These days, marketing teams are just as responsible for the success of the sales cycle as sales teams, because, with the birth of inbound marketing, they now have more power over the pace of the sales process than ever before.
Marketing automation, which usually syncs with your CRM, can automate the sales and marketing tasks that might normally slow your teams down. It means marketers are able to focus on sourcing and nurturing the right leads, and sales can concentrate on closing those deals.
Here are 10 handy ways you can shorten the length of your sales cycle with automation, and make things much more effective for your customers and teams:
Improve lead quality
A lead score measures the amount of interest someone has shown in your company, while a lead grade determines how good a fit they are for your product or service. You can save loads of time with automated lead qualification, as it involves a blend of scoring and grading that means only the most qualified lead gets passed to your sales teams. This helps marketing and sales collaborate better when it comes to determining a lead that’s worth spending time and effort on.
Automate lead assignment
61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales; however, only 27% of those leads will be qualified. By making sure a lead is sales-ready, you can make it easier for them to be assigned correctly. It’s a huge time saver for both teams, as marketing isn’t feeding sales low-quality leads, and sales only follow up with the leads who are more likely to buy.
Track prospect activities
Gaining some context from your leads via automation means that your prospect’s location in the sales cycle is never a mystery to you. Instead, you can see the prospect activity data you need to perfect your lead qualification process. Automation also allows for real-time alerts delivered straight to your sales reps, giving them detailed info about which types of content prospects have engaged with, what actions they’ve been taking on the website, and even what their interests might be. This allows for more contextual, relevant conversation starters, increasing the effectiveness of sales calls and improving your chances of making a successful sale somewhere down the line.
Automation isn’t all about better lead qualification and assignment. It’s also about building relationships with your prospects throughout the sales cycle. If you can make sure you’re touching down with your prospects regularly and helping them at every stage, you’re more likely to build lasting relationships with them. This will not only give you more custom from them down the line but also more recommendations.
Nurture your active leads
Pardot’s State of Demand Generation study showed that 77% of buyers want different content at each stage of their research. You can use marketing automation to drip-feed appropriate content for each stage of a prospect’s buyer journey. If they’re actively seeking information to help them form a decision, you can provide them with this at relevant times. This way, when buyers have completed their research and start reaching out to sales reps, they’ll already be clued up, so sales won’t have to waste time guessing what they need.
Nurture your non-sales-ready leads
For those who aren’t actively participating in the research process, automated lead nurturing is also really great. Without a way to nurture these leads into being sales-ready, you can risk them falling through the cracks, or worse, won over by a competitor. Carefully communicate with these prospects by giving them regular helpful content, so your sales team doesn’t neglect leads who might eventually turn into opportunities later down the line.
Automate sales follow-ups
You can guarantee you’ll never forget about a follow-up again with automation. Prompt follow-ups are so important, but a lot of the time sales reps can be too busy to make it a priority. These automated messages can also be personalised so the sales reps get regular touch points with each prospect, reducing time spent on manual tasks and making sure they have enough time to focus on closing those deals.
Start reporting better
Automation gives marketers and sales-folk the necessary tools to report on what they’re doing well, and what they need to improve. For example, where prospects are getting stuck in the funnel, or where conversion rates might be falling short.
Measure the health of your sales funnel
Sales Funnel (Lifecycle) reports combining all your marketing and sales reports in one place. From one dashboard, you can diagnose the health of your overall sales funnel, get a look into detailed opportunity data, and see where your prospects are in the sales cycle.
Report on campaign success
Making sure you consider your marketing campaigns, as well as your sales funnel, is also key to accelerating your pipeline. Use the reporting features above to look at patterns and trends, and regularly revisit and reassess your scoring and grade modules to make sure your lead qualification process is running smooth. With this comprehensive reporting in place, you can see which campaigns are performing well, and which aren’t. That way, you can decide which campaigns to lose and which to spend more time and money on.
Marketing automation is on the rise and is set to be even more popular next year. In fact, it was pretty much the talk of the town at Inbound 16 this year. With Pardot for Salesforce, it’s easy to get stuck in. Want to learn more? Chat with us today!