CRM and Marketing Automation in B2B – a guest article by Martin Philipp, Managing Director of SC-Networks GmbH, manufacturer of the marketing automation platform Evalanche (www.sc-networks.de).
The clock is ticking! In order to reach potential customers ahead of their own competitors and successfully win them over, it is high time for B2B companies to digitize their sales and use synergies in cooperation with marketing.
In order to provide the B2B company with the necessary sales throughout, its sales in recent years have often focused heavily on day-to-day business. But with the increasingly digital information and purchasing behavior of B2B customers and the associated growing demands, it is now time to actively digitize sales. It is a fallacy to believe that the advancing digitalization leads B2B sales further away from the customer. On the contrary, it gives companies the opportunity to make interaction with the customer as easy as possible and thus to be closer to the customer situation again. Especially in the interface to the typical marketing topics “Lead Management” and “Campaign Automation” lies great potential. The following five tips help companies to digitize their sales quickly and purposefully.
1. Think outside the box.
Even before you even notice anything about it, your customers have long since started looking for the right provider on the Internet. Therefore, follow the digital traces of your prospects and existing customers right from the start and learn from them again and again. In the long run, you can use this data trail and professional customer intelligence management to get a 360-degree view of your customers. This allows you to better understand and even predict customer behavior. Holistic approach is also important within the company: Especially when dealing with customer data, silo thinking must come to an end. Rather, it is important to collect relevant information across departments and to make it available again after careful consolidation and analysis.
2. Provide relevant information at the right time at the right touchpoint.
The fact is: B2B customers consume a range of content in different formats during the course of their customer journey before making a decision. With the right inbound marketing strategy and professional data management, ensure that your customers and leads receive the information that is relevant to them at the right touchpoint at the right time. Please note: If you don’t get involved in the decision-making process of potential customers early enough, it may be too late and your competitor will make the sales.
3. Use modern technologies for digital challenges.
In order to collect the numerous relevant customer data at the increasingly digital touchpoints on the one hand and to incorporate this information into content marketing, product development or offer creation on the one hand and to automatically play out content formats on the other hand, technological support is required. As a rule, sales already uses a CRM system that contains all the important information about customers and business opportunities. With the help of the data collected by marketing automation software along the customer journey, you can make your sales process – from anonymous prospects to customers – consistently transparent and gain more planning security in sales. Focus on the development of the measures and use technologies to automate your sales and marketing processes and thus make them more efficient.
4. Automate your lead process.
Especially for lead generation and new customer acquisition, the digitization of sales is a key success factor. Automatically use the data collected by marketing automation software as part of lead generation and qualification to optimize and relieve your sales team. If you understand the information phase of the lead as an introductory phase, you can intelligently control the sales process and increase their completion rate. By means of lead scoring integrated in the software, for example, it is possible to determine to what extent the lead is eligible as a customer, which offers suit him and how far he has progressed in the decision-making process at all. With the right campaign, hardly any manual work steps are necessary on the way from lead to customer.
5. Link CRM and marketing automation systems.
When we talk about synergies from the cooperation between marketing and sales, it is both in terms of personnel and technology. The sales department has the specific customer knowledge to develop tailor-made marketing measures for existing customers as well as interested parties. Marketing, on the other hand, can generate and qualify leads for sales and thus increase the probability of completion. This requires a bidirectional data exchange: Customer-related data, such as the order history, is then also available to marketing. Profile and tracking data from the marketing automation software flows into the CRM system to support sales work. When it comes to system integration, a best-of-breed strategy is particularly recommended for medium-sized B2B companies.
Conclusion: It’s 5 to 12 for digital distribution
Digitalization in sales is once again opening up more space for the focus on and the joy of selling. Not only because standardized processes can be automated, but also because parts of the sales process can be shifted to the digital world – to where the customer journey of the B2B customer already takes place today. Furthermore, modern technologies and effective cooperation between marketing and sales are concrete prerequisites for being successful as a company in the future: generating leads, achieving deals, inspiring customers and thus increasing their value for the company. The time has come not only to talk about digitization in B2B sales, but to actively implement it.
About the Author
Martin Philipp has over 20 years of experience in consulting, marketing and sales of consulting-intensive, web-based products and solutions in the B2B environment. The graduate in business administration is co-managing director of SC-Networks, manufacturer of the e-mail marketing automation solution Evalanche, based in Starnberg and has been responsible for new customer business and customer enthusiasm since 2007.
Note: This is a machine translation. It is neither 100% complete nor 100% correct. We can therefore not guarantee the result.