Marketing Automation Can Help Your B2B Demand Generation Marketing and Your Sales Team

This is a guide to five ways that marketing automation and sales technology can quickly shift your internal culture and help your saMarketing Automation Integrationles team be more effective, and most importantly, win more deals.

The five avenues through which adoption of marketing technology and sales automation will have an immediate positive impact on your performance are as follows:

  1. Lead Capture
  2. Lead Qualification
  3. Email Automation
  4. Lead Intelligence
  5. Real Time Lead Alerts

Below is a brief explanation of how each of these features will help boost the performance of your sales team and the success of your marketing efforts.

Lead Capture

Tools come onto the market and promise to help sales and marketing teams improve their efficiency. Pardot Marketing Automation Software, for example, allows you to identify companies and targets that are spending time on your site without the need for any information to be directly supplied by the prospect. The major value established here is through the ability to identify potential prospects without having the lag time of: contact info needing to be input or using a 3rd party data provider like Inside View, LinkedIn, one Source and SalesForceData. This method more quickly identifies the key players within a company, spending time digesting your marketing material. These 3rd party data provides are used to pull in additional data to fill in holes for contacts that are already established.

It is important to not downplay the necessity of being able to capture leads with landing pages and forms. That is not a new concept or strategy and will help increase your ability to hand over qualified prospects smoothly, when combined with strong lead management rules.

Lead Qualification

In today’s B2B markets, there are two main ways to directly and successfully qualify leads: using implicit behaviors and activities or explicit data and demographics.

By using implicit information and dynamic lead scoring, you will have the ability to rank and score formerly unquantifiable activities (email, web, social) variably by importance and then set up response actions. These sales automation efforts seamlessly pass top scoring prospects over to well-prepared sales reps in real time.

In using explicit data and lead grading, you gain the ability to qualify a prospect on who they actually are, and the habits they have exhibited – ex. a CEO versus a workaholic just trying to learn something new by requesting your content. You can also adjust grading up and down depending on industry, company size and other various metrics. Essentially, you are able to grade your prospects against an ideal customer profile that your sales and marketing team identifies.

These tactics will directly help your sales team avoid talking to bad prospects that won’t convert, and these grades and scores provide you with another way to dynamically pre-qualify and assign the best prospects to the best sales reps.

Email Automation

Email automation is a major facet in helping your sales reps take their knowledge about and performance with leads to the next level. Reps now have the ability to use email integration tools for programs like Outlook, Gmail, Apple Mail and Thunderbird to send personalized emails through the marketing automation tool. This integration results in a new way to personally track opens, clicks, and site time that comes with the option to receive real-time automatic notifications sent to reps.

Email automation also allows for new approaches to personalized email campaigns. The marketing team can craft a message or series of messages to the company’s entire pool of prospects, yet dynamically assign the various fields of the email as they apply to each prospect. This serves two main purposes: 1) reps are accredited by leads to having provided appropriate information with no effort (the marketing software and sales engine took care of everything) and 2) all replies to specific content go directly to the assigned rep, and can be analyzed to provide further insight for future targeting.

A consequential bonus of email automation is that sales reps can pass back “not-yet-qualified” leads to be furthered nurtured by the marketing automation program. This allows for continued exposure, lead qualification and reduced lead exit. Sales reps are notified if the lead “comes back to life” and the lead is automatically sent more digestible content.

Lead Intelligence

Through marketing automation and sales technologies, reps are able to track all online behaviors (email, web, social) and that data is put directly into any CRM (Salesforce) instead of requiring the sales rep to learn the ins and outs of the back-end functions of the marketing automation prospect tracking system and put the information in themselves. Actionable data including the original lead source, specific page views, keyword searches, webinar attendance etc. can all be tracked. This allows for sales reps to profile and frame the content for anything from conversations, voicemails and follow-up emails based on the prospects specific actions and activities.

Real-Time Lead Alerts

This function of sales technology and marketing automation is crucial if you want to compete effectively against competition in the market. Timing is everything, as any good sales rep knows. Real-time lead alerts allow sales reps to reduce response time almost entirely when companies or leads are actively engaged in the sales education collateral. Sales reps receive instant alerts via email, text, mobile applications, and desktop notifications – whichever medium they prefer.

With these alerts and summaries, reps can:

  • Prioritize their day with the most active prospects
  • Perform quick lookups of anonymous visitors in LinkedIn or Jigsaw to identify potential new prospects
  • Click on links to trigger CRM profile lookups
  • Send email to active prospects with a few quick clicks
  • Filter out unwanted and distracting activity

All five of these features: Lead Capture, Lead Qualification, Email Automation, Lead Intelligence, and Real-Time Lead Alerts save your reps time and help them close more deals. An effective integration and strategy surrounding marketing automation and sales technology will help you to synthesize marketing and sales objectives and improve overall company success.

