If you were given some lumber, nails and a hammer and told to build a treehouse, you might be able to create something that looked like a treehouse – but would the final product be something you’d let your kids play in?

Learning how to use marketing automation is kind of similar. You have all the tools you could possibly need to create a successful campaign, but without the skills and experience, how can you build a campaign that is sure to bring you positive results?

The answer lies in onboarding. At SharpSpring, our Onboarding Specialists teach you how to plan, execute, analyze and tweak automations so you can develop the know-how and confidence to turn your campaign ideas into lead-catching automated workflows.

If you’ve read the previous two blogs in this series – which talk about getting set up with marketing automation and creating a killer content strategy – then you probably have a pretty good idea of what SharpSpring onboarding looks like. In this third segment of the series, you’ll learn how we help you set up efficient automations to increase engagement and guide leads through the sales funnel.

All the Campaign Types

Once you are finished admiring your perfected forms and mega-engaging emails, you’ll probably want to put them to use with your contacts and leads inside of SharpSpring. This could be as simple as sending a “thank you” email for filling out a form or creating a sign-up for a newsletter.

But automations can be much more complex than that. You can use them for things like:

  • Email drip campaigns
  • Auto-responses
  • Blog updates
  • Cart abandonment campaigns
  • Form-fill notifications
  • And much more…

And while automation is super useful for optimizing external marketing activities, it can also help with internal processes, such as improving communication between sales and marketing. Here are a few examples of internal automations that you’ll learn about during onboarding:

  • Lists that update dynamically based on criteria you set
  • Campaign tracking to monitor the success of your marketing endeavors
  • Lead scoring/profiling to automate the sales-to-marketing transition
  • Notifications to team members whenever someone engages with your content

Your Onboarding Specialist will work with you to set up these automations and then help you evaluate and tweak them as necessary.

Automations Everywhere, Inside and Out

First, how do you bridge that divide between marketing and sales? Your Onboarding Specialist will walk you through the process of setting up lead scoring, so your sales team can see at a glance who’s most engaged with your content.

Combining this with our profiling features and automatic sales notifications, your team will be able to see which leads are ready to be moved forward through the sales process, so you can convert them more quickly into customers. During onboarding, we’ll show you how to:

  • Change a contact to a “qualified lead” (or even change a qualified lead to unqualified)
  • Assign lead owners
  • Notify lead owners of lead actions
  • Remove people from or add people to particular lists

Once you streamline your internal processes, you’ll have more time to focus on developing championship content and sales strategies, or just to take a breath and tweet @sharpspring about how much time we are saving you. Just kidding… kind of.

Using Rules-Based Lists

SharpSpring’s rules-based lists are a very useful means of containing and qualifying leads and contacts. They help solve problems like “How can I group all my contacts in Ontario?” Or even something complex like “How many hot leads do I have in the event-planning industry in Waco who wear a size medium?” Your Onboarding Specialist will teach you how to set up these lists to dynamically segment leads based on qualities you deem important.

Next, you’ll learn how to take actions on specific lists or segments of lists. This means sending an email blast to a specific group of contacts in your database is not just possible, but very easy. And don’t worry if it doesn’t seem that way now – your Onboarding Specialist will teach you all the best practices when it comes to using rules-based lists and other related features.

Taking Your Automations on the Road

By now, you are probably chomping at the bit to abandon this article and get some automations set up. But let’s talk a little bit more about external automations.

Your Onboarding Specialist will work to make sure you understand the logic behind automations, so you’ll be equipped to build succinct and useful automations and evaluate their performance.

Together, you and your Onboarding Specialist will build external automations such as:

  • Drip campaigns that extend over a period of time to keep your company top-of-mind for your leads.
  • Automations that remove leads from the drip campaign once they’ve engaged with its content and place them into a deeper phase of the marketing funnel.
  • Campaigns that distribute personalized dynamic emails based on lead behavior, views of your trackable media, page visits, lead scores – or any combination of these factors and more.

Of course, throughout your onboarding process, we encourage you to create any automations you think might work for your business, and we will readily provide feedback to help you get the most out of them.

How Do You Make the Best Automations Ever, You Ask?

As time goes on, your customer base will evolve and you will obtain new information, so the automations you create during your onboarding period will most likely have to change as well.

But don’t worry. In the next and final segment of this blog series, we’ll discuss how SharpSpring’s analytics tools will help you keep your finger on the pulse of your leads and contacts – and how our team of Onboarding Specialists will be there to guide you through it all.

Want to see all of these tools in action? Sign up for a demo of SharpSpring today.

This is part of a four-part blog series that covers the ins and outs of SharpSpring’s onboarding process. Find out how our Onboarding Specialists will set you up for success with marketing automation – so you can streamline your daily operations, convert more leads to sales, and calculate the ROI of your campaigns.

Read the whole SharpSpring Onboarding series:

Part 1: Setting Yourself Up for Success

Part 2: Creating a Killer Content Strategy

Part 3: Building Automations that Convert

Part 4: Tracking Your Performance

Matthew Mogavero
With a background in a range of fields – from medical to editorial – Matthew has a knack for finding connections between seemingly unrelated topics and materials. As an Onboarding Specialist, he enjoys helping SharpSpring users make similar connections as they turn their marketing automation ideas into actions.