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Salesforce Pardot versus Salesforce Communities – Which marketing strategy comes first, last, or at the same time?

Are you wanting to convey a message with email marketing?  Do you need to help those that need you by creating a self-service strategy for your message?  We see this dilemma continuously.  Loyalty is tough to create and easy to destroy.  We can satisfy the appetite of a customer with great messaging and access but to move the customer to commitment takes a consistent and easy-to-use plan.

We all know the woes of a personalized email campaign.  Think about the problems that constantly derail your message.  There’s reluctance to provide an email, changing emails, employee turnover, mixing messages with others that are spam and more. 

There are lots of tools on the market, Pardot, Marketo, HubSpot, Constant Contact…you know them.  With all the delivery methods, the problem is the same.  Does the recipient actually get the email, open the email, and read the email, then act if the timing is proper?  Despite this, many organizations take on the risks of using email and venture forward to attempt to “drip” the prospect into submission.  I’m not calling anyone out for this, we do the same thing and do it with caution and fear!

We read about personalizing the email, building a campaign that will automate the distribution of our message and, then, it still comes down to a numbers game.  Did we send the right message/story at the right time to the right person?  If not, we typically get the “please remove me from your list”.

In addition to this, we read all the time about the status of cold-calling.  Cold-calling is dead, cold-calling is alive if you can stay with it, cold-calling is not cold if you do your homework.  Yes, the dilemma is real and we all face it daily.  So, if this is a dilemma, then why are so many of us still going with this strategy and increasing the efforts with this strategy?

I think it is because there is a lack of understanding of how to engage a very knowledgeable buyer.  Because the E-Commerce platforms have become so sophisticated, organizations with short sales cycles can leverage this platform and create a great user experience now and in turn get a buy.  But, what if you are offering a service or product that is expensive in investment, time, and other resources to an organization?  E-Commerce does not offer a solution for this type of transaction.  Even more, what if you want to truly share expertise so that you build trust in your prospective buyer community?

We provide solutions around these dilemmas using Salesforce.  We often break down the use of a CRM into 3 levels:  Operations, Growth, and Innovation.  I’m not going to detail these levels here but focus on the level we label as Growth.  After all, that is why we use email campaigns and portals, to take the value of what we do to the buyer so that they get an easy-to-get-find experience with us. 

I’d like to share a strategy at a very high level.  What if you were to allow the buyer to have access to information they could call 'theirs' via a login and let them go get your message?  What if you prompted them to login to get that message using a marketing automation platform like Pardot?  What are the benefits and value to the buyer?

  1. You can let them create their own login to access the information that they would need that you build specifically for them.
  2. You capture their emails and other important information when THEY decide to login thus their record updates are owned by them.
  3. You can use the email campaign to share what is in the portal instead of hoping that they read your message.
  4. The buyer can maintain the information for you, know more guessing at the email or using emails that are not related to their organization.
  5. You don’t irritate them with information that is not valuable at that moment.

Sales and marketing are tricky today.   When an organization has identified that they have a problem to solve, we all know that they will do most of the work before they embark upon someone for help. 

Maybe it is time to let them own when their messages are read by letting them login to get them?  Why not avoid irritating the prospect and just keep them up to date when they want to know not when we think they should know?  I’d like to think a buyer would come to me if we show our expertise when they login as opposed to sending email after email, cold call after cold call, asking where they are in the journey?  It’s so difficult to send an email with great content to only hope that it is read. 

Why not let them decide based on information they need by logging into your company and sharing information that is valuable, relevant, and timely?  As opposed to murdering them with information hoping they need it?

I’m not a proponent of eliminating a sales process.  I am a proponent of starting a sales process based on a better timing of need.  The best way I’ve learned to do this is to allow those who need you to come and get it with personalization by delivering to them with secure login, specific information that they would be interested in, and consistently keeping this updated and let them know your expertise when they need it.

I’d love to get your thoughts and feedback and talk about this with you.  Let’s focus on what our buyers and users need versus what we think they need.  In the end, the cost of all the effort needs to be better channeled so that the cost to acquire your revenue is optimized for the buyer not the seller.

I invite you to explore the differences and value of Salesforce Pardot and Salesforce communities with me.  They can work hand-in-hand very effectively for your organization.

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