Using an integrated marketing environment to increase sales success

With the challenges of the modern B2B sales process, your representatives need advanced tools to help them build relationships with prospects and ultimately close the deal. An integrated marketing platform can improve Internet lead generation efforts, scoring, nurturing and ensure your sales reps never miss a chance to win new customers. Here are some tips and considerations for implementing marketing automation for sales:

1. Spring clean your CRM before deploying an integrated marketing platform

Most marketing automation platforms easily integrate with an existing customer relationship management program, but you can get better results if you organize your data, according to an article for MarketingProfs written by Kim Ann King. This will make it easier to determine where leads are in the sales cycle. For example, if prospects visited your website and downloaded a case study, you need to have a better gauge of the appropriate time to follow up to increase your chances of landing the deal. In addition, deleting duplicate records in your CRM prevents you from sending the same people multiple communications with the same offer.

2. Quicker response times

Recently in sales, much has been made about how leads tend to select the vendor that responds to their queries most quickly. Even waiting a few hours to follow up could cause you to lose the deal. Not only does an integrated marketing platform allow you to respond fast, it also can help you generate personalized messages, Sumayya Sattar wrote for Search Engine People. The reason marketing technology is more effective than doing this process manually is because leads can be sent directly to a specific workflow, enabling better nurturing efforts. Even if your sales team can’t follow up by phone as soon as a prospect takes an action that indicates they’re ready to buy, a personalized email can keep you from losing the sale.

3. Technology can bring sales and marketing closer together

For companies with independent sales and marketing teams, it’s often a challenge to get these disparate groups to collaborate. An integrated marketing platform can bring these teams together, as well as improve internal communication, King wrote. Marketing automation ensures sales and marketing are working with the same set of metrics to determine success. Plus, one of these platforms can improve how leads are assigned to individual representatives. As leads enter the revenue funnel, they can be directed to a specific sales employee who can then begin building the relationship. For example, more seasoned sales professionals can handle the prospects who are ready to buy right away and newer team members can learn the ropes with colder leads.

4. Eliminate cold calling

Cold calling has been rapidly losing effectiveness in the past few years, yet many B2B sales organizations still have employees dedicated to this process, according to a white paper from Salesforce. With the data available through an integrated marketing environment, sales reps can better tailor their calls to individual prospects’ needs. Employees can monitor lead activity by tracking links they send, and this enables them to make more informed sales calls. Additionally, if a prospect has just attended a webinar or browsed a case study, he or she will most likely be more receptive to a sales call because your brand will be top of mind. Marketing automation also allows your sales team to pull reports on daily prospect activities, which can help them plan their follow-ups.

5. Improved targeted based on behavioral cues

Because you can gather more information with an integrated marketing platform, it can help redefine the concept of buyer personas. This data allows you to be as specific as possible when approaching prospects, Sattar wrote. Marketing automation makes it possible to respond to contextual and behavioral cues, such as when a prospect spends a long time perusing product pages on your website.

6. Better lead scoring and nurturing

Citing data from SiriusDecisions, the Salesforce white paper revealed that the average B2B sales cycle has increased 25 percent in the past five years. This may be a surprising statistic for many sales organizations because they have the technology in place to win prospects. However, this extension is the result of more decision-makers getting involved in the selection process. Sometimes even end users play a role in choosing new software. This adds to complications for your sales reps because they need to appeal to multiple buyer personas. An integrated marketing environment makes it easier to assign a preliminary ranking as prospects enter the revenue funnel, which can help sales reps determine the best course of action for following up. Because the sales cycle is getting longer, lead nurturing is an effective way to ensure you win the deal when customers are ready to commit. As lead scores change, sales professionals will know when to make the call.