Maybe We Should Call It Something Else: Why Salespeople Think Marketing Automation is a Four-Letter Word

Written by Rockannand on November 3, 2011 – 10:58 am -

As part of our series of guest posts, this article was contributed by my colleague Rick Schwartz of Sales Addiction.
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Ancient History

Going back to the mid 1900s we’ve been automating everything. Manufacturing began using machines to do what people used to do and in some cases, the people were put out of work.

My first personal experience with automation happened 1979-ish. I was a customer service rep for what used to be called “The Phone Company.” Part of our job was answering inquiries about customer bills. Once the customer asked a question, we’d put them on hold, go over to the file cabinets, look for and (sometimes) find the copy of their bill.

Then someone had the idea that we all get computer monitors on our desk which could access the company’s mainframe. We’d be able to view the bill more quickly and provide better, more accurate service.

This was fine except that no one in the office had really every seen a computer screen and keyboard before. Some of us thought it was a really cool thing and we adapted. Some folks who had been on the job for many years couldn’t or wouldn’t give it a chance. Eventually those folks left their jobs.

More Recently

n the late 90s it was Sales Force Automation. Sometimes it was called a Contact Management system or a Customer Relationship Management system. It didn’t matter. The upshot was that sales people had to learn a new way to do their jobs. They were told it would help them sell more stuff. They didn’t believe it. All they saw was learning to do a new thing for management – not to mention that it was mostly about making them more accountable for their daily work.

There are tons of other examples, but you get the point. Today, looking back at any of these new ideas, most workers can’t imagine doing their jobs without the aid of various types of automation.

So what’s up with Marketing Automation?

It’s presented as something that will help close more deals and make more money. The challenge is that it contains that four letter word – Auto(mation).

Adding a new process (automated or not) into the sales world is seen as something that is disruptive – and frankly it is. At the end of the day, recent metrics and case studies show that adopting MA can be a big boon to those chasing sales results. In most cases however, a sales department is nowhere near the end of the day when a new idea is presented.

For now, I’ll leave the solutions to smarter souls than me. If you have any ideas, please comment.


Posted in B2B Marketing, Marketing & Sales Alignment, Marketing Automation, Uncategorized | No Comments »

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