How To Get Started With Marketing Automation

Are your sales team always hassling you for higher quality leads? Are you under pressure to turn those leads into revenue? And do you wish you had better data all the while?

Enter the missing link between lead gen and sales: Marketing Automation.

In this episode, we discuss the presentation entitled “Marketing Automation Across the Life Sciences Customer Journey” by Christine Slocumb, CEO of Clarity Quest.

Get this right, and you’ll take a massive burden of prospecting, nurturing, and chasing unqualified leads away from your sales team. What’s more, you’ll get the credit (and the budget to match).

Listen in and learn:

  • The true purpose of marketing automation
  • Why sending leads straight to sales is a huge mistake
  • Why you need to play the long game
  • The one thing you absolutely must do before you implement marketing automation in your business


Announcer: Welcome to the Life Science Marketing Society podcast bringing you best practices, advice and insight from marketing experts from across the life science industry and beyond. To get more insight from the Life Science Marketing Society please visit and grab your free membership.

Harrison Wright: Good morning, afternoon and or evening. Welcome to the Life Science Marketing Society podcast. I’m Harrison Wright.

Nick Oswald: And I’m Nick Oswald and today we’re going to be discussing the Life Science Marketing Society presentation from Christine Slocumb of Clarity Quest. And she was talking about marketing automation across the customer journey. Harrison, what did you get out of that presentation from Christine?

Harrison Wright: You know what didn’t I get out of it, Nick? I don’t think I can summarize that in one sentence. So I think I’ll just pick up piece by piece and we can talk about it.

Nick Oswald: Sure.

Harrison Wright: And this isn’t overall message from the whole thing but one, little thing that Chris mentioned almost in passing, but that I thought was quite key was the concept of progressive profiling. And I don’t know if I think that’s particularly key because of all the things Chris talked about in the presentation it’s the most important, but it’s certainly something I wasn’t familiar with before. And I haven’t heard many other people talking about either.

And the upshot of progressive profiling is where when you get opt-ins from your customers, when they opt to become leads whether it’s through a sign-up form or webinar registration or what have you, rather than taking the either or approach of either you just get their name and email address at the low end or you get everything about them on the other end with this massive intake form you progressively get more data on them over time.

So when they first sign up you might just get their name and email address and maybe their company. Then the next time you interact with them and they opt in for something you take the size of that company or what their role is in the company and so on and so on. So you build an accurate picture over time, but you don’t put them off from submitting their information because I’m assuming most people are aware of this, but the more fields you put into an opt-in form the less conversions that you’ll get.

But if you’re progressively profiling them by using lots of little forms over time you can get that volume of data but it doesn’t put the customer off. I pick that up as something that’s a small tweak that could have a major impact.

Nick Oswald: Sure because often people we talk to who are doing webinars or whatever they think well we need all this information about a lead for it to be useful and so we need to ask for all of this in the webinar form for example. But we advise always that that greatly impacts the attendance and registration for the webinar.

So it’s best to ask for the minimum amount of data in the first instance and then build it up from there. If you are asking for a ton of information for the initial sign up, going back to peeling that back to name and email address to begin with and then implementing a system where you build up the information after that it will greatly increase the amount of leads you capture I would imagine. Well not I would imagine. I know.

Harrison Wright: Yeah. Exactly. And I think it leads well into a broader point here as well which is the whole purpose of marketing automation is to build a relationship and a connection and exchange with a prospective customer or existing customer over a period of time. And it’s not a case of okay; let’s go out and find us some leads now. Right. We’ve got us some leads. Let’s send them all to sales.

It’s about building, nurturing, nurturing the garden if you like. I can’t think of the phrase that you’d normally use, but it’s tending the garden rather than, you know, going out there trying to find whoever is ready to buy right now. And if you’re engaging in progressive profiling you would have to be doing that as part of an overall long-term strategy to nurture prospects. So do you have any thoughts on the nurturing side, Nick?

Nick Oswald: Yeah. I mean this goes back to what we talked about in the last podcast about Marina Hop’s presentation where she was talking amongst other things about branding and about building, slowly building the brand image with each lead, if you like. And that being a kind of building the emotional case if you like for the company and that driving product marketing. And this is the same sort of idea.

