Being a marketer in today’s manufacturing industry has its challenges. Not only are you responsible for cultivating positive relationships with suppliers and distributors, but you’re also accountable for supporting promotional efforts and real-time communication across a multitude of your organization’s distribution channels.
In an industry where business intelligence and efficiency are key drivers for long-term success, there really isn’t any room for marketing to fall behind in these areas, let alone have misalignment with any aspect of the supply chain — especially sales. In fact, studies show that companies with strong sales and marketing alignment achieve a 20 percent annual growth rate. While those with poor sales and marketing alignment experience a four percent revenue decline. This was one of the motivators that drove our team to invest in marketing automation technology.
I should note that like any other technology, not all automation platforms are created equal and in many instances marketers can end up driving an even bigger wedge between themselves and sales as a result of it. Our marketing team knew we had some improving to do when it came to lead management, engagement and inbound efforts that impacted sales. Ultimately, the right marketing automation tool paired with the right strategy enabled us to do that.
Process Makes Perfect
Before we ever launched any type of campaign with automation, it was important for our marketing team to take a step back and evaluate the processes we had implemented in the past to support our sales team and whether or not they actually worked. Similar to a manufacturing process audit, where your goal is to examine the operational efficiency and quality of your procedures, we needed to have an understanding of how well things like our lead qualification and sales hand-off techniques were performing.
Marketers often make the mistake of jumping into marketing automation without a sound strategy or buy in from their sales team. I’d encourage you to collaborate with sales and work together to identify which marketing processes are ready for automation and which need to be improved.
CRM Integration at the Center of Marketing and Sales’ Union
During our process evaluation we realized components of our marketing and sales technologies were disjointed, which caused hiccups in our lead management practices. Lack of integration with our CRM was the main culprit, requiring our marketing team to manually share data with sales.
This could have been bad news if left uncorrected. Reports share that misalignment between sales and marketing technologies cost B2B companies 10 percent of revenue or more per year. Now, our marketing automation technology seamlessly integrates with our CRM, allowing our team to see — in real-time — what’s transpiring with leads in regards to email or web activity. Furthermore, it allows our marketing team to qualify and engage prospects before passing them to sales through the CRM. This helps us maintain the quality of our database.
Given these points, I’d suggest those looking for a marketing automation solution select technology that can tie sales and marketing together by connecting all disparate systems and providing better visibility into the lead lifecycle.
Using Analytics to Become More Strategic Together
As a result of the interoperability between our technologies and our shared understanding of each other’s processes, both sales and marketing can use marketing automation more effectively now. Advanced reporting has given both teams greater insight into what’s resonating well with leads and what isn’t. Before marketing automation, we couldn’t measure the success of things like email campaigns beyond opens or clicks. Today, we have visibility into analytics, which allow us to find smarter ways to engage with leads and personalize our messaging.
In particular, our marketing team utilizes Salesfusion to execute personalized nurture campaigns on behalf of our sales team. Previously, we sent prospect emails under a generic Strongwell account. Now, emails are sent from individual sales representatives, which helps to strengthen the relationship sales has with their prospects. Furthermore, our marketing team can tailor each email based on the prospects interest, which we can see in reports. All in all, email personalization, through marketing automation, has bolstered the effectiveness of our marketing outreach.
Ultimately, marketing automation technology has been the catalyst for uniting sales and marketing. Each department brings something of value to the table and the technology we utilize has helped to enable those strengths to become actionable. With our processes, technologies and strategy in sync, we’re able to continuing improving as a unit.
Barry Myers, marketing manager for Strongwell Corporation.