Have you been approached by your sales team within recent months asking for more leads or, in many cases, higher quality leads?
(Where are my Star Trek fans?)
As marketers, it’s no longer enough to be building the best communication with sales; it’s vital that we deliver the highest quality prospects to the sales team and reduce the amount of time spent on unqualified inquiries. And this can only be accomplished with the right insights.
In this blog, I’ll cover two trends that are driving the demand from the sales team for higher quality leads, and how a strong marketing automation platform can help you provide your sales channel with greater insight into audience behavior:
Understanding the Trends
The first trend is a tech-savvy sales team. Greater access to information and exposure to technology are developing a new breed of salespeople. Marketing automation platforms and CRMs are no longer a novelty; they are the standard. And with this standard, the sales team is asking for tools that don’t just collect information. They want visibility into their return on investment, and as a result, sales looks to marketing to connect the dots surrounding the buyer journey and provide insights that will help them prioritize and act on the hottest targets for business. The demand for marketing services is no longer focused solely on the outside alone; there is a new consumer of strategic marketing services–the sales team.
The second trend is the convergence of technology. Companies like Google, Amazon, Apple, and other industry leaders have laid the foundation for ubiquitous networks that condition buyers to expect universal access to information. This conditioning starts at young ages, with platforms such as Xbox and PlayStation setting an intrinsic expectation of connected experiences. Add to that the widespread usage of mobile apps, reminding buyers that they can quickly and easily access all kinds of information at the touch of a screen. As a result, marketing has inherited the expectation that insights into buyer behavior should be universally accessible by sales. Similarly, insights should be categorized and prioritized in a way that makes selling to the right audience at the right time as simple as possible.
Responding to the Demand for Insights
For many marketers, connecting the dots and prioritizing targets can be a daunting task. To start, connecting databases can be an immense challenge if the logic to consolidate and centralize insights around the lead, contact, account, and/or opportunity is missing. Take the standard request to pull together a report around tradeshow results. Many marketing teams can measure aspects of the event, but connecting these results together is oftentimes challenging because legacy marketing systems don’t “talk” to the CRM. The impact is a lot of marketing activity that cannot clearly be linked to revenue. Taking this thought a little further, the marketing systems that manage web activity, campaigns, and content may be disconnected from centralized tracking of customer interactions as well. Pulling together the full history of how a target moved from unknown, to known, to engaged, and then to closed is challenging at best.
Addressing the Gaps and Finding your Insights
The good news is that growth in ubiquitous platforms has reached the marketing world. Rather than struggling to connect the dots through SQL queries, congested lead routing, and manual scoring, marketing automation platforms are helping marketers define and share insights with sales. Here are three examples of how a solid marketing automation platform can help you answer the call for strategic prioritization of leads:
- Leading solutions deliver a strong and scalable API. There are a wide variety of systems out there and you need a centralized solution that can handle connecting the many different data points that drive your result. Strengths of a solid platform include (but are not limited to):
- A wide and open network of partner solutions
- The ability to connect to multiple types of data sources (e.g. e-commerce, CRM, DMP, etc.)
- The ability to both consume and act on data inputs
- Marketing has access to pre-designed and configurable insights that can be shared with sales. As a marketer, you need to be able to identify and highlight behaviors and events that indicate which targets have the highest likelihood to produce revenue. Scoring is important; however, the ability to pass specific events and alerts to your sales team at the optimum buying time is an additional criteria for delivering strategic marketing value.
- Connected reporting helps tell the full marketing story which is essential to demonstrating impact. Your ability to show that particular opportunities were the direct result of marketing interactions is one of the primary ways that you can build a successful marketing career. Being able to connect the dots and gauge ROI from specific campaigns based on the full set of marketing interactions along the buyer journey delivers a competitive advantage to savvy marketers.
The modern salesperson is used to having any and all types of information at their disposal. As a marketer, your ability to supply these insights with marketing automation can quickly demonstrate the value of your team, campaigns, and investments.
Do you see any other trends driving a shift in marketing? Share your insights in the comments below.