We mentioned the parallel between brand building and you building – if you want to put it _____ your own, your personal brand in your personal life. You make sure that you give out more than you take back essentially or at least you give out before you take back in your personal life. And you’re always looking how you can help people and how you can be nice to people and how you can wow people and that kind of builds your own personal brand.

It’s the same with the branding. And again it’s the same with this whole nurturing approach to, you know, taking an initial leap, before the leap taking an initial touchpoint with a scientist through to a lead and then through to someone who actually wants to buy with you. And it can be a long process and at least you should look to be playing the long game. And marketing automation as Christine pointed out is an approach you can take to build a system that does that so that you just set up and it runs.

And you’re not having to pay attention to individuals if you like. You just set up the system. People go in one end. They get all these different paths. They’re taken down all these pathways and they pop out as qualified leads at the other end. And that’s a world away from just grabbing a list of leads and sending them off to sales which Christine quoted a remarkable statistic that 61 percent of marketers sent every lead that they capture to sales, really kind of passing the load off onto the sales team and going to really reduce their effectiveness I would have thought.

Harrison Wright: To me it’s really about meeting people where they are. So having a sales background myself and having taken an interest in marketing in recent years I remember only ten years ago things were very different. And I used to track all my numbers. And it used to be the case that roughly for every three people you called as in cold calling, you’d get hold of one. Nowadays it’s – that’s easily more like a 10-1 ration if not worse. And it seems to get more so every year.

And what that tells me along with what everyone talks about in the marketing world is that with the internet, with new ways that people can get information with the interconnected world people can get everything they need at their leisure on their time frame. They don’t need us anymore in sales to give them information – not until they’re very deeply invested in whatever is they’re considering already because –

Nick Oswald: Yes.

Harrison Wright: — there’s always someone that’s going to provide that information to them for free on line.

Nick Oswald: Yep.

Harrison Wright: So I’m not saying anything that we don’t already know here, but what’s important to me is when people aren’t investing in marketing automation and they’re sending all the leads to sales they’re taking some steps towards playing in the world that we live in now but they’re not going the whole route because they’re still using the old outbound sales methodology but just with this extra addition of making some efforts to get leads on the front end. But they’re not developing those leads.

And what should be the role of marketing, i.e. to nurture those leads and get them ready to have that sales conversation that’s being left to sales. And in today’s world that’s not the optimal way to do it.

Nick Oswald: Sure. The tools are available now and you have to use them. And that kind of brings us into Christine’s presentation was about the buyer’s journey and how you take a scientist from someone who’s just as she called it in the universe a potential customer for your company – how you take them from the beginning until the sale and then, you know, and then upselling them and so on.

And the stages that she mentioned were the initial attraction fees and nowadays that’s mostly Google _____ for example making sure that you’re found and looking for solutions to their problems and their pain points in Google. And when they arrive on the arc or whatever is that you’re providing they see that you have something useful to say. And in that way they get to know your brand a little.

Then the next day just to capture them and that’s to offer them, you know, a download or a webinar or something like that, something of further use to them to get them into your system. And then the nurturing point. You got – it’s easy to see how that can all be automated and there’s all sorts of different pathways you can take people on depending on how they act with modern marketing automation systems.

And that’s again, that’s where you start to get that world away from the bare set of names and email addresses and sending them off to sales. It’s easy to see how that benefits the sales team and therefore help the bottom line for your company.

Harrison Wright: Very much so. I’m seeing an increasing level of awareness about the subject lately which to me can only be a positive thing.

Nick Oswald: Yeah. I think that it’s one of these things where if you get there early adopters and then everyone else starts catching up I think we’re passed the early adopter stage. When we started Bite-Size Bio very few people were looking at that kind of, the idea of getting out there and as Christine called it loving them up, you know, giving the free information to the market on the internet and allowing them to find it and using that as the — to fill your funnel essentially.

People weren’t really looking at that at all and then as we’ve seen more and more and more people flocking into this and really the patterns are changing in the industry as people kind of grapple with that and try and figure out how that changes their practice and so on. And you know these market automation tools are not necessarily simple, but the benefit that you get from adopting them is massive and it’s really essential.

