Marketing automation has become the secret weapon of the sales department. Forward-leaning sales teams have figured out how to benefit from this tool, beginning with integrating it into their CRM systems. This gives the sales team an end-to-end view of a prospect's life cycle, as well as useful information to engage in relevant conversations with prospective buyers.
According to the Lenskold Group, firms that implement marketing automation see a 28 percent rise in revenue per sale. These are results that can't be ignored.
Achieving impressive benefits for your own organization starts with making sure your salespeople can answer the following questions:
1) Who should I call next?
2) What should I talk to them about?
An effectively implemented marketing automation strategy helps salespeople answer both of these critical questions.
1. Who should I call next?
Marketing automation provides organization to an otherwise cluttered world, where every prospect can look the same. When marketing automation feeds the sales process, a contact goes from being simply one more name on a list to becoming a unique prospect with known interests and observed behaviors.
Through behavioral and attribute profiling, marketing can create segments that have meaning for sales messaging. Email templates crafted to match the messaging to the prospect's pain make it easy for the sales team to reach out quickly and accurately.
Hot leads reveal themselves through behavioral activities, earning scores that automatically place sales-ready leads in a prioritized call list.
Web site visitor tracking provides sales reps with a real-time monitor and alerts system for prospect engagement. The salesperson can set alerts to get real-time notifications when prospects or customers visit the site (or even a key page), allowing for timely engagement when prospects are most likely ready to have a conversation.
In summary, marketing automation has the ability to identify and surface those prospects with the highest probability of buying or moving to the next stage of the buying process.
2. What should I talk to them about?
Marketing automation provides salespeople with insights into buyer behaviors and profiles unlike anything they've ever had before. You can see every aspect of your prospect's journey and know what brought that prospect to your lead funnel.
What whitepapers did they read?
What videos did they watch?
Which emails did they click on?
Which Web pages did they visit?
Which Webinar did they attend?
The more you know, the more you can tailor your pitch and address that unique prospect's concerns accordingly. Marketing automation creates individual activity histories that collect all of a prospect's engagement points. This enables salespeople to easily connect the dots of a prospect's engagement journey--to really understand what the prospect is interested in. This shortens the qualification process when talking to prospects, helps the rep avoid the deadly error of missing the obvious topics of interest, and brings the rep that much closer to understanding the buyer's pain and making a relevant connection.
In any sales process, knowledge is power. Marketing automation provides both intelligence and a solid foundation for applying it, while synchronizing with sales force automation and other tools to manage the entire sales cycle--beginning well before first contact.
Shawn Naggiar is the chief revenue officer at Act-On Software. He joined Act-On in 2008 as employee #7, and was a key architect in creating the company's sales model and go-to-market strategy.