It’s no secret that your marketing automation platform directly impacts your sales team as well as your marketing team, influencing everything from the quality of their calls and emails to the speed of their sales cycle. In fact, if you’re trying to decide whether or not your business needs marketing automation, your sales team might be the best place to look first.
Let’s talk about four signs from your sales team that your business needs marketing automation — now.
SIGN #1: They’re not using their CRM platform.
Interestingly enough, this is sometimes used as an excuse for not investing in marketing automation: “we have a CRM platform but our sales team isn’t really using it, so we don’t see any point in investing in another platform that will just sit there.”
In reality, there’s no better opportunity for you to bring your business into the 21st century with some modern marketing and sales tools. All evidence points to the fact that marketing automation not only adds value for sales teams already using a CRM, it also can incentivize sales teams to start using their CRM:
Sales is 7x more likely to use CRM on a daily basis when marketing automation historical data is in contact or account records in CRM. (Gleanster, 2015)
That’s right, 7x more likely.
The reasoning behind this is simple: context. With lead alerts, prioritized lists for follow-up, and information about how leads engaged with the brand all sitting in their CRM, your sales rep is no longer just looking at a name and phone number — they’re starting to understand the story behind the person they’re talking to, and conversations instantly become more valuable and productive. And the stats (overwhelmingly) show that sales reps are turning this marketing automation functionality into their new secret weapon:
95% of Top Performing organizations report sales reps use sales alert capabilities in marketing automation, and 94% report that marketing and sales executives rely on periodic reports from their platform. (Gleanster, 2015)
SIGN #2: They’re still cold calling.
B2B cold calling is dead and cold in its grave (heh). With today’s highly personalized sales cycles, if you’re still dialing blindly, you’re giving off the impression that your business doesn’t even know how to sell its own product — much less help any other business sell theirs.
Furthermore, your sales reps are wasting a ton of time. Think of the revenue impact that could result if your sales reps were focusing all their time on calling qualified leads that we already interested in your product.
Enter, the age of ‘warm calling.’
Your sales team should not only know which leads belong at the top of their call list, but where they are their purchase decision, and what pain points to speak to first. Don’t worry if you’re not there yet, you certainly aren’t alone: according to CSO Insights, 45% of companies report that their sales reps need help figuring out which accounts to prioritize, and 42% of reps feel they do not have the right information before picking up the phone.
It all goes back to that concept of context: with automated lead scoring and grading you can help your reps identify their most call-worthy prospects at a glance, with real-time sales alerts you can help them pick exactly the right moment to call, and with behavioral data you can help them guide their conversations based on specific prospect interests.
Essentially, you can enable the shift from an intrusive stranger interrupting your prospects’ day with a sales call to a helpful business consultant, calling to advise them on an upcoming purchase decision. (Sounds a lot better, doesn’t it?).
SIGN #3: Your sales cycle is never-ending.
Yes, today’s sales cycles are increasingly buyer-driven (according to IDC, 65% of B2B buyers only engage with a vendor sales rep professional after they’ve already made a purchase decision), but that doesn’t mean you have no control over your sales pipeline.
If your sales reps are sitting on deals that are years in the making, occasionally reaching out only to be told they’re still not ready to invest, it’s time for marketing (more specifically, marketing automation) to step back in.
Lead nurturing helps address situations like this one in two important ways: it frees up your rep to focus on warmer leads while still staying top-of-mind with these prospects in an unobtrusive way, and it allows you, the marketer, to find strategic ways to use your content to ‘nudge’ them along. By mapping out your buyer journey, understanding what questions your prospects are asking at each stage of their purchase decision, and delivering helpful assets that will get them thinking about what’s coming next, you can create nurture tracks that will keep them moving towards making a purchase decision.
When done right, the results of this approach can be groundbreaking. In 2015, Pardot customers saw the length of their sales cycle decrease by an average of 16% — and industry stats support this trend:
67% of B2B marketers say lead nurturing increases sales opportunities throughout the funnel by at least 10%, with 15% seeing opportunities increase by 30% or more. (DemandGen, 2014)
SIGN #4: Neither you nor your reps have insight into the performance of sales emails.
We’ve established that today’s buyer cycle requires a more informed, strategic approach to selling — help your reps get there.
This was the thought process behind developing Salesforce Engage: finding the simplest possible way to put marketing insights into the hands of your sales team, and helping them use these insights to perfect their approach to selling on a scaleable level.
Essentially, you’re enabling them to run their own ‘mini campaigns.’ Reps can select a specific list of prospects they want to email, use a marketing-curated template (or build their own email) to communicate their message, then circle back and see reports on how these emails performed — all within their CRM platform.
The benefits here are two-fold: you’re able to do a little quality control over the communications that your sales reps are sending out, and your sales reps have direct insight into what messages are resonating with their prospects and can adjust accordingly.
Learn more about how using a combination of marketing automation and Salesforce Engage can impact your workflows in our free e-book, A Day in the Life of a Sales MVP. And for even further insight into how marketing automation can help you see more value from your CRM platform, be sure to check out Marketing Automation and Your CRM: The Dynamic Duo.