In Bob Walmsley’s section of The Quintessential Marketing Automation Guidebook, he revealed How Marketing Automation Helps Companies Adapt to Changing Buyer Behavior. His focus on marketing and sales alignment is a hot topic these days, so I followed up with Bob to ask him a few more questions that may shed additional light on how marketing automation can help to improve sales effectiveness.
CD: In your section of the Guide, you discuss how marketing automation can contribute to sales effectiveness. What is an obstacle that keeps sales teams from working more closely with marketing?
BW: The primary obstacle is a disconnect in goals. Sales has a tangible revenue goal whilst marketing typically has a goal of number of leads. This creates an incentive for marketing to have the broadest definition of a lead.
The mutual detailed definition of a lead scoring system with a Service Level Agreement (SLA) on follow-up times and procedures would alleviate many of the obstacles between sales and marketing.
CD: Can you give us a few pointers about how sales can create a decision support process for addressing buyers’ needs at earlier stages? What creates those bottlenecks in the funnel?
BW: Sales must add the right value at the right stage in the buying process. Sales must provide more value than the prospect can gather from the website. By carefully monitoring digital buying behavior sales can appropriately target the correct content and next steps for a buyer. The response to a prospect visiting but not completing the contact us page should be different than a prospect who visited the Careers pages.
CD: You state that a sales rep’s #1 competitor for a prospect’s attention has become their own website. How do salespeople overcome this and what are some avenues that marketing automation opens to allow salespeople to work in partnership with the website to engage prospects?
BW: Sales needs to study the materials on their own website and ask themselves; What value can I add to someone who has read this content? The website needs to help guide someone through a buying cycle and not just be a repository of disconnected information. An effective lead nurturing process will continually bring prospects further along the buying cycle until the intervention of a sales rep is appropriate.
Without a marketing automation solution, sales is flying blind not knowing about high value visitors to the website and chasing disinterested prospects with off-target information.
The world has changed a marketing automation solution is a must have for any sales team.