Marketing automation provides a variety of benefits to sales teams. It can shorten the sales cycle, uncover new upsell and cross-sell opportunities, and maximize the lifetime value of every customer. What’s more, it gives the sales team visibility into key interactions with customers and prospects. Sales reps can see which pages on the site a prospect has visited, which documents they downloaded, and which emails they responded to – and when.
For many sales teams, this visibility can be a real superpower. With this kind of X-ray vision, reps can stop cold-calling leads. They can see quickly what prospects are interested in and follow up with targeted, relevant messages and offers. They can also reach out at the perfect time – right at the ideal moment, and not a minute too soon (or too late).
Let’s take a look at how this astonishing visibility works in the real world. Recently, we created a case study about CobbleStay, a unique vacation rental agency representing luxury properties around the world. Because their website features lush photography of accommodations in locations such as Paris and Puerto Vallarta, the site tends to get a lot of traffic that’s “just looking.”
Sorting through large numbers of visitors to find qualified leads was a time-consuming process for the sales organization. It was bad for the team’s productivity as well as the company’s bottom line. But increased visibility – the kind marketing automation provides – helped them overcome this challenge. Here are three ways the CobbleStay sales teams used increased visibility to make the sales process more effective.
1. Eliminate Cold Calls
When the marketing team has the tools to effectively nurture leads, reps can guide these prospects through the sales funnel at their own pace, based on how they’ve responded to previous communications. This process generates more (and better-qualified) leads who have displayed buying intent, while also uncovering those who should be dismissed. As a result, sales can spend less time with inefficient and unproductive cold calls and more time in front of prospects who are actually ready to buy.
That’s one of the reasons the sales team at CobbleStay found Act-On’s powerful lead scoring capabilities to be so useful. Because booking travel can be a complex, high-consideration sale, the CobbleStay team needed a way to address the needs of their customers, while also prioritizing leads and striking while the iron is hot with those most likely to convert. Now, any time the team looks at an inquiry in their system, they can understand how engaged the lead is, and decide how much attention to give each one.
2. Remove the Blindfold
Knowing who to call and what to say makes the job of the sales team much easier. Using a combination of behavioral tracking and attribute profiling, marketing can create segments that have meaning for sales messaging and then deliver relevant communications that match the prospect’s interests. Customer intelligence dashboards show key aspects of the prospect’s journey, including which content they’ve viewed and what actions they’ve taken while on the site. This knowledge makes it possible to effectively tailor conversations and talk to each prospect about their unique needs.
Recently, CobbleStay has noted more people spending their time looking at options without reaching out and engaging directly. But the people who do engage are much more informed and ready to buy, and the system identifies them accordingly. Using automation and lead scoring, the CobbleStay team has consistently – and significantly – improved their results. In fact, this year they’ve had a 50% increase in conversion rate over last year.
3. Know When to Call
Marketing automation helps you keep tabs on where each prospect is in the buying cycle through real-time behavioral tracking, lead scoring, and alerts. This means you’ll know when someone is thinking about your company and solutions; you can even set alerts that inform you when a particular buyer is on a specific page. That way, you won’t call leads who aren’t ready to buy – or miss out on leads whose buying windows close before you can contact them.
Marketing automation makes it easy for CobbleStay to decide how long a score is valid. Just because a prospect opened an email a month ago doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to call them this week. Activity history is not just about behavior but also the recency of that behavior. The sales team is also empowered to send email to interested prospects directly through their CRM system. If a site visitor reaches out to learn more about a particular apartment or house, the sales team can quickly send out a message with available properties to suit their criteria, as well as a price quote for their stay. It’s that kind of rapid response that gets results, and that turns window-shoppers into active vacationers.
Read the CobbleStay case study to learn about the many ways increased visibility has improved conversion rates, boosted booking rates, and also enhanced the overall morale and effectiveness of the sales team.
The kind of visibility provided by marketing automation is extremely potent. But the benefits of marketing automation for sales teams go far beyond increased insight. Read this eBook to learn more, and find out how to drive improved efficiency, faster funnels, and higher close rates.