sales process

How to Turbo-Charge Your Sales Process with Demand Generation and Marketing Automation

The sales representative’s job has never been tougher than it is today, especially in the B2B world. Target customers are busier than ever … and when they’re not, they have caller ID, spam filters, ad blockers, and others standing guard against promotional messages of any kind. If only we had a tool that could help us break through the walls, and get through to the right people, with the right message, at the right time…

Ah, but we do, and it’s called demand generation, (also known as lead generation). A solid demand gen strategy can keep your funnel filled with quality leads, who are already in the right mindset for you to engage in conversation. The result? A more efficient sales process, better alignment between marketing and sales … and a happier team.

It’s All About the Intel

One of the biggest challenges in the sales process is finding out what you don’t know about the target — what their challenges are, where they are in the decision process, and whether they fit your profile of an ideal prospect. Demand generation enables your sales team to work with warm leads instead of cold ones, filling in the blanks with insights to help you determine whom to call and when.

Automate for Better Quality

By adding marketing automation to your lead-generation activities, you will nurture new leads automatically, creating a steady stream of communications which keeps your brand at the forefront of their minds, and provides numerous opportunities to interact with you. For example, you may attract a lead through a landing page offering a download of your latest white paper, then feed him or her into an autoresponder series that offers supplemental information on the same subject. Their responses to these communications leave important clues that help your sales team identify the top leads for engagement.

Marketing automation — especially when it’s coupled with intent monitoring — offers numerous benefits in helping take your sales process to the next level, including the ability to:
● Track and measure your targets’ activities;
● Identify when leads meet specific buying conditions; and,
● Filter out leads that are not genuinely interested in your solution.

Remember, when we’re talking about leads, we’re not just talking about quantity. Many brands can brag about the huge volume of leads their last campaign generated, but have very little to show for them when the rest of the KPIs roll in. Demand generation and marketing automation enable you to focus on the quality of leads — each lead’s likelihood to make a purchase or become a client — and use that quality measure to determine which leads are worth following up on.

5 Ways Demand Gen and Marketing Automation Benefit the Sales Process

Lead generation and marketing automation are helping brands break through the walls and spend their time and effort on the leads who are most likely to become qualified prospects. Here are just a few of the benefits that keep sales and marketing teams coming back to the demand gen/marketing automation combination:

  • Eliminate cold calling: Ask any sales rep what he/she enjoys least about her job, and it’s probably cold calling; this will likely be high on their list. With demand gen and marketing automation, you have the tools you need to generate qualified leads for engagement and shorten the sales cycle — no cold calls needed.
  • Know your target: You’ll arm yourself with a wealth of information about your targets before you even pick up the phone, including an understanding of their pain points, and a strategy for positioning your brand as the ideal solution provider.
  • Perfect your timing: It’s the classic dilemma of the sales person: how do you know when is the perfect time to call? As targets move through your lead generation funnel, you’ll gain the intel you need to determine exactly the right time to pick up the phone.
  • Email strategically: You can use your marketing automation platform to personalize your emails to a highly detailed degree, and integrate it with you CRM platform to capture responses, giving you a deeper understanding of the people you’re aiming to reach and tracking your interactions as well.
  • Qualify leads quickly and easily: When you add marketing automation to lead generation, you can define characteristics — such as title, industry, company size, key behaviors, etc. — as indicators of how likely a lead is to purchase from you. From there, you can create groups — such as “Qualified” or “Sales Accepted” — and place your leads in the proper queue for follow-up by the sales team.
  • Align sales and marketing: The lead gen/marketing automation combo requires continuous and frequent collaboration between sales and marketing, and it only works if the two groups are in alignment.
  • The 3 Pillars of Demand Gen

    Remember, demand generation is a complex process that requires the coordination of several moving parts, but it’s an investment that pays off — the gift (to yourself) that keeps on giving. As you plan your demand generation program, make sure that you cover the three key bases:

  • The people: Lead gen should be a collaborative activity between marketing and sales. Set job titles aside and remember you are all part of one unified team, pursuing a single goal.
  • The means: Successful demand generation requires coordinating multi-tiered marketing activities including both inbound and outbound activities.
  • The goal: Every organization should aim for a sophisticated, highly functioning demand generation process aimed at increasing conversion rates.
  • Demand Gen + Marketing Automation = BFFs

    To paraphrase a famous commercial, demand generation and marketing automation are two great tools that work great together. Your sales team can forget about cold calling and cold emailing as they embrace the benefits of these two complementary strategies: better-quality leads, better target intelligence, and ultimately, a more efficient sales process. And your sales and marketing teams can collaborate seamlessly in attracting new leads, converting them, evaluating them, and feeding them into your sales engagement funnel. On many different levels, this truly is a match made in heaven.

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