Bring Marketing & Sales Together with Distributed Marketing Automation
October 18, 2012
Managing sales and marketing operations can be extremely difficult due to the growing complexity of launching a successful campaign. On the one hand, marketers need to incorporate a variety of communication channels into the mix to ensure they reach the broadest audience – this means everything from new digital platforms, such as social media and email, to traditional avenues, such as newspapers and television.
On the other hand, there are salespeople, who will be the ones actually engaging customers generated by these materials. They may need to customize materials specifically for leads to ensure relevance. However, this causes issues because marketing employees are responsible for creating these new materials, and the time-consuming process takes away from their ability to plan and execute subsequent campaigns.
The alignment of sales and marketing is clearly a contentious problem for everyone involved in these two departments, with each side pointing fingers at the other for missteps. So what can companies do to alleviate some of the pressure of successfully managing marketing and sales departments?
While there are a number of potential answers to that question, many companies have turned to marketing automation as a solution. The right automation platform will bring all of your operations together under one metaphorical roof, helping your business run more cohesive sales and marketing departments.
Aggregating Data and Operations
There are dozens of different marketing channels at the disposal of marketers – social media, email, search, mobile, the list goes on and on. Each one of these communication avenues is pivotal to a successful campaign. Depending on a variety of factors (the audience that you’re attempting to reach, the channel through which a company sees the greatest engagement, etc.), marketers may opt to prioritize on specific channels, but leveraging the strengths of all of them is still important.
However, there are numerous challenges associated with utilizing a variety of marketing channels. First and foremost is managing these communication avenues. Many businesses use specific tools for individual platforms, which means a company could have dozens of solutions in place to measure and analyze each part of its campaigns. This can make it difficult to pick out overarching trends and pick good information out from irrelevant data.
Distributed marketing automation platforms can aggregate all the data collected by these various tools and bring it into a single space, making the analysis of campaigns much easier. It doesn’t matter whether you’re running tools from a variety of companies across a multitude of channels, or if you’re only using a handful, marketing automation solutions can make the difference when it comes to assessing and evaluating campaigns.
Once all of this data has been aggregated, it will be much easier for everyone involved with sales and marketing to actually make use of it. Marketing departments can leverage results to help devise their next campaigns, while sales divisions can use it to maximize existing ones and make real-time changes to collateral.
Why Marketing Automation is Key
Outside of simply aggregating data from a variety of sources, marketing automation brings much more to the table.
First and foremost, marketing automation relieves marketers of some of the tedious, time-consuming tasks associated with launching and managing campaigns. While no initiative should ever be tackled with a “set it and forget it mindset,” marketing automation can help company executives spend more time conceptualizing and planning new campaigns by automating several aspects of initiatives. For example, rather than having to laboriously post the same status update to all of a company’s social media profiles, automation tools can do this in a few clicks.
Automation tools also lower the potential for human error. Have you ever accidentally posted a message meant for Facebook on Twitter, or sent an email to the wrong client? Most people in marketing and sales have done so at one point in their lives. Marketing automation can be used to create a strict, automated program that minimizes human error. All the work is done and tested up front, and then, once perfected, can be used to execute campaigns.
Finally, marketing automation tools are ideal for companies that want scalability. Managing a small campaign may not be difficult, but what if a business wants to expand and target a broader audience? That means ramping up volume, leveraging new communication channels and engaging new audiences. This would be a monumental task to undergo with a small staff, but marketing automation tools can take some of the burden off of companies as they scale upward and onward.
Bolstering your Brand Through Marketing Automation
Perhaps the biggest perk of marketing automation is the ability to truly create and establish a consistent brand message. Many companies realize the importance of branding, but often feel helpless to stop it from being misused. This is especially the case when companies work with a variety of third-party businesses, such as resellers, contractors or outsourced operations, but is true with their own sales departments as well.
The classic example is a sales team that is trying to sell a product to a specific client. It has a call or meeting set up, but it needs to develop collateral tailored to the prospect. However, marketing may not be able to respond in time to sales’ request for new materials. As a result, sales makes its own version that doesn’t accurately convey the brand or its messaging.
Marketing automation solutions with a digital asset management component can solve this issue by allowing marketing to set aside brand-compliant materials and templates, which sales can then access to create its own materials. This way, all the collateral coming from a company is on-point with brand messaging. Moreover, sales has an easy means of quickly creating content for its next call or meeting with a lead. Essentially, distributed marketing solutions kill two birds with a single stone, empowering sales teams to design relevant content while also maintaining brand consistency with the pre-approved assets.
If your marketing and sales teams aren’t operating in unison, marketing automation may be the answer. It can bring a variety of operations together in a way that makes sense, reduces human error, and improves scalability. Moreover, it frees up time for other aspects of campaign management and maximizes brand consistency.