Some unusual combinations can blow your mind. If you’ve never had a little honey drizzled on your pizza, give it a try. You won’t regret it. 

But sales and marketing automation are more like peanut butter and jelly or salt and pepper. A classic combo, they just go together. Using them each separately is like having bread smeared with peanut butter alone — a one-note snack that sticks to the roof of your mouth.

Marketing automation tools are independently powerful. When you pair them with sales automation, everything clicks together into a beautiful, cohesive whole. It’s the salsa to your tortilla chips — the perfect pairing.

What is sales-marketing automation?

Sales-marketing automation is the combination of sales automation tools and marketing automation tools in a single strategy for finding, engaging, and converting customers. This blend allows teams to increase their efficiency and better engage with customers across the board.

What is sales automation?

Sales automation is the process of using software to automate sales activities. Use it to identify qualified leads and personalize outreach efforts. Additionally, sales automation tools can also streamline processes like invoicing and processing payments.

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation software helps businesses plan and run marketing campaigns. It can cover activities throughout the entire buyer’s journey — from initial contact to a post-purchase follow-up via email.

How do sales and marketing automation work together?

Do more with less. That’s the basic premise of all automation tools, which provide businesses of any size with scalability and cost savings. They reduce the costs associated with manual processes, free up resources for higher-level tasks, and allow companies to collect and organize data in valuable ways.

But the combination of sales and marketing automation is particularly powerful. When you can connect customer data across departments, you can save time and provide the best customer experience possible.

For example, businesses may use marketing automation software to automate the lead nurturing process, delivering personalized content at various stages of the customer journey. Think how much more effective this content can be when combined with sales automation tools that store customer data and use it to predict future behavior. 

The combination of sales and marketing automation enables companies to collect detailed insights and act on them. Even better, businesses can program this work to occur automatically for maximum efficiency with minimum additional effort. 

How marketing automation benefits sales

Marketing automation provides a range of benefits to sales teams, from improved lead generation and nurturing to increased productivity and better data collection.

With automated campaigns, businesses can target potential customers with personalized messages at the right time. This increases the chances of converting leads into customers. Companies can also segment their leads into different categories based on demographics or stated interests, making it easier for sales teams to target prospects with relevant offers and information.

In fact, with email marketing automation, you can nurture leads throughout the customer journey. You can send automated emails to keep your customers informed about new products or services, as well as discounts and promotions. This helps build relationships with potential customers and keeps them engaged with your brand. As consumers move through the sales funnel, you can also automate follow-ups, such as requests for reviews or promoting related services.

This is an automated message from Moment, a software company, about the Grain app. After the release of the app, the company used sales and marketing automation tools to follow up with purchasers and ask that they review the app. Image source: Really Good Emails.

Marketing automation benefits also include the ability to track and predict audience behavior, giving sales teams better data about the strategies most likely to resonate with any given lead.

How sales automation benefits marketing

Sales automation tools provide businesses with their report cards. By collecting data on orders and payments, you can see how campaigns perform and what the return on investment (ROI) is for any given channel or campaign. Using this knowledge, you can optimize your efforts moving forward.

Your sales tools should also track customer purchases over time. This helps you understand overarching sales trends and individual preferences. Additionally, they can create tailored content that resonates with a particular customer or takes the best advantage of seasonal opportunities.

How do you automate sales and marketing?

It’s easy enough to toss out words like “touchpoints” and “automation,” but think about what this really looks like in practice. Find the right solutions for your business and use them to their full capability.

Popular areas for sales-marketing automation

The most common areas to incorporate marketing automation include email, social media, and paid advertisements. In fact, 55% of marketers used email automation in 2022 — a considerable increase over the 40% who used it in 2021.

Ascend2 created this chart that shows the change in the percentage of marketers using different forms of automation between 2021 and 2022. As you can see, most channels saw a distinct increase in 2022.

Applications for marketing automation include solutions for:

  • Email marketing. Ensure your emails are sent to the right people at the right time and with the most relevant content. Craft personalized emails, schedule campaigns, segment audiences, track performance, etc.
  • Social media management. Optimize your social media presence and keep it up-to-date. You can find tools to manage your social media accounts, schedule posts, engage with followers, monitor trends, and analyze social media data.
  • Paid ads. Get the most out of your digital advertising budget. It’s easy to create, manage, and monitor campaigns across multiple platforms, including Google Ads and social media paid advertising. Note that many paid ad platforms offer automation tools to help you optimize campaigns.
  • Landing pages. Build and deploy custom landing pages quickly, giving customers the most helpful information and offers.
  • Campaign tracking. Identify patterns in user behavior across platforms. What drives engagement and conversion?
  • Content management. Manage and store digital content more easily. Content tools streamline the creation process and make collaborating easier.
  • Live chat. Provide better customer service with quick responses to inquiries and smoother conversations. You can also capture more information about customer interactions and personalize follow-ups.

On the sales side, you can automate:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM). CRM software allows businesses to store and analyze customer data, keeping track of all customer interactions in one central location. Track sales opportunities, manage deals, and send follow-up emails and appointment reminders.
  • Lead generation. Lead generation tools collect data from various sources to identify potential customers and shape campaigns.
  • Documentation, contracts, and deliverables. There are multiple tools that streamline data entry and customization. Create branded proposals, quotes, and invoices to send consumers. You can also generate and share internal documents, keeping everyone on the same page — literally.

In addition, there’s no shortage of general productivity apps, many of which include automation features. These allow you to streamline product management and workflows.

On the other end of the spectrum, you can automate highly specialized actions with applications like IFTTT (If This, Then That). For example, if you’re an umbrella salesman who wants to send a promotional email every time a specific weather app predicts rain, this is how you do it. IFTTT can trigger actions between unintegrated tools. 

Where to start with marketing and sales automation

Once you understand the different types of automation available, it’s time to decide which tools are best for your business. What are your business’s specific needs and priorities? What’s the size of your brand? What are your plans for the future?

One available option is to hire a marketing automation agency. These businesses can create customized plans that make use of multiple tools.

Alternatively, you can assemble your own suite of sales and marketing software solutions. Consider your options, weighing different factors against one another, including:

  • Price
  • Ease of use
  • Customer service
  • Customization options
  • Integration capabilities
  • Data analytics
  • Onboarding speed
  • Data consolidation capabilities

Remember: you should always be thinking about how you can use tools in combination with each other. For example, if you’re using a CRM system for sales automation, think about how it could be integrated with an email marketing platform for automated follow-up emails or with a live chat application for automated responses to customer inquiries. 

Finally, make sure you have a plan in place for tracking results and measuring success. Ensure your sales marketing automation earns its keep. There’s no point in having invisible minions that live inside your computer unless they help you achieve your goals. To this end, base — and adjust — your strategy on data-driven insights rather than guesswork.

Make it so that everybody wins — automatically

By integrating all customer touchpoints, you can track leads from the beginning of their journey until they become customers. Increase your automation and personalization to close deals faster and keep customers longer.

Buyers profit, too. Give them the information they need as efficiently as possible and send a steady stream of relevant offers their way.

As you start connecting your sales and marketing automation, try adapting the IFTTT logic to your own processes. Think about what you want to happen every time a new lead joins your list. And about what should happen every time a customer orders a particular product. I bet you can find a corresponding automation that you can implement.

You’re on a roll. Keep going by exploring these additional resources: