Selling marketing automation to top level executives is enough of a challenge, but in order to implement strategies across the board, your sales team needs to be fully invested in your strategies. For marketers, the benefits of automation are obvious. While these tools offer many advantages to sales, there is a lot of assumption that yet another tool and strategy is going to be more hindrance than help.
The State of Marketing Automation 2014 report conducted by Regalix noted that 86% of marketers consider ease of use to be the most important criteria when choosing automation tools. Luckily, it is this same ease of use that makes automation such a powerful tool for both sales and marketing teams. While marketers are turning to these tools to assist on cross-channel campaigns, sales teams can benefit just as much (if not more).
In that survey, 89% of marketers reported that the lead nurturing abilities of automation were by far the most essential benefit that provided qualified leads and a high sales close rate. It goes without saying therefore that marketing automation can be a highly effective tool for sales teams.
An Ascend2 2016 Marketing Automation Trends Survey highlights the most significant barriers to marketing automation success. These range from lack of a strategy to system complexity, lack of employee skills, budget constraints, inadequate data quality, lack of content and, most significantly, a lack of marketing and sales alignment. 30% of respondents notes that marketing and sales were not aligned. In the Pardot study shown above, organisational culture is a major barrier in the adoption process.
Often, it can be a challenge even for marketers to reach the sales teams, with managers and directors first needing to embrace automation at top level. In order for CFOs, CEOs, and even Sales VPs to be convinced that marketing automation truly benefits the company, a few questions need to be asked. These include:
- How is automation different to current strategies?
- What level of commitment is needed from employees?
- Isn't it easier to focus on lead generation instead?
- How much will it cost?
- How will this help sales departments?
For many sales teams, adopting any new technology can be frustrating. With so many benefits offered from a sales as well as marketing point of view however, automation can actually go a long way in making your sales team's lives easier all round. The best way to ensure that adoption goes off easily is to consider what makes marketing automation such a useful tool for sales teams specifically.
The Benefits of Marketing Automation for Sales
In order to adopt automation at a rate that truly adds value across the board, marketers can focus on the following sales-centric benefits:
- The ability to track emails and target customers with relevant communication.
Cold calling is often relegated to dedicated departments, whose sole responsibility lies in contacting leads that are nowhere close to nurtured. Considering the massive benefits that automation offers to the lead nurturing process, this feature certainly adds plenty of value to sales teams responsible for cold calling. Instead of calling potential customers out of the blue, with no clue to lead activities or motivations, automation offers a way for sales and marketing teams to align.
Email marketing enables marketers to provide sales teams with targeted, rich leads determined by clicks to content that leads show interest in, which in turn makes it far easier to target customers with relevant calls based on these interests. Lead funnels also simplify the sales process, segmenting potential leads into specific stages within the sales cycle. This in turn allows a far better engagement rate for sales teams who are making cold calls. Rather than being cold calls, automation enables warm calls, in a manner of speaking.
- The ability to personalise and target messaging.
Remember that Regelix State of Marketing Automation 2014 report we mentioned earlier? In that report, 66% of marketers stated that enhanced personalisation and targeting where the most sought-after benefits of automation. Now imagine how much this can benefit your sales team. Personalised messages allow a far better level of targeting than non-personalised messages.
Market segmentation enables both marketing and sales teams to target specific messages to various segments of their database. Whether segmenting and targeting groups according to product interest, demographics, activity or even location, this allows a powerful, personalised selling experience for all potential leads.
- The ability to prevent lost leads through lead nurturing.
Lost leads are a problem for everyone. With the help of marketing automation tools however, lead nurturing makes it easier to prevent leads that slip through the cracks. The modern buyer will often do their own research on products and services, long before contacting a sales representative. This means that it is not always easy to reach leads in the early part of the cycle who are not yet ready to move along to the next stage. Cold calling is not always an effective way to reach these leads, but lead nurturing through automation ensures that leads are already primed even before being handed over to sales. When marketing and sales teams work together, the result is a far lower number of lost leads.
Selling Marketing Automation Internally
Now that you know benefits to focus on when pitching the idea of marketing automation tools to your sales team, how do you go about actually bringing them on board? For starters, you can consider the following tips:
- Determine the primary sales objectives. Whether using automation to increase market share, or adding more efficiency to the entire sales funnel and its processes, understanding the primary requirement for such tools is essential. Trying to focus on a benefit that is not aligned to a specific need will end up having the opposite effect, making it even harder to adopt automation.
- Create tailored case studies in line with these objectives. Do your homework, to find examples of how businesses have managed to reach their objectives. Using cold, hard data will be far more effective than simply stating the benefits. If revenue is the primary objective, focus on case studies that show increased revenue. Likewise, if market share is the primary goal, focus on the market share benefits. Using metrics and real life examples will help to cement the benefits in a more realistic way.
- Discuss rather than present the case of automation. Instead of trying to sell the idea with pitches and arguments, frame the adoption idea as a discussion based on what they want to achieve, what challenges they are facing and what automation does from a marketing as well as sales perspective. From there, you can introduce case studies and other information that shows how effective these tools can be.
Once you're ready to take the next step, contact the Grapevine team to learn more about getting your sales team started with a flexible, tailored marketing automation solution.