There’s no question that the automation of sales funnels has completely changed the way sales and marketing teams approach lead nurturing and conversions. It’s also made some aspects of that work significantly simpler, leaving teams with room to focus less on administrative tasks and more on action that increases revenue.
Automating sales funnels allows you to narrow your focus on the right customers, schedule email and social media communications in advance, and respond to clients immediately. It’s also made marketing and branding less expensive and helps you avoid human error.
Having the opportunity to focus all of your attention on qualified leads and providing them with information and insight that directly addresses their areas of interest or solves their problems is the beauty of moving to an automated process. For all of its benefits, however, is there a chance you could be over-automating your sales funnel?
Spamming Your Customers
The average person receives around 125 emails per day. Most of them are work related; several of them could be classified as spam. Considering our busy lives, most people are pretty discerning when it comes to deciding which emails to open, and which to discard. As a marketer, it’s important to be certain you aren’t spamming your customers with pointless emails.
Be sure that everything you send adds value in some way, or eventually you can expect to find yourself in the spam folder. As helpful as some automated emails are, such as sending receipts after purchases or a thank you after a free download, don’t tread into territory where you’re forgetting the human element of marketing–connecting with your customer. There are many instances where it’s advantageous to step out of automation and reach out directly.
Forgetting the Person Behind the “List”
If you’re using a customer relationship management (CRM) tool of some kind, you already know the value of having a targeted list of people you know need or want your product or service. Don’t do unnecessary damage to your chances of converting potential clients by only thinking of them as your email list. Keep in mind that there are real people behind that list.
There’s a reason that companies like Zappos and Nordstrom consistently show up on lists of those companies who provide exceptional customer service. It’s because no matter how big they are, they never forget the real people that make up the revenue number. Keep in mind and document which scenarios require you to step in with a personal message or phone call, rather than an automated response. For example, when a customer feels their concerns are going unnoticed or overlooked, your reputation and brand are at risk.
Too Many Steps
Another sign that you may have over-automated your sales funnel is if it has too many steps. The point of an automated sales funnel is to move prospective customers easily and simply through it, hopefully converting them to a sale.
If you have steps within your sales funnel that move a customer sideways rather than toward your sales goal, you could end up frustrating the lead, especially if they are already familiar with your company. If your sales funnel has obstructions in it like too many steps to register or download a freebie, several steps to contact someone about a concern or make a purchase, or multiple email communications in rapid succession essentially saying the same thing, you’ve likely over-automated your sales funnel.
Sales funnel automation is priceless when it comes to more effective marketing; increasing your prospect list, generating better quality leads, and simplifying the sales and marketing efforts overall. However, if over-automated, you may run the risk of being seen as bothersome or difficult to work with, thus damaging your brand.
Through the use of a strong CRM tool, your marketing automation tool, and metrics provided through social media tools, you are able to track your metrics to see which efforts within your automated sales process are working, and which have opportunities for improvement.
Remember that an automated sales process is there to make things simpler. When you feel that your sales funnel is becoming complicated, it’s time to consider where you’ve overdone it regarding customer connections and moving prospects through the funnel, and what steps can be taken to re-evaluate and simplify once again.
Jessica Barrett Halcom is a writer for TechnologyAdvice.com, with specializations in human resources, healthcare, and transportation. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay and currently lives in Nashville, TN.