Harrison Wright: I like to think of it as using a magnet instead of a hammer. The traditional sales approach is you go out looking for nails and you bring your hammer and you hammer down as many nails as you can.

Nick Oswald: Yeah.

Harrison Wright: Probably not the best analogy I could use but it’s the one that springs to mind. And then the magnet is where you build the best possible magnet that has the best polarities. Is that how it works in magnetism? And then all the nails come to you and you figure out which ones you want and which ones are the right fit. And that’s the ideal otherwise you’re just fighting with one hand behind your back the whole time.

Nick Oswald: Yeah. That’s something you mentioned earlier about this is all about that middle ground between the lead cap – it’s not all about that, but a big part of this is the middle ground between the lead and the sale and what do you do to move a lead towards a sale. And in that old paradigm what you do and I’ve experienced as a scientist at the bench I’ve experienced that where companies coming back and coming back and just using brute force to try and generate a sale.

And I’ve also experienced companies who have just been there in my awareness and impressed me and built my confidence and brought it to the point where I went to see what they had to offer me in terms of products because they’d already given me a lot in terms of knowhow, information and trust.

Harrison Wright: Absolutely. And I’ve seen exactly the same thing from both sides of the fence. I’ve had times where – and I think back on it now and I look at these old processes where you know I’d spend weeks or months on countless meetings trying to make a sale happen and yes in many cases it did eventually happen.

But then other things would occur where you had the right person at the right time and the right place who’d come through and initiated a conversation and a much more significant sale would occur within a fraction of the time and a fraction of the time investment as well not just the length from initial contact through to the order.

You know when that happened is started thinking hmm. Maybe we should be thinking about how to attract, identify and filter those people rather than spending lots and lots of time looking for people and persuading them that it might be a good idea. And I think any company that can make that mental switch and execute will see a huge benefit.

Nick Oswald: Yeah. And we’ve basically talked around the subject here today of marketing automation and how it is the new paradigm and why it’s the new paradigm, but if you go onto the Life Science Marketing Society website and get your free membership you can watch the full presentation from Christine and you will get some more nuts and bolts ideas about how a campaign like this is actually structured. And even if you’re already doing this, if you’re already doing market automation I think you will get something from Christine’s presentation there. So go and check it out.

Harrison Wright: Absolutely. That feels like an appropriate time to sign off, but I also have one word of caution from past experience and past observation in all of this which is that if this is something that’s completely new to you, if you think this sounds like a great idea and you want to build marketing automation and potentially a lot of other marketing processes around this from scratch, brilliant.

But what I’d caution is how much do you already know about your customer’s journey? And the reason I ask that question is it can be very easy to make a huge number of assumptions about what the buyer’s journey would look like about what kind of content will be appealing to which people at a certain time. And then you can very easily spend, you know, an inordinate amount of time building out these work flows and processes and things that you’ve designed in your head but never tested it in the real world.

So in summary what I’m saying is if you don’t already understand why customers buy, you know, what is important to them, how the sales process operates, if you’re not operating with that data it’s unlikely you’ll be able to make a program like this succeed. So in the early days if say for example you’re a relatively new company and you’re just starting to hire sales reps, et cetera, maybe it makes sense to use the intelligence that you get from the sales people out in the field who actively talk to customers and yet do things that don’t scale that you can’t automate to figure out what that work flow looks like and how they prefer to interact and what they need to know. And when you’ve got that data you can build a marketing automation system that works.

Nick Oswald: Yeah. And once you have that marketing automation system obviously you can then maybe test the hell out of it and to continue to improve it as you go forward. So that’s the part of these systems that really – you have to get in there. You have to do it.

Harrison Wright: Exactly. Well as Nick said, the full presentation is available from the Life Science Marketing Society website which is You have to register to see it but registration is and will always remain free. That’s all from me. Nick, is there anything else you wanted to add?

Nick Oswald: Just go in. Get in there into the Life Science Marketing Society and see everything else that we have on offer for you. There’s all sorts of information from people who know their stuff. So we’ll see you in there at I’ve been Nick Oswald.

Harrison Wright: And I’m Harrison Wright. Thanks very much for coming.

Announcer: To get more insight from the Life Science Marketing Society, please visit and grab your free membership.

[End of Audio]

Photo Credit: Marc Smith

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