How does your sales team respond when they hear about an investment in marketing technology?
- They may be cautious but hopeful – it could result in more leads.
- They may be skeptical – if marketing isn’t delivering the leads they’re supposed to, why are they getting new goodies?
- They may be utterly disinterested – if past technology has not moved the needle on leads, why will this new investment be any different?
And you can’t blame them for any of those responses. After all, most marketing technology has been added in such a way that actually reinforces misalignment.
Most marketing automation deployments are departmental: marketing is in charge of using them and analyzing the data they generate. So sales feels completely removed from the solution. It might as well be accounting software or a human resources information system – based on how and where it is deployed and how it is used, it seems as if it has nothing to do with sales.
That’s an easy to understand view of marketing automation – but it’s totally wrong.
Sales has everything to gain from marketing automation – more free time (thanks to a reduction in prospecting), better leads, personalized 1-to-1 engagement with prospects, and even new ways for sales itself to reach out to potential buyers.
Having a marketing automation application in place allows sales and marketing to collaborate on lead scoring and lead nurturing. Sales’ input on the development and continual improvement of a scoring system is critical to its success. Imagining that marketing can develop an effective system based on hypotheticals without sales input is a sure way to doom your lead management process.
There are other areas where sales should be enthusiastic about marketing automation. Once a good lead scoring system is in place, marketing should be able to pass better quality leads, and deliver them at the optimal time for sales to work them. That means less time spent by sales prospecting and more time spent selling – a combination that results in higher commissions. That’s something that every sales pro can get excited about.
These positives come primarily from collaboration. But if the marketing automation application is chosen wisely, sales itself can use it. For instance, a sales rep can segment his own prospects and develop personalized messages for them, then track responses in the marketing automation application. This doesn’t create a silo of information – the data about the sales reps’ efforts are visible to marketing through the use of a common system.
Sales isn’t re-creating marketing’s efforts.
Instead, sales is augmenting them with activities that are crucial to the selling process, and adding the data generated by those activities to the data marketing has already collected, gaining a more complete view of customers and prospects.
In order to do this, however, you need to select your marketing automation solution wisely.
Applications like CallidusCloud’s Marketing Automation lean towards both usability and flexibility, making them far easier for everyone to use. The last thing you want is an application that’s usable only by a specialist in the marketing department, because that person will become the bottleneck through which everything in your organization must pass. Sales is very unlikely to want to wait its turn in the queue.
You also need a marketing automation application that’s integrated very tightly with other applications (especially SFA, CRM and lead management) to ensure maximum visibility of data.
Most importantly, you need an organizational mindset that permits sales and marketing to use any and all the tools at their disposal.
That means that marketing can use CRM and SFA to collect and analyze sales data – and it means that sales can not only see marketing data but they can use the marketing automation application to create personalized engagement with their prospects and convert them into customer advocates.