It’s not an impossible dream: Automated and integrated sales and marketing working as a seamless team

Do sales and marketing get along in your organization? Or do comments in the office sound more like this:

Sales: “What does marketing do? I don’t have enough leads, and the ones I have are no good!”

Marketing: “Sales calls our leads and asks them immediately if they want to buy something. They don’t take the time to understand the customer needs in order to sell them the right solution.”

How would your business change if marketing and sales teams could work together to grow leads and customers? If they both put the customer first and engage prospects how and when they want to be contacted then prospects can have great customer experiences before they actually are your customer. As mentioned in a previous blog, companies that provide great customer experiences grow and succeed financially.  Marketing and sales teams and the lead pipeline can be managed even easier when the software applications – marketing automation and sales force automation – work together as well.

Define your targets and sales stages

Thanks to the efforts of marketing, prospects learn your solutions exist and investigate them further. Some eventually engage with your sales representatives to get more information. After these engagements, hopefully they buy your product. In complex B2B sales with long sales cycles, it is crucial for marketing and sales management to reach an agreement on what defines a good prospect profile and what actions correlate to a prospect being ready to talk to sales. Your sales force is experienced and expensive. Agreeing upon minimum criteria for transitioning leads to sales makes the sales team more efficient by only working on deals that are likely to close.

When both teams agree and understand the target markets, prospects receive similar marketing messages from both teams making the information easier to absorb and process. Prospects find vendors with consistency more credible, professional, and trustworthy.

Marketing automation builds pipeline momentum

Marketing automation software helps you identify where your prospects are in their discovery process and target them with campaigns delivering messages specific to them. Leads are scored by tracking website visits, activities, and social actions allowing differentiation between those who are early in their investigation and those that are ready to solve their problem. Email nurturing campaigns with content specific to each stage keep your product and brand top of mind and encourage prospects to reach the next stage and eventually to sales readiness.

Prospects prefer receiving periodic emails with interesting and relevant content rather than out of-context sales calls, particularly during at the beginning of their search. Prospects whose profiles are in the target market and demonstrate readiness to buy are automatically sent over to sales for further contact and evaluation. The automation rules are set based on the criteria agreed upon by the sales and marketing teams. Prospects that have been nurtured are ready to have conversations with account executives who are focused on the solving the customers’ problem.

Sales Automation lets sales people shine

When sales representatives receive intelligent notifications that entail all prospect interactions and actions taken to date from the marketing automation system about a hot lead, best practice has them making contact quickly while your brand and products are top of mind. Immediate follow up shows that you care about the customer and solving their problem. Because prospect activities have been recorded in the marketing automation software, the sales team has a plethora of information about prospect interests before they have their first conversation.

The sales force automation software stores all sales contacts and activities associated with each prospect. It is easy for sales to switch between opportunities and access individual account information on the fly – always able to show a customer that they know and care about the customer’s business.

Systems linked together

Having marketing automation and sales force automation software connected together makes it easier to use and share data across the marketing and sales teams. Data is entered once, reducing errors and time wasted on duplicate entries. Connected systems allow reporting across the whole pipeline – identifying which content and campaigns yield the best results – from first touch to customer win. When rules are put into place it can streamline communications both internally and externally, with prospects.

Teams and systems connected together give prospects a low pressure, smooth customer sales experience. Customers will view you as a trusted advisor, thought leader, knowledgeable in the space. Marketing and sales automation doesn’t replace the human touch. It just makes it more efficient for humans to keep in touch with more people.

So, go ahead and dream the ‘impossible’ dream, because Dell can help your organization better automate and integrate sales and marketing allowing them to work as a seamless team. Dell Cloud Business Applications offers Pardot marketing automation software connected to Salesforce Sales Cloud to help small and mid-sized businesses impress their customers with excellent marketing and sales experiences.

Related marketing automation and sales force automation links:

About the Author: Helen Shaughnessy