Amid an ever-expanding array of channels and tactics being used in the B2B buying process, it’s time for businesses to start fundamentally changing the way they use marketing automation.

And one of the most important moves they can take is to put processes in place that will enable sales and marketing departments to work more closely together on marketing automation strategy. 

This was the message from Salesforce's B2B marketing leader, Merinda Peppard, and Bluewolf's marketing automation expert, Phillip Ludgate, during a recent webinar. They set out how businesses can use marketing automation to make sense of, and organise, highly complex webs of audience interaction points — and create a cohesive experience for buyers.

The end result? Boosting lead generation and sales conversions. 


The three big sales and marketing problems today

Merinda and Phillip defined three specific problems sales and marketing departments are facing – all of which can be addressed with successful implementations of marketing automation software:

  1. There are too many channels to work with and too little time to do it in.
  2. There’s a missing link between marketing and sales data and its actual business value. 
  3. With separate systems and tools being used by different teams, we end up working in silos.

So the big question becomes: How do you use marketing automation to empower marketing and sales to better connect with each other and address these issues?

Phillip – a senior marketing automation consultant at Bluewolf, an IBM company – suggests addressing the problem in six stages.


1. Project Approach

Firstly, define and agree an approach and methodology to the overall marketing automation implementation – remembering that one size doesn’t fit all. To work out your approach, you need to answer big questions like:

  • What does a good lead look like?
  • What qualifies as a lead?
  • How is a marketing lead handed off to sales?
  • How do you nurture prospects vs. existing customers? 
  • How do you measure success?
  • What data processes do you have, or need to have?  
  • What velocity does you current marketing activity bring to the top of the funnel?
  • How do you increase velocity through the funnel, to qualify quicker?


2. Data

Data is at the centre of good marketing automation. ‘Front-end’ data enables you to engage and nurture prospects through pre-described journeys. Back-end’ data  enables you to segment audiences and drive quality leads into the funnel.

You need to look after all this valuable data by implementing good data governance. This involves measuring the quality of data, working out whether its trustworthy, and making privacy a top priority as an organisation, especially with the imminent arrival of GDPR. Work out how your data will be used and make sure you are structuring it appropriately.  


3. People

Successful marketing automation rollouts require buy-in across the organisation. This means educating and inspiring teams across Marketing, Sales, Leadership — and also the IT team. Phillip says: “When we step back and think about what we are trying to achieve from marketing automation, it always comes back to people.”


4. Change management

Team alignment is at the heart of change management. Roles and responsibilities need to be defined early in the process. With everyone clear about their jobs and teams aligned, you’ll be in a great position to manage the change.


5. Story Telling

Without good stories, marketing automation doesn’t work well. As a business, you need to tell stories to audiences ranging from those who know exactly what you are selling – to those that have never come across your brand or product before.

Marketing automation allows businesses to segment audiences based on several factors. Once we understand our audiences and their levels of engagement, multiple stories are needed to address their needs. 


6. Technology Rollout

According to Phillip, “no Marketing Automation implementation is ever going to go very far without buy in from the IT team.” It’s important to work closely with IT to define which internal process you need to follow to be able to implement change in the technology landscape.


Getting results

Getting marketing automation right yields great results for sales, marketing, and for the business bottom line. Merinda, B2B Marketing lead at Salesforce, reported that customers who use the right suite of marketing automation tools see, on average, a 34% increase in marketing ROI and a 34% increase in sales revenue, in addition to some huge productivity jumps.     

It’s time to use marketing automation to bring businesses together – and boost bottom lines. Watch the on-demand recording from the webinar to gain further insights and get answers to the questions you may have.