?
- Are you wanting to integrate or migrate?
- Integrate: You will still be using your CRM, but API code will need to be developed for the CRM and SS to work together automatically (In the case of SalesForce, no code is needed because we have an integration tool designed specifically for Salesforce)
- Migrate: You plan on using SS CRM, and want to move your data across in its entirety. There is a migration tool for that (similar to the contact manager import tool).
- In what format is your contact list?
- It needs to be in CSV format and UTF-8 encoded
- Email Syncing: Getting It Set Up
- MS Exchange, Gmail
- User roles: you need to assign roles to everyone that has access to SharpSpring.
- There are four roles you can assign:
- site admin
- company manager
- jr. salesperson.
- Domain Verification
- You need to verify the sending domain to ensure you have access to the domain you are sending from
- DKIM Verification
- DKIM adds code to your email that can only be created by authorised senders. This will help maximise email reputation and deliverability.
- Set up the subdomain for landing pages
- Any current emails in rotation?
- You may want to move them into SharpSpring.
- Either recreate in SharpSpring using templates
- Or copy and paste HTML into the email code – you will need to make copied code editable within SharpSpring
- Any existing forms on your site?
- We recommend that you use SharpSpring forms instead
- If not, you will need to add native form code to track submissions
- Any current media (white papers, PDFs, videos)?
- Make this media trackable in SharpSpring so that you are notified when leads view the media
- Are you interested in using the Landing Page Builder / Blog Tool?
- Use the SharpSpring guidance pages for help on:
- Using a subdomain for landing pages
- Getting started with landing page builder
- Blog tool
- Identify the data points and respective values that you want to attribute points towards.
- Set up passive, basic automations, including:
- Notifications of forms being filled out
- Lead score notifications
- Diving deeper
- Work any existing campaigns into SS
- Tailor and improve campaigns to better fit your business’s needs
- Google AdWords Integration
- Utilisation of the tracking rules in Campaign Analytics
- How are you going to track the efficacy of your campaigns?
- UTM codes
- Referral URLs
- ‘How did you hear about us?’
- Set up campaigns
- Email drip
- Form fills
- What does your sales process look like?
- What stages are involved?
- How many pipelines?
- Do sales people work together on the same opportunities or is it more separate?
- This will have an effect on user roles, and whether they will be salespeople or junior salespeople
- Shopping Cart Integration:
- What type of service are you using for your shopping cart?
- Do you have a programmer who can generate the shopping cart tracking code?
- If there are any other third party platforms you wish to connect (other than shopping cart)? Either:
- Custom API code needs to be created
- Or use Zapier (an integration service offered by SS)
- You will need to create an account and make the third-party platform available in Zapier
- See what third party platforms can be integrated: https://zapier.com/zapbook/sharpspring/
- Upload existing pictures and company logo into the email file manager
- Let us know your company address/phone number/hours of operation
- Set up Call Tracking
- Set up Granular unsubscribe
From here on in the guide we will assume you have been through your initial onboarding meetings and finished the basic setup outlined above. We will assume:
- The account is set up
- Users are setup
- Tracking code is created and posted
- Any 3rd party services are connected to your account
- Google AdWords is set up
- CRM is set up
- Webinar services are set up
- Social Media is set up
- Text messaging is set up
- All forms have been converted
- Our marketing automation forms improve conversion rates since they can autofill information already available in the database
- First email is sent to drop cookies on current leads in database
This section includes a few simple steps to get you moving in the right direction. It should deliver immediate value for your business.
Right from the start, you can triple the number of leads you receive. VisitorID identifies those visitors who don’t fill out a form (this is usually around 98% of visitors!). These leads can then be reported to all the key contacts in your company.
Your company will receive a laundry list of new leads every day. This is a great way to introduce you to the unique value of marketing automation.
Studies show that following up a prospective customer within the first hour increases your likelihood of converting them into a lead by 700%. This highlights the importance of recognizing when prospects are trying to connect with your business.
Set up automatic notifications for your sales team so they don’t waste a minute filling the top of the funnel.
Timing is everything. The right message at the right time can close a deal. Empower your sales team by being immediately notified of when a lead is researching your business.
The power of marketing automation is the ability to seamlessly build relationships with every lead and customer. Gratitude is an important aspect of forging a strong bond.
Set up thank you emails based on behaviours such as filling out a form, visiting from an important email or making a purchase.
Most leads that visit your site are not “sales ready.” The key to maximizing your conversion process is to nurture leads via targeted communication as they move through the funnel – eventually becoming sales ready. This is the purpose of a drip email campaign.
