With a name like “marketing automation”, it’s not surprising that sales teams are confused about this type of platform. As a member of the sales team, you’ve probably asked your marketing team, “Hey, what’s in it for me?” The answer is, well, everything. Marketing automation supports the sales cycle, ensuring sales teams have access to qualified leads. Supporting sales teams is marketers’ No. 1 job, and marketing automation helps them do it more effectively.
Sales, Marketing Automation, and the Road to More Leads
According to a 2014 report from Regalix, 86% of marketers using an automation solution said its greatest benefit was improved lead management and nurturing, and half said marketing automation increased sales and marketing alignment. These are powerful stats! The point I want to stress here is that these benefits mean as much to sales as they do to marketing.
Here are four ways sales can reap the rewards of marketing automation:
1. Get the Right Leads
Sales teams get frustrated when they spend hours emailing and calling leads who will never buy. Imagine this scenario: one of your top sales reps cold calls five different leads one morning. After long conversations, all of them turn her down. First thing in the morning, she has all the confidence in the world and can’t wait to add numbers to her quota. But losing out on sales time after time damages her confidence and wears her out. Then, finally, the right person is on the line. He has the decision-making power, and his company has need and interest. But now your rep is tired and frustrated. She bungles the conversation and loses the sale. Though this story is hypothetical, it happens frequently. Lead scoring helps you prevent this situation by allowing marketers to weed out cold leads and only pass the strongest ones to sales. This way, sales teams can remain focused and effective…and, not to mention, marketing automation can save valuable time.
2. Keep Leads on the Line
Here’s my preaching moment:
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: many leads aren’t ready to buy when they first come to you.
In fact, most of them aren’t. But you don’t want to lose a sale just because the timing isn’t right. Marketing automation enables lead nurturing so you can build relationships with prospects over time and strike when the iron is hot. If you review a lead passed down by marketing and feel like it might be ready soon—but not just yet—go ahead and send that lead back to marketing for some nurturing. When the lead returns to you, that lead will be more engaged with your company, and you’ll have what you need to close the sale.
3. Monitor Real-Time Activity
OK, so it may be called marketing automation, but that doesn’t mean sales can’t use it, too. Many marketing automation platforms, like Marketo, have an awesome plug-in for the CRM that sales teams would give a standing ovation. This feature automatically highlights the best leads and opportunities for sales to focus on, saving them from an endless game of “cat & mouse”, and allowing them to close more deals in less time (Amazing, right?!) A solid sales tool also allows sales teams to track behavior, thus indicating the level of their leads’ buying interest, as well as allows them to turn insight into action by sending emails or entire campaigns through the email server or CRM. Ultimately by using marketing automation insights, sales teams can use their time wisely: spending less time on cold calling dead leads and more time getting in contact with those leads who are ready to sign on the dotted line.
4. Achieve Continuous Improvement
You may have heard murmurs that automation increases the marketing team’s ability to demonstrate return on investment for their campaigns. Once again, you’re probably thinking, “Yeah, but what’s in it for me?” The answer is plenty. Keep reading…
When marketing is able to effectively measure everything it does, the marketing team can see exactly what’s working and what’s not. Marketing automation helps marketers gain budgeting for their projects because they can prove when a campaign worked. If a campaign wasn’t effective, marketers can determine why and be sure not to make the same mistake again. This means they can hone their campaigns each time to make them better and better. More effective campaigns mean more qualified leads, better nurturing, and overall, more closed sales for you. See how that works?
Despite the name, marketing automation really isn’t just for marketing teams; it’s a viable tool for sales teams, too. But one could argue with me here and say that automation isn’t really for marketing or sales—it’s for your customers, both present and future. And that’s a powerful thing.