Before getting into benefits, let’s clear the air by addressing the most common myth that marketing automation is exclusively for marketers. In fact, it’s as beneficial to your sales as it is to your marketing team. You might miss a great deal if you continue to entertain that misconception. Marketing automation includes marketing database management, analytics, social media marketing, email marketing, multi-channel campaign management, lead generation and lead nurturing – all of which are central elements of sales processes.
Today, salespeople need to be on their toes and have all the possible information regarding prospects, to make better sales pitch. Because consumers are more informed than ever, they seldom seek the help of salespeople to make a purchase. Gartner predicts that by 2020 customers will manage 85% of their relationship with a business without talking to a human. Atlassian, an Australian based software company worth $100M+ revenue, runs without salespeople. This illustrates why salespeople should get rid of their traditional thought processes and adopt new technologies to streamline their efforts.
Marketing automation allows salespeople to listen to their dynamic customers, understand their behavior and interests, track their actions. Let’s have a look how it does:
Cold calling is vague and rarely produces a meaningful conversion. Only 1% of cold calls ultimately convert into appointments according to a study by Keller research center. It’s time you eliminate cold calls and engage your salespeople in more informed prospecting. Marketing automation tracks all the engagements and behaviors of prospects alerting salespeople when they are ready to make a buying decision.
The amount of time you take to respond to prospects greatly affect the quality of your conversions with them. A Harvard Business Review study showed that sales reps are seven times likely to have a meaningful conversation with leads if they respond to them within the first hour. The study found that sales reps were 60 times more likely to qualify a lead if they waited 24 hours to follow up with that lead. Marketing automation significantly decreases lead response time.
Marketing Automation provides insights on setting up campaigns, for example, when you roll out a new landing page, the increased rate of submissions from website visitors indicates to set up a campaign or registering for an event can trigger another campaign, so on and so forth.
Alignment of sales and marketing goals
“You can’t serve the customer right when your best people are working blind”
-Marshall Lager, managing principal of Third Idea Consulting.
Sales and marketing teams need to work in tandem to reduce the sales cycle. Whether its marketing or sales, the end result of both is to work towards winning a customer. Misalignment between sales and marketing teams can cost companies $1 trillion a year.
Furthermore, lack of alignment between sales and marketing can miss 79% of marketing leads to convert to sales leads. In short, lack of alignment means the efforts of both the marketing and sales teams are going to be in vain. What’s the magic formula for this issue? Marketing Automation. Marketing Automation streamlines the workflow of both your sales and marketing teams, helping them to collaborate and communicate better.
You also need to understand the loopholes involved with marketing and sales synchronization. 85% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a prospect reaches out to a salesperson. That’s largely due to a marketing team’s presence on social media or the distribution of free web content. If your marketing efforts don’t engage your leads, they will never become qualified and handed over to sales. Sales and marketing teams can collaborate better by sharing knowledge and creating lead nurturing programs to generating more leads. Since sales likely have more one-on-one experience with customers, they can help in the creation of buyer personas and provide insight that can be used to develop targeted marketing campaigns for the particular segment of prospects.
Not all click-throughs and downloads produce actionable leads. Marketing teams must maintain a system to better qualify their leads before passing them to sales.
Better customer management
Marketing automation helps you track the activities of your prospects in real time. Once you are aware of what your customer is doing, your sales team can better approach them in conversation. Marketing automation makes this easy by allowing you to receive pop-ups when high priority prospects complete high-value actions that indicate a propensity to buy.
Sales reps can be notified when a prospect downloads content, clicks through to a landing page, views specified web pages, submits form etc. You can also set the system to take action when a prospect displays a certain behavior, like sending them a free white paper when they complete a form about the same subject. In this way, a prospect receives an email with a relevant offer that’s relevant to them, rather than receiving a random email you send to all contacts in your database.
Also, businesses today are increasingly sensitive to discussions about their products or services on forums and social media platform. Most marketing automation tools provide social listening to give you real-time insight into your prospects’ online activities. This way you can respond to customers’ queries or negative comments as soon as they happen.
Better market segmentation
As a thumb rule, if there is no segmentation, there is no personalization. Of course, you need to understand your prospects more clearly, to treat them better. Not every customer is same, and you need to tailor your offerings and services based on the customer’s interests and needs. With marketing automation, you can segment your prospects based on demographics, geography, behavior and more. Individuals from the same segment typically respond in a similar way.
With demographic data, you commonly consider age, ethnicity, gender, marital status, occupation, education, and income as variables that are likely to influence a person’s interests and needs. This is more predominant in eCommerce, where companies heavily promote beauty products to females and electronic devices to males. Geographical segmentation is also a valid tactic. For instance, Nestle promotes Nescafe all year in colder regions, whereas they do not in regions with warmer climates. Behavioral segmentation is based on displayed behaviors, including patterns of product use, price sensitivity, purchase history, brand loyalty, and benefits sought.
Once the segments are defined, your sales reps can create ideal buyer personas for each segment and plan their campaigns and, content according to the needs and interests of that particular segment.
Enhancing the quality of leads is the primary objective of sales and marketing teams. Usually, there’s a significant discrepancy in the number of leads produced by marketing efforts and the number of those that ultimately get converted into sales. This can be resolved by a lead scoring system. With marketing automation, the marketing team can score particular leads at every stage of the sales cycle, ultimately aiming for leads to score enough to cross a scoring threshold, which means those leads are now qualified and will be handed off to sales. This increases the quality of leads that marketing is passing over, which helps to build a sales pipeline full of highly qualified leads who are genuinely interested. This saves your sales reps the time they would otherwise spend reaching out to dead-end leads.
Also, salespeople should take care of their lead nurturing tactics. They must have a lot of leads which have dropped out at the last minute. For instance, you have a lead which dropped out at the last minute because of budget issues and put a hold on buying your product. Instead of sending a casual touch base email, now that you know the demography, segment, behavior, and score of this lead, you can send emails on the product developments, client case studies and webinars.
Growth in customer acquisition
With marketing automation, you can include survey links in email content, employee email signatures, automated phone surveys that capture input after a support engagement or even a forum on your website. Thanks to the integration feature of marketing automation with CRM, the data is captured and stored in the CRM, which helps your sales teams in taking vital decisions when required. Make sure you offer several options for your customers to provide feedback and analyze the data regularly.
Hopefully, you now agree with me more on how viable a marketing automation software can be to sales. Merely having a tool cannot meet your needs until you make a total use of it.
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