Marketing used to be a one-way street. Your marketing communications strategy consisted of printing brochures, mailing flyers, writing catalogs and even launching a (mostly static) website. Through demographic analysis and surveys you identified potential customers, but salespeople still had an advantage. Salespeople who interacted with prospects could directly observe behaviors and pick up on subtle cues. The best salespeople used that real-time feedback to fine-tune their sales pitches and close deals.

We need to start closing the gap between marketing and sales for the best results. Customers no longer wait around for a salesperson to contact them. By the time they meet a salesperson, they’ve probably already close to making their decision. Instead, they are interacting directly with marketers through product reviews, social media comments, location check-ins, marketing automation and targeted content.

Does this change the role of the salesperson?

A salesperson may find that more persuasion and education happens nowadays BEFORE they meet a prospect. If marketing is doing more to warm-up leads, then sales will close more deals faster. In turn, salespeople can help speed up the cycle by sending more leads and “interesting moments” to marketing for nurturing campaigns.

Every day, salespeople come across leads during real-world, face-to-face interactions: on elevators, during business flights, over coffee, at a tradeshow. These situations or interesting moments don’t always warrant powering up the laptop and establishing network connectivity. They may warrant a handshake and business card swap. But, following up on leads is not a field salesperson’s primary focus. A salesperson wants to close sales. However, those fleeting interactions are marketing gold.

As marketing professionals are nurturing leads through marketing automation closer and closer to the sales tipping point, sales can help feed the sales funnel for marketing automation programs. And the cycle continues.

Enterprise mobility provides huge opportunities for salespeople to quickly and efficiently capture information about new leads. When they do, using an iPad with the right sales tool can make that information instantly available to marketing. No duplicate data entry. No extra meetings. No surveys to complete. Enterprise mobility and the iPad are transforming how sales and marketing professionals do their jobs well.

Marketing Automation Goes Mobile

Worldwide, mobile salespeople are adopting the iPad to varying degrees. As a marketing professional, you can use this to your advantage. Imagine the salesperson’s iPad as your doorway to mobile marketing automation.  Think of them as a web capture form in the field with their iPads. All the right marketing collateral and content, approved by marketing, is contained on that a  salesperson iPad  – ready to go.

What if marketing could create an interesting moment—the point in time when an interested consumer takes action—in the sales field while face-to-face with a salesperson? Until now, marketing automation has been mostly limited to web and email marketing.  But now, with an iPad coupled with marketing automation, it’s not only possible, but it creates a whole new channel for bringing in new leads that can instantly be inserted in to pre-set nurturing campaigns.

Marketers are only beginning to imagine the possibilities for face-to-face interesting moments. An interaction that would have ended with a tattered business card at the bottom of a briefcase could now become a warm lead ripe for nurturing through a marketing automation campaign.

Beyond a Handshake

With the right apps, the iPad’s ubiquitous usability can further erase disconnects between sales and marketing operations. Field sales people can use the iPad as a lead generating tool—even during the most casual, face-to-face interactions. Random acquaintances can become potential new customers when the salesperson uses the iPad to document leads, capture the interesting moments and communicate back to marketing—all in real time.

Dynamic, Mobile Marketing Materials

By integrating marketing automation with your iPad, you’ll get real-time feedback on the effectiveness of your marketing assets and discover, via the field sales rep, the content and campaigns that works best to convert your audience into customers. You don’t have to wait for a monthly meeting where sales gives feedback to marketing or just points the finger. You will see interesting moments as they occur in the sales field.  That saves time, money and brings sales and marketing together.

Think about how you can extend the principles of marketing automation into the sales field and close the gap between marketing and sales. As mobile technology and mobile sales tools continues to evolve, marketing and sales can discover more ways to work smarter—together, producing better results.

With this overlap in roles, marketing teams will benefit from the nuances of a salesperson’s personal interactions and sales people will benefit from better nurture campaigns, facilitated through marketing automation, providing better support, so sales can stay focused and win more deals!