A drip email campaign is a series of emails sent automatically over time with information about the products or services that the lead is interested in. Drip email campaigns are used for engaging leads at the top of your sales funnel in order to move them further along.
Lead scoring is the use of a numerical value to represent the engagement and/or “sales readiness” of an individual lead. Leads with high lead scores can be automatically passed to your sales team to begin the sales process. Leads with low lead scores need to be nurtured with drip campaigns, case studies and other sales tactics until they are sales ready.
Setting an initial lead scoring model is easy and can be recalibrated at any point, so don’t worry about getting it exactly right. Start experimenting!
Dynamic lists are used to segment customers based on their behaviours, demographics and interests. They are “dynamic” because they are automatically kept up to date in real time via SharpSpring’s automation platform. As new leads meet a dynamic lists criterion, they are automatically added to the list.
Like the lead scoring model, dynamic lists can be created and recreated, so don’t be afraid to start tinkering. Consider using web tracking to identify leads that appear to be interested in a particular product or service. Set up a dynamic list of these leads.
Build your pipeline to reflect your unique sales funnel. A typical sales pipeline might include stages such as Initial Discovery, Needs Analysis, Demonstration and Price Negotiation, etc. The deal stages can be modified later, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
Set up custom fields for anything you would like documented in the lead record. Typical custom fields include product interests, revenue, competitor experiences, etc.
In SharpSpring, Smart Emails are trackable, so your sales team will know when Smart Emails have been delivered, opened and clicked. The sales team can edit the templates before sending, and Smart Emails can be scheduled for future delivery. There are a few basic smart email templates we recommend you set up:
- ‘Thanks for contacting us’
- ‘Hey, you told me to contact you later’
- An invite to social media
- A blank template
Social notes allow your team to communicate important details about the lead as the relationship transitions through your organisation. If you have a member of the sales team qualifying the leads, details from their conversation can be passed to the sales rep using with Social Notes. This will help the sales rep improve and tailor a future sales pitch.
Now that we’ve made a start, let’s build some momentum with more advanced automations. These strategies will take your lead generation and sales to the next level.
As discussed in the Walk section, lead scoring is a great way to quantify the position of your leads in the sales cycle. With notifications triggered by lead scores, you can alert your sales team to leads moving through the funnel. If a lead has earned a high lead score, they are likely to be ready to buy. Notify your sales team to pick up the phone and close the deal!
Making sure your sales team knows when an important lead comes back to the site can be the difference between losing or winning a deal. SharpSpring can be set up to send alerts when a current sales-qualified lead returns to the site so that sales can make that “well-timed” phone call.
In the Walk section of this guide, we set up your first drip campaign. Consider using those new skills to create additional drip campaigns for each of your customer segments. Typically speaking, segmenting your pipeline and addressing each segment with a specific drip campaign will lead to higher conversions and more revenue.
With your lead scoring model, you can identify leads that are closer to making a purchase. These “sales-ready” leads can be converted to sales with frequently delivered messages geared towards encouraging a purchase.
How do burst campaigns and drip campaigns differ?
Drip campaigns: these are intended to be periodic and informative, with the objective of maintaining brand awareness with your young leads.
Burst campaigns: these are more frequent and help drive sales by focusing on three things:
- social proof (testimonials)
- credibility (3rd party reviews)
- purchasing incentives (promotional discounts)
Your drip campaign skills can also be used to send helpful emails recommending products or services similar to previous purchases. These emails can replicate Amazon.com’s recommendation engine experience. For instance, a dynamic list of leads that purchased or showed interest in three products could receive emails about a fourth product commonly purchased with the three other products.
If each transaction is worth a lot of money, missing an appointment can be devastating for a business. Not only will confirmation and appointment reminders be a courteous gesture, they can improve attendance rates and drive sales.
By having leads fill out forms for gated content or webinars, you can collect more details about who they are and segment leads based on this demographic information.
Emails that speak to specific interests will drive more engagement and build stronger relationships. Take advantage of a dynamic list’s ability to organise your leads around the product pages they visit.
When you create dynamic lists of leads based on lead scores, you can measure how many leads you currently have in each stage of the marketing funnel. This will allow you to see how many leads are ready to buy, compared with how many are just starting the research process. An up-to-date view of your marketing funnel allows you and your sales team to communicate accordingly.
