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Marketing Automation: From Lead Generation to Sales Management

B2B selling organizations today rely on marketers to generate the leads necessary to start their efforts, and marketing organizations rely more and more on technology to generate those leads. But it's time now to connect the dots between marketing and sales.

The technologies marketers use include behavioral analysis tools (tied to dynamic site content), mass emailing engines, campaign management workflow and lead scoring dashboards. The next step is bringing together these technologies with those used by sales organization to ensure end-to-end sales and customer management.

Moving Outside of Email

“You gotta get out of email. It's getting less and less effective,” said Joe Payne, CEO of Eloqua in a recent interview with Direct Marketing News. Eloqua is one of the leading providers of marketing automation software and a vocal advocate for alignment of marketing and sales organizations.

Most marketing automation vendors today have a strong focus on email marketing. And while email isn’t going away, neither is the frustration with campaign generated email, legitimate or spam. When marketing departments send out large “blasts,” they typically have no relevance or context to individual sales cycles being nurtured by sales. Those blasts could be responsible for “channel conflict” and be delaying sales success.

Time for Sales and Marketing to Meet

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Sales people don’t live in the marketing world and most wouldn’t know how to. And marketing people don’t live in sales and usually don’t want to.

This disconnect has been resolved by a few vendors. Eloqua offers integration with Salesforce.com (SFDC), Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Oracle/Siebel CRM On Demand. Partdot, recently acquired by ExactTarget, integrates with SFDC. So, what do these platforms do that sales can see?

Pardot scores contacts and leads in SFDC. It also shows marketing activity for contacts directly inside contact records. Even more impressive though is how Pardot campaigns can be managed directly from within SFDC. Most CRM applications are weak in this area, even a heavyweight such as SFDC. Of course for such magic to occur, users of SFDC must install a Pardot AppExchange app and this is where eyes start to glaze over for all but the most sophisticated companies.

Marketing automation vendors seem aware they are lacking in sales integration. Eloqua focuses on campaigns based on sales pipeline stage. It’s either build or buy and buying seems to be a way beyond email. Recently, ExactTarget acquired Pardot. And Teradata scooped up German firm eCircle.

Perhaps the real sign that marketing automation is seriously transforming will be its step into sales technologies.

Image courtesy of Vaju Ariel (Shutterstock)

Editor's Note: To read more by Steve, check out The Need for a Simpler Enterprise CMS Sharing Interface

About the Author

Steve Youngblood is the CEO of Salestrakr, a SaaS based CRM application focused on small to medium businesses. Steve is also a regular contributor to CMSWire. Steve has been a founding member of a number of software companies and has launched new applications across the world. Steve's expertise is in product creation and sales and has deep interests in user experience, social crm and web collaboration.

 
 
 
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