Hasn’t there always been a rivalry between the marketing and sales departments?
They both claim to know and understand the company’s customer better. The marketing team claims that this is true because they can analyze data from multiple sources, therefore have an in-depth understanding of the demographic and customer behaviour. The sales team also has a right to make the same statement; they talk to customers one-on-one and have face-to-face interactions with them.
Have you ever heard this; “Salespeople always manage to mess up the good leads we send them” or this; “Marketing only sends us unqualified leads that are not actually interested in our product.”?
Why can’t we all just get along? Just because we play different positions doesn’t change the fact that we’re all on the same team. Our common goal is to generate leads and then convert them into loyal customers.
There is hope. Marketing automation can help us bridge the gap between sales and marketing and help us become more effective organizations. Despite its name, marketing automation is as much about sales then it is about marketing. Here are a few concrete examples of how marketing automation can be applied to make sales and marketing work better together.
Identify which leads should be contacted
Salespeople shouldn’t start their day logging into the CRM in the morning and start calling prospects randomly. That’s a waste of their precious time. Instead, they should call only the prospects who are far enough into the sales cycle and are ready to talk to a salesperson.
Imagine that the marketing department has put together an email drip campaign (a series of automated emails that are sent out at a predetermined pace). This campaign educates prospects on relevant topics and builds trust over time. These emails also include a call-to-action that prompts them to go read about the different solutions that your business offers. When a prospect clicks on this link, they are automatically added to a segment called “Sales-Ready Prospects”. Those are the prospects that salespeople should be calling as soon as possible.
Build trust with sales reps
As consumers and decision-makers, we have all the information we need a Google search away. Therefore, we’re all pretty autonomous when it comes to gathering information on a topic and educating ourselves. That fact has changed the way we buy things. We tend to not want to talk to a salesperson until we’re ready to buy. And when we do want to talk to someone, we want to talk to someone we know, like and trust.
That’s why marketing automation should “build up” salespeople as subject matter experts and should build a relationship between them and the prospects. Let’s take our drip campaign as an example again. Instead of sending these automated emails from a corporate email address (like firstname.lastname@example.org), use the salesperson’s email address (such as email@example.com). And of course, make sure the emails are signed by that person. With time, prospects will associate the salesperson with the relevant and useful content they receive from them (Julia always sends me good stuff and really seems to know what she’s talking about). If there are many sales reps working in your company, then you’ll have to segment your prospect list accordingly.
Book sales meetings on autopilot
Prospects that receive your automated emails can become ready to talk to sales or even become ready to buy at any moment. A budget can suddenly become available, a big contract can create a sense of urgency, you just don’t know when things will change.
That’s why I recommend ending all of your marketing emails with a call-to-action prompting prospects to schedule a meeting or a call with their sales rep. Something like “Book a 30-min call with me to talk about your needs” or “Book a free consultation with me”. You can use a service like Calendly or You Can Book Me to also automate the appointment booking process.
Just imagine how happy a salesperson is when they come into work to a full day of meetings with qualified prospects already scheduled in their calendar!
Segment your prospects for better lead nurturing
Not all your prospects are the same…obviously! That’s why if you want to maximize your chances of converting them into customers, you shouldn’t send them all the same emails. Marketing automation gives you the opportunity to segment your prospects into different subgroups and then create different email sequences for these subgroups.
How do you segment your prospects? By asking them questions! Let’s say that you offer accounting services for freelancers, small businesses, and medium-sized businesses. You could send all your prospects an email containing a question such as “We would like to send you accounting tips that match your everyday challenges, which of these 3 options describes you best?” Based on the option they choose (their company size), your contacts will be added to the most relevant drip campaign. Yes, it requires you to prepare more than one email drip campaign. But each of them will be so much more effective. Different segments of your target market don’t all have the same challenges, issues, questions, and needs. You should convert more leads into qualified prospects with this segmented approach, which will make both sales and marketing happy!
Hopefully, these four marketing automation tips will help the sales and marketing teams set aside their differences and allow them to collaborate more efficiently. This is just the tip of the iceberg, marketing automation has endless possibilities. Start small and see what happens!
About the author
Antoine Bonicalzi has been involved in digital marketing since 2009. Occupying key roles in several agencies, he has helped hundreds of small businesses succeed with digital marketing. Today, as the Marketing Director for Cyberimpact, a Canadian email marketing and marketing automation platform, Antoine has the responsibility of growing its user base across the country. His role involves communicating the secrets of email marketing and marketing automation to Canadian businesses and organizations through articles, training workshops and seminars.