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Salesforce marketing automation tools close the data divide

Marketing automation CEO offers tips on bringing together siloed data, spotting sales trends, analyzing sales funnels and allocating marketing campaign spending.

It's no secret that data was driven last year by developments in AI, automation and analytics. But despite major technological advancements, at least one challenge remains: solving the data divide between marketing and sales.

A lack of cohesion between the two departments has hindered returns on marketing investments. But experts say that problem can be resolved in 2018 with Salesforce marketing automation tools and a newfound collaboration between marketing and sales.

Bonnie Crater, CEO of Full Circle Insights, which builds automation products for marketing data inside Salesforce, said certain emerging applications enable more accurate measurement of marketing campaigns on sales.

"The change has been coming for a long time with the emergence of a marketing automation platform and a plethora of other martech applications," Crater explained. "Funnel metrics, including volume, velocity and conversion rates of leads through the sales funnel, and attribution or impact on revenue, all provide important insights for both the sales and marketing teams."

The cause of this fragmented data is companies' use of both CRM and a marketing automation platform (MAP); sales teams look to CRM as their system of record, while marketing teams utilize a MAP. Collecting different information creates integration problems between the two platforms.

"Both are imperfect, causing a discrepancy in the data and, ultimately, siloed teams, as they aren't able to rally around a single source of truth," Crater said.

An environment with separate functions makes it difficult for executives to understand the impact marketing has on sales. When leads and contacts aren't aligned, marketers can't track all the campaign responses and it becomes impossible to achieve a high-performing marketing spend. The problem spirals out of control when those executives lose confidence in marketing data that doesn't align with the numbers offered by sales.

Marketers can use Salesforce marketing automation tools to overcome these challenges by automating key processes, as well as gathering, harnessing and consolidating all the data, according to Crater. When data is aligned, marketers can track marketing campaigns and understand their impact on sales. Crater provided several tips on how to increase insights-driven marketing so data is further analyzed for action and campaigns can yield better results.

Unify data inside Salesforce. Using Salesforce marketing automation tools to consolidate data unifies information and enables marketing and sales to work together using the same platform.

Evaluate historical campaign responses. When marketers only see part of the picture, they can't produce accurate trend reporting, making it difficult to identify patterns and shift strategies to meet rising demand and respond to evolving market trends. With technology that works within Salesforce, marketers can generate accurate reports and spot trends by looking at historical campaign responses.

Use multi-touch campaign attribution. It's important to determine how each campaign interaction influences a sale, but marketers typically attribute sales to a single touch point because they lack the data necessary to more accurately weigh interactions. By using Salesforce marketing automation tools that enable influence analysis and sophisticated modeling, marketers can get an accurate view with a multi-touch attribution approach. Attribution provides companies with point-in-time information on which specific campaigns impacted revenue and by how much -- the key to ROI.

To control their spending, marketing should know exactly how their campaigns are working from a lead management perspective ... and which campaigns are impacting revenue the most.
Bonnie CraterCEO, Full Circle Insights

Plan, achieve, optimize and evaluate. These steps follow general marketing and sales cycles and facilitate regular meetings with sales. Reporting out of a reliable, single source facilitated by Salesforce marketing automation tools produces cohesion.

Set goals. Companies should create a planning phase based on revenue goals, average deal size and sales cycle length.

Use funnel metrics. Funnel metrics -- the key performance metrics of campaigns -- provide companies with real-time lead management information based on their campaigns. They offer detailed information on the volume of leads, the velocity at which they're moving through the sales funnel and the conversion rates of wins.

Fine-tune marketing campaign and sales initiatives. To control their spending, marketing should know exactly how their campaigns are working from a lead management perspective -- what's moving through the funnel and how fast -- and which campaigns are impacting revenue the most.

Don't end with automation. Implementing marketing automation is just the beginning. To fully master the possibilities of data, bring disparate sources of information together, spot trends, accurately analyze funnels and attribute revenue to the right campaigns and touch points.

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