What I learned today about sales and marketing automation best practice

No matter how long you have worked in your field of expertise, you’ll always meet new people, in the same area, who will open your eyes to new views of your world. This is even greater when you interact with a large audience of like-minded professionals. Here is one example.

I’d like to start off by thanking everyone who attended my live webinar today on sales and marketing automation. It was a good turn-out with some great questions and interesting survey results that I wanted to share with you as it’s a real eye-opener.

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As you can see from the first survey, most of the attendees are in the planning stage of sales and marketing automating. Some had no plans — probably looking to understand the benefits — where a few have been doing it for a while and were there to understand how to improve.

We ran through my recent post on 6 steps to selecting a SalesTech and Martech Stack but quickly moved onto the real meat of the presentation – namely, sales and marketing automation strategies for optimizing your marketing and sales funnel to increase revenue and customer lifetime value.

We ran through several best practice strategies and models — from funnel metrics to lead qualification/scoring, SLAs and nurturing. You can download all 12 templates here.

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When I asked what their top priorities were across the top 5 strategies the majority wanted to improve lead scoring and have more or better nurture tracks with half as many people concerned with funnel metrics and service level agreements with sales.

To me, this was a shocker! On reflection, the majority of attendees were planning to introduce marketing automation to their business for the first time, but they just want to nurture leads to score and pass to sales. No one was interested in how you qualify those leads and less interested in how you agree the lead stages and have it agreed with sales — which are crucial elements to successful implementation.

But things became clearer when I introduced the B2B Value Transformation™ framework, to understand where they are on their journey today:

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As the majority of attendees were predominantly in the Lead Generation and Activity Generation stages, with only a few classifying themselves in Demand Generation mode. And no-one saw themselves as a Revenue Generation or Value Generation team.

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I suppose this is not surprising as companies that are just starting their automation journey are very early in their SalesTEch and MarTech growth and maturity. Does this make them immature? I don’t think so. Every company is unique. If you’re a start-up you’re just growing your company. Budgets are small and so is headcount. So it’s natural you don’t have the resources for marketing automation.

But I have to say I saw quite a few big company names on the attendee list. So are these big companies going through a digital transformation? I’d say, yes! Especially B2B companies that have been traditionally technophobes. They now see that more needs to be invested in sales and marketing automation to help scale their efforts. They need to strive for lead quality and marketing, sales and service partnering to become revenue-centers that bring long-term value to clients and their company’s profitability.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these results. And to hear where you are on your B2B Value Transformation™ journey.

(This article first appeared on linkedin.com, on 29 October 2016 and updated here on 5 September 2019)

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