For more information on how to increase B2B sales volume and how you can adjust your B2B lead generation, demand generation and sales tactics, look for our 5th and final blog of this series, out next week.

If you would like to learn more about how we at Gabriel Sales can combine your product knowledge and thought leadership with our sales and marketing expertise to increase your success and beat out competition, please contact us.

How to Market a Product: Content Marketing and Story Telling

Content marketing is making huge strides in the sales process. Why? It is effective.

Content keeps people engaged without sales calls and content is scientifically better at impacting people. You may already know that videos have a higher retention rate than text, but did you know that stories trigger the brain more than just facts and figures. It is recommended to incorporate story telling into marketing in order to relate to your audience, appeal to emotions and engage their brain more.

The idea behind story telling is to show not tell. When using facts and figures to portray an idea or product you will only engage two parts of your reader’s brain, the Wernicke’s Area (language comprehension) and the Broca’s Area (language processing). Using stories you can trigger multiple areas of the brain by describing the surroundings, Motor Cortex (movement), Sensory Cortex & Cerebellum (touch), Olfactory Cortex (scents), Auditory Cortex (sounds) and Visual Cortex (colors and shapes). By triggering more areas of the brain you are making it more likely that your audience will remember your content.

It is easy to learn how to market a product through storytelling.

There are 5 key steps to telling a successful story:

  1. Get Personal – connect with your audience emotionally. Appeal to the pains they may be experiencing without your solution.
  2. Avoid Clichés – they have minimal impact and are more likely to drive people away than engage them.
  3. Avoid Complex Language – keep your story conversational to create a more enjoyable experience rather than overwhelming your audience.
  4. Be Relatable – add meaning for the audience.
  5. Be Descriptive – take advantage of describing scenes in order to activate more areas of the brain in order to be more memorable.

In order to successfully engage with the audience you also need a hero they can connect with 5 things the hero must do in order to engage your audience:

  1. Sets out to achieve a goal.
  2. Butts heads with an antagonist or a problem that needs to be solved.
  3. In order to conquer the hero must make a transformation.
  4. Finds a mentor with resources.
  5. The hero prevails!

In order to practice what we preach we wrote a story about ‘John’ who is struggling to maintain sales. This is just one example of how to market a product with storytelling. Continue reading in order to learn what actions John takes to alleviate his sales woes.

John sits at his desk, a nearby copy machine whirrs, and the clock chimes 8 times. It’s the start of a new work day. The same daunting task looms before him as it had for days and weeks and months.

John needs a way to sell, market and close deals efficiently and cost effectively. As he braces for the chaos that is about to begin, he glances over at the stainless steel framed photograph of his family. It has been weeks since he has made it home for dinner. He is lucky if he makes it home to tuck them in.

As owner of the company John has many functions. His days are filled with company operations, client management, proposal creation and employee management. Lately his time has been devoted to hiring and training sales reps. Due to the nature of the industry, the sales process is long, which makes the training process longer.

Last month John had to replace their last sales rep because goals were not being met. John has since picked up the sales calling while training the new sales rep. Before John picks up the phone for his first round of calls he runs his fingers through his graying hair and wishes there was an easier way to sell.

This led John down a rabbit hole of internet searches for a sales and marketing solution. What stood out as the best option for John was outsourcing.

Fast forward two months.

John is sitting in a conference room filled with people determined to cure his sales and marketing pains. They previously mined John’s company for existing content and learned the sales process. These people were now going to change the selling process and with John’s help, create fresh content.

Outsourcing and how to market a product is new to John and he is nervous it won’t work. In this monochromatic room, tan walls and brown furniture, he tries to turn his fears and doubts into confidence. If this is successful the ROI will be substantial, not to mention the time and money that will be saved by not having to hire new sales reps every six months.

The outsourcing team created content to address frequently asked questions. As John supplied information for content he quickly realized that each piece had a specific purpose within the sales process. Content was not being created solely for marketing; it was being created with sales strategy in mind.

After two days with the sales and marketing outsourcing team John was feeling confident. Two weeks following content creation, cold callers hit the phones and pushed the first wave of content. Using cold callers lowered the cost of calling for John and increased the volume of calls made.

