In last week’s post we discussed the difference between customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation (MA) on a high level. Today we want to drill down into why the distinction is important for sales.
It isn’t that obvious to most sales executives that we come across because, as we pointed out last week, most people don’t really know the difference between CRM and MA, but also because most sales people are still stuck in the mindset that they need a lot of potential leads before they find a few that turn into sales. In the 21st century, content marketing changes that paradigm. Here’s why…
The conventional wisdom about content is that information is power. Many people say that but they have no idea what it means. It means nothing. It’s a buzz phrase to make other unknowing people nod their heads. Information changes every day. What we “know” as true today will be a lie tomorrow based on changing individual perspective. Real power is in relationship. Real power is in people. When people trust you, you become powerful.
You don’t gain trust by dumping loads of information on your loads of leads and hope they can figure it out. You gain their trust by understanding what they want to know and finding what you know that correlates with that need.
A CRM is only a list of names scored on their sales readiness and a record of deals won or lost. It helps your sales team members figure out where each customer is in the process. It does not help them evaluate each lead and focus the low hanging fruit. That’s the job of a marketing automation platform.
Marketing automation takes the guesswork and time out of the mountain of data sales and marketing teams gather and tells them what the leads are looking at and what they gravitate to regarding content. If focuses content on the potential customers that the content matters to most and then tracks what they do with that content going forward.
And probably most importantly it tracks the activity of the lurkers on your web sites and social media and turns them into identifiable leads. Every MA platform we have evaluated has some means of identifying individuals based on the ISP number and matches it to a separate database. For example, SharpSpring is owned by SMTP, one of the oldest email services around, which has 10s of millions of individual contact information. The SharpSpring VisitorID feature will track the ISP of an anonymous visitor and produce a list of potential names and contact information that can be turned into a lead. Other companies offer similar services based on other databases.
Essentially, potential customers voluntarily give you more information about themselves through the platform than you can gather from a conversation at a trade show or a cold call. That’s when the information becomes powerful, because it is not about what you have to say, but what they tell you they want to know. When you respond with information that meets that need, they are willing to listen to what you actually want to say and believe it.
That’s why marketing automation is so important for sales. Next week, we will talk about what it does for content and marketing.