Sales teams are understandably a little cautious when it comes to marketing automation. We don’t want to annoy our customers with too much communication – nor do we want risk losing valuable leads by sending out generic interactions with no inherent worth. However, at the same time, we don’t want to let any potential prospects slip through the net.
So, let’s take a look at how sales teams can employ marketing automation effectively on a day-to-day basis, not just to reduce their workload and increase their efficiency, but to generate a demonstrable advantage for the businesses they operate in.
Related article: What is marketing automation?
Have faith in marketing automation
Statistics released by Forester Research found that 78% of sales teams described marketing automation platforms as their key revenue drivers. These powerful pieces of marketing automation software are critical to success in modern business, so don’t lose hope or patience if your efforts don’t pay off immediately.
Instead, stick with it. Keep it at the forefront of your revenue boosting sales initiatives and reap the rewards over time.
Let buyer profiles do the work for you
I am a major advocate of buyer profiles because they force us to think more about our customers’ problems than the solutions we are trying to sell.
Buyer profiles require us to take the data we have acquired on our customers and use that insight to build a picture of your customers – what do they like, what do they dislike, what do they want to achieve from your interactions?
Once you’ve crafted a buyer profile, you can simply feed the data into your automation platform and let the automated processes do the work for you.
Figures published on Adobe’s CMO blog show that adverts and sales interactions targeted to specific users are 200% more effective than those which are not targeted. Hone your buyer profiles, understand your prospects, and let automation take care of the rest.
Don’t ever let the trail run cold
Sales success is all about tenacity; all about trying new approaches in an effort to achieve a conversion. Marketing automation lends itself to this culture of perseverance and positivity as it eliminates the need to manually follow up lead after lead.
This is, ultimately, a somewhat soul-destroying task for a sales operative. Not so much for a marketing automation platform. I recommend automated nurturing and scheduling regular follow-up interactions at 1, 2 and 3 month intervals.
These can be simply and effectively automated, and can ensure that your organization does not miss out on all important revenue from prospects who could have been converted but ended up slipping through the net.
Why did you turn to marketing automation in the first place? Possibly it was to save time, to reduce effort, and to free up some serious working hours which could be spent focusing on other aspects of your business.
With this in mind, sales teams who utilize marketing automation platforms must be tuned in to the possibility of waste. And, they must do their utmost to reduce waste wherever possible. Even if you are driving conversions, sales and long term revenue through automation, you may be diminishing this value if you do not work to prevent waste.
Audit your procedures. Is there an aspect of your sales endeavors which is not pulling its weight, or is somehow inefficient? Perform a tune up and make sure you are securing conversions without wasting any time, effort or – heaven forbid – money in the process.
Know what to automate
We can’t automate everything. If we could, running a business would amount to little more than waking up in the morning, pressing a button and then going back to sleep – and we could probably find a way to automate even this.
Instead, positive sales automation requires a balance of organic, human interaction and efficient automatic processes.
Still, there are many tasks which sales teams could be automating – and using to drive revenue – but instead are being handled manually. These include collating and aggregating data from disparate reports (most high quality automation platforms will be able to handle this function), or assigning leads and prospects to different reps. You are paying for your marketing automation system, so make sure you are using it effectively.
The template balance
We’ve discussed how effective automation requires a balanced approach. Leads respond better to communication which is seen to be organic and natural. They tend to be put off by interaction with bots or other automated processes.
If you’re automation system is firing off generic “dear sir/madam” emails to your prospects, you probably aren’t going to be achieving too many conversions. The solution to this is remarkably straightforward; simply draft templates for as many consumer interactions as you can, and then load these onto your system.
Consider all of the interactions you need to make on a regular basis – follow up emails, thank you emails, promotional offer emails – and aim to cover all the bases.
Whenever you deploy these emails within your sales framework, add an element of customization. This represents a tiny amount of extra work for your sales or content team, but this bit of effort will go a long way in achieving the sales targets you set for yourself.
Score your prospects
Some leads are more valuable to your business than others. Unfortunately – unless you are using a super-advance AI prototype platform developed by NASA – your marketing automation software cannot recognize this by itself.
So, what do you do? You ‘teach’ the system. You input parameters and metrics which help the system understand which prospects are going to generate the most value over the full lifecycle. A ranking system can help you to achieve this. Understand your prospects, understand their objectives and understand which products or services they need to achieve these objectives. Then, assign scores appropriately.
Effective, considered automation is more than just a tool. When used and deployed correctly, it represents a shift in the culture of sales. Making life easier for you and your team is one thing, but, of course, your automated endeavors need to generate significant revenue for your organization if they are to be considered successful. Follow these best practices, and make sure this is the case.