Learn how to streamline sales and marketing with technology for better conversions and ROI.
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Although both sales and marketing teams are both focused on driving more sales, converting more leads, and generating more revenue, they often work separately. The silos between these two departments result in inefficiency, missed targets, loss of leads, and wasted time.
According to Hubspot, 79% of MQLs(marketing qualified leads) never convert into buyers because the sales team fails to nurture customer relationships.
For better lead conversion and revenue generation, sales and marketing teams must come together. By uniting both teams around the same growth target, the organization can improve sales productivity and marketing efforts.
In this guide, we’ll share with you everything you need to know about marketing automation and sales enablement in detail. The handbook aims to bring you closer to technology and bridge the gap between your sales and marketing team. It’ll further help you uncover the key aspects that are crucial in choosing vendors for marketing automation systems, and a support team to help you develop the content needed at each stage of your sales funnel.
Let’s get started.
Sales enablement can play a vital role in the elimination of the differences between marketing and sales teams by aligning them. With sales enablement, businesses are empowering sales reps with the right tools, information, and content to deliver a personalized user experience. The new model has replaced the silos model with the cross-functional process where both sales and marketing teams can work in perfect sync using intelligent marketing tools to better understand where each buyer is in the sales process.
Behavior-based marketing analytics allows marketers and salespeople to understand if the lead should be handled by marketing or sales, and what information the buyer needs in order to form a buying decision. By using behavior-based marketing automation, businesses can save a tremendous amount of time by focusing sales efforts on leads that are ready to buy and leaving the automation to handle the rest.
Sales enablement is a deliberate process of equipping the sales reps with the necessary resources like information, data, content, and tools to make their sales efforts more effective.
The major role of sales enablement is providing the sales organization with the information they can use to engage the buyers more effectively throughout the sales cycle.
The work of marketing and sales teams is evolving at a fast pace. With every passing technological upgrade, more and more organizations are embracing automation to simplify and streamline their marketing and sales efforts.
Often sales professionals get confused when making a choice between Sales Enablement and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools. Understanding how they both differ from each other is essential while choosing one over the other.
Sales enablement tools are meant for sales teams and marketing professionals. These tools provide them with the necessary data and information needed to make their sales efforts more effective. It is about equipping them with the right tools to train, guide, and improve the selling process of the team.
The process involves on-boarding the sales reps and teaching them the right skills to make them efficient at selling the products or services. Through sales enablement, sales reps are provided the marketing support needed to present a product in front of the audience
In the process, the sales and marketing team is equipped with market analysis, data, and other important information that is needed to deliver customers a memorable customer experience.
CRM tools are like huge databases that businesses to keep track of how the sales and marketing team is engaging with the customers. CRM tools also help in improving the efficiency of the team by automating redundant tasks.
With CRM software, marketers can maintain buyers’ and consumers’ data; set up schedules to contact buyers and sellers; maintain minutes of the meetings, and leave voice messages for prospects.
What kind of content resources you create for your sales enablement process is crucial to determine how you engage prospects and how many sales you will close.
With the right resources, reaching to the high-value prospects, and keeping them moving along the buyers' cycle becomes easier and faster. However, creating content resources for sales enablement is different from creating content for marketing.
Sales enablement is intended to improve the sales efforts of both marketers and sales reps. For a better and more effective sales enablement implementation, understanding how both sides of the team function is crucial. Having a proper understanding of how the marketing and sales team operates will enable you to outline areas of improvement and develop a business case.
As mentioned, sales enablement benefits marketers and sellers by improving their sales process. But how will you know where your sales team is lacking? By interviewing them, you will be able to uncover areas they are having problems with. They could be having issues while communicating with the prospects or they might be short of resources to convince prospects to buy.
A thorough inspection of your content creation and management process should provide you enough data to determine if there’s a need to put a sales enablement solution in place.
This is one of the most daunting steps of building a business case for sales enablement. Once you have established the fact that your business requires a sales enablement solution, it’s equally essential to decide which one will fit the bill. But before you make a choice, evaluate each of the options according to your requirements, business structure, and budget.
There are a number of vendors offering sales automation and enablement tools. You can narrow down the list of best vendors and assess the features of each tool to make an informed decision.
From the information gathered in the first three steps, create a powerful yet engaging presentation to put your case before the management and involved teams.
