The Sales Advantages of Automation Over Cold Callers for SMBs
Best Practice Marketing Automation Can Be Used to Replace the Results (and Costs) of One or More Sales Development Reps at a Fraction of the Cost
While marketing automation has been a legitimate business solution for enterprise companies for over seven years many small businesses have not been able to leverage because of the high fixed costs of the software. It’s not until recently that’s it’s gathered more interest from small- and medium-sized B2B businesses as new software solutions have lowered the cost of entry. The results are meaningful even when more than 60% of marketers are only using it as a platform for email blasts to existing customers and to send the occasional newsletter. Even this basic implementation produces on average:
- 15% increase in sales productivity
- Reduces overall sales and marketing overhead by an average of 18.2%.
- For a combined return of over 33% ROI.
And as mentioned above these gains are realized even when most SMBs fail to leverage the true power of marketing automation to automate the sales process and score leads to predict what buyers are most likely to buy. Because unfortunately, most SMBs only use marketing automation tools to send newsletters or to ask for meetings. In fact, more than 60% of all marketers limit the use of their platform for email blasts to stay in touch with existing customers and only 13% of marketers leverage it beyond generating new leads.
When small businesses use video/written content and email marketing to replicate and even replace part of the functions of the Sales Development Rep to:
- Generate leads
- Educate early stage buyers
- Stay top of mind
Best Practice and More Advanced Marketing Automation and Content Marketing can grow sales by over 150% in less than 18 months (Marketing Profs)
Three of the top reasons businesses grow sales with these best practices are:
- They stop calling buyers that are not interested your solution and are never going to buy.
- They digitally educate buyers that may buy
- Sales can cherry-pick the leads that express the most interest and are most likely to buy.
Both the buyer and the seller win.
Here are some ways marketing automation can help you grow your sales at a lower cost.
#1 Prioritize Leads for Sales Development Reps with Lead Scoring
Marketing Automation allows you to track content engagement by prospect so your Closers Spend More Time Closing
CLICK HERE OR ON VIDEO to see how leads are prioritized in your CRM
One of the greatest features of marketing automation is the ability to measure each piece of content a prospect has consumed throughout their interaction with your emails and website. These measurements help you monitor and analyze the buyers journey, allowing you to better understand customer buying behavior, identify your most engaging content, and pinpoint the preferred and most active distribution channels.
Marketing automation allows you to score prospects according to the type of content they’ve engaged with. Different types of content are scored based on how predictive they are in relationship to a buyer stage in your sales cycle. Basic educational content is not as highly scored as video webcasts about a specific buyer pain/need or demo videos relating to a specific solution. Each email sent within an automation campaign is scored to identify what content is interesting to buyers and how frequently they are engaging with it.
This type of data allows you to see when specific prospects have shown enough interest, so it makes sense for a sales rep to reach out with a personal email or phone call to move the deal forward. By using this type of dynamic lead scoring, you will have the ability to rank and score formerly unquantifiable implicit digital activities and take the appropriate sales action. The use of explicit data – higher scores for different lead criteria – allows you to grade your prospect compared to your ideal customer profile, making your sales team more armed and effective when they make first contact. These sales automation efforts seamlessly pass top scoring prospects over to well-prepared sales reps with background information on the leads interest in real-time.
Overall, lead scoring allows your sales team to focus on the most interested buyers and allows you to prioritize buyers that are the best fit for your company’s solution.
# 2 Keep You Top of Mind with Buyers Interested But Not Ready to Buy (Yet!)
Marketing Automation enables you to nurture not-yet-ready-to-buy prospects.
It takes an average of between 7 and 13 touches to develop a buyer before a sale is made. Marketing automation can become a stand-in for a junior level sales and marketing person, sharing company information and knowledge directly with your potential buyers. For those leads that are already aware of your solution, but aren’t yet ready to buy, marketing automation allows you to stay top-of-mind and build trust with your leads by offering educational content about industry trends and developments. It allows you to further boost your online presence, highlight product enhancements, and establish industry-leading influence. And it works: nurtured leads produce an average of a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads (DemandGen Report).
