Digitalization and intelligent automation are currently changing processes in marketing and sales. There are currently three technology trends of outstanding importance: integrated sales platforms that help to achieve technological flexibility; the consistent automation of processes across the boundaries of marketing and sales; and predictive analytics models that are able to optimally control the automated processes through data analyses.
Integrated into a sales platform, predictive analytics models can provide sales staff with predictive analyses of closing probabilities, for example – making them much more successful than before. At the same time, digitization and automation are also making personal engagement with existing or potential customers more central to the work again. This is because the integrated sales platform reduces the burden of routine tasks and enables sales staff to focus entirely on the actual needs of their customers. Last but not least: process automation across departmental boundaries not only has a technological dimension, it is also a question of willingness to change and corporate culture.
SalesTech Trend 1: Integrated sales platforms and flexible services
Integrated sales platforms and external services are currently technologies that point the way to the future for sales. This goes hand in hand with closer integration of marketing and sales to form a joint unit. This is because digitization and efficient automation of processes require marketing and sales to work together even more closely than before. Above all, this also means that they operate on the same data basis. As soon as a customer’s interest has been identified, also through automated data analyses, it is crucial to react quickly in order to close the sale. That’s why it’s critical for companies today to evaluate all available customer touchpoints in an automated way. This is only possible if organizations are prepared to say goodbye to their old isolated applications and establish end-to-end processes instead.
This means: processes across the boundaries of marketing and sales.
The big trend in technical infrastructure in marketing and sales is therefore flexible, company-specific integration and automation platforms. The future belongs to approaches such as iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) and the needs-based combination of external services. The number of innovative external services that cover special tasks in marketing and sales has almost exploded in recent years. Today, there are already thousands and thousands of them. Traditional monolithic sales solutions are neither able to keep up with this pace of innovation, nor do they offer the same flexibility and future-proofing as an in-house sales platform designed to meet specific needs. Such a platform is also capable of hybrid integration of on-premises hosted systems with cloud-based systems (hybrid integration). Platform components such as the HubEngine and the DataEngine provide the technological basis for the company’s own sales platform: They take over the bidirectional synchronization of all relevant systems and microservices and allow the intelligent automation of end-to-end processes in marketing and sales.
SalesTech Trend 2: Automation moves people and their needs into the center
It may sound a bit paradoxical, but digitalization is putting people back at the center of work in marketing and sales. In fact, the human factor is becoming more relevant than ever thanks to technological support. It will be crucial for sales employees to put themselves in the shoes of their customers and advise them individually and according to their needs. After all, many of the traditional routine tasks in sales have already been taken care of by process automation when personal contact is established between the salesperson and his or her customer. At the same time, sales staff will be far better informed about the real interests of the lead or the existing customer in the future than they were before. Thanks to automated data analyses and intelligent segmentation, they will be able to address the customer’s actual needs much more intensively in their personal contact.
Data Science for the control of automated processes
Even today, processes in marketing and sales can be supported very effectively by data analyses. Machine learning models are capable of determining specific closing probabilities or even estimating the risk of churn, i.e., the probability of a customer leaving the company. Based on such analyses, the models control the automated processes that run on the individually built sales platform. However, personal contact remains essential, especially for complex products. This applies in the B2C context, for example, to private insurance, just as it does in the B2B context when deciding on a new investment good. The insights that a company gains through its integrated sales platform and makes available to its sales staff at exactly the right moment mean that personal consulting and sales discussions are much more well-founded and customer-specific than before. Sales employees are thus increasingly developing into key accounts with consulting expertise. For companies, this means more customer centricity, higher customer loyalty and more sales.
SalesTech Trend 3: Digitization is changing organizations
In times of digitization and data analytics, organizations need to be prepared to abandon the old way of thinking in departments. This is because successfully automated processes are universal. For example, leads collected by marketing on landing pages are qualified with the help of automatically controlled nurturing routes. Those leads that reach sales maturity then automatically appear as tasks in the sales system, for example in the CRM that the sales team works with. Ideally, these sales-ready leads are also immediately prioritized based on the automatically determined closing probabilities. The integrated sales platform therefore means that the departments interact with each other just as much as their systems do. How smoothly marketing and sales grow together and how quickly digitization ultimately succeeds does not solely depend on the technological infrastructure. The corporate culture and the willingness to change within the organization also play an important role. Successful automation in marketing and sales is therefore a question of technology and change management.