In a recent webinar we held with Tony Jaros, of Sirius Decisions, he said that marketers focus too intently on the top of the marketing funnel. He equated the historical disconnect between marketing and sales alignment to focus:
- Marketing measures activities (quantity)
- Sales measures revenues (quality)
Quantity is not a direct path to quality. One of the reasons marketers can get stuck in the quantity mindset is due to their email marketing and advertising backgrounds. They’re used to gauging effectiveness based on direct response to individual campaigns or sends. Examples include measuring opens, clicks, impressions and conversions as stand-alone metrics.
The evolution of marketing automation systems is designed to help marketers create and execute on processes that improve overall effectiveness based on quality more so than on quantity behaviors. But even beyond that, during the course of a B2B complex sale, marketing must engage leads much farther beyond the top of the marketing funnel.
This means that measuring activities as siloed behavior won’t help marketers create more sales-ready leads. At least not without a lot of manual intervention and more time than marketers have to tie behaviors from multiple email sends together to derive qualitative insights they can act upon to drive prospects through the pipeline.
Marketing automation is the strategic platform that enables marketing performance management. Consider some differences between marketing automation and email systems:
- Lead Scoring. Email systems don’t help you prioritize Leads based on a combination of fit and activity. One of the biggest challenges for your sales team is prioritizing leads to ensure that their time spent in pursuit is optimized for the best outcomes. Marketing Automation helps tune that process even during lengthening funnel syndrome.
- Lead Disposition. Marketing automation systems help companies keep track of the status of all their Leads to ensure higher levels of relevancy based on buying stage and recency of behavior. Email systems don’t know much about your leads except whether or not they’ve opted out. Marketing automation helps companies build insight across the entirety of the lead lifecycle, helping to ensure reduced lead dormancy by closing the loop between marketing and sales.
- Nurturing Campaigns. With marketing automation, companies can create smart engagement and response messaging in relation to a lead’s behavior over the course of a lead nurturing program. Email systems only help you create static triggers that don’t take into account the combination of activities your leads exhibit, potentially diminishing interest.
If you want to coordinate your marketing and sales efforts to ensure that the activities marketing focuses on actually contribute to the creation of revenues, marketing automation is the critical enabler of streamlined and coordinated processes that deliver impact to the top line…and the bottom.