Research has shown that only 5% of B2B prospects are ready to buy at any given time. And 50% of qualified leads are not ready to buy either (Gleanster Research). And yet, many B2B companies today do not have a strategy to develop these opportunities; so sales reps simply discard them as ‘not interested.’ However, by nurturing your leads with light, educational content on a regular basis, you can stay top-of-mind and over time, develop real active interest (and deals) from leads you generated 6 to 12, to even 18 months ago.
Marketing automation allows you track and manage your early stage prospects and their content engagement on an ongoing basis as they go through the buyer’s journey over and extended period of time. The tool then reports data back to your team about their overall interactions, rather than by each individual campaign. This data is pushed to your CRM and used to more accurately identify and communicate to sales what leads need attention.
Lead nurturing works: 67% of B2B marketers say they see at least a 10% increase in sales opportunities through lead nurturing. And 15% companies report seeing an increase of 30% or more (Demand Gen Report). The top companies that excel at lead nurturing, generate 50% more sales ready leads at a 33% lower cost (Forrester Research).
#3 You Can Use Video Content Once to Automate Buyer Education After a Lead is Generated and Score That Content Too!
Buyers now expect you to provide that content and 75% of these buyers now prefer video over reading text.
- Video has become the preferred way most users consume content. Where both video and text are available on the same page, 72% of people would rather use video to learn about a product or service (Hubspot)
- Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text. (Popvideo)
- 95% of buyers watch an explainer video or demo video first to learn more about a product or service (Content Marketing Institute)
- 97% of buyers say video has helped increase their understanding of of a product or service (Forbes)
You can create content that replaces what you tell buyer over and over in sales calls to make it easier for the buyer to buy. It also helps you to build trust without sitting on hours and hours of sales calls to develop leads. This content includes:
- Explainer Videos
- Short Webcasts
- Long Webcasts
- FAQ Head Shot Videos
- Long Webcasts
This creates a huge opportunity for sellers to:
- Replicate the repeatable parts of their sales process with video.
- To share that video through their automation system
- Score the engagement with that video so sales knows when the buyer is ready to buy
#4 Marketing Automation Improves Lead Generation
Email marketing needs to be used in combination with all tactics to improve overall lead gen. And 70% of buyers want to learn about new products they might not know to search for with email marketing. The only tactic that out performs email marketing are trade shows.
Demand Gen’s State of Demand Generation study shows, 77% of buyers want different, targeted content at the early stage of their research. When PPC spend cannot drive enough leads this lowers cost dramatically vs. cold calling. And for new buyers it enables your company to make that initial awareness possible and to stay in touch with buyers over a long period of time without the expense and time of regular check in phone calls by sales reps. With lead nurturing, sales reps don’t waste time chasing leads not yet ready to buy, while the marketing team prevents cold leads from slipping through the cracks.
Marketers using automation software generate 2x the number of leads than PPC and Social Media alone. And when compared to those just using blast email software they are 2x as effective at communicating with buyers (Autopilot, 2015; Hubspot Marketing Statistics) because the communication is far more consistent.
How Gabriel Sales Can Help
Gabriel Sales specializes in helping SMBs and Startups grow business with modern sales and marketing operations. Our team can augment gaps in your existing sales and marketing operations or we can be leveraged for full service campaigns that include:
- Integrated Sales and Marketing Strategies
- Database Research and Targeting
- Content Production
- Automation and CRM Systems Best Practices
- Systems Implementation
- Inbound Lead Generation
- Outbound Lead Generation and Lead Scoring
- Sales Qualification
To learn more about how we can help you grow your business (or decide if we are the right fit for you), we invite you to visit our page that details our integrated approach to sales and marketing outsourcing. Or feel free to contact us for free initial consultation and discovery session to see if our approach is the right fit to help you hit your revenue targets.