BECAUSE YOU CAN'T LAND FRESH BUSINESS WITH STALE LEADS.
Using digital technology to improve your business is pretty much table stakes right now, yet many workers—even at major technology companies—are finding it tough to keep up with these trends and still do things “the old way.” The future is already here, the saying goes, it’s just not very evenly distributed.
Case in point: The cloud services group at just such a technology company, where the sales reps were getting customer leads from marketing picked through traditional methods—heuristically. The thinking behind these methods had always made sense: If you held a senior position at a big enterprise, and your enterprise could benefit from cloud services, then you’d be a good candidate for a sales call. Standard procedure really, and besides the company had historically enjoyed tremendous growth.
But that growth wasn’t evenly distributed either. The company’s early success came from hyper-scaled consumer products that seemed simple but were powered by massive background data sets—and that stuff sold itself.
Enterprise cloud services were another beast entirely—selling those meant, well, selling them: connecting, person-to-person, to make the pitch. Establishing a relationship. And since relationship-building can’t be hyper-scaled, growing the cloud sales pipeline meant the company would need to focus its superpower—data science—where it would have the most impact: improving sales leads.
WHAT'S BETTER THAN AN EDUCATED GUESS? DATA-DRIVEN DECISIONS.
Artificial intelligence has redefined what it means to make an educated guess about customers. With a continually updated—and still learning—customer model in place, marketers in the cloud group are managing demand generation at greater scale and precision, meaning sales reps aren’t wasting time on stale leads anymore. Instead, reps are managing their time and pipelines more efficiently—and enjoying greater success with leads.
This kind of operational efficiency has led to real results. Within six months, the company’s cloud services group enjoyed an increase in its sales pipeline overall, with lead-to-opportunity conversions up 20%.
Sales of cloud services increased in that same period, with no increased costs for the sales team. Marketers are contributing to growth of the sales pipeline more than ever before, while the sales team is closing more deals.