Marketing Automation Isn’t an Automatic Success

A Little Bit of Legwork Goes a Long Way to Help You Sell Easier and Faster. Here’s How to Get Started with Marketing Automation.

You don’t just start building a rocket ship.

One just doesn’t start sailing around the world.

You don’t just start manufacturing a new subassembly for an OEM’s new piece of equipment.

But when it comes to landing your next sale, what do you do?

If you’re like a lot of my clients, you might very well just start selling. Without much of a process, a system or any technological aide in place.

Many manufacturing companies today are relentless in their efforts to continuously refine every process in their plants. They study every step involved in quoting, designing, prototyping, production, inventory, etc. They keep looking for opportunities to streamline and automate as much as possible to minimize manual effort and time and maximize accuracy and performance.

I bet if we talked, I’d find that you do the same.

But then we’d talk about your sales process …

In many companies I work with, the sales function is still very old school and hands on. Relying on classic relationship building, elevator pitches, sales presentations. An art, more than a science. Some of that’s good; people decide whether to buy something, after all, so you’ve got to relate to them as people, first and foremost.

But there’s a lot more to keep this process moving that is just as much about stone-cold science and technology.

marketing automation - whiteboard with workflow
Photo credit: Campaign Creators

Anybody’s Sales Process Could Benefit from Some Automation

Sales cycles for my clients, in particular, are typically really long and complex, and with good reason.

Whether it’s a big production run or a long-term service agreement, it’s usually a big decision that involves many different gatekeepers, decision-makers, and influencers along the way. Plus, you’ve got to contend with the ebb and flow of business cycles. And all these people are plenty busy, as are you.

There are many interrelated steps to a sale that must be well aligned not unlike many other areas of your business.

Unlike many of those other business areas, however, I often find that clients haven’t really broken down what the sales journey looks like. And if you haven’t studied it carefully (and continuously), you have no way to manage and optimize this process.  

In this day and age, we have an ever-expanding arsenal of technology that can help us automate and accelerate just about any business function.

Wouldn’t you like to spend less time doing stuff like cold calling a bunch of people who may not even fit your ideal customer profile? Wouldn’t you rather set up an online system to help you zero in on targets and cultivate relationships with them until they’re ready for a sale?

Those are among the many reasons an unrefined or unexamined sales and marketing process represents such a great, untapped opportunity.

There’s so much out there in terms of Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, a whole array of inbound/content marketing platforms and CRMs, etc. Knowing what makes the most sense for your business, and how to implement it, is a different matter.

But I can help you get there. In fact, I’ve streamlined that part of the business into four fundamental steps. First, though, we have some other fundamentals to attend to.

What Will It Take to Capture an Automation Advantage?

Well, like any other process automation initiative, the most important thing is to get the process right to begin with. Marketing automation is a chance to overcome long overlooked problems and start fresh for success.

I know, I know, we’re trying to take some of the burdens out of this side of things for you, not give you more to do. But we do have to do some legwork first, or we won’t simplify anything in the long run. It’s about identifying, analyzing and documenting all the steps on the way to a successful sale. If you have a dedicated sales team, they absolutely (and I hope obviously) must be closely involved in this effort.

Here are 4 aspects to consider when examining your process.

1. Who is your target customer? This might seem like an obvious thing, but in the hustle and bustle of today’s competitive climate, it’s easy to lose focus on what’s ideal for your business, your brand, and your niche.

2. Where are the gaps? When and how do prospects fall between the cracks? Did anyone own the next touch point and miss it, or was it overlooked by your organization? What do your target buyers need or want to know, and how do you help them gain this insight?

3. What are the sticking points? Is anybody waiting on an approval from somebody else to engage with a potential client who’s interested and possibly ready to buy? Where, when and why do your prospects typically say no?

4. When are you doing double duty? Duplicative activities are one of the most common issues. It’s important for your potential customers to be able to get answers and support from anyone on your team. But some companies end up having too many points of contact with a potential client, and each of them is filling the same role and communicating roughly the same thing. It’s tiresome for the prospect and slows down the process.

If you’ve already recently examined your sales process in these ways, you’re ahead of the game (and probably ahead of your competition, as well). Once you have a good grip on the process, then using today’s technology to close the loop between marketing and sales becomes a lot easier and more fruitful speeding up and streamlining what had been a slow, complex journey.

We’ve boiled down this part of the puzzle into four simple steps. When you have a well-thought-out process, marketing automation can help you double or triple your sales, increase your ROI on all your advertising spend, and save yourself a lot of time, too.

If you’d like to learn more, click here to check out my complimentary video training.

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