Bridging the Gap Between Marketing Automation and Sales

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It wasn’t too long ago that marketing automation was just an idea.  Now, it’s as normal in business as email.  It allows companies to automate and scale their lead gen activities as well as provide all kinds of useful analytics (lead scoring, drip campaigns, etc.).  All of which are designed for the purpose of generating sales opportunities for sales reps.

The problem is it doesn’t really work that well.  It’s true, and good, that you can generate thousands of leads.  The problem is they just don’t turn into qualified opportunities.  There is a lot of variability in “good” leads.  There is a huge gap in the handoff between a marketing lead and a qualified opportunity.  Every sales and marketing leader knows all too well what I am talking about.  Many organizations employ the use of account development reps to call through the leads and schedule appointments for the account executives.  It’s a commonly accepted best practice; however, the conversion rate is a tiny percentage.  To combat this low conversion, marketing is under pressure to generate more leads vs. improving the conversion.  I was a Business Development rep. I was even promoted to manage the team and worked heavily with marketing.  I’ve sat in those meetings with sales and marketing. I’ve watched sales demand more and better quality leads and watched marketing come back saying “leads are up but conversions are down.” Both departments blame each other for the dips in revenue.  This argument is as old as time.

There has never been anything to address this need in a meaningful way until now.

Enter demo automation.  In its simplest form, demo automation is a marketing automation system for sales.  Think about it.  It takes all the leads you generate and turns them into educated and qualified sales opportunities for your sales reps to engage with.  This allows them to do more of what you hired them to do: sell.  Here is how it works.

First, put yourself in the shoes of a buyer.  Many of you reading this are sales and marketing leaders, so you know what it’s like to receive a cold call or email wanting to schedule an appointment.  Your instant reaction is to say no. Even if you want to say “yes,” you want a little information before you waste your time.  Every time you download a white paper, sign up for a webinar, stop by a trade show booth, you know you are going to get a call.  Now that everyone wants to be a thought leader, interesting content is available but only vaguely related to their offering.  So you have this conversation…

“Hello you recently downloaded our white paper about saving time and money while increasing revenue. I would like to set you up with one of our specialists to see if our solution is a fit for you.”

“How do you do that?”

“By leveraging our technology and big data, you will save money, time, increase conversion rates, automate your processes, increase visibility, awareness, alignment, collaboration, synergistic management techniques, organic growth, robust, bandwidth, customer centric, streamline, engagement, holistic approach, disruptive innovation…”

“Are you just listing buzzwords at me?”

“Yes.  Do you have an opening on your calendar for this week?”

I’ve been on both sides of this conversation and so have most, if not all, of you.  If you are curious enough, or bored you may schedule the appointment not having the slightest clue what you are going to be talking about.  You are killing time by wasting their rep’s time.

Now imagine yourself as a buyer that just downloaded a whitepaper. You receive a cold phone call or email, but instead of pushing you into an appointment with meaningless buzzwords, you get an invitation to watch an interactive video.  One that lets you select what you want to see, is fast paced and full of good information. It gives you, in a matter of only a few minutes, exactly what you need to know about the offering to tell the business development rep if you are willing to meet or not.

See what happened there?  Neat huh?

This time, put yourself in the shoes of the sales rep.  You are working the opportunities set up for you by the biz development team and their marketing leads.  You are also doing some of your own prospecting.  Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How many of your meetings don’t show up?
  • How many get on the phone not having a clue what you even do?
  • How many of them think you do something very different than you actually offer?
  • How many open up the conversation saying they are not interested but were impressed with how hard that biz development guy was trying and decided to make his day by making the appointment?

This all happens before you have a chance to educate and qualify them.  (I know every leader out there would like to think this is not happening in their business but it is.  It’s okay to admit that it is and I’ll show you why in a second.)

Besides, even if they do show up and want to talk, what’s the first thing they want?  A demo!  Shocking side thought: how many of your first demos turn into a closed deal?  Why?

Now imagine yourself as a sales rep with demo automation. The prospect raised their hand enough that they became a lead.  That lead then engaged with an automated demo that educated and qualified them.  The biz development rep had an easy time setting an appointment and the prospect shows up to your meeting knowing exactly what you are going to be talking about.  They are prepared with specific questions and are wanting to get into the real nuts and bolts of your product and services.  Perfect.

Just like marketing automation changed the way marketers are able to drive leads, demo automation is changing the way sales is able to close deals.

 

 

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