Written by: Seth Patton
Closing a sale used to begin with a cold call: meeting a customer who may or may not be happy with the product or service they own, and guiding them through the process of purchasing new or upgrading to something better—all of this based on proven methods of providing information to bring the customer to the logical conclusion that they want to purchase. Today, a telesales rep has less than a 9 percent chance of even getting a prospect on the phone, much less converting them to an opportunity. Sending a cold email message with an offer averages less than a 1 percent response rate. Prospects get a majority of their information from sources other than sales reps—often online, from web sites, search, and of course social networks. A recent CEB study found that on average, customers are 57 percent of the way through the purchase process before ever contacting a vendor.
How can companies and their sales teams look their best and win the sale over the competition? We think that the key to success starts with marketing departments—and their alignment with sales teams. Marketing can bring it all together because marketing is at the center of driving closed-loop business processes and ROI measurement spanning the entire customer lifecycle. Marketing has always had “early access” to this audience, but the duration and opportunities for impressions are increasing.
Marketing automation can help marketing teams carry out campaigns more effectively, control their brand, and drive significant revenue contribution with real-time insight into return on marketing investment (ROMI) by:
- Engaging and executing across multiple channels. Customers today have many choices when it comes to how they want to connect. Creating a meaningful relationship can require many touch points across multiple channels along the way. Whether you are looking to use social media, pay-per-click on the web, or use email, radio, TV, or billboards, you need perfect execution, insight into your spend, and an understanding of the effectiveness of your marketing investments.
- Optimizing your mix and measuring success. The famous phrase, “If you can measure it, you can manage it,” definitely applies to successful marketing efforts. Knowing what is working allows you to invest in the right places to help increase the return on investment (ROI) of your marketing campaigns. If you can easily leverage your data for rapid insights, you can make informed strategic and operational decisions. Real-time intelligence from your website can help ensure that you can surface the right campaign to the right customers.
- Knowing your customers. Business revolves around the relationships you are able to cultivate with your customers. Powerful behavioral and marketing analytics, can help you easily target and segment your customers, understand what they are interested in, and then engage them at the right time with the right message.
Products like MarketingPilot can help with these tasks, as Nova Southeastern University recently discovered. “By automating these communications as well as giving us the ability to keep all of our marketing information in a consistent format that can be accessed at a glance,” explains Brian Croswhite, Marketing Director, Nova Southeastern University. “MarketingPilot is giving us the tools to do our job better as well as to keep our clients better informed.”
In addition, these marketing activities help reduce the effort on the sales team while increasing the number of times an organization can “touch” the prospect and grow a relationship as a trusted advisor. They also build engagement and a relationship, so that it will be clear when the lead is truly qualified and ready for sales handoff.
At the top level, organizations are focusing more and more on driving top line revenue growth. Our vision is to arm marketing teams with the tools and insights to help their organizations execute and measure closed-loop, integrated marketing that helps them better acquire, retain, and grow customers.
Post originally written for Forbes.com: http://www.forbes.com/sites/microsoftdynamics/2013/03/07/helping-sales-succeed-through-better-automated-marketing/