How to beat Dunbar’s Number with MarTech

You might be familiar with Dunbar’s Number, but I bet you never realized how it affects your B2B marketing strategy. Robin Dunbar, a British anthropologist, found that there was a correlation between a primate’s brain size and the average social group size they were able to maintain. He discovered by accident that for humans, the magic number is 150 people. This means that, according to Dunbar’s Number, the number of stable relationships you can maintain is 150.

Think about all of the people in your life: family, friends, teachers, doctors, dentists, coworkers, etc. That’s probably getting close to 150, which doesn’t leave much space to stay meaningfully connected with your prospects. Luckily, Dunbar’s Number can be beaten both personally and professionally with help from the right marketing technology (MarTech for short) like marketing automation, CRMs, and referral automation software, which work together to manage and nurture prospect and customer relationships to build a trusted and significant connection with them.

MarTech tools can save the day (or quarter) for you, so you don’t need to worry about overlooking valuable relationships. Here are three key MarTech tools that can help you beat Dunbar’s Number and stay meaningfully connected with all of your prospects and customers:

1. Marketing Automation

A marketing automation platform is critical for building and maintaining relationships with your prospects and customers, and it’s one of the key tools that you need to expand your number of relationships with them beyond Dunbar’s Number. Whether a lead is at the top of the funnel and just engaged with your company, an MQL who’s interested but not ready to purchase yet, or a new customer that just signed, your marketing automation system lets you track and analyze their behavior throughout each stage of their journey. By tracking their behavior across all of your channels—be it on mobile, social media, or your website—you can segment them into the proper campaigns to send them targeted content (that’s valuable to them) and nurture them over time.

Marketing automation helps you keep your brand top-of-mind for your buyers. You certainly don’t want them to forget how important your product is to their business growth, especially when they’re getting close to making a purchasing decision. Simultaneously, it helps you keep track of the right buyers and automates your processes so that you can nurture them until they’re ready to purchase without having to actively keep tabs on them every day.

2. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

A CRM works in conjunction with your marketing automation platform to manage your leads. It integrates with your marketing automation system to keep track of your leads as they flow through your marketing funnel. Then, when a prospect or customer performs an action that indicates that he is finally ready to buy or upgrade, your sales team will know right away when to reach out. Furthermore, your customer success team will have access to information that’s critical for ensuring your customers’ long-term success, such as how long they have been a customer, products and services they have purchased, and conversations that have taken place. When a customer upgrades or purchases an additional product, your customer success team will have the information they need to make the onboarding process smoother.

This type of information empowers your customer-facing teams to prioritize and maintain relationships with your prospects and leads. This way, you don’t miss out on developing and nurturing valuable relationships, defeating Dunbar’s Number and increasing the number of stable relationships you can maintain.

3. Referral Automation

Referral automation incentivizes customers, partners, and employees to facilitate a warm introduction between your business and their network, while tracking their referrals on the back-end to attribute them back to the advocates. While most people think of referrals as a consumer marketing tactic (e.g. DIRECTV or Uber), forward-thinking B2B marketers are also leveraging customer, partner, and employee referrals, and it’s not hard to see why. Studies have shown that leads generated from referrals convert 4X better than marketing leads, according to eMarketer.

Many SMB and enterprise companies use a referral automation platform in addition to their marketing automation and CRM platforms to automate the process of capturing and closing referral leads. Referral automation software gives you the ability mine your customer, partner, and employees’ 150 meaningful relationships and extend the trust they have created to your business.

So how exactly does this work? Once a referral is accepted by the invitee, it gets routed into your lead flow, where your sales team can follow up and close the business and the “inviter” gets rewarded. From there, you can continue to prioritize them and nurture them by integrating your marketing automation, CRM, and referral platforms together to create a seamless lead management experience from first touch to final signature.

Dunbar may have been onto something, but with so many valuable tools at your disposal, it’s easy to beat the odds. People have a lot of choices, and sometimes, a decision to go with one vendor over another comes down to a rapport they have or don’t have with them. Fill up your 150 limit with personal relationships and leave your professional connections to MarTech that does the heavy lifting for you.

Discover how referral automation increases your ROI by expanding on Dunbar’s Number with the ROI calculator now!

What other technologies have helped you beat Dunbar’s Number? Share them in the comments below!

