AI: The Parent Trap of Sales and Marketing

Credit: Alex Knight

The leads are weak? Fucking leads are weak. You’re weak! I’ve been in this business 15 years…

– Blake, Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

I’ve been there: the Sales team complains that there are not enough good leads, meanwhile Marketing is frustrated about the lack of follow-up from sales with the leads they generate for them.

I’ve been on both sides in my career, and lack of information tends to be the biggest culprit in low lead conversion.

We marketers on the other hand, feel that sales people don’t do justice to the number of good leads generated. (Especially when they take a judgmental call on which leads to follow up and which ones to put in the back burner).

via Yaagneshwaran Ganesh, LinkedIn, Director of Marketing at Fiind

Salespeople do not have the information they need to prioritize leads.

 Where did the lead come from?
What action did the individual take to be captured as a lead?
What were they searching for?
Are they only looking for information?
Are they ready to buy now?

I understand Marketing’s frustration with Sales picking through leads and making judgement calls on whether they are good or bad. However, salespeople are incentivized to close. They have targets to hit, and they need to hit them quickly and often. A good salesperson works strategically.

Don’t get me wrong, no salesperson should ever ignore a lead. However, as qualified leads pile up, and new leads come in, the lead that we can’t connected with after 3 attempts might fall into the let’s try again later category for when things start to slow down.

But how could Sales take a strategic approach without having information? The problem could cause valuable leads to go to waste in the process. So how could Marketing help? What tool could help them both?

How can we bring Sales and Marketing together?

Automation Tools: The Relationship Isn’t Working

Sales and Marketing teams have CRM, marketing automation and other various tools. However, these tools don’t significantly improve sales results or help sales teams with what they need most: intelligence. Why? According to Yaagneshwaran, “It is because, most marketing and sales solutions are designed to automate the processes, and not to offer the intelligence to make informed decisions on the leads generated.”

In other words, it helps you go faster, not better.

Intelligence

Yaagneshwaran asks you to imagine getting sales intelligence for your leads. You can “qualify your accounts in real time, so that the efforts of your sales and marketing are channeled towards the best outcome possible,” explains Yaagneshwaran.

In fact, according to LinkedIn’s State of Sales 2016 report, the tools that a salesperson uses is highly correlated to their sales performance.

via Pete Caputa, Hubspot

The 2016 report states that 82% percent of top salespeople credit sales tools as “critical” to their ability to close deals.

Software peer review site, G2Crowd has rankings and product comparisons for sales intelligence tools.

Intelligence + CRM: The Parent Trap

We want Sales and Marketing to work out. They need each other. They belong together. We want them in a happy relationship, and AI is the adorable twin girls we need to bring them back together.

Yaagneshwaran, the Director of Marketing at Fiind, a software company located in Redmond, WA, recommends an AI engine such as Fiind Smart Signals to “help you double your conversion rate”. The tool suggests leads that “best-fit with highest levels of buying intent based on its predictive intelligence.”

via Fiind.com, Power Your CRM with Customer Intelligence

In sales, the top salesperson knows just what to do: they focus and prioritize leads which have the highest likelihood of converting (fast). Helping salespeople reduce (or even eliminate) time spent researching and qualifying prospects would free more (or all) of their time for selling.

Using AI with your CRM would give you the ability to prioritize your prospects and receive alerts for “Act Now” prospects — those who have the highest intent to buy and the best product-fit. See the graphic above.

Having such a tool would help drive sales.

Sales and Marketing would both be happy if Marketing continues to generate leads and Sales actually converts them.

Not only that but the Marketing team would be able to see which leads work best and would be able to apply their real-time marketing research (customer intelligence, buyer needs, etc.) to continuously improve marketing campaigns and programs.

If AI isn’t the thing to bring sales and marketing together, what would?

Let’s get together, yeah yeah yeah.
Why don’t you and I combine?
Let’s get together, what do you say?
We can have a swinging time.
We’d be a crazy team.
Why don’t we make a scene? Together.
– Let’s Get Together, Disney’s The Parent Trap

 

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