Marketing automation is relevant today because buyers deliberate and educate themselves before they engage. What used to be the role of a salesperson in the sales process has shifted to buyers and their ability to self-service for information. However, marketing automation does not alleviate the need for sales. The handoff between the buying process and the selling process needs to be aligned to create a continuous experience for your customers.
Before Sales Calls
Before the sales call, your marketing automation campaigns should be serving helpful and valuable content for your leads to consume. In the process, trust is being built and your brand is being positioned.
The system should be measuring both of these factors – trust and positioning – via lead scoring. Your sales team should be prompted at the right time when the scoring reaches predetermined thresholds. The complete history of lead behavior should be visible within your marketing automation system and CRM.
By The Time Sales Engages
When your processes coordinate sales engagement, your sales people should be recognizable with credibility when they reach out. If there is not recognition of your brand, then your nurturing has not been adequate in readying your buyer to hear from your sales force.
Assuming your marketing automation has done the hard work of positioning you in the mind of your buyer, then your salesperson has entree to a relevant and ready conversation around your value proposition. Ready leads have surfaced and your team is focusing on the best leads.
Marketing Automation Strategy
In our work with clients, there are some valuable steps which should accompany a successful marketing automation strategy in order to align the sales process. This will create a fluid ongoing process for marketing and sales in generating demand and converting leads.
- Create real-time alerts. Based on the lead flow and buying process, there are certain events which may need sales attention. Real-time alerts for visiting a landing page or downloading content shows interest in a specific call to action. Serve these up as alerts for specific sales people that may want to engage the conversation with a buyer around their interest.
- Educate salespeople on buying activities. Sales people are familiar with body language, using the phone and sending proposal. These are activities that they initiate. Marketing automation reports activities that the buyer is generating. Help them make sense of the list of data they will see from digital body language that they can assimilate when they do finally connect in person with the buyer.
- Manage follow-up with reporting. There may be assigned tasks to follow up with a ready lead. Timing is everything. Create logic which will trigger management if follow-up on a task is not executed. Another way to manage the human aspect is to keep a real-time report or dashboard in front of everyone on the team.
- Review sales success. Your salespeople on the front lines should be part of a feedback loop on what the buyer experience was like and where it can be further optimized. Have regular meetings or a forum to get these insights into your marketing automation campaigns. Help sales realize they are part of the team and how they contribute for their own benefit.
Aligning sales and marketing is attention to process. Your organization will benefit from higher lead conversion ratios as the automation and human touchpoints are integrated and inviting for your buyers.
How does automation work in your business?