Fuel Injection for a Business Development Engine

Gartner’s recent prediction that by 2017 the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO, is telling. Digital marketing is growing by leaps and bounds for the singular reason that it allows companies to do what its glitzier predecessors could not: quantitatively measure results.

If, as we hear so often, the web has created a more educated buyer, marketing automation tools are producing a more informed seller. Not only do they make it possible to build, launch, and measure very targeted outbound email campaigns and get real insight based on actions taken on the web, today’s tools provide visibility into the prospects’ online behavior that is a game changer in the hands of a strong business development team.

Digital marketing is powerful. Digital marketing as a component of a multi-faceted territory management strategy that includes focused outbound calling and disciplined CRM usage can be the fuel that turbocharges the business development engine.

Before we get too deeply into the “how” of that statement, it is important to mention two things.

  1. Fuel only works when there’s an engine to feed.
  2. The stronger the engine, the more effective the fuel.

Today’s tools provide visibility into the prospects’ online behavior that is a game changer in the hands of a strong business development team.

Translating Insight into Action

Marketing automation tools track data that provides insight into who is opening your emails, who is visiting your website, how they got there, where they are going, how long they are staying, and more. Conventional wisdom might say that the logical way to act on that information is to keep

it in the marketing silo—to leverage the automated tools at the marketing team’s disposal and respond digitally until it is time to hand off a fully qualified lead to the sales team. While conventional wisdom in this case is not wrong, it is not the complete solution either.

For it to be a game changer, rather than being kept in silos, the information captured in the system should be jointly used by both marketing and sales. Marketing should continue using the automation platform to create positive brand impressions in the marketplace, and sales should use the real-time information they get to prioritize their outbound activities.

Fueling the Outbound Effort

From an outbound calling perspective, the information garnered through an effective digital marketing effort can provide the following key benefits:

  • It makes it easier to prioritize call efforts. More time can be spent on leads show- ing the most interaction with email and website messaging.
  • t makes it easier to position a product or service. Conversations can be steered towards known topics of interest.
  • It makes it possible to pinpoint the person instead of the company and saves time spent tracking down decision makers.

Closing the Loop

Several times now we’ve alluded to the fact that while digital marketing is a great way to cost effectively get brand impressions in front of a broad base of prospects for it to really be a game changer it needs to be part of an overall strategy that includes both outbound calling and disciplined CRM usage. Why? As Greg Tillar, CEO
of NuGrowth Solutions put it, “If you have an emerging product or service that is in a large market and you want to consistently grow then you need both – strong digital marketing and a strong sales effort. You need productivity everywhere. When you do it right, it is a blend. It all goes together.”

A few points to consider:

  • The beauty of a good marketing automation tool (in the hands of the right team with the right content, of course) is that it can be used to very effectively reach a broad base of prospects in a very methodic manner and provide immediate insight into their reaction to the messaging.
  • To be truly effective, however, marketing automation tools must be implemented within an over-arching lead-to-revenue-management process. You should give extensive thought to how prospects move through the cycle and what is appropriate interaction at each stage.
  • When it’s done as part of a complete package, the sales and CRM team ensure that the database that is used to send outbound messaging is high quality and up-to-date. If the data isn’t trustworthy you cannot effectively use the tool to segment and target.

Marketing automation tools must be implemented within an over-arching lead-to-revenue management process.

While email is great for creating brand impressions, one of the four key components of business development is relationship building. It’s tough to build a relationship without human interaction. No matter how intertwined they become, the distinction between marketing and sales still exists. NuGrowth typically gets live sales reps involved very early in the process for this reason.

While the technological explosion that has occurred over the last several decades has significantly impacted the way the world does business, some things will never change. There will always be buyers with needs; there will always be sellers vying for the opportunity to fill those needs; and, in anything other than a transactional sale, relationships will almost always play a role in the decision making process. The organizations that win are those that capitalize on technological advances without losing the human touch.