Come together, right now – with an SEP

The feud between sales and marketing boils down to one thing: unqualified leads, according to Tom Castley, VP of sales – UK, Outreach.

Beatles mural

A band performs best when every member is singing from the same hymn sheet. The music sounds good and the crowd has a great time.

This is the same with businesses. Revenue machines work best when all their components move in unison. Starting with the CRO acting as the conductor, each division has a role to play, and any false note impacts the whole. Making sure that all customer-facing operations are in sync is not just good for morale, it’s also the best way to hit all high performance and target profits for perfect harmony. And this requires sales and marketing working together as a joint force to help growth, rather than separate virtuosi who compete for the audience’s attention.

When the two departments are working in silos with disjointed strategies, operational gaps appear and corporate dissonance follows. This causes a clunky, out of tune revenue machine that loses opportunities before they even enter the pipeline. It can even lead to businesses losing low-hanging fruit that could easily be closed if there had been no operational gaps between sales and marketing.

So – how can we close the gap, get the Beatles back together and get everybody singing the same song?

A ticket to ride

Organisations should be looking at sales engagement, and sales automation in general, to help close the gap between sales and marketing. This technology is the ticket to better alignment, better response rates, and ultimately higher revenues. It’s based around the idea that you need to do more than just get the prospect’s attention — you need to keep it.

Obviously, marketing is a key part of the buyer’s journey. It is marketing that normally makes the first contact with a prospect, and therefore makes the first impression. But too often, this first introduction is followed by a radically different act, with different paces and very little continuity. To help smooth the shift from marketing to sales, marketing must use the same engagement sequences, processes, and tools as the sales team, or your lead will go listen to someone else. Sales engagement platforms (SEPs) make it easier for organisations to ensure sales and marketing are singing from the same hymn sheet, to prevent lost prospects.

With a little help from my friends

Most marketing ops already use a wide range of marketing automation tools for tasks such as lead generation and data management. Yet, these are not designed for ongoing multi-touch engagement, and it is highly unlikely that they communicate with the tools salespeople use. This isn’t good enough. To be successful, marketing and sales need to be able to communicate across technologies to move people through the pipeline. This is where Sales Engagement Platforms (SEPs) come in.

SEPs can be used to automate the data collection, analysis, and outputs required to get leads through the pipeline and ensure that everything follows the right tempo. This saves marketing ops time and allows the sales team to tune into their real talent – turning leads into cash.

There are three major things that SEPs can help marketing ops managers with:

1. Data and Analytics

Without using a SEP, the only way to get customer data from one team to another is to pull it out manually, hand it off, and then manually input it again. This takes a lot of time and leaves a lot of room for error, which is inefficient and insecure.

This creates a disconnect that means data is trapped in different tools which aren’t communicating properly. SEPs break down these barriers, connecting tools and allowing the necessary parties to access the data they need. Designed like sheet music, each recipient gets a score sheet for the part they are expected to play – no more, no less. This allows sales leads to fully orchestrate the process, and strictly control who has access to what data through profiles and other data governance tools.

By having all the data together in one place, businesses can use analytics and A/B testing tools to tune the best messaging to suit the needs of each of their verticals, and then communicate the results to people within the organisation. This, in turn, enables a more targeted, account-based approach with unique, personalised messaging for each account.

2. Lead Response Time

If a prospect shows interest, they expect to get a response from sales or marketing almost instantly. Any delay can kill a sale.

Traditional processes do not allow for speedy responses or a speedy transition between marketing and sales. Ultimately, the right person just needs to remember to reach out, and others need to remember not to interfere. This breeds confusion, limits the development of top performers and easily ends up with no one claiming a lead.

A SEP ensures the correct rep is notified at the correct time to contact the lead. It also enables them to personalise the initial emails using data they have collected, which set up triggers that put prospects in the correct automated sequence based on their activity.

This ensures there is no lag between interest and contact, enabling a frictionless buyer journey.

3. Perfectly Timed Messaging

It is obviously great to get a quick response, but to get a perfectly timed response is even better. Timing your message and touchpoints is key throughout the customer journey, as you want the prospect to get the response at a time that they will actually see it.

Machine learning can be used to optimise this and allows organisations to send perfectly timed, personalised messages and sequences. One example is when reps get an out-of-office reply, machine learning can be used to process this and schedule a personalized email for the second they get back.

The best sales teams act like marching bands: perfectly timed, perfectly tuned and all playing to the same sheet. But this can only happen if you empower your sales leads with the perfect conductor’s baton – an SEP.

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