Why your sales team needs marketing automation

With the increasing number of obstacles in the B2B sales cycle, firms need new solutions to generate leads, conduct nurturing activities and ultimately convert prospects. Buyers have more access to information than ever before, which makes conversion more challenging for sales teams. Instead of shortening the revenue funnel, technology has made it longer because buyers spend more time researching and weighing their options.

Because of these challenges, many companies are adopting marketing automation platforms. However, this can create new issues, according to an article for VentureBeat written by Ian Cleary. Software deployments can be a significant barrier for some B2B brands. It can take a while to move data from disparate platforms to a singular online marketing system. Once this has been done, staff members will need to be trained on the new technology. Although marketing automation is known to boost productivity, the benefits may not be recognized immediately.

While some executives may see this as a deterrent, the eventual return on investment and advantages of marketing automation are too significant to pass up. Here is a look at some of the top perks of this technology and why it’s becoming essential for B2B companies:

  • Major time-saver: As the name implies, these platforms eliminate many repetitive tasks for busy sales representatives. Your employees won’t get bogged down with sending lead-nurturing emails and pulling sales reports. Marketing automation tools streamline these processes.
  • Better relationship-building capabilities: This point may seem counterintuitive because technology can often remove human elements from marketing, but better access to data allows sales reps to have more targeted conversations with prospects. This means your sales team can monitor prospect behaviors, send real-time communications and tailor their pitches to the situation. All these elements establish credibility and build leads’ trust.
  • Lead nurturing contributes to better bottom line results: Citing the Annuitas group, Salesforce said nurtured leads spend 47 percent more than non-nurtured leads. Marketing automation platforms simplify nurturing campaigns by creating automatic triggers when prospects take certain actions. This facilitates the process of moving leads from one step of the sales cycle to another.
  • Significant improvements to content marketing strategy: Marketing automation platforms deliver actionable insights into your revenue funnel. Additionally, content is one of the most effective tools in a B2B marketing strategy. Lead scoring and nurturing can help your team create more relevant content for the different stages of the buyers’ journeys, Adam Vavrek wrote for Content Standard. Highly refined content is one of the best ways to engage with prospects. Buyers spend a great deal of time researching independently before they ever reach out to vendors, so a solid content marketing strategy can inform their decisions.

There are a number of other benefits B2B brands can realize with marketing automation solutions. However, you shouldn’t be discouraged from implementing this technology because of the hurdles.

How to work through issues with marketing automation

Cleary pointed out that companies need to consider whether they can truly benefit from implementing new marketing technology. In general, marketing automation is beneficial for B2B firms because of the lengthy and complicated sales cycle. Selecting the right vendor is crucial to recognizing all the promised benefits. You should outline some basic goals for what you want out of a solution and identify providers with the right capabilities. The right vendor will assist you through the implementation process and offer you some flexibility during the transition.

While executives may be most concerned with the budget for marketing automation, it’s equally important to allot a reasonable amount of time for the deployment. With any software project, the timeline needs to be slightly flexible to account for unexpected issues. If your business takes the necessary time to correctly implement your new platform, you will be well on your way to gaining the benefits.

In addition, you need to ensure your new platform will integrate with your existing customer relationship management software because this is one of the key ways sales reps see the benefits of use. If marketing automation can pull data from your CRM, it will ultimately be more useful in refining the sales process.

Marketing automation isn’t a solution for poor sales performance

While marketing automation technology has many useful capabilities for sales organizations, these platforms ultimately are intended to free up reps’ time so they can focus on what they do best – selling. Companies should never lean on marketing software as a crutch for sales performance issues. Sales teams can use these tools to reduce the repetitive tasks that take them away from delivering solid pitches and closing deals. Reps still need to form strong bonds with prospects to drive sales effectiveness. Marketing automation is a powerful tool for velocity through the sales cycle, but it can’t be a substitute for human connection.