Through cold calling and trackable content each prospect was scored. The scoring made it possible for John’s heavy hitting sales person to focus on prospects that showed interest. John was still the closer and was brought in early to guide buyers through the sales process. Although John’s initial headaches were gone he had a new one.

Cold calling, content nurturing and focusing on interested leads meant John was working to close more deals than ever before. Most of his calls involved explaining their solution and he was feeling like a broken record. John was getting involved too soon. John wondered, “Is there a way to get people the right information without getting tied up on the phone?”

He called his sales and marketing outsourcing team and explained his challenge. They proposed to automate the sales process with content. Together they created headshot, demo and whiteboard videos in order to clone John and get the information in an easily shareable form.

Now, sales reps could send prospects pertinent information through a marketing automation platform. The data was tracked and if the content was viewed the prospect could move to the next step in the sales process.

John’s time was further leveraged by bridging the information gap with content. He was spending less time involved in the sales process and the company was working more deals than ever. John was working less hours and spending more time with his family.

Today John sits at his desk, sipping coffee while he views marketing automation reports. His reports show that two clients viewed videos on how to calculate ROI. Today is the day to get them to buy. Before picking up the phone, John smiles to himself and thinks, “Two sales a day and only two calls. Not too bad.”


To learn more about how to market a product with content, check out these blogs:

Get Prospects to Take Action: Content Variety

How to Guide B2B Prospects through the Sales Cycle with Content

Insights from Dreamforce – Using Content to Create Trust

using content to create trustWhile we were unable to attend Dreamforce this year, we’ve been keeping an eye on the amazing presentations coming out of the event from industry experts. One of the most interesting insights we’ve seen so far came from Marcus Nelson of Addvocate, who discussed how to effectively promote your content.

He began his presentation with these three statistics:

  • 90% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know
  • 70% trust consumer opinions posted online
  • 14% trust advertising

To us, Nelson’s numbers show that regardless of new technologies and marketing platforms, people and relationships are still at the heart of selling.

So, what does this mean for promoting your content? It means you need other people than you to sing your praises in digital form. Nelson suggested that companies need to start taking advantage of an underused resource—employees. He explained that in a new Edelman Trust Barometer report, it was found that the average employee is trusted two times more than a C-level executive. By having your employees actively promoting your content as individuals, they can engage in authentic conversations with your prospects that will build trust without exhausting your financial resources.

Nelson and many other presentations at Dreamforce also give evidence for the growing importance of social proof—defined by Wikipedia as a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.  In terms of sales and marketing, this basically means that when people are unsure of what to do in a purchasing situation, they look to others who have been in the same situation and imitate their behavior.

Understanding how social proof works and using it to your advantage is a skill we believe will grow in value in 2014.  Tactically speaking, the digital consumer looks for social proof in customer testimonials, social media and other third-party resources, so making sure there are positive and accurate reflections of your company in these places is key to making social proof work for you.

For more tips on how to succeed in the coming year, read 2014 B2B Sales and Marketing Trends. Pease feel free to contact us with any questions.

5 Reasons Your B2B Content Isn’t Converting (Part 2)

b2b content marketingThis is part-two of a blog series on five things you may be doing that hurt your B2B content marketing conversion rates. Click here for part one.

3.  You aren’t offering multiple options for consumption.

In the past decade or so, the traditional mode of selling and buying was flipped on its head and now, buyers hold all the power when it comes to the game of sales.  Because buyers now hold the keys in terms of when to view marketing material, how long to view and how to respond, you need to offer them as many options as possible to get them to convert.

For example, let’s say you send out an email with a link for a YouTube video attached. Now, if your prospect is on their mobile device and is taking the subway home, they may have the desire to interact with your content but don’t want to disturb the people around them by playing a loud video. By including a transcript of the video or a slide share presentation with notes attached, you can ensure that regardless of your prospects’ individual situations and preferences, you are offering relevant content they will want to engage with.

4.  You aren’t telling people what you want them to do.

It is not likely that your prospects are going to convert if you don’t make it clear and easy for them to do so. Marketing content should always contain a call to action; the action itself can vary, but it should always be obvious to your viewer.

To increase conversion rates, you can use your call to action to help guide your prospect through their buying cycle by leading them from one piece of content to the next. For example, after an educational blog post, invite people to ‘learn more’ by watching your company overview video. Then, on the video page, invite prospects to ‘sign up for a custom demo’. When used in this way, calls to action are about more than just getting a prospect to click on something; they are about helping guide your prospects through their buying journey.

