Automate Your Processes to Increase Your Competitive Edge

mobile-enabled, distributed workforce, salespeople are responsible for delivering the same sophistication of personalized messaging that marketing automation has delivered, but most sales teams have little more than the old version of a presentation on their hard drive to manually alter before a meeting begins. Marketing teams are using rocket fuel and sales teams are rubbing two sticks together.

Who is responsible for ensuring consistency between sales and marketing messaging? Many organizations are struggling with this question. The role demands a more strategic look and a foot in both the sales and marketing departments, leading to the recent emergence of such business concepts as sales enablement and marketing ops.

Sales Automation Is the New Ante

Only in the past couple of years have companies—oftentimes led by a newly powerful CMO—gotten serious about sales automation, which is the ability for a salesperson to deliver the perfect content for the perfect situation on any device in seconds. The concept of sales automation—that a personalized message can be crafted for any customer situation using automation technology—is a natural evolution of the rise of marketing automation solutions. With salespeople spending 30 hours per month on average searching for the content they need, it's not a surprise that companies with sales automation solutions gain a competitive advantage in efficiency: Our own customer data suggests 15 percent increases in sales rep efficiency with the use of sales automation tools, but with no increase in personnel.

And then there is the benefit of getting the message right and understanding customers' needs. Without sales automation, only about 40 percent of salespeople claim they understand their target audience's pain points.

Like marketing automation, sales automation provides its biggest competitive advantage when only a few of a company's competitors are using it, which is why companies don't always broadcast their own adoption.

Organizations that control the message from lead generation to customer conversion are winning—and the proudly nerdy but newly powerful CMO is leading the charge.

Doug Winter is the cofounder and CEO of Seismic, an enterprise mobile content management company.

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