A sales funnel is an important viewpoint of every business. It represents a framework that helps businesses visualize their customers’ journeys. Not only does it streamline prospects towards becoming customers, but it gives businesses opportunities to scale up by identifying room for improvement and optimizing it.
In today’s data-driven world, it is crucial to have a fast and reliable way to supplement your funnel with all sorts of data. This is where automation comes in handy and gives you all the tools and raw power needed to efficiently feed your sales funnel. Smart automation takes care of all repetitive and cumbersome tasks needed for your funnel-feeding.
Here are the top 5 ways to effectively feed your sales funnel using smart automation.
1. Predictive Lead Scoring
Lead scoring can be used to rank leads and measure their readiness to purchase by relying on multiple factors like:
- The level of interest they showed in your company, products, or services
- Their background (profession, industry, etc)
- Their position in your buying cycle
These scores are mostly in numerical form and you can assign values for each of these factors using numerical points. You can also automate this process to collect all necessary data and use machine learning to pinpoint the most prospective leads. Precisely, smart automation will help you gather all your internal leads’ data from automation tools (e.g. LinkedIn automation tools) and CRM and feed it directly to predictive lead scoring software.
Predictive Lead Scoring is based on predictive analytics and juggernauts like Amazon and Netflix use it to analyze user behavior and predict what they are likely to purchase or watch next. It works by combining both historical and current user data to create a prediction framework.
The whole purpose is to qualify your leads and prioritize the high-ranking ones (ranked by parameters of your choice) to deliver them the richest experience while interacting with you. That accounts for hyper-personalized content delivered to these leads and creating a specific sales strategy just for them.
This approach will help save time and optimally focus your resources on the most prospective leads, ready to make a purchase. Using this strategy to collect and unearth the most warmed-up leads to feed your sales funnel will result in more conversions. There are a variety of tools, like Hubspot lead scoring, that you can use to make this process easy and efficient.
2. Pop-ups and automated email campaigns
Popups can be an effective way for feeding your sales funnels by converting leads to your website. It is said that almost 95% of website visitors don’t make any purchasing decisions on their first visit, which is a lot. To overcome this, you should use pop-ups to capture your visitors’ names and email addresses for outreach purposes.
You can use popups virtually anywhere — on your website, blog, products page, etc. They can be triggered by certain behavior or other parameters you predefine. The goal is to capture warm leads and automation can help identify and capture data about them.
With automation, they can be set to trigger when a reader scrolls through a certain percentage (85% for example) of your blog post or by the time a visitor spent browsing your product’s page.
Pop-ups should have a striking design, with a powerful punchline like “Join a community of 50,000+ SaaS leaders”, etc. It is important that your pop-up triggers at the right time and remember not to overdo them because you don’t want to come off as annoying.
After you’ve collected their email addresses, you should move to create automated email campaigns. With automation, you can schedule emails to be sent at timed intervals while staying personal. There are various options to categorize your subscribers by the channel they landed on your website or their website activity and interests.
You can feed this data to your automation tools, to create personalized themes/templates, content and offers tailored to each segment.
3. Content automation
Content marketing is an important aspect of attracting leads and nurturing them down the sales funnel. The only challenge is that you need strong, high-quality content if you want to generate quality leads for your funnel, and that can be time-consuming. Not only can you generate decent quality, SEO-optimized content with automation, but you can also use it to distribute your content and automate many repetitive processes in the content lifecycle.
It works by using NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and NLG (Natural Language Generation) technologies that can help companies to speed up content creation. You can mostly generate content in text (reports, recaps, narratives, or basic product descriptions), audio, and image formats.
However, creating unique and top-notch articles ready for publishing is not possible yet, because AI isn’t able to completely add human and emotional depth to articles. Proofreading, on the other hand, can be fully automated with great options to gauge engagement level, adjust tonality, and correct grammar mistakes (e.g. Grammarly).
In the image below, you can see what options automated paraphrasing offers and how you can use it to structure sentences better using multiple filters.
