Think Outside the Inbox should be required reading for any business looking to jumpstart online sales. Generic email blasts are ineffective, assuming they even make it past spam filters. Co-authors David Cummings and Adam Blitzer explain marketing automation, which enables companies to track a customer from prospect to purchase. More importantly, it integrates with existing systems like your CRM tool, so you can track your sales prospects and marketing campaigns through a single interface. In the online world, nearly everything can be measured, which means that you know which marketing dollars are working. Marketing automation tools also help you to score prospects, which makes your sales team more efficient.
As the President and CEO of an interactive agency, I recognize the importance of an integrated marketing strategy. While my company's focus is on driving traffic to a client's website, that is only one piece of the sales process. Acquiring a B2B customer is a challenging process that can have a long sales cycle, but it can be made easier by using a marketing automation tool. Admittedly, I was unfamiliar with the term until recently, but understanding it is crucial to growing your business. Marketing automation brings together disparate tools like CRM, Google AdWords, email marketing, and web analytics into a single interface. While it's great to know in aggregate how many unique visitors you had, it's even better to know how one prospect interacted with your website. Did they request more information? What is their title? How frequently do they come back? In turn, knowledgeable sales reps can approach prospects with targeted information that is more likely to lead to a sale.
The authors have done B2B marketers a tremendous service by sharing their knowledge and experience. Reading the book is the first step, but you need to implement the advice given in the book to see results. The technology can be intimidating until you understand it, but marketing automation will make your business smarter, more efficient, and more profitable.