CTA_ROI_calculator_v2

Originally published on Marketo.com

The best lead generation software you’re not using

How to make lead generation as easy as catching a dodo bird

Every marketer knows that lead generation isn’t as easy as it once was. But imagine if lead generation software could make leads as easy to capture as the infamous dodo bird. The dodo bird is well known for its willingness to be captured, however it wasn’t because it was extremely stupid or suicidal, but due to its lack of survival instinct or reflexes that was a result of it having no predators prior to the arrival of humans in its ecosystem. This trusting nature made them incredibly easy to be caught by Dutch settlers.

Unfortunately, your target prospects are a little better at adapting to new circumstances than the dodo. Therefore, it is no surprise that SEO and PPC are harder than ever before due to a combination of it being mined thoroughly and tools like ad blocker which in 2015 grew in adoption by 48% in the U.S. according to PageFair’s 2015 ad blocking report.  Along with this, the flooding of inboxes by email have led to the automatic reflex to delete all and custom and default spam filters take care of the rest. In other words, businesses and consumers alike have developed their own digital reflexes meant to protect them from unwanted interactions.

So how are you supposed to break through these automatic reflexes taking place in the digital space and make leads act a little more like the dodo bird? By using more than just one type of lead generation software.

There has been much talk about relationship oriented selling to break through barriers. In order to be successful at that, your lead generation software needs to have solid connections with each other and be able to take part in each stage of the buyer’s journey. The best lead generation software you’re not using may in fact be four platforms with integrated approaches that cover the whole buyer’s journey. This includes:

  • Digital analytics
  • Marketing automation software
  • CRM
  • Referral marketing software

Four of the best lead generation software systems to use together

Digital analytics software – Digital analytics software keeps track of lead generation metrics that are usually part of the beginning of a buyer’s journey. While there are basic analytics like clicks and downloads of assets, make sure that your web analytic software is tracking more advanced metrics that apply to long-term goals. These more advanced metrics include real-time reporting, SEO keyword analyses, and behavioral traffic flow.  From this insight you can optimize your website and assets for high-quality traffic.

Unsurprisingly, one of the best digital analytics software is Google Analytics. Google Analytics provides you with important data about the prospects or leads who are visiting your digital presence. Within Google Analytics users can capture advanced insight into how visitors interact with a digital presence, how they arrived, and measure the sales and conversions that occur, along with much more.

Marketing automation software – Marketing automation software automates repetitive marketing tasks to help business get found online and provide advanced analytics and insight into all marketing initiatives in order to optimize and personalize them. Two features that provide this value are lead scoring and lead nurturing. They enables marketers to pinpoint quality leads and understand what stage of the buying process leads are at to nurture them accordingly. Marketers can then place them into campaigns that are personalized to their needs. This lead generation software is often most effective in the middle of the buyers journey after awareness but before they become an SQL, although different features can be applied throughout a customer’s lifetime.

Hubspot is a top marketing automation software for small and medium sized business. With goal-based email nurturing and in-depth analytics along with features that enable marketers to manage and leverage their social media presents, a business can generate greater number of quality leads and help convert them to SQLs, opportunities, and finally, customers.

CRM (Content Relationship Management) – CRM are used by sales to manage and analyze lead and customer interaction, and data throughout the customer life cycle to drive closing of leads and increase sales conversions. However, many times marketers assume that a CRM should be used exclusively by sales but this isn’t necessarily true. The value that a CRM can offer a marketer is in its ability to continue the tracking of MQLs and discover what marketing efforts are producing the leads that convert to customers.

Salesforce provides one of the best CRMs on the market. In addition to keeping track and managing contacts, the Salesforce CRM track sales leads, opportunities, and customers with an ever increasing amount of dedicated integrations. Based on their 2015 customer relationship survey, their CRM has increased sales productivity by 44%, increased win rate by 37%, increased sales by 37%, increased lead conversion by 43% and increased forecast accuracy by 48%.

Referral marketing software – Referral marketing software harnesses the power of your current customers, partners, and employees’ relationships with their network by incentivizing them to provide a warm introduction that extends the trust of the previously built relationship to include your brand, increasing the likelihood of them buying by 400%, (Nielsen). Your current customers, partners and employees understand who in their network is in market for your product or service to create a 4X higher conversion rate than typical marketing channels. This lead generation software is a powerful part of keeping current customer and partners engaged and can increases referred customer’s lifetime value by 16% compared to non-referred customers (Harvard Business Review).

Amplifinity is one of the top B2B referral marketing platform that creates a dedicated channel for lead generation for companies with direct sales teams. Amplifinity understands the importance of offering an integrated lead generation approach for the whole buyer’s journey and has a deep Salesforce integration through a managed packaged app that brings sales and customer success teams into the process.

