Marketing Automation Success
Marketing automation software and systems automate the process of nurturing a lead via email until qualifying criteria — approved by both marketing and sales — are met. At that point, Sales can be instantly notified of prospect interest. Lead status is updated automatically so that Marketing no longer sends email to a lead being actively worked by Sales.
Similarly, if Sales finds that a qualified lead is not actually engaged, Sales can update the lead status, passing responsibility for nurturing back to Marketing. Lead qualifying criteria can be based on both factual information (industry, company size) but also on the prospect’s online body language, including number of visits to the website, number of pages visited, length of the visit(s), and specific pages visited.
Marketing automation refers to the tools marketers use to automate several marketing actions, including emails, social media, and analytics. Automation is supposed to make our lives easier, right? So, why do so many marketers have trouble automating their systems?
Marketing automation success depends on how well sales and marketing can align to achieve a single organizational goal: sales. Study after study points to the alignment of sales and marketing as a key area for improvement in many organizations, which is not surprising when you consider the high cost of the sales and marketing disconnect.
It’s not enough to host a once a year marketing-sales offsite. Dynamic engagement requires Marketing and Sales to pass lead communication and qualification responsibility back and forth seamlessly, enabling the appropriate method and level of contact for each prospect.
The days of separated sales and marketing departments are over, particularly in B2B situations. Instead of these two departments existing independently of each other, they must work in collaboration—not just hyperbolically, but literally, across the table from one another.
Of course, once everyone is sitting at the same table, you still need some process or methodology to follow. Here’s what we find effective in aligning sales and marketing teams to create marketing automation success.
Leadership and Commitment
Sales and marketers have a love/hate thing going on, and it’s got to stop. They know they need each other to win, but both groups tend to weigh their contributions more heavily than the other, and that’s not how we get to alignment.
Leadership has to bring these groups together and commit to their equal contributions; they have to make it clear that the organization’s goals are not achievable without the participation and contributions of both departments.
This should resonate all the way up to top executives, managers, and on down the line. Unified leadership is essential to shifting this paradigm of separate sales and marketing departments. To see better collaboration, leadership has to commit to the idea and bring both parties to the table amicably.
New Roles and Responsibilities
Digital marketing has changed the way we communicate with prospects. For example, most B2B buyers will have made it well down the sales funnel (thanks to online research) before they even speak to a sales rep on the phone. Marketers have become quasi-sales people by pushing prospects down the funnel with their great content. So, where does that leave the sales people? If they’re not pushing sales down the funnel, what are they doing?
They’re still converting sales, but they have a new role to play, which includes gathering intelligence about prospects, current clients, and the customers that got away.
Sales people have the important job of listening to what buyers are saying about the company straight from the source. They’ve got their fingers on the pulse of big decision-makers, and that’s a powerful resource that marketers have not fully been able to tap into—until now.
Conversely, marketers shouldn’t just rely on analytics to determine the types of content they create; they should focus on listening to what the sales people bring to the table, and find ways to serve those interests best.
Marketers also have a new role to play, and that’s to become great publicists or PR strategists for their sales teams. Marketers should look for ways to help make their sales people look like rock stars. This means ghostwriting content, building presentations, and developing ideas that help sales people become influential voices in the industry at large.
Create a New System for Collaboration
Once sales integrates integrates with marketing, it’s going to be important that ideas are recorded, tracked, and followed up upon in regular intervals.
Sales and marketing should meet on a regular basis, and they should start attending sales or marketing events as a group. It’s also important that a content creation process be in place for sales and marketing to collaborate effectively in and out of these meetings.
Other sharable items include adding sales people to the editorial calendar, listening to sales calls together, or providing weekly talking points to sales based on intelligence they gathered the week before.
Whatever your system looks like, it should be consistent and cover several types of content across multiple vertices and at various points on the funnel.
Putting It All Together
Back to marketing automation: how does all of this help with that goal?
At the end of the day, automation is only as good as the content that’s being automated. The alignment of sales and marketing is about building relations between these two departments and improving the content quality, so that automation can perform to its potential.
Sales teams have a wealth of customer knowledge that can inform better marketing decisions at almost every level. Marketers have the power to turn average sales people into industry influencers; they both bring a lot to the table. But you’ve got to get them to sit at the table and work together if you want to reap any of these rewards.
For more information about marketing automation success, call 408-266-3162 or send email to to: email@example.com
Once you’ve done this homework, and identified the holes in your lead generation process, you can safely invest in a marketing automation system to help you coordinate marketing activities, multiply your opportunities, leverage your assets, and maximize your return on investment. If you’d like help in this area, start with our:
Author: Tom Lauck
Owner of Hivemind Studios
October 14, 2013
Updated:August 7, 2016
Savvy marketing automation comes from experience and a well-prepared and executed digital marketing plan. Marketing automation systems are more popular today than ever. The horror stories of implementation without a creative marketing agency’s guidance, which were common as recently as three years ago.
Also published on Medium.