What you can also do is easily transform your blog articles or other types of informative and valuable textual content into audio format, and create podcasts, for example. You can use these podcasts for targeting leads over various podcast platforms and supplement your sales funnel with those leads.
Finally, you can use content automation to automatically update your existing content with relevant information or to distribute it over your other marketing channels.
To sum up, automation and AI can help you to effectively:
- SEO optimize your content and improve your Google ranking (make sure to run a website ranking checker first)
- Convert your textual content into audio and video format and distribute it appropriately
- Improve customer experience
- Use content intelligence to boost your content strategy
As a result of all this, you will attract and generate a steady pool of leads to feed your sales funnel, while partially automating the whole process.
4. Social media automation
Generating leads through social media is effective, but using automation skyrockets the whole process so that even 77% of marketers that used automation reported a significant increase in conversions.
You can use automation to generate leads that will feed your sales funnel while saving time and focusing on other objectives. For instance, LinkedIn is the go-to channel for most businesses today when it comes to sales prospecting and outreach — from creating potential prospects’ lists to extracting and exporting verified leads to CRM, automation does play a significant role for better outcomes. Furthermore, Automation helps in maintaining your social media presence and completing repetitive tasks for you. This is what you can do with automation on social media:
- Scheduling your posting activities — This is what social media automation is mostly used for at its basic level. It really is a time-saver, and it can manage all posting activities at predefined times with precision.
- Chatbots for effective customer care — Having a chatbot connected to your FAQ or company’s knowledge base is a great way to partially automate customer care. Not only can you use it to cover the basic queries from your followers, but you can leverage it to ensure they’ll get an immediate response, 24/7.
- Engaging your followers — With so many ways to engage your followers, automation will help you identify and execute the best ones, tailored particularly to your audience.
- Content curation — Curating content is important but can be exhausting if done manually. It requires acquiring quality content that fits your audience. You can use automation to find the most relevant and tailored content for your audience automatically, which can result in more engagements.
Having a smart social media automation strategy is a straightforward approach to establish brand presence over social media and effectively drive engagement. Automation strategy helps in keeping your audience interested, aware and it can generate rich reports (using various metrics) that can help you make smarter decisions.
As a result, you will have a pool of engaged leads ready to be fed to your sales funnel with higher chances of converting down the road.
5. PPC automation
Running PPC (Pay per Click) campaigns is a good tactic if you aim at increasing the number of leads generated. With PPC ads you can generate a lot of traffic to your website and having winning PPC campaigns is a must. However, there is usually a lot of time and keyword research needed to make that winning PPC campaign that converts.
Luckily, you can use automation to cover many stages in the process of creation of successful PPC campaigns like:
- Automated bidding — You can significantly optimize bids by using automated bid strategies (powered by machine learning) that fit your business objectives.
- Automating A/B testing — A/B testing is a process that requires a lot of iterations (that can be automated) to unearth the most successful version of a PPC ad.
- Seamless report creation — Automation tools can help you create rich reports about your PPC campaigns, across multiple channels.
- Effective keyword research — You can use various automation options to discover the best-performing keywords
- Optimize your ad copy — Automation can help with generating data-driven ad copy by matching keywords or your website’s content against search queries on Google.
Automation should be used to enhance and speed up your PPC campaigns, allowing you to invest more time in monitoring their success and adjust automation parameters when needed. Nonetheless, they are a great way to optimize and increase your PPC lead generation to feed your sales funnel with more leads.
Using automation is one of the best ways to scale up your business quickly and efficiently. Not only does it speed up the whole process, but it can also help you automate your funnel-feeding process by enhancing your lead generation and saving precious time.
Automation gives you the versatility and an opportunity to experiment and devise some of your own ways for lead generation.
Try to combine some of these 5 approaches we covered to effectively feed your sales funnel. You should also feel free to adjust or alter them, so they fit your business and sales funnel specifics the best way.
Becky Halls is a Co-Founder of Hyperise, a Hyper personalization toolkit for B2B marketers. She’s an experienced Growth Marketer, passionate about product design/development and online marketing.
Tags: content, email marketing, sales, sales automation, sales funnel