on Jan 11, 2022 / by Jane Dubzinski

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – Automate It

In the world of B2B sales, time is money. But it’s tough to juggle prospecting, lead nurturing, and other administrative efforts while attempting to speed the sales cycle and amp conversion at the same time. Luckily, marketing automation solutions are available to help alleviate these time-consuming challenges and give salespeople a more efficient means of hitting quotas and driving revenue.

  • Introduction
  • Achieving Efficiency Through Automation
  • Top Automation Uses in B2B Sales

Introduction

Here’s an interesting stat: on average, B2B salespeople spend 66% of their day performing administrative tasks—data entry, competitive research, activity logging, prospecting, etc. That means only 34% of a salesperson’s day is spent, well…selling.

You might think these numbers indicate a problem with productivity, since it’s assumed highly productive salespeople can easily manage day-to-day tasks without issue. Truth is, productivity isn’t the problem at all; instead, it’s the nature of the job itself.

Consider this: B2B sales reps can spend anywhere from four to 12 months prospecting and engaging with qualified leads just to close one deal. That means, on average, it can take 242 days for a salesperson to not only identify a qualified lead, but also provide them with enough support to encourage further engagement and, eventually, conversion. So, while it’s true, salespeople don’t spend a majority of their time selling, it’s not fair to label them unproductive. A more accurate term would be “time inefficient.”

Achieving Efficiency Through Marketing Automation

While B2B salespeople can’t shift the hands of time in their favor, there is a solution that does, in fact, guarantee operational efficiency and a streamlined sales journey. It’s called marketing automation.

Marketing automation is a type of technology powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that’s designed to create optimal efficiency for any B2B sales organization. By automating the manual, repetitive, and time-consuming tasks that typically take 66% of a salesperson’s day, sales teams can focus more on profitable endeavors, like closing deals, driving revenue, and boosting productivity by at least 20%.

Top Marketing Automation Uses in B2B Sales

How can you implement automation for peak sales efficiency? Read on to discover the top three ways today’s sales organizations use automated technology to optimize the customer journey and facilitate swift conversion.

Prospecting

In this first stage of the sales cycle, it’s all about research. Salespeople begin by searching high and low for potential buyers who represent their ideal customer persona(s). Afterward, sales reps narrow down this initial pool of prospects to a more defined group of relevant, qualified, in-market leads. It sounds simple, but the mass number of contacts B2B salespeople must sift through to land these target customers is a long and laborious task, which ultimately impacts the amount of time it takes to drive conversion.

But with marketing automation, sales teams can streamline this process and unlock loads of precious time better that would be better suited for sealing deals. Here’s how it works:

B2B marketing automation tools integrate with industry-vetted contact databases, ensuring sales teams access to thousands of verified contacts with the most up-to-date information available. As reps enter specific search criteria matching that of their ideal customers, the software goes to work, filtering through each individual database to highlight contacts who fit the bill. As a result, sales reps can facilitate engagement with potential buyers much faster and expedite the sales cycle, start to finish.

Engagement and Lead Nurturing

At this point in the journey, sales teams initiate contact with leads to kickstart the sales process, making sure to create positive customer experiences through personalized messaging. By individualizing communications, B2B sales reps are able to build trust among potential customers, which brings them that much closer to conversion.

But think about all that upkeep. Sales reps spend a significant part of their day nurturing leads with personalized, relevant messaging that’s also consistent and timely. With a significant pool of prospects, it can get difficult managing all that communication and maintaining customer relationships, which is why marketing automation helps tremendously.

Marketing automation software integrates with a sales team’s CRM system to give reps real-time visibility into customer behavior. For example, if a person fills out a form on a website to download content, sales reps can get notified of (1) who the contact is, (2) the person’s title or company role, and (3) the type of content the person downloaded. Reps can then initiate engagement with that person through personalized messaging that’s both timely and relevant to their exact needs or interests.

When backed by B2B marketing automation, sales teams have a sure-fire way to connect effectively with potential customers and increase chances for conversion.

Qualification

Lead qualification is a critical step in the sales process that determines who, among all possible leads, shows the most likelihood to convert. Sales teams start by analyzing all recorded behaviors and data points of existing leads, like whether a person has engaged with a company’s digital content or if they’ve requested additional information through an online form. Teams can then use this data to rank leads with the most propensity to convert, which helps them prioritize sales efforts. Through marketing automation however, B2B sales organizations can supercharge the lead qualification process and streamline the sales journey for peak efficiency. With the use of automation software, teams can be notified of behavioral triggers, like when someone opens an email, clicks on a link, or requests more info. This way, reps can trace where these leads land in the customer journey and adjust nurturing efforts accordingly. Additionally, sales teams can automate lead scoring based on a chosen set of criteria. By doing this, reps can receive a notification each time a particular lead shows a high propensity to purchase.

Summary

For B2B salespeople, time is of the essence. By knowing which leads to prioritize and which ones to put on the back burner, sales teams can streamline the sales cycle, save budget, and speed conversion. However, salespeople can make their lives much easier with a little help from marketing automation technology. Through automation, salespeople can avoid wasting time on manual tasks, which prolongs the sales journey and cuts into valuable team resources.

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If you’d like to learn more about marketing automation and its influence on the world of sales, download a copy of our latest benchmark report, “The AI Impact on B2B Sales.”

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