Ep. 67 | Using Marketing Analytics to Empower Sales Teams

Picture of Jodie Gilroy for the Rethink Marketing Podcast where she talks about using marketing analytics to empower sales teams

Featured eBook: The Ultimate Lead Management Playbook

Act-On eBook: The Ultimate Lead Management Playbook

In this is episode of the Rethink Marketing Podcast, Jodie Gilroy from Ledgeview Partners offers four ways to use marketing analytics to empower sales teams.

Gilroy is a Senior Business Analyst at Ledgeview. She said marketing is collecting all sorts of data points about the interaction and engagements with prospects and customers. We’re missing a huge opportunity, she said, if we’re not passing that intelligence to sales to truly leverage.

This transcript has been edited for length. To get the full measure, listen to the podcast.

Nathan Isaacs: Jodie, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and Ledgeview Partners?

Jodie Gilroy: Ledgeview is a business and technology consulting company. We partner with clients to really focus on sales, marketing and customer service operations and processes, that are supported by technologies including CRM and marketing automation. So in a nutshell we provide sales, customer service, marketing and CRM consulting, as well as customer service and inside sales outsourcing.

One of the things I love about Ledgeview is that we as an organization, when we work with clients, we really look holistically and focus on business process first and technology second, because we believe client outcomes are best when we work things in that order.

I’m a senior business analyst with Ledgeview. Prior to joining Ledgeview, I spent 15 plus years working in the marketing field, and most of that time working in some type of digital marketing. I’ve worked in a variety of industries, including manufacturing technology and healthcare. And I’ve implemented marketing automation as well as CRM in my past life, and now work with Ledgeview clients to do the same.

Marketing Analytics for Sales Teams

Nathan: We’re here today to discuss your new e-book, 4 Ways to Empower Your Sales Team with Customer Analytics. Can you just give us an overview of what that is?

Jodie: According to the Harvard Business Review, 90 percent of buyers say they will never respond to a cold outreach. That hurts as a salesperson, right? And by 2020, Gartner predicts that customers will manage 85 percent of their interaction with the enterprise without ever interacting with a human. So, Nathan, if we were to take a time machine back 10 years ago, these statistics would look very different, right? I really wonder sometimes how many of the organizations out there are still using those same sales and marketing techniques that they did 10 years ago, even though those buyer behaviors have really shifted.

This e-book is really focusing on what are those digital data points that we’re now collecting? If 85 percent of the interactions are predicted to be without human interaction by 2020, that’s a lot of digital data points to consume. How are we going to use the data to aid us in the sales process? How will we use the data to help us redefine our sales processes? Or better yet, how are we going to use that data to help us increase our sales performance?

And as I mentioned, those numerous digital data points that are out there, thus the term big data, but this e-book specifically is focusing on the ones that are primarily generated by your marketing teams and passed along to your sales teams, specifically with the use of technology. Those would include website analytics, social analytics, email analytics, and content analytics. I think today’s marketers are generating a tremendous amount of data points through the use of marketing technology like Act-On.

Marketing can generate all this. But if sales can’t act upon it, what’s the use? So, this transfer of customer data is typically done by integrating a marketing automation system like Act-On, with a CRM system like Microsoft Dynamics or Salesforce. And it’s really this merging of these two technologies that create an integrated environment that is perfectly poised to allow your sales team to leverage customer analytics.

Website Analytics for Sales

Nathan: You mentioned the four different types. Can you talk about website analytics and really what that means?

Jodie: If you’re a salesperson listening to this podcast right now, at the mention of website analytics, they immediately have you categorizing this as a marketing data point. And sure, it is an important data point for marketing. But it can be a powerful source of customer analytics for the sales team, too. To throw another statistic at you, Forrester Research recently said 74 percent of B2B buyers are conducting at least half if not more of their research online before talking with a salesperson. With the use of marketing automation, website analytics is more than just the number of people browsing your website. Think beyond Google Analytics. Rather it’s granular information on what pages your lead or contact is viewing on your site and when they did this activity.

With an integrated system the sales team can view within the CRM side environment all the web activity that a lead or contact has engaged with your company, as well as the search terms used to find your company website. And that can really kind of be a goldmine of information for them.

