Marketing automation aligns your interests with those of your sales reps and distributors.
At CoreElement, we conduct an international industrial marketing survey to gauge the state of manufacturers’ marketing programs. It is also a good chance for manufacturers to vent their frustrations to us.
We find a common issue is the principal-independent rep / distributor relationship. Many express difficulty in finding reliable reps. Others lament their inability to provide reps with quality leads or to know what happens to those which are provided. We understand the age-old battle and it sounds something like…
Independent rep: “You’re not giving me enough quality leads.”
Principal: “Sure we are. You’re just not doing anything with them.”
Marketing automation helps both sides get along better by improving the quality of leads and holding independent reps accountable.
There is added accountability because actions are tracked. Customer relationship management systems (“CRMs”), such as Salesforce, capture data that can be reviewed by principals to ensure that their reps are following up appropriately with leads.
Reps benefit because they receive higher quality leads thanks to all the potential customer data being captured by marketing automation software. Initial responses are pre-determined and delivered to standard inquiries, saving reps time while providing a prompt reply.
A recent post from Heinz Marketing elaborates:
Most sales reps see little correlation between what they’re asked to add into CRM [customer relationship management], and how they make money. The more management asks from their CRM input, the more likely reps are to see it as management-driven, vs. something that will help them identify, qualify and more efficiently drive more prospects to close. If they’re right (and oftentimes they are), you need to adjust what you’re capturing and what you’re requiring from the field. But if they’re wrong, the onus is on you to prove it.
Demonstrate a clear, measurable line between time spend consistently updating CRM, and their ability to close more business and make more money. In the middle of a busy day, it can feel less than optimal to stop and update the CRM system. But if you can put that activity in contact and demonstrate those few minutes will either save them significant time later, or more directly help them make money right now, you’ll start to drive more of the behavior you both want.
Any rift between sales and marketing teams can easily overcome by collecting and sharing data that is meaningful to both parties. For example, a “prospect” or “lead” score can be developed by tracking interactions such as website visits, newsletter opens, etc.
This score is generated by marketing automation software and then used to populate your company’s CRM system for use by your sales rep to identify hot prospects quickly. And that’s just the beginning.
Photo credit: Glyn Lowe