Make Marketing and Sales Fall in Love with Marketing Automation

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Tensions between marketing and sales teams are common, especially in the B2B world. Marketing is often angry with sales for dismissing the leads they pass on, sales reps are in turn irritated over lead quality, and all too soon, the two teams have reached an impasse. If your marketing and sales teams refuse to work together, productivity can plummet — and no one benefits from that.

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If this situation sounds familiar, it might be time to look for a solution that can patch up the tensions between marketing and sales, like marketing automation. With a system to take the subjectivity out of lead qualification and assignment (which is what often gets marketing teams in trouble in the first place), marketing and sales teams can reach common ground when it comes to lead quality and revenue attribution.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of the ways that marketing automation can make your sales and marketing teams fall back in love.

Streamlined Data Collection

For most B2B companies, more closed deals come from sales leads than marketing leads. This is often the case for two reasons: 1) sales reps have often been working with sales leads since their initial interest in the company, and therefore have more detailed data associated with them; and 2) sales reps tend to prefer their own leads over marketing-sourced leads. A marketing automation system is able to reduce this bias by streamlining data collection through forms and landing pages, which delivers a wealth of information right to your sales reps’ fingertips. With additional data attached to marketing-source leads, like social profile information and behavioral data, sales reps won’t feel as hesitant to pursue leads that they haven’t sourced themselves.

Improved Lead Qualification

Marketing automation systems come with scoring and grading models that can help your sales and marketing teams agree on the definition of an ideal lead. Scoring tells you how active a prospect has been and therefore how interested they are in your product or service, while grading determines how good of a fit leads are for your company. Marketing can then work with sales to set a threshold score and grade that will determine when a lead gets passed on to a sales rep, ensuring that sales isn’t wasting time on leads that aren’t sales-ready or a good fit. This reduces tensions over lead quality by making sure that only high quality leads get passed from marketing to sales for follow-up.

Better Revenue Attribution

Revenue attribution is often a gray area for B2B companies. Does a closed deal get attributed to sales because they were the ones following up, or does it get attributed to marketing because it originated from a marketing campaign? Marketing automation answers questions like these using closed-loop reporting, which ties closed deals back to the campaigns that sourced them. This reduces confusion by allowing marketers to associate revenue with marketing spend, see which campaigns were the most successful, and improve marketing accountability.

Efficient Lead Nurturing

A fourth problem that arises between marketing and sales is sales-readiness. Should marketing pass along leads that aren’t quite ready to buy, but will be in the future? Or should they just forget about them, and risk the possibility of leads being picked up by a competitor? With marketing automation, marketers don’t have to do either. Instead, they can use lead nurturing to automatically “drip” valuable content to leads over time, nurturing them to sales-readiness so that they can be passed along to a sales rep. This prevents leads from slipping through the cracks, while also ensuring that they don’t get passed along prematurely.

Using these four marketing automation features, marketing and sales can reduce tensions that commonly exist while simultaneously improving their productivity and efficiency. With no need to waste time over petty arguments, each team can focus on what they do best: driving business for their company.

Looking for Marketing Automation software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Marketing Automation software solutions.

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About the Author


Jenna Hanington

Jenna Hanington is a Marketing Content Specialist at Pardot, a company specializing in marketing automation. Her articles have been featured on the Pardot, ExactTarget, B2Community, and Salesforce blogs.


[…] key is to align sales and marketing efforts for optimal inbound performance. A recent study by the Aberdeen group found that in 2010, companies that had a healthy relationship […]

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