Each slide should be in sync with your business’s ultimate goal of higher sales and revenue. Your slide should incorporate key pain points experienced by the marketing team and how a sales enablement solution can counter it. Also, support your claim with data you’ve gathered previously. Tip - To make your presentation more impactful, showcase it as an investment rather than an expense.
Once you have discussed how sales enablement tools can be of help, it’s time to explain how and why you have narrowed the selection down to a specific vendor.
Right from industry-refining reports to referrals, you should provide your stakeholders with every method that you used to evaluate and finalize the product. Sharing such relevant & factual information will help the team understand the need of a sales enablement tool and realize how the selected product can help in streamlining your sales processes.
Sales enablement is a great approach to revolutionizing your B2B marketing in this digitally driven marketplace. By providing the right marketing tools to the sales and marketing team, it allows them to make the right impact on the target audience.
A study conducted by Heinz Marketing in 2017 surveyed 500 B2B marketers to learn how they are using Sales Enablement. The report revealed that 75% of marketers saw an increase in sales. While 35% of marketers reported that they experienced a 25% increase in sales from the year before.
But navigating through the process of implementation and evaluation takes a lot of planning and persistence.
Here are some tips to help marketers find success with sales enablement.
Even if you have developed a foolproof sales enablement strategy and purchased the best technology to support your efforts, you can’t expect the best results unless you have a dynamic sales enablement team.
As a reputed vendor of sales enablement technology and support, we have compiled some strategies that will come in handy when building a sales enablement team.
Sales enablement serves the purpose of both the salespeople as well as buyers.
By equipping the sales team with the right knowledge and messaging, it enables them to deliver the relevant information needed by the buyer. Unless you know what information your sales team requires at any given stage in the buyer’s cycle, you are unlikely to find the success you’re looking for.
Thus, it’s important for you to understand what your internal audience (the team) and external audiences (the buyers) are looking for to succeed with sales enablement.
Choosing the right individual for the job means you are halfway to success.
Sales professionals who have extensive knowledge and experience in sales can better identify and address the pain points of the sales team. When choosing personnel for a task, make sure they are result-driven and can deliver to the expectations of the stakeholders.
A well-integrated sales enablement strategy has the power to drive higher conversions. From marketing content to sales content, it covers everything.
When building various teams, make sure you hire experts who have mastery in their skills as well as a deep market-understanding. This holds true when building a content team for your organization. Hiring subject matter experts enables one to develop rich, well-researched, and relevant content for the internal team as well as prospective customers.
Unless the sales enablement is aligned with the needs of all the stakeholders, finding success can be challenging.
Before you implement sales enablement, acquire as much information as you can to understand how the organization is functioning currently. Conduct meetings with the sales, marketing, production, and management teams to gain an understanding of the business from their point of view. This will allow you to define the goal you want to achieve from the entire organization and identify gaps that could be hindering potential growth.
Also, make sure that the team is proficient enough to present the findings in front of the stakeholders and illustrate how sales enablement practices can help them navigate their way to the goal.
Timely evaluation of how the sales enablement efforts are reaping results is key to optimizing them. From the organizational goals you have derived from your initial meetings, pick out the metrics that will enable you to assess the improvement.
A lot has changed in the field of marketing and sales since the advent of the internet. And as we continue to make new technological advancements, the landscape will keep on evolving.
Marketing Automation is a powerful solution that empowers businesses to generate new leads and convert prospects into sales while putting in less effort. These software tools essentially enable companies to streamline their marketing campaigns, effectively target customers, and boost productivity & revenue by automating mundane, repetitive tasks. They also empower salespeople with the intelligence and content needed to close more deals with less wasted effort.
Many tech-savvy marketers are using marketing automation systems to optimize marketing and sales efficiency, reduce marketing and advertising costs, and improve customer experience.
However, to reap the maximum benefits of automation tools, one must develop a detailed understanding of marketing automation- only then it is possible to implement it properly and achieve predictable & measurable results.
Marketing automation is a technology for automatically managing sales and marketing processes and campaigns across multi-channels. It enables businesses to organize, align, automate, and evaluate a gamut of marketing tasks to achieve optimum efficiency and yield higher ROI.
Instead of manually sending every email and posting on social media, you can have marketing automation do the tasks for you, with increased efficiency and reduced errors.
With the right automation tools in place, identifying the target audience, designing efficient marketing campaigns, and initiating actions become easy and quick.
Marketing Automation aids businesses in interacting with buyers across channels with automated messages and content. When and what messages should be sent to the buyers is defined by sets of instructions or workflows.
