Marketing Automation Goes Hand-in-Hand with Business Development

Getting people to visit your website, sign up for events and download reports is great. But, unless you integrate all that hard-earned lead generation with your business development processes, you are going to lose sales.

Business development is set up differently in different businesses. Usually it refers to the first line of non-automated sales qualification. For instance, once a lead signs up for a webinar, a business development representative may give them a call to learn more about them and establish the foundations of a relationship. In some companies, the business development representatives may complete the entire sales process; in others they will interact with the lead until they go from “marketing qualified” to “sales qualified” and then pass it off to a sales representative.

Marketing automation is an essential tool for coordinating lead nurture all along your funnel, from marketing to business development to sales. To do it right, though, there are several questions you are going to have to address along the way.

Who should know about the new lead?

When inbound marketing brings in a lead, the first thing you need to decide is who to tell. Do you want the leads to first go to a staff person assigned to triage? Do you want to assign them by territory? Or add them to a marketing queue where the first available rep can take them? Does more than one person need to know?

Of course, once you know who to inform, you also need to decide how you want to do that. Marketing automation lets you send your team an email alerting them of a new lead. You can also choose to have a task assigned to them automatically in your CRM.

How are you going to reach out to the lead?

In most cases, your choices are email or phone. Maybe you’ll send them something by snail mail but that’s less likely to be something you do with every new lead.

If you’re using marketing automation, email is going to be an easy approach. After you figure out what you want to say, you need to figure out who the email will come from. For instance, will it come from the person assigned the lead, or will it always come from your CEO?

Then you need to figure out how quickly the email should be sent – immediately? The next day? Will they get more than one email and, if so, how many and at what cadence?

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What about your customer segmentation? Are you sending different content based on the interests of the lead, and how are you determining that? For instance, will they get a different email based on the fields they filled out in the online form? Maybe it will depend on what territory they are in or what their job title is or how they found you. If you are sending multiple emails, will the later content vary based on what they click in the first email?

Do you reach out by phone?

Just because you use marketing automation software does not mean you do not also use the telephone. The question then becomes, how do you interweave your phone and email outreach? For instance, do you respond first by phone or by email? Do you then follow up by phone or by email?

When it comes to phone calls, you want your team working from a script. This doesn’t mean they should read it off like a bad actor staring at a cue card but it does mean they need something to prompt them. Once you have developed your script, make sure everyone has access to it and give your team ample opportunity to role play with it until they are comfortable.

If your business development and sales reps call their leads and then follow up individually with an email, you will want to set up an email template that they can use to make this easier for them and more efficient. Your marketing automation software may allow you to give them access to these templates directly through your CRM.

How are you going to follow up with the lead?

For businesses with a long sales cycle, you are going to need to follow up again with your lead. In fact, it is a given that almost any business requires numerous interactions before a lead becomes a customer.

Sometimes you need some fluidity here since you do not want an automated email going out to someone before your business development representative ever had time to give them a call. One work-around here is to set up a custom field in your CRM (Salesforce makes this easy to do) for, as an example, “Initial Phone Conversation.” When checked, an automated email can be triggered. You can even send targeted emails based on a combination of fields or characteristics (annual sales, territory, job title, etc.).

Even if you want leads to be followed up with via a personal phone call, you can still use your marketing automation software to generate a reminder email or CRM alert to your team.

Does your left hand know what the right hand is doing?

Communication is key when integrating your inbound marketing with the rest of your business development and sales processes. Make sure everyone understands how it all works. It can be easy for business development and sales to get disconnected from what is going on in marketing, especially when the marketing is automated.

Very often, sales people will forget that automated emails are being sent based on fields they check or actions the lead takes. So, regularly review with your team how your programs are set up and what triggers emails or alerts.

You may also wish to set up communication limits so that your marketing automation software will block an excessive number of emails in a short period of time. This can be a life saver when, for instance, a sales person or business development representative follows up personally with a lead while an automatic email is also being sent.

How do you know if the process is working?

As always, you need to measure your key performance indicators to know how your processes are working. That means you will need to set up your programs and program channels carefully so that they can be accurately tracked. For instance, you may want to incorporate lead scoring into your programs so you can watch a lead as they progress through your funnel.

A coordinated team is a strong team.

Integrate your marketing automation with your sales processes and you will get the best results. Above all, ensure your team has good communication – everyone needs to know how the system works, what is automated and when they should reach out to a lead personally.

If you would like help establishing processes between your marketing automation and business development, get in touch with me here.