Marketing and sales technology is rapidly developing and has come a long way beyond the methodologies of cold calling and hoping for a connection. Marketers now completely understand that no one likes to be sold to when busy, especially executives. This made 2019, a year of understanding sales personalization of all outbound communication. Personalization is not just perceived as essential for companies’ success but also plays an overall role in creating a brand image.

Taking on personalization is quite challenging, especially when the list of prospects spans hundreds of names. To solve this, marketing and sales automation came into play in the form of AI-driven bots, CRM systems, and email content management.

According to SMT’s State of Marketing Automation Survey 2019, it was observed that 75% of businesses had adopted some sort of sales and marketing automation tools.

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Experts have observed that the increase in the use of automation was to help build business efficiency. By reducing routine manual tasks and automating internal business processes like adding leads’ details to a CRM system, leaves the talent free for complex tasks and planning. Marketers use automation to even prioritize potential customers by using smart AI-based algorithms that can identify lead value. With this requirement, tools like Salesforce Einstein and Predictive Pipeline by InsideSales started gaining market share in 2019.

Automation also supports customer connection, which helps CMOs crack deals that would fall through if the customer did not ‘feel connected.’ Automation allows companies to have a healthy level of interaction, saving the cost of employing human resources. This brings in scalability while optimizing human resources.

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Experts believe that the potential of automation appears limitless, but it comes with its challenges. Some of the important ones include:

Reskilling staff

Experts forecast that in the long term, there might be a reduction in the overall marketing and sales staff, but for short term, a business must refocus and train the staff to handle the new automation tools. There also will soon be a need for the company to have competent software engineers for installation and maintenance.

Issues with scaling

Businesses are looking for growth, but it can bring in inevitable fragmentation of data, teams, and tools. This can result in diminished process visibility as well as fractured collaboration. Experts suggest prior planning and prioritizing the need to address potential discrepancies between sales and marketing and reps across organizational units.

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Project Governance

While adopting automation, companies may find current sales leaders as not equipped enough to deal with the associated technical questions. This means the formation of joint leadership teams, which includes technical consultants while retraining current sales leaders and help them develop data architectures, user buy-in strategies, and tooling.

User Buy-In

Experts consider the backbone of efficiency in sales automation to be user buy-in. Having the most technically advanced systems cannot guarantee result if it does not connect with users in the right mode. Experts advise the development of appropriate systems by collecting adequate data about end users, their expectations and needs to tailor the system explicitly for them.

These challenges are the starting points for any business to consider while implementing sales automation, but as many have done it well, they are surely not insurmountable.

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