Our Marketing Automation Platforms offer excellent integration with WebEX and GoToWebinar. Drive traffic to a your form tied to each webinar. This integration allows you to use a form to capture leads and track behaviour without interrupting the webinar platform.
Track your PPC campaigns to identify the keywords that close deals and stop wasting money on the keywords that don’t deliver. Build a list of negative keywords for your campaign to avoid, or start identifying long-tail keywords to optimize your campaign.
Email marketing is still the king of digital marketing. Carefully tracking your open rates and click-through rates will help you refine and improve your subject lines, messages and calls to action.
Keeping track of certain behaviors can help you gauge the success of different tactics. For instance, when hosting a webinar, you can set up lists to keep track of who registers to attend and who actually attends. Or to help track behavior, understand the content that is driving leads and converting sales.
You’ve got it down. Marketing automation is no longer a mystery. You should think about the entire Fly section as combining the various tactics you learned about earlier in the guide to create new, more powerful solutions. As you “fly”, it’s no longer about segmenting based on demographics or behaviors or using dynamic lists or notifications. Instead, it’s about combining these tactics to create incredibly personalised, engaging and effective solutions that drive more revenue and increase your marketing ROI.
The best purchasing experiences are tailored to our unique needs and interests. The sales team can be notified when a lead visits a specific product or service page, so that they can adjust their pitch around the product and build urgency for the lead’s specific needs.
Forms fields and web tracking can be used to instantly qualify leads. When a lead completes a form and/or behaves in a way that says “I’m the perfect customer”, you can send a notification to your sales team for immediate communication.
Businesses live and die on referrals and upsells. Unfortunately, the demands on the average sale rep can interfere with requesting referrals and pitching for upsells. Make this process easier with notifications: notify the sales time when it has been a certain amount of time since the deal was closed. This will prompt them to make contact with the customer.
The success of your social marketing strategy is directly related to the footprint and reach of your social network. Use automation to connect all your high value leads, customers and contacts to each of your social networks.
Throughout your sales and customer lifecycle, consider automating the delivery of surveys to capture valuable insights about how your leads and customers feel about their experiences. You can set this automation up once and collect actionable data forever.
Once the deal is closed, you have created an advocate for your company. Setting up an automated email to solicit referrals is a cost-effective way to generate high quality leads. You can also notify your sales team to reach out for leads, and you can automate emails to solicit referrals at regular intervals, like once a quarter.
Practice Segmentation Jujitsu
You’re becoming a pro. Use Dynamic Lists to slice and dice your data – this will help you to discover valuable insights.
- Are the customers who are interested in product 1 also interested in product 2?
- If a customer downloads a white paper, are they more likely to purchase a product?
- Are leads from a specific demographic location more likely to buy?
- Which content (eBooks, white papers, case studies) is most valuable to the sales process?
- Can that content be made more prominent on the site to drive more leads?
Dive into Campaigns
We give you the tools to track anything and everything from a marketing perspective, so that you know what’s working and what isn’t. Use this knowledge to stop wasting resources on ineffective strategies and invest more into the tactics that are working. This will drive more leads back into the top of the funnel.
The comprehensive set of analytics tools allows you to track every lead that enters a business. This is done through:
- UTM codes/referrer IDs
- Dedicated landing pages
- The “How did you hear about us?” question
Uses these tools to optimise your marketing spend across your entire funnel.
You are enabled to review your data through the prism of closed-loop analytics. This means looking at all the deals that have been closed and attributing them to the sales and marketing tactics that worked. By looking at your data from the perspective of all the closed deals, you can gain insights on campaigns that are wasting money.
For instance, you might have a campaign that generates 100 leads at a cost per lead of £5, but if only one of those leads becomes a deal, your acquisition cost is £500 for that campaign. Compare this campaign with a campaign that generates 20 leads at a cost per lead of £10. At first, this might seem to be a less efficient campaign, but if half of these leads become deals, your cost per acquisition with this campaign is £20 – a fraction of the former campaign. Close-loop analytics means sitting down to calculate your campaign’s impact on the bottom line.
You need to see the progress you are making. Export the data you are collecting and share the reports via email.
If you forget everything else in this book, remember that marketing automation empowers your sales and marketing process with high-converting, one-on-one communication.
Finishing this guide is just the beginning of your journey. There are no limitations to what you can do.
The magic of marketing automation deserves your creativity. There is so much opportunity to build webs of workflows and dynamics lists that replicate a person-to-person experience.
We are building a library of resources and tools to help you continue your quest. These resources include tools for using your marketing automation platform, strategies for your campaigns and technical support.