For marketing and sales reps, marketing automation assists in automating online marketing and sales activities to optimize operational efficiency as well as organizational revenue. Automating repetitive and redundant tasks means reduced errors, more efficiency, and more time with sales and marketing reps to focus on other critical areas.
Both marketing automation and email marketing use email as a medium of engagement; however, marketing automation goes a long way to track user behavior better and deliver personalized content.
Email marketing automation tools are essentially used to automate the emailing process and to save time nurturing leads to keep them moving to the next stage of your sales pipeline. The main concern addressed by an email automation tool is ensuring good inbox placement.
On the other, a marketing automation tool assists in formulating marketing campaigns according to your lead’s behavior. With marketing automation tools, you can channel your marketing efforts and track how your lead interacts with your marketing messages across channels. From the data gathered, you can create a buyer’s persona, which will further help you in sending relevant marketing emails to your leads.
With email marketing automation tools, you can see how your email campaign is performing. It lets you track how much engagement your emails have received and measure metrics like email open rate, unsubscribe rate, click-through, and bounce rate. These tools will further allow you to schedule emails or set auto-responses. However, it will not help you track the behavior of your leads and understand better.
On the other hand, marketing automation tools allow a marketer to build a lead profile and further nurture them. With Marketing automation tools, it’s possible to gather important insights about a lead like their location, buying preferences, device preferences, social media interactions, and more, that you can use to optimize your marketing efforts for easy conversions. This will empower you to create a lead profile and determine what message you should send them when at a certain stage in the buyer’s cycle.
Email marketing tools help in building an email contact list.
However, most email marketing tools don’t offer the full functionality to track lead behavior. So, when a business gets a new email contact, the email address gets added to the existing list. The contact is segmented according to the email engagement.
With marketing automation, marketers can segment the leads automatically. The leads are segmented based upon their profile, actions, interests, buying preferences, geo-location, and so on. Besides this, the multi-channel approach of marketing automation allows you to get leads from various channels.
Marketing automation and CRM tools confuse many people. Both deal with lead profiles, contacts, lists, etc. and help marketers drive more conversions. However, they both differ, here’s how:
Picking the right tool or system is paramount in determining the success of your marketing efforts. Here are other differences that you should know:
At the core of marketing automation and CRM lies the ability to automate and analyze marketing and sales activities. They allow users to streamline processes and evaluate the progress of campaigns based on the metrics and insights they offer.
However, they serve different users. CRM software aids sales reps, while marketing automation tools are for marketers.
Marketing automation centers around lead generation and nurturing. Businesses use automation solutions to attract and capture new leads for their business that can be qualified into potential customers. These tools enable marketers to know essential details about their leads like their age, location, buying behavior, interests, and devices they use.
CRM systems focus on nurturing the leads. The system assists the sales team to analyze the data gathered about the lead and segment them accordingly. CRM tools make it easier for the sales reps to follow up with the leads as various touchpoints with offers and discounts to efficiently qualify them as potential customers.
In marketing terminology, Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) are those leads that have formed some level of engagement with a brand.
Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) are those leads who have been qualified as potential prospects.
Marketing automation tools help marketers produce MQLs for the sales department, while CRM tools are designed to convert MQLs into SQLs.
Marketing automation and CRM systems play a vital role in efficiently moving a buyer along the sales funnel.
While marketing automation helps in creating awareness about a brand amongst the buyers, CRM software prepares the buyers for the purchase.
The main aim of CRM tools is to improve the efficiency of the sales team and enable them to interact with the buyers and guide them towards the end of the sales funnel. It enables a brand to build a lasting relationship with their consumers to achieve higher customer retention.
Having a strong business case for marketing automation is paramount to get a green flag from your team. Here, we have listed down some crucial steps one should take while building an effective business case.
The first and foremost thing to do while building a business case for marketing automation is creating objectives for the process.
Before considering automation, write down the top goals that you want to achieve through the tool. Figure out how will you measure and evaluate the success of your efforts, and then move ahead.
When specifying the benefits of adopting marketing automation, make sure they align with your business goals. Focus on the issues your business is experiencing and show them how automation can resolve them. When you are making your case, be precise with numbers and figures you wish to achieve.
Marketing automation comes with a wide range of features. It’s essential to invest in the right system for optimum success. To make an appropriate recommendation, analyze your marketing and sales department to understand the challenges faced by them. Give preference to those features that complement your business goals.