Find the best lead generation software for you

There are many types of lead generation software available to enable your lead generation efforts. When deciding what your next investment in lead generation should be make sure your return on investment makes sense. To decide if referral marketing software should be the next lead generation software on you adoption list tryout the ROI calculator to discover what your personal referral ROI could be.

And to learn how Salesforce and Amplifinity work together to break through your leads’ digital reflexes and close at a much higher rate checkout the page, Premier Referral Software for Salesforce.

Salesforce referral program

The Key to Building Long-Term Relationships With Your Customers

Marketing is like being in a relationship. And as a marketer, there are several stages you go through with your prospects: from the first date (or communication) where you spend time getting to know them, to learning and adapting to their interests and needs, and then the subsequent dates (or emails, messages, and communication) where you continue to build the relationship with hopes that it’ll flourish and become long-term.

There was a time when sending out single channel emails manually could garner success, but like every new channel that starts out successfully, as the number of adopters rises, the channel’s effectiveness decreases—in the case of email, this means that your emails may have historically been successful for you, but their success may diminish as your prospects are flooded with emails from every business. But don’t be discouraged by this, because single channel marketing is a thing of the past.

Fortunately, there are technologies like marketing automation platforms that support integrated, multi-channel campaigns (both online and offline) that are automated and trigger-based. You can personalize your emails with data-driven insights and then expand your reach by empowering your audience to become brand advocates for a happy, long-term relationship, let’s look at how this works:

Email + Data= A match made in heaven

Insight is no longer an option, but a necessity when trying to generate and nurture your potential customers to fruition. If the email you’re sending doesn’t relate to a prospect or contact personally, it’s not going to be effective. But there is a solution, and it’s one that marketers will approve of. A romance has blossomed and bloomed between email and data in the form of marketing automation. Marketing automation helps marketers address their need to employ personalization at scale by using data gathered from prospective customers to send the right message, to the right customer, at the right time in the purchase cycle.

When considering your approach to emails, think about how you would act on a first date. On a first date (at least a successful one), you wouldn’t just blab about all the things you want out of a relationship without having any idea of what the other person desires and requires. While this example is a generalization, it highlights that you wouldn’t get you the response you want. Instead, when you’re trying to develop a new relationship, you need to approach it as a learning experience. Just like a great date, you need to listen to the behavior of your prospects and use this insight to shape a personalized nurture strategy (next text message, email, or date).

A Whirlwind Romance

Marketing automation provides you with powerful insight to develop the personalized nurture strategy that’s required when cultivating a successful email campaign. Through marketing automation, you can successfully court your contacts by:

  • Implementing triggered cross-channel behavior emails when a prospect digitally interacts with your brand to show your prospect that you understand their needs and can satisfy them
  • Creating automated workflows that start by sending welcome emails to make your prospects feel appreciated and continue to nurture them to conversion
  • Sending personalized emails at scale so that the recipients feel a more individualized connection to your brand
  • Implementing scoring to listen to what your prospect’s actions are saying and respond accordingly

In fact, out of those who successfully nurtured their contacts with personalized emails via a marketing automation platform, 77% got through those “first dates” (first emails) and saw an increase in their conversions, according to VB Insight. So there’s no need to keep sending emails blindly when there are such promising alternatives.

Successful relationships are about trust

Like any relationship, getting through the initial stages is just the start. Without trust, you have nothing. To be successful, you need to build trust by staying true to your words and being reliable and reputable. With marketing automation, you can keep track of your contact’s preferences in terms of frequency of communication, interest and more, in addition to listening to their behavior across channels to deliver a personal and relevant message. Showing your potential customer and customers that you listen and understand them as well as respect their preferences is the first step in building trust and establishing a strong relationship. Once you’ve established this, the next step is to gain their loyalty and encourage them to become brand advocates.

A complementary technology to marketing automation that’s ripe and ready to do this is referral marketing software. Referral marketing software taps into the trust of your current customers, employees, and partners to empower them to break through the noise of your competitors and refer their family, friends and professional network to your business.

When you give your customers, employees, and partners the tools and technology to advocate for your brand, with just a push of a button, they can send personalized email template from themselves, to their family, friends and professional network in referral of your business. This process expands the circle of trust that was previously built between your customer, employee, and partner and their referral to include your business.

In fact, a study showed that customers are 400% more likely to buy when a product or service is recommended by someone they know according to  Nielsen.

Start exploring the channels that will empower your emails to reach maturity and build successful relationships. Learn more about marketing automation and referrals today. And discover how they can work together to drastically increase your quantity of quality leads.

cta referral quiz

Originally published on Marketo

Questions? Email me at JEdmondson@amplifinity.com