Nathan: How do they leverage that information? What are the things that they can do?

Jodie: Having visibility to this activity will give your sales team insights into the customer preferences, as well as potentially the sales stage the customer is at. For instance, if a customer is visiting your pricing or your where to buy page, you may rank this lead higher than one who just visited maybe your about us page or certainly your employment page. It’s about looking at that information and what the context is so you know where to direct your conversation when you talk to that person.

Social Analytics for Sales

Nathan: Another data types you mentioned is social analytics. Can you tell us more about that?

Jodie: Again, I like to throw statistics out here. According to a statistic from IDC, 75 percent of B2B buyers are now using social media to research vendors. Similar to websites, right? As such, social provides yet another channel to collect data on a lead or contact’s behavior. What type of information are they engaging with, what does this engagement say about their buying interests. Similar to website analytics, wouldn’t it be beneficial for your sales team to be able to view the types of social posts that their prospects are engaging with online? This data point can be passed from a marketing automation tool directly into CRM. The ability to view the type of information your prospect is consuming helps to provide an informed relevant conversation with your company’s prospects.

Email Analytics for Sales

Nathan: The third data type you mentioned is email analytics. Can you tell us more about that?

Jodie: This is always a fun one, right? Because I think sometimes people write off email marketing as nobody reads it or it’s spam. I would argue that if you truly know your customers’ needs and wants, and you’re sending targeted, relevant and informed emails, you will see a greater success with email marketing. And I’ve done it. It works, right? In addition, the customer analytics captured can prove to be valuable to your sales team, just as we just talked about with website and social analytics.

Email analytics specifically offers you the ability to see what email campaigns have been sent to your leads and contacts by your marketing team. With an integrated system this does go beyond that global view of email performance. So, you’ve sent 1,000 emails out, and our open rates were 60 percent, and this was our click rate. What we’re really doing here is it boils down the email analytics for the lead or the contact level. It’s giving you that view of the engagement, what emails the contact opened, what links they clicked on, and how many emails they have engaged with. This again looks into that buyer behavior profile.

Looking at these insights will give you a framework to determine where the customer is at in the buyer’s journey, and where to focus your sales efforts and conversations going forward. I think that’s really a great use of data.

Content Analytics for Sales

Nathan: The fourth insight you get into is content analytics. What do you mean by content analytics? And why is this important?

Jodie: There’s been a huge shift in the way that marketers reach out and engage with customers than they did in the past. Previously, we just pushed out a lot of messages, spent a good deal of money, and hoped that something kind of stuck.

In the day and age of content, it’s now about focusing on informing, education, and supporting our customer during their buying journey. It’s about being there with the right content at the right time when the customer has a need or a problem to solve. I’m a strong advocate of this. It’s about creating thought leadership in the industry in which you serve and pulling customers in as they build trust from the content you share. And, in turn, they will trust you with their purchase. Is it a softer sell? Sure. But this marketing tactic is working.

I’m sure you’re seeing it, Nathan. And I’ve seen it as well. And one more statistic I think I’ll throw at you. Harvard Business Review noted that 74 percent of buyers choose the sales rep that was the first to add value and insight. And then Forrester also says that 82 percent of buyers viewed at least five pieces of content from the winning vendor. It really is working. And it’s simple really if you take a step back and look at that. Customer has a challenge, a problem, a goal, and they need someone to help them. If you’re there to answer that and stretch your conversation beyond the widget you’re selling, and add value and insight to the conversation, you’re going to see better conversions.

There’s a lot of tactics in content. One we’re doing today, a podcast, can be a type of content. You have white papers, eBooks, blogs, videos, and webinars are also great examples of content. Shifting back the conversation, it’s about having the visibility into what content is most relevant to your individual leads and contacts that will give you insights into their problems, their challenges, and the goals your customers are facing or trying to achieve. Use this information to your advantage when talking to your customers.

As you can see, there’s ample opportunities and strategies to take advantage of customer analytics being gathered by your marketing teams. Leveraging that technology can pass the data to the sales team and then educating your teams on the value and use of the data will be core to reaching the defined sales goals for your organization.