Improve sales conversation rates with marketing automation

Although it may not seem like it from the name, marketing automation is a highly effective sales tool. These platforms have a number of uses beyond streamlining marketing tasks. From Internet lead generation to closing the deal, B2B sales can be challenging, and the industry isn’t getting any easier. An online marketing system can significantly improve your lead nurturing and qualification, which allows your sales representatives to take advantage of all their opportunities.

One of the biggest misconceptions about marketing automation is that it doesn’t pertain to sales and it will take your employees a long time to learn how to use a system that won’t provide much benefit to them, according to a Salesforce blog post written by Molly Hoffmeister. However, sales is largely a numbers game, and marketing automation platforms can provide better data on sales processes. This can help your team refine their processes over time, making your sales operations more effective.

Why you need marketing automation for sales

It’s no secret that the B2B buyer’s journey no longer follows a linear path. Marketers used to be able to map out the revenue funnel, but now leads come in at different entry points and their own decision-making processes. In addition, more people are involved in the selection process, and buyers take longer to make a choice because they have greater access to information through the Internet. With the increased complexity in the sales cycle, there is a higher chance that your sales reps won’t be able to close the deal. However, with customer relationship management platform integration and built-in Web analytics, your salespeople can gain better insight into lead behavior. This enables them to follow up with a targeted message at the right time. Marketing automation can allow you to fill the gaps in your sales cycle, Jeff Shjarback wrote for his marketing blog.

When it comes to responsiveness, there is never any time to lose. Citing, Hoffmeister wrote that as many as 50 percent of qualified leads will choose the vendor that answers their inquiries fastest. Prospects don’t want to have to vie for your attention, and they are likely considering other vendors and product offerings. However, marketing automation platforms allow you to set up real-time alerts to notify you when leads are browsing your website, and it can assign a rep to call the individual. Your solution will be fresh in their minds, and prospects will most likely be more receptive to what sales employees say.

A growing disconnect between marketing and sales also poses a threat to your bottom line. While you may think you’re using advanced lead generation techniques, many organizations don’t share a definition of an ideal customer. In addition, many B2B marketers immediately hand leads over to the sales team as soon as they have contact information. However, only a smaller percentage of these individuals will be qualified, which means your sales employees may be wasting their time contacting cold prospects. While some people may be ready to buy right away, this isn’t standard. Some leads may need more time before arriving at a decision, but if a sales rep calls and pitches a product too soon, the deal could be lost completely. Marketing automation platforms can easily generate scores so salespeople know how to prioritize their follow-up activities.

Another reason to consider marketing automation is because of the lead nurturing capabilities. Hoffmeister pointed out that nurtured leads often make higher-value purchases than non-nurtured prospects. To put this into simpler terms, lead nurturing works to build relationships with prospects. Customers who trust your brand are more likely to commit to spending more. If they have a relationship with a dedicated sales rep before buying, they won’t feel as though your company is treating them as a number.

Get better sales results with marketing automation

Similar to some marketing operations, different tasks in the sales cycle can seem very tedious. Sales reps may feel like their attention is being pulled in too many directions at once, and it can be hard to devote focus to the most important tasks. While it may seem counterintuitive, automating some of the nurturing tasks can improve sales effectiveness and revenue growth, Shjarback said. Hot prospects can be assigned to the most qualified rep to handle the deal, and triggers can be set within the software to send out targeted emails when leads take a specific action. In this way, your reps can focus on closing deals without missing the potential for new sales.

Marketing automation platforms can also help you decrease overhead spending by reducing customer acquisition costs. When implemented properly, these systems can demonstrate a speedy return on investment. Over time, your company may be able to shorten the sales cycle, which allows you to maintain more consistent revenue growth.