Sales & Marketing Automation: How B2B Teams Can Put an End to Missing Opportunities

Aug 17, 2023

As Outfunnel co-founder, I speak to at least five B2B sales and marketing teams each week. Based on hundreds of conversations I’ve gotten a feel where small and medium businesses are missing opportunities when it comes to tooling and automation. And the good news is I know several solutions for improving stacks, automating sales and marketing, and putting an end to missing sales opportunities. 

Let’s dive right in.

Overall, there’s lots of room for improvement when it comes to automating sales and marketing 

My conversations with B2B sales or marketing teams usually start with reviewing the current tech stack. 

More often than not, I’m not impressed. (Read: things are not looking good). 

The smallest/newest companies usually have lots of issues when it comes to tools and data. Medium-sized companies are in better shape as they have more people, more budget, and more customer data – more of a need to set things up properly. 

And not having all the sales and marketing tooling and automation ducks in a row makes sense. SMBs focus on running their business, they don’t have the martech knowledge in-house.

That said, businesses still get their job done. Yes, they may be inefficient here and there but they’re able to generate leads and close deals.

Where things start to go wrong: no single source of truth

Issues start from not having a “single source of truth” that is updated automatically. 

For those that are blessed by not needing to spend as much time with business lingo as I do, single source of truth (SSOT) is a concept used to ensure that everyone in an organization bases business decisions on the same data.

For SMBs, there is usually no central data source so contacts are not matching between apps and fields are out of sync. 

For example, CRM data has all customers and active leads and marketing has a separate database of leads. Or – there are some processes to keep data in sync but these are semi-manual.

When there is no single source of truth, SMBs end up with one or many of the following:

  • a messy database with duplicate contacts and misaligned information
  • missing sales opportunities. For example, sales doesn’t know when a passive lead has reactivated and started browsing your website’s product pages.
  • marketers and salespeople spend too much time on admin instead of marketing and selling

All in all, the closer companies are to having a single source of truth, the easier it is to automate processes, know what’s working and what needs improvement, and make sure that people can be productive.

Other symptoms of shortcomings in sales and marketing operations

The lack of a single source of truth is probably the most important thing holding back the productivity of sales and marketing teams. There are other shortcomings and telltale signs,

I often see that leads generated by online marketing – form fills, for example – are not added to the CRM automatically. Or perhaps lead form syncing has been set up, but the lead source gets lost in the process, so there is no certainty about the best lead generation channels and tactics

Another thing I often see is the lack of principles or standards when updating the CRM so each sales rep does it differently. Some record customer requirements into a multiple-choice field, others use the notes functionality and no one knows what’s really going on. 

Then there is the “duct tape syndrome”. There are great integrations tools like Zapier and Make that can work wonders in the hands of automation pros but can be a real source of frustration when the automation pro leaves the team and things either change or start to break. 

Furthermore, while these apps are good for many things they are not ideal for automating processes where the amount of data is large and/or complex. 

Last but not least, a good amount of productivity gains is lost to not taking advantage of the built-in automation features of CRM tools. For example, auto-scheduling follow-up tasks when a new deal is added.

Three good options for sales and marketing automation

Does the above sound relevant? 

Even if just a little bit, the good news is that there are at least four straightforward options to get your sales and marketing automation into better shape. 

Option 1. Use an all-in-one sales and marketing platform

When I say “all-in-one sales and marketing platform” I mean HubSpot, of course. 

With HubSpot, your sales and marketing data will be connected at the hip. HubSpot also has a solid built-in workflow tool and an app marketplace that’s handy for setting up automations that span across a wide range of sales and marketing apps.

The downside? I can think of two good reasons for not going all-in with HubSpot. 

First, HubSpot can get costly pretty quickly

And perhaps even more importantly, while HubSpot’s marketing features are top-notch, their CRM product is not ideal for all use cases.

When your sales model is deals-oriented, Pipedrive may be a better option. When integration with G Suite is critical, Copper is the better choice. If your sales is transactional, Close probably does a better job. You get the gist.

Option 2. Use integration platforms to automate sales and marketing

When you need to integrate your sales and marketing data and workflows the obvious choice is to use … (drumroll) integration platforms. 

As mentioned before, general integration platforms like Make and Zapier are great for many use cases. When you need to sync over a new lead from ChiliPiper to Copper, you can’t go wrong with one of these.

But what if you also want to capture the source and UTM tags of the lead?

Or what if you want to sync a specific segment of leads from your CRM to your marketing automation tool 24/7? 

You’ll soon see that setting up more complex connections can be a real hassle. 

So you may want to consider specialist tools for connecting sales and marketing apps. Outfunnel is great for that! Check out our integrations for Pipedrive, Copper, HubSpot, and Salesforce

Option 3. Hire a productivity consultant

No matter how well you know your sales and marketing tools, there’s always someone that knows them better. I’ve gotten to know this elite group of software ninjas that know tools as well as the respective support/success teams. But more importantly, they know the world of connecting tools to other tools much better than the respective support teams.

It’s well worth paying for a couple of hours of consulting when this consulting helps you save dozens of hours down the line. 

HubSpot and Pipedrive handily list their partners on a marketplace, so it should be easy to find someone to work with.

I personally can vouch for Dan from Automated Sales and Paul Minors in the Pipedrive ecosystem and Alex of Efficient app in the Copper ecosystem.

Happy automating your sales and marketing!

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