Is Automation the Key to Modern Selling?

July 2, 2014 Nancy Nardin

 The article that follows is a reprint from my column in the July Top Sales World magazine, the one online magazine I never miss. The July issue includes a number of articles I found to be quite interesting including but not limited to:  Why Being a B2B Buyer Is Different – Consumerization is a Poor Comparison By Tamara Schenk, The #1 Roadblock to your Prospecting Success by Bernadette McClelland, and 5 Questions to Assess Your Impact As a Leader by Keith Rosen. Top Sales World will soon be published as a smaller, weekly periodical which will make it all the more timely and manageable. Click here to learn more and to subscribe.

Manufacturing Revenue with Sales Automation

With a large percentage of buyer’s now beginning their search for solutions on the internet, and with more and more marketing content being delivered to those buyers, sellers have a lot more inbound leads. At one point, it became neither possible nor desirable to have a salesperson follow-up on each lead for two reasons.

  1. The sheer number of leads would require a large, high-cost sales force. This partly explains the fast growth in the number of inside sales organizations.
  2. The source of inbound web “leads” is mostly from completed webforms. A completed webform doesn’t by itself signal a qualified buyer.  It signals an inferred interest at best.

These two factors paved the way for a new type of solution referred to as marketing automation. The process of qualifying inbound leads could now be automated.  Marketing automation solutions like Act-On and Marketo make it possible to create rules for scoring leads based on online buyer behavior along with buyer profile information. Those with lower scores get nurtured automatically by the system. Those with higher scores are routed to sales as Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs).

Because of marketing automation, Marketing is now able to nurture, score and route a much higher number of MQLs than ever before.

But what kind of automation is available for salespeople to effectively and efficiently move Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) through the funnel?

The time has come for the concept of a Selling Automation system. There are big breakthroughs in automating the flow of information to salespeople, as well as automating the prioritization and completion of tasks. For mobile reps, this comes in the form of innovative solutions like Badger Maps, Selligy and Clari.

Here, I’d like to talk about breakthroughs in the way salespeople can use content to capture the attention and motivate prospects—just like marketing is doing—but during the sales cycle.

Selling automation software allows sales reps to run their own interactive campaigns at a more personalized and direct level.

For instance, a solution by Tellwise allows sellers to reach out to potential buyers with content and, depending on how that buyer interacts with the content (did they click on it? ignore it? re-tweet it?), the system automatically alerts them that subsequent material is available. The tool tracks every conceivable metric with all potential customers and notifies sellers about how to proceed.

Selling automation technology drives down the cost of making a sale because reps prospect more effectively, communicate more efficiently and better understand their prospects’ interest and timing.

If you want to learn more about the concept of selling automation I highly recommend an informative whitepaper courtesy of Tellwise; “How to Use Selling Automation to Stay Ahead of the Game.”

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