Faced with more decision makers, influencers, and gatekeepers, sales teams need all the help they can muster to target and prioritize prospects, and reach them with the with the right message at the right time. Marketing and sales can work together hand-in-hand to meet the challenge. Marketing encompasses a variety of responsibilities, but now more than ever, supporting sales is job number one!
Helping drive sales success isn’t difficult; it just takes a little creativity to make sure sales benefits from the tools marketing uses on a daily basis. Here are 7 ways marketing can help sales leverage the power of marketing automation:
Lead alerts are basically caller ID for your website. They let sales know who’s on their website and what they’re doing, and since these alerts are accessible anywhere, anytime, they enable a successful sales call. A lead alert includes valuable information, including the web pages the lead has visited, how much time they spent on each page, and their overall history – not just information on this particular visit, but lifetime history of visits and actions. In other words, real-time lead alerts provide you with timeliness – because the lead is still engaged; and with relevance – because you know who they are and what they’re interested in. Studies show that if a Sales Rep is able to follow up within 30 minutes of an engagement with content, they are more than eleven times more likely to engage in a conversation and set a meeting.
Creating tasks in a CRM system is a great way to set up a salespersons day. Whether your strategy is to make sure a salesperson follows up when a prospect downloads a strategic asset, or if you’ve added a follow-up in 30 days button in your emails, tasks are a great way to make sure sales follows up! Automating the process is easy. Building campaigns to create a custom task with a specific due date gives sales and marketing a great way to see who is, and unfortunately too often, who is not following up. Task management and review by sales management is a great way to keep an eye on those important buying behaviors and making sure prospects get the attention they deserve.
Expanding on prioritizing leads, lead recycling provides a managed feedback loop to make sure that leads that aren’t ready or viable get removed from sales view, and returned with the necessary information marketing needs to avoid sending similar leads to sales in the future. This doesn’t necessarily mean you want to stop marketing to them, they showed interest for a reason, and given the mobility of today’s workforce, continued marketing can be fruitful. For leads that just aren’t ready, recycling with a future contact date to make them re-appear in the CRM system on a specific date or based on a flurry of activity or specific action, let’s sales focus on what’s important now, and automatically know when recycled leads are ready for further attention.
Setting up lead priorities via lead scoring and the definition of a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) is easy and a highly effective way to help sales focus on the right prospects at the right time. In addition, it’s a great way to get sales and marketing on the same page regarding when a lead should be passed to sales, and what sales will do once they get it. Once both teams have a common understanding of the process, it can be adjusted over time to refine lead flow and the threshold a prospect has to achieve to be ready for sales.
A large amount of your website traffic comes before a visitor actually registers for content or contact, so why miss out on that valuable visit data before they’re “converted”? Anonymous Visitor Tracking, helps your sales identify companies and record each individual visitor’s web activity starting with their very first visit to your web site. Once a visitor decides to register for premium content or clicks on an email, their anonymous visit history is automatically appended to their personal contact information, giving you a complete picture of each prospect’s interaction with your organization from the moment they visited your site—not since they registered. This pre-registration history is invaluable to understanding a prospect’s interests sooner—and provides a real leg-up for your sales team.
Rising above the noise takes persistence. While prospects may show interest via their activity on your website, sometimes getting in touch via phone is near impossible. So rather than badger a prospective customer for weeks leaving messages, mix it up! A mix of calling and tickler emails are a great way to let a prospect know you are there. Adding a link in emails to add a task to your CRM record if they click call me in 30 days, or 60 Days, or even, I’m not interested is a great way to respect their time yet get an appointment.
Giving sales a lifetime view of a prospect from the first time they visited your website anonymously to recent visit activity lets sales focus the discussion on what a prospect is interested in rather than a verbal or email fishing expedition. Avoiding many of the painful qualification questions and getting right down to real interest builds momentum and builds credibility in the mind of that potential customers. Knowing every asset download, what pages viewed and how long, campaign membership all provide a playbook for a successful sales engagement.
These are just a few of the creative things marketing can do with a marketing automation platform to empower a sales team. There are many more, limited only by your imagination. Working hand-in-hand with your sales team can be enlightening and rewarding. I work with sales and marketing teams all over the world and there is no shortage of creative strategies to increase sales and better the sales and marketing relationship. Just start small, but think big.