There’s an article from Marketing Automation Software Guide about considering Salesforce.com as a marketing automation system. The consideration for using Salesforce.com is compelling, and the value would be high for organizations that would benefit from having an integrated platform for marketing and sales teams. As buying continues to change based on the internet and further empowering buyers, it is our belief that Salesforce.com would find a strategic advantage with offering automation as part of its application offering.
Inbound Rather Than Outbound
Five years ago, we worked heavily on sales processes. The focus was on increasing collaboration, productivity and results of the salesperson and their outbound activities. Salespeople were required for all kinds of sales because the customer sought education and awareness.
In today’s economy, this is shifting dramatically. Our own focus has been driven towards inbound marketing and demand generation. The reason is that parts of the salesperson’s process has been adopted by the buyer. As buyers, we can educate ourselves quickly with search. The world is at our fingertips. We can find what we want to buy and what people think walking down the street with our mobile device. It’s a connected world, and it is only increasing in sophistication and speed. Thus, inbound marketing has shifted parts of the sales process into a more methodical way of engaging and capturing interest from leads.
Nurturing The Buyer
Marketing automation meets a need which did not previously exist. It walks with the early buyer and nurtures them towards a one-to-one understanding of your value proposition. It is customized virtual selling which readies a sale for the eventual conversion of leads. The reach of the salesperson is limited because buyers have set up systems to avoid disruption and premature engagement. Caller ID, Do Not Call, Do Not Mail, and many other tactics have limited the effectiveness of the outbound approach. The job of marketing automation is to connect with timeliness, relevance and personal touch.
Systems Which Are Disparate
Salesforce.com is typically the heart of a business which adopts it. It contains the database of customers and prospects for a business. Furthermore, when implemented with strategy and process, it drives the execution of a business.
Marketing is typically focused on lead generation and has a different set of tools for production and metrics. The mid-layer with sales teams involves nurturing the lead that expresses interest. Thus, automation systems are used to design the campaigns which become elaborate and artful decision trees to drive continuous value.
Having data in different systems poses issues when it comes to putting a complete picture together of the lead from initial touch and visit to complete close.
Salesforce.com Can Close The Loop
With a complete feature set in Salesforce.com to automate the buying process, Salesforce.com creates a closed-loop marketing system. The data for tracking is within one system centered on a specific Lead or Contact record. This helps the marketer and the salesperson to have an epicenter for relating.
Typically, this is done with other systems through integration. The systems we have implemented typically sync data via an API or embed an iframe to simulate an integrated experience. For the fast moving marketer and salesperson, one data record which is the focal point would be optimal for seeing the necessary details for refining outbound campaigns and sales approaches.
The speculation that Salesforce.com would want to get in the game of marketing automation has a lot of business considerations when it comes to its platform positioning and relationships with technology partners. The value for the customer and revenue opportunity may be a driving force. A complete feature set would be necessary before a marketing automation offering would be able to fully commit in comparison with the leading systems in the market. Currently, our approach is to wait and see. Meanwhile, we do what we always do – use the best-in-class and integrate to drive a complete strategy.
If some Salesforce consulting can help drive clarity for you, feel free to connect.