5.  You aren’t tailoring your content for different audience segments.

Market segmentation is not a new concept anymore, so if you aren’t segmenting your content in some way at this point, you’re behind. By breaking apart your audience into different segments based on various demographic factors (title, geography, company size, department, etc.), you are able to then tailor the messaging of your content to match the different pains, needs and goals each segment may have.

Segmenting your content successfully requires in-depth knowledge of your customer base.  The B2B sale now often involves multiple decision-makers and stakeholders (IT, HR, marketing, etc.), all of whom bring a different perspective to the table. By offering marketing content appropriate for each of those perspectives, you show your prospects you have taken the time to truly understand their needs and goals, which will help you earn their trust.

To learn more about B2B content marketing, you can read another educational blog post here. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

5 Reasons Your B2B Content Isn’t Converting

b2b content marketingIn the past few years, many B2B companies have started blogs and YouTube channels, joined social media networks, started hosting webinars and more—having been told that putting digital content out into the world would translate to increased revenue.

For most companies, B2B content marketing has now become an integral part of their overall marketing program. In terms of lead generation, nurturing and relationship building, content marketing has seen tremendous success. However, we believe content marketing is successful only if it leads to an impact on sales. At the end of the day, if your content isn’t converting prospects into leads or customers, it isn’t doing its job.

In order to help you create more effective and engaging B2B marketing content, here are five things you may be doing that hurt your conversion rates:

1.  You aren’t thinking about content creation strategically.

You might have the ability to produce quality content. That quality content might even be read frequently. However, if that content isn’t backed by a strategy to guide prospects from one stage of the sales cycle to the next, it won’t help you convert leads.

In order for B2B marketing content to be useful for conversion, you need to map out the stages of your buyer’s buying cycle and then develop different pieces of content to match each stage. The purpose of this is to allow you buyer to take themselves through their buying cycle on their own. This means you need basic level, purely educational blog posts to help with discovery as well as highly technical product/software demos to encourage the close—and everything in between. By thinking strategically about content creation, you ensure that every piece of content you create has a purpose and end goal in mind, leading to dramatically increased conversion.

2.  You aren’t talking in specifics.

A lot of B2B content marketing gets ignored because it doesn’t really say much.  Everyone can say their solution “increases ROI” or “cuts expenses”, but that doesn’t actually tell your prospects anything about how you are different than your competitors.  By avoiding specifics in your marketing content, your prospects are left wondering, “OK, but how does that work exactly?” or worse, “Does this person even know what they are talking about?”

While you don’t want to be overly technical and talk over the heads of your prospects, you do want your content to convince them of your expertise. By going into specific details when appropriate (i.e. when you are explaining your value proposition), your prospects feel like they are educated enough to make an informed purchase decision.

To continue reading, click here.

B2B Marketing Tricks & Treats

For a lot of us at Gabriel Sales, Halloween is our favorite holiday. Most of us are dressed up in the office today, so we decided to try to bring some Halloween fun to the world of B2B sales and marketing.

Here is how we see the B2B marketing experience as it relates to Halloween:

b2b sales halloween1.  Content=Candy

Everyone loves getting things given to them, but free things can always be more or less awesome. We all remember what house gave out huge Hershey’s bars and what one gave out dental floss. If you don’t want your company to be like the house that everyone avoids, make sure the content you provide your prospects with is king size.

Pumpkins2.  Lights off=No (Foot) Traffic

This one is a no brainer. If you don’t have your content on active websites, blogs and social media channels, you will have zero trick-or-treaters.

3.  Candy Bowl Outside=Anonymous Visits

Both Halloween and B2B marketing are about interaction, and the first requirement for interacting is showing up. If you just leave a bowl of candy with a “please take ONE” note, you have no way of knowing who is coming to your house and what they are doing while there. This is like having no analytics or marketing automation tool on the backend of your content marketing program. How do you know whether a group of teenagers took the entire bowl or honest children took just one each?

halloween b2b sales tips4.  Decorated House=Good Visitor Experience

People remember good experiences and will come back to have them again and again. If your house is covered in elaborate carved pumpkins and statues of ghouls and goblins, your trick-or-treaters will remember and are likely to come back next year. Similarly, if you put a lot of extra time into making your website design a great experience for your prospects, they are more likely to come back and convert.

5.  In Costume=Relate to Visitor to Build Trust

As a trick-or-treater, it is always more fun to go to a house where the person who opens the door is in costume. It shows that person understands what Halloween is all about, which creates an immediate connection. In B2B sales, the more you can do to make your prospects feel understood, the more they will want to interact with you in the future.

We hope you enjoyed our festive B2B sales tips and wish you all have a very Happy Halloween!