Bridging sales and marketing with automation

Automation is one of the best ways to create a smoother bridge between your teams

A strong bridge between sales and marketing is a B2B company’s not-so-secret tool for success. With aligned sales and marketing, each team is in the best position to hit their most important KPIs and give consumers a more streamlined experience from the very first touchpoint.

In fact, LinkedIn research shows that businesses with strong sales and marketing alignment are 67% more effective at closing deals, 58% more effective at retaining customers, and drive 208% more revenue as a result of their marketing efforts. Impressive, right?

To help get sales and marketing on the same page, you can optimize internal communication, hold regular meetings, and collaborate via shared metrics and dashboards. But you might not have thought about improving your sales-marketing relationship with automation.

Automation provides a myriad of benefits for any business. You can use the information you already have about your contacts to automatically guide leads through your ideal marketing funnel. Automated processes also help align your sales and marketing teams, especially by kick-starting and facilitating processes, handovers, and data collection that help you succeed.

But what should you get started with? And how can you set up processes that get results? Let’s help you get started…

1. Collect the right data for sales and marketing

To get the best results from automation, it’s important to consider the data you’re collecting. Your audience’s attention is incredibly valuable: every single form field should earn its place by being a well-considered question that will give you valuable data.

Check all your forms and make sure you’re collecting data that allows marketing and sales to qualify contacts and have the right information as they move down the funnel. Don’t go overboard, though – it’s important to ensure all questions are relevant and appropriate for the stage of the funnel. Don’t ask for annual revenue to receive a top of funnel trends report.

2. Define the way leads should flow between Marketing and Sales

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking of your marketing and sales funnels as separate entities. They’re very much connected, and should always be considered in parallel.

Begin by getting a clear picture of what your funnels look like. Map them out – on paper with Post-Its if you need to. Make sure everyone agrees how leads enter your funnel, become qualified, and take key actions (such as requesting a demo) before becoming customers.

Next, pinpoint when your marketing team needs to pass leads to sales. Is it when a lead requests a demo? Or is it before then – maybe showing interest signals like visiting your pricing page?

Once you know exactly when a lead should move to sales, you can use automation to reduce manual work and handovers. For instance, if a qualified lead requests a demo, you can use your marketing tool to change the contact owner to a sales representative and set a task for them to reach out.

3. Get your tools in sync

One powerful way to boost company efficiency is to connect your marketing and sales tools. With integrations and two-way contact syncs, you can automatically keep your key business tools updated and ensure everyone has the latest data at hand.

List all the business tools you rely on. Are they currently in sync, or do you have room for improvement? Set a goal to streamline your data flow between the tools you use most and eliminate manual uploads and updates.

As a starting point, consider synchronising contacts between your CRM and email tool, proposals system, and billing software if you use these tools.

4. Deliver tailored content to guide leads through your buyer’s journey

47% of marketing teams don’t have a documented buyer’s journey, says Kapost in their 2018 B2B Marketing and Sales Alignment Benchmark. That’s a huge lost opportunity.

Make sure you’re clear on the key stages your customers travel through before and after purchase. Once you’ve done that, choose your best pieces of content for each stage (look at relevance, as well as conversion rate and time on page). You can then create emails to promote these content pieces as part of personalized workflows that deliver the right content at the right time, based on certain triggers.

Consider adjusting the email sender and reply-to address depending on the stage of the funnel – perhaps having one marketer sending your top-of-funnel emails, and a product marketer or salesperson sending more product-focused messages. But make sure not to confuse your recipient with too many emails and too many senders.

Your goal should be to gradually move leads further down the funnel and motivate signs of engagement (such as demo requests). You can also use automation to schedule follow-ups when action is required from your contact, such as to finalize their demo booking or approve a sales proposal. Once a lead completes one workflow, you can choose to automatically trigger enrollment in another.

5. Set up notifications to update key people in your team

Automation makes sending messages to contacts a breeze, but it can also radically improve your internal conversation. With your marketing software, set up internal workflows based on certain triggers (such as visiting your pricing page) to let your team know when a lead is engaging with bottom-of-funnel content or requires sales reach-out.

Alongside notifications, you can also create automated tasks for your sales team to contact leads based on certain criteria. That way you know your sales reps are always clear on the next action they need to take, without wasting time trying to figure out priorities.

When you align your sales and marketing, you reap the benefits in every area of your business. Automation is one of the best ways to create a smoother bridge between your teams, as well as boosting overall productivity, response times, and personalized outreach to contacts. Ahead of your next sales and marketing meeting, why not make a note to discuss how you can use automated processes to improve your business performance and synergy

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