Marketing automation software is a huge blessing for sales teams, but unfortunately, it’s usually a tool that few salespeople leverage. So, often sales reps are too busy to learn about what the marketing team is up to and continue prospecting by sending one-off emails and guessing at which companies and people are the right ones. Little do they realize that if they took the time to understand what marketing automation does, they wouldn’t have to spend nearly as much time looking for leads. So, I’ve put together a primer on how you can utilize your organization’s marketing automation platform to help you close more deals. (You can thank me later).
First, let’s address the elephant in the room. The outstanding question that’s really keeping you from taking the plunge:
If marketing automation is so great, why isn’t it closing my deals for me?
It probably will be, before long. But we’re not quite there yet. The bottom line though is that marketing automation is sales’ best friend but also probably its most misunderstood ally. As a sales rep, just know that your marketing team invested in software that listens to what your prospects do online, figures out what they’re interested in, and messages them to see if they want to talk to you. Sound familiar? It’s basically doing part of your job.
So how can you use marketing automation to your benefit? Here are five ways that you can maximize your sales efforts with marketing automation software:
1. Provide timely feedback
Just like a new employee, the marketing automation software needs to learn what’s good and what isn’t before it becomes a truly productive member of the company. Without feedback, it’s going to assume that most leads passed on to reps are good until proven otherwise. To speed up the learning process, provide some feedback. Let’s say that you are a sales rep and that you are constantly receiving leads from marketing that turn out to be high school students doing research on your website. They fill out the “request a demo” form and you end up spending time on a lead that will never buy. Don’t just complain—help solve the problem! Pass that valuable feedback to marketing and let them know students don’t convert and they’ll dial in the scoring system to redirect them.
In turn, when you receive a great lead, actually go out of your way to let marketing know that it was a good one! There’s a story to how that lead got to you, and odds are, your marketing automation software can identify what was unique about it and find more high quality leads for you and your sales team.
2. Find out who’s poking around on your website
Your marketing automation system is already tracking the people you want to talk to. All anonymous visitors who land on your website become “anonymous leads.” The system finds out their location and company and tracks their behaviors until they fill out a form which allows you to learn more about them. Some 98% of all website visitors fall into that category and never fill out a form and yet only about 70% of those visitors “bounce” or leave the website after one page click which means they weren’t interested. This signifies that there’s a margin of nearly 30% of all visitors to your website who are interested in what you do but aren’t raising their hand to talk yet. Go after those people! Either look them up if your marketing automation system has a sales insight tool or ask for a list from your marketing department and search for interesting company names. It’s a pretty good bet that if you have a few different visitors from the same company, they’re worth talking to.
3. Automate your prospecting emails
At one time it made sense to keep Excel spreadsheets with dates and times for when you emailed people so that you knew when to follow up. At the right time, you would write an email to that person. At that rate, you can get four to five emails out per hour. Luckily for us, those days are gone the way of VHS and Betamax (go ahead, google it). Modern reps automate that entire follow-up process so all they do is send the first email and let marketing automation follow up with targeted, personalized, sales-oriented emails every four or five days. For every email you send, it’s like sending five. At this rate, you can reach hundreds of prospects every hour. It handles the follow-up, knows not to send on weekends, and inserts fields like “first name” or “company” for you. If you don’t have this set up, talk to your marketing team about how they can help you get this rolling with a few campaigns based on verticals or competition.
4. Fish with dynamite
If your marketing team has regularly scheduled email sends, and those emails are set to reply back to the lead’s owner (aka you), you’ll receive the “out of office” replies from all of the recipients. Save these! They’re often full of contact information that you would have never gotten otherwise, like “I’m out of the office today, but you can reach me on my cell at (123) 555-1234.” It’s guaranteed to be a working number, unlike what you get from data providers, and it also tells you when they’ll be back in the office so you know when to pick things up and have a topic of conversation.
5. Pursue tactical marketing
This is the black belt level of sales and marketing alignment. When it comes down to it, everyone is being measured on complementary metrics: more marketing leads mean more sales leads, and if you can provide insights that the marketing team might not have because they aren’t talking to prospects every day, you, too, can help generate more demand. Set up a meeting with someone in demand gen, express your interest in working more closely, and ask how you can help. Someone on our sales team recently shared some news with the marketing team that generated $200K in pipeline for the company!
Savvy sales reps recognize a good thing when they see it and it’s all about working smarter, not harder. Recognize your marketing team’s software as the blessing that it is and get involved to make sure that it’s working for you.
Which of these tactics have you tried or hope to try soon? Share your experience in the comments section below!