Business Development – What Is It and How Does Marketing Automation Help?
You have a strong marketing strategy, and you generate Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) at a staggering pace. Your channels are packed with high quality content, from thought leadership blog posts to educational videos, eBooks, and Case Studies.
Besides, your marketing automation platform helps you effortlessly nurture leads. You have a good email builder, a flexible nurture builder to nurture leads, and accurate analytics capabilities that allow you to segment your audience. But your leads are not baked enough yet to be passed to sales. You have to work with the sales department to develop what we call a sales enablement plan. This consists of all strategies that sales and marketing can work together to apply for a smooth transition from marketing to sales.
From MQL to SQL and SRL: How?
While marketing nurtures the leads to qualify them, sales need someone to help with each lead’s marketing background. This is where the business development department comes in. Business development is the solution to streamlining communication between the two departments and helping them fall on the exact definition of a lead or a qualified lead. How? Michelle Workman, head of the Business Development at SugarCRM emphasizes how essential Lead Scoring is.
Lead Scoring – What Is It and What Role Does It Play?
Lead Scoring can be boiled down to using data to calculate how promising a lead is. The business development team creates these rules only after intense conversations with the sales and marketing teams. As Michelle says, the lead scoring rules within a company are a living and breathing element of a successful transition from marketing to sales, and they constantly change.
Once the lead scoring rules are created, they are loaded into a marketing automation system. This is how the marketing team knows when to pass these to the business development team.
Once the lead score is reached, these are passed down to a Business Development Representative (BDR). That’s why having a marketing automation tool that perfectly integrates with your CRM is so important. It automates passing down the leads and facilitates conversation between marketing and BDRs. In the Marketing-Sales dynamic, BDRs play the middlemen of ensuring that a lead is 100% sales-ready and that no potential deals are falling through the cracks.
The Role of Business Development Representatives (BDRs)
The business development department routinely engages with prospects on multiple channels, from social media to email and cold-calling. Each interaction lets them gather information about leads, information that is passed down to the sales team once the BDR has decided that the lead is a Sales-Ready Lead (SRL).
Tech Used by BDRs
Technology is heavily leveraged in the process. From the marketing automation tools that we already mentioned to the CRM system and intelligence solutions, how everything integrates and functions as a whole matters and makes a difference. The reason is simple: You want data accessible and visible to all teams, regardless of the technology they routinely use.
Marketing automation technology plays a crucial role here. Apart from helping marketing and BDRs define clear lead scoring rules, it helps marketing hand over more segmented and nurtured leads to BDRs. With the help of nurturing campaigns and segmentation tools, marketing automation helps segment their database to follow up with the right talk track. It also helps marketing, BDRs, and sales better determine each prospect’s product interest. Thus, when BDRs first interact with prospects, they are more prepared to cultivate those interests and turn them into deals.
The next frontier in lead nurturing is leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) within marketing automation systems, to better define lead scoring rules. Unlike in the present, when these are more likely to become “victims” of human error and definition differences from department to department, artificial intelligence will simply analyze similarities and differences between present and past leads that are closed with successful deals, and assign more realistic scores to each lead. This is what we call predictive lead scoring, and will help you and your company deliver accurate business-critical predictions for leads and opportunities, even with limited or incomplete CRM data.
While a flexible CRM that integrates with your marketing tool is not the only prerequisite to a successful marketing-to-sales collaboration, it plays an integral role in the process. CRM and marketing automation tools should offer you all the features you need to explore prospects’ interests without roadblocks and blind spots, without filling your teams’ schedules with never-ending manual tasks. Users should be able to let the platform do the work while being offered the most relevant information.
Want to learn more about the features you should look for in your marketing and CRM tools? Get in touch with us!