Data is the key to drive any customized campaign. It’s essential to list down sources of information and data for a more solid case when you present it to stakeholders.
Having a set budget for the integration of marketing automation will help you find the best possible solution, quickly and easily.
While deciding on the budget, you should also focus on outlining the timeframe for the implementation of the automation tools and training of the team. Your milestone should also include the point where the business will be able to gain proficiency and achieve the set ROI.
Automation tools will not deliver optimum results if the right metrics are not being tracked. By keeping track of metrics that matter, businesses can achieve success with marketing campaigns.
In your business case, you should consider including the needs of each team in your business, outline their goals, and assign them metrics they should focus on.
The end goal of any marketing automation effort is ROI. By including ROI in your marketing automation pitch, you can make your business case more appealing.
You can incorporate ROI projections like:
Mentioning the risks of implementing marketing automation is as essential as highlighting its benefits. Outline how and where automation can present operational risks and what steps can be taken to mitigate them.
According to Matt Heinz, 9 out of 10 times it’s not the platform but the lack of a properly executed strategy that results in unsuccessful marketing automation.
If you are keen to see a surge of leads and conversions, you should have sound marketing automation strategies in place and a plan to execute them right. Here are the top strategies you can embrace to unlock all the benefits of marketing automation.
One of the biggest challenges businesses face when selecting a marketing automation tool is the inexperience in automating the tasks they haven’t performed even manually before.
Another challenge is setting the right goal. Given marketing automation can help a marketer simplify several processes, clearly defining your requirements is key.
Choosing the right marketing automation platform is instrumental in stepping closer to success. It’s crucial to make a wise choice and select a tool that brings the best suite of highly anticipated features at an affordable price tag. As a reputed marketing automation solutions provider, we have listed down key points one should keep in mind when purchasing a marketing automation tool.
Without clearing defining what you want to achieve with marketing automation, you are unlikely to get the results you desire.
Whether you want to nurture leads through email marketing or improve brand positioning through social media marketing, you must state your ultimate goal. Setting a clear goal will enable you to access the results to track improvements.
Once you have decided what you want to achieve from marketing automation, focus on understanding the system requirements. For instance, if you want to invest in email marketing to nurture leads, you should outline what the solution should include like CRM integration, template for emails and landing pages, lead scoring system and so on. This will make your selection process more efficient.
When you are outlining the requirements, you will find out that there are several vendors offering features needed by you. While there will be many others offering rare yet significant features, this will further filter out vendors that may not be able to serve your requirements. In the end, you will be left with a list of only those companies that offer solutions that you require the most.
Once you have the list, conduct a thorough website check of the vendors you have narrowed down. Look for customer testimonials, reviews, and case studies that will allow you to further assess their credibility.
When comparing multiple vendors at a time, you might get overwhelmed by what they do and don’t offer. Here, the requirements you have drawn out will again come in handy. Once you know what you require in an automation solution, ask the vendors to demonstrate how well they can deliver it.
To keep your evaluation fair, set a comparison matrix to assess which vendor best suits your needs.
Once you have looked into the features that you need, moving beyond it can help you focus on other factors like customer support, financial aspects, experience, training support and more. Thoroughly check the SLAs, services offered, and opportunity for scalability.
Find out businesses they have served in the past and whether they would recommend the vendor or not.
If you’re clear on how to use your marketing automation, you’ll find it easier to train your team or bring necessary changes in the business process.
Planning how you will deploy the automation system will enable you to integrate it with more efficiency.
Marketing is an integrated effort. For the efficient functioning of the business process, all the departments should be in sync with each other. This also means that there should be a streamlined connection between the various departments and platforms. When investing in an automation system, consider the one that supports the individual goals of all the departments as well as the collective vision of the business.
When going through the process of choosing a vendor, consider crucial factors of your organization as well.
You must assess how technically capable you are to making the switch. Has your company adopted any technological changes in the past? If yes, how challenging was it? Do you have the expertise to integrate marketing automation?
It’s imperative to say that businesses with little or no marketing automation implementation experience will need extensive assistance. Thus, considering a vendor who can help you in each step become vital for successful acquisition and implementation
At Intelus, we offer complete support right from marketing automation tool acquisition to its integration and beyond with ongoing content creation, sales funnel development and lead nurturing support. With our automation tool in place, businesses are empowered with the tools to capture new leads, score them, and convert them into customers.