Automation is a marketing megatrend. It allows your lead generation efforts to scale because you don’t have to guide every single prospect through your sales cycle. The promise is alluring; you sit back and watch your business grow.
But there is a cost to scaling via complete automation. It’s the ‘human powered’ touch points in your sales cycle that help build trust, create a genuine connection, and set up your customer for a long-lasting partnership with you.
Given the positives of a human-centred approach to marketing, maybe you shouldn’t automate every single aspect of your sales cycle. Yes, automate where it makes sense, but if you can also understand where human contact really matters, you will benefit the most from marketing automation options.
What is the promise of automation?
Automation is a current marketing buzzword. It makes all sorts of promises: use technology to automatically grow your business. The fantasy is that you can set-it-and-forget-it with your sales process. Simply create a funnel – drip campaigns, chatbots, autoresponders – and then automate.
But things are different in practice. Yes, you can market at scale, but put yourself in your customer’s shoes. When you’re sold to without ever interacting with a human, how does that make you feel?
For most small businesses, it’s exactly that familiarity and personability that allows them to compete against larger rivals. So don’t just try to ‘out automate’ the large-scale automaters; try to give your customers a personal touch at the critical touchpoints of your sales process.
Do you really want to ignore customers and leave critical moments to autoresponders?
What is lost with automation?
How you handle moments of ‘high emotion’ is crucial to how your business is perceived. The first time a potential customer calls you, when they’re ready to buy, when something goes wrong; handling these scenarios well are how you can differentiate from your competitors. People remember how you treat them in these moments.
As customers find you and explore your offering, you are building trust. Quite simply, you won’t make a sale without building trust. For customers to stick with you for the long term, you need to make connections and foster partnerships. Make sure you create human moments in your sales and marketing process where this connection can form.
If you are able to make a genuine connection as you market and sell your product or service, then you create the foundations for a sale and, crucially, a lasting partnership. Human-centred marketing means more understanding and empathy, and therefore a long-lasting, loyal customer. Don’t let automation suffocate your efforts to build trust with prospects.
What can choosing people first do for your business?
There are crucial times in your relationship with customers when it makes sense to offer people the chance to communicate with your business rather than opt to automate.
When prospects are hesitant, support them. When something has gone wrong, help them. By recognising key moments of anxiety and encouraging human interaction with you during them, you can make people feel positive about doing business with you.
Automation can be used to remove people entirely from your sales process. In theory, you can scale indefinitely. But for most businesses infinite scale is not the goal and isn’t even desirable. So don’t automate away areas where you can compete with larger competitors: use your size to help people. Don’t put a ‘noreply’ email address and chatbots in the way.
Look for moments of human connection
There are many ways to inject humanity into your business processes, even as you grow. The key is to carefully consider when to automate and when not to. Don’t make it hard to talk to you when customers are at important junctures in your sales cycle.
You can handle these critical touchpoints yourself or with your in-house team, but you can also explore other options. A live answering service, for example, can handle calls and chats for you, giving your customers a friendly voice even when you’re busy or if customer communications occur out-of-hours.
Consider an answering service that allows you to leverage the power of the human voice while also keeping your costs under control. Creating better relationships with your customers will be worth the investment.
People buy from people. Choose human-centred marketing with HelloSells’ live answering service.
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