Marketing Automation – Sell more with a Product Stack
Marketing Automation is a relative latecomer, compared to Sales Automation. It might seem as if marketing automation is complicated and only affordable by the biggest corporates, but nothing is further from the truth. Anyone can implement a marketing automation plan on a shoestring, and understanding the product stack is a key part of it.
Your premium (and only) product
Almost every business has their ideal product. Their core product that is the (most expensive) thing they want to sell. Maybe a single product developed over a long time, stuffed full of amazing features. This product becomes the be-all and end-all of the company, and without it, the business wouldn't exist.
With such a reliance on one product, it is easy for this to cause problems and actually cost them sales, with too many falling into the trap of effectively telling /asking the prospective customer: 'This is my premium product. Do you want it or not?'
A company selling Ferraris would need to know who can afford their cars. Most importantly, they would need the prospect to know that, if and when they're ready to buy, they are the dealership they need to buy from.
This is where marketing automation, and more specifically the Product Stack, comes in.
The Product Stack
"Product Stack" is my word for a series of products or services you sell, leading up to your ultimate product. Each successive "step" in the stack is sold for more than the previous step. You might start with something that is free, or nearly free, then a product that costs less than £100, then less than £250, less than £1,000, and so on. Not every customer will go orderly up the product stack to your ultimate product, but by designing a stack, you are giving your customers choice. You might have three products in your stack, or ten. Every business will be different in this regard.
Now think again about a Ferrari. What are the steps leading up to the ultimate sale? How are the future customers nurtured until they are ready to buy? Perhaps some of the merchandise like a fleece or jacket are relatively inexpensive, but nevertheless a great way to find out who loves the Ferrari brand, and who might become future Ferrari owners.
It is plausible for someone to decide that they want a new car, and buy it from the first dealership they visit. But if you consider that active customers are six times more likely to buy from you, then it makes sense to engage – in a commercial way – with the prospect long before they are ready to commit to the ultimate product.
In line with Lead Nurturing principles, it's vital to start working on a sale before a prospect is ready to buy. This is specifically where the Product Stack comes-in, and the most important step on the Product Stack is Step One. That is where you are giving away something that is valuable to the prospect for free, that is of value to them. And take note: Giving something away will only work if you have a strategy; a series of well-designed actions that lead your prospect from the "free step" right up to the ultimate product.
Are all the steps in place?
Now think about your business. Do you have a Product Stack? Are there steps in place to guide your customers to the top of the stack?
At the recent Contact Edge seminar, attendees were split into groups and asked to create the product stack for a Landrover dealership.
The answers that came back proved highly interesting with personalised Birthday Cards, safety courses and discounted off-road driving experiences all suggested as possible steps on the Product Stack leading up to the ultimate, high-end product: The Landrover. Judging by the enthusiasm shown during this exercise, all delegates could have successful careers in marketing. Be warned though: The hardest business to create a Product Stack for can often be your own. Because of the natural bias (we know what is good for our customers), and the emotional energy invested in the ultimate product, it is difficult to think of "simpler" products that might be complimentary.
Even if you've defined your Products and Services that you think fit nicely in your Product Stack, the process does not end there.
To guide someone slowly up your Product Stack, you need to tailor your output and utilise Lead Nurturing and Lead Scoring to track how they are moving up the stack. The last thing you want to do is interact with your prospect in an inappropriate manner, and lose their trust. This is where marketing automation (also known as Demand Generation) can help. Output is adjusted automatically, and interactions are scheduled at appropriate times, based on the prospect's journey up the stack.
Microsoft CRM is one tool that enables you to easily manage your database and ensure that however high a lead /client is on your Product Stack, they are receiving information that is directly tailored to them.
At Contact Edge CRM, we specialise in Microsoft CRM, which helps businesses find creative ways to engage with customers. And by accurately tracking how the first engagement was initiated, it's easy to determine which elements of your marketing strategy are working.
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