B2B Marketing Zone

How to Use Marketing Automation to Gain a Better Understanding of Sales Prospects

How to Use Marketing Automation to Gain a Better Understanding of Sales Prospects

How to Use Marketing Automation to Gain a Better Understanding of Sales Prospects

When you hear the term “marketing automation” you may think about marketing, email, lead nurturing, content creation or integration with CRM… but how often does the term make  people think about sales? But – isn’t increased sales the reason a marketing automation solution is acquired in the first place? (I sure hope so!)

Yes, marketing automation helps CMOs and VPs of marketing track and manage their marketing success. However, it has a powerful role to play aiding sales to determine who is interested, assessing their need, and making outreach to them at the right time.

Knowing Who, What and When – Reaching Prospects with Marketing Automation

After 15-plus years of selling, I know that being successful has everything to do with timing and matching my solution to the needs of each specific prospect. In fact, an InsideSales.com research study showed “the odds of contacting a lead increase by 100x if attempted within 5 minutes versus 30 minutes.” In other words, you have to act fast when a prospect displays strong interest.

Marketing automation tracks who’s visiting your website and what they’re looking at, which emails were clicked and how many times, when and how many downloads occurred, and it can immediately alert sales.

However, as any successful sales rep or Director of Sales will tell you, not every hot prospect is a one-call, one-demo close. This is where you’ll need to capitalize on those alerts from your marketing automation solution to utilize other sales basics to help close the deal.

Marketing automation has helped me understand more than just timing. It shows me what specific actions prospects are taking and gives me better  information to assess their specific needs.  When sales has the understanding of the “who,” “what” and “when,” that’s what we call “sales nirvana.”

Sales Nirvana: Insights to Close the Sale

When marketing automation technology and the sales process come together, it’s the perfect combination for sales professionals. They get the insight they need to better understand the who, the why and the when to reach out to customers and prospects to close more business.

Want to learn more about how marketing automation helps marketers to market and sales to close deals? Join me for next Tuesday’s live marketing automation demo.


Jeff Linton is the Manager of Product Marketing at Act-On Software, provider of marketing automation for the Fortune 5,000,000

  • Terry Hew

    “Jeff, you’ve done a good job articulating how marketing automation codifies the marketing and sales process. However, there is still the art of the sale! And while marketing automation in the right sales hands is an incredibly powerful tool, it does not replace the art form. There’s still a lot for us to learn from Dale Carnegie and Zig Ziglar…”

    • Jeff Linton

      Terry thank you for the comment. With the growth of marketing automation some people feel that the service will ultimately replace the sales person when in fact it won’t. Truth is marketing automation can not survive with out the sales person – after all sales brings in the revenue. For the marketer the tool allows them to systematically provide sales the detailed information they need to do their jobs more effectively – creating better close ratios and in many cases shorter sales cycles.

  • Chris Hardeman

    Jeff – great job articulating how marketing automation can help organize the sales and marketing process. As you know, being power users of ActOn ourselves has enabled our sales team to outperform every other marketing automation vendor in the space. Our sales team is swift in our follow-up and relevant in our conversations. I can’t imagine ever going back to “blind” calling.

  • I have over 15 years of sales experience and I can’t tell you how many times I received a lead from the marketing department and had no clue what the marketing campaign looked liked. I would have a one line description and that was suppose to indicate a “hot” lead. Crazy!! With marketing automation I can see the marketing content they interacted with via email or the web and make an intelligent call. My favorite features from a sales perspective – Lead scoring and website tracking. I know where to focus my time and why. Amazing things can happen when the right hand knows what the left hand is doing!

  • Jeff – You touch on some really good points with regards to the “Sales” impact of marketing automation. It’s definitely a sales tool as well. It removes that barrier between marketing and sales that for the larger part of my long sales career has always been there. Not anymore though. As a seasoned sales professional always looking to improve my craft…the simple fact of just using marketing automation has made the biggest impact in this area. I know who to call, when to call them and what to talk about now. If I had been using marketing automation as part of my sales strategy and process earlier in my career I would have been tremendously more successful than I was…or at least work a lot smarter than harder.