I recently read another great post on the Marketing Automation Software Guide. The article entitled, Close the Gaps to Close More Sales with Marketing Automation, was written by Sharon Drew Morgan who has written and spoken passionately about the need for new sales models and processes. The central theme to Sharon Drew’s article is that marketing automation systems (when used properly) enable companies to align their marketing and sales efforts to the buyer’s journey. This in turn improves conversion rates and sales effectiveness. Ms. Morgan made another insightful point that I want to comment on later.
But first, the best-practice of aligning marketing and sales to the buyer’s journey isn’t new. It was creatively exposed in 2003 in Hugh Macfarlane’s book, The Leaky Funnel. Yet the majority of B2B companies still don’t get it, which Sharon Drew clearly points out in her post. I come face to face with this reality when I coach companies on how to align sales and marketing. Oddly enough the concept of aligning one’s revenue-generation engine to the buyer is foreign to most companies, but slowly smart sales and marketing executives are “getting it”.
Once sales and marketing processes are aligned to the buyer’s journey then it’s time to turn on the marketing automation system, integrate it with CRM, develop the content strategy, and go into action.
Sharon Drew emphasized that sales and marketing managers must work together to identify the real buyer and get the entire decision-making team on board at the prospect company .
I was reminded when reading her article that marketing automation systems make it possible to offer and efficiently deliver role-specific content to everyone on the decision-making team. Marketing automation systems can even aid the sales team in identifying buyer roles by tracking what type of content they consume.
A check list.
- Identify the buyer’s journey.
- Align marketing and sales processes to it.
- Intelligently use marketing automation integrated with CRM to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time with the right frequency.
- Identify and bring to the “table” all of the buyer’s team.
- Leverage the marketing automation system to drive a lead scoring process that turns over leads that are ready to engage with you.
- Measure. Measure. Measure.