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Marketing and sales – two departments that should actually work in perfect harmony. After all, both are interested in achieving the same key objective: having an ever-growing, high-quality pipeline of new leads and existing clients with further project requirements. However, many companies find it difficult to facilitate perfect cooperation between the two departments. Marketing and sales are often very independent in their work, which has a direct impact on the quality and quantity of the two departments. This is because if the marketing department doesn’t know exactly which services and solutions are of interest to which target groups, they will create vague offers for the wrong targets. As a result, the sales department will get leads from the marketing department, but they won’t be very promising.

The takeaway here is that you need to have core customer data insights and a collaboration between marketing strategists and sales professionals who are on exactly the same page. Another factor then is response times: Prospects who reach out in response to a campaign don’t want to wait days for a response. Speed is of the essence here.

The solution is to have a central data management combined with seamless and automated customer processes. One thing is for sure: there isn’t a single department in a company that can hide from automation these days – neither production, finance nor departments such as marketing and sales. Many companies are already successfully demonstrating this. They use cutting-edge solutions and technologies such as automated marketing campaigns and/or qualitative lead management to guarantee more efficient processes.

If not now, when? We’ve learned from numerous client meetings over the past few weeks that marketing automation is on a lot of companies’ shopping list, or at least on their wish list, for 2021. But how do you successfully introduce a real solution? Is this an IT project that can be started quickly but has no foreseeable end? When can a company realistically expect its first successes?

Marketing automation: a handy example of practical success

Let’s take a trip into the world of colours and printing technology. The Flint Group is one of the world’s largest suppliers to the printing and packaging industry and is headquartered in Luxembourg. The company, which employs around 6,500 members of staff around the world, develops, produces and markets an extensive portfolio of printing supplies and printing equipment, and generated sales of around €2 billion in 2019.

Initial situation in the company

With an almost completely manual marketing process and an existing CRM system based on SAP Customer Experience, the Flint Group faced the challenge of harmonising its marketing and sales processes within a very short period of time in order to become faster, more flexible and, overall, more successful in approaching customers.

The challenges at a glance

  • The processes between marketing and sales are manual, and there is no marketing automation.
  • E-mail campaigns have to be evaluated manually (meaning transparency is often lacking).
  • The manual processes mean that sales loses time waiting for relevant marketing information.
  • Data silos in the departments result in information being lost or duplicated.

Basically, it was clear that a marketing automation solution was needed.

Why did the Flint Group choose SAP’s Marketing Cloud?

  • Perfect fit into the existing system landscape (SAP Sales Cloud and SAP ERP).
  • Performant segmentation on large amounts of data.
  • Automated campaigns for lead generation.
  • High-quality analytics delivered with the SAP Analytics Cloud.

The two parties agreed that the project period for the introduction of the solution would be three months. But now let’s turn to the most important question at hand: How do I implement a marketing automation solution for a company of this size in just three months?

The project started with a workshop and the scoping phase, in which the technical details were clarified and, with the help of adesso’s digital marketing experts, suitable and new use cases for the marketing automation solution were also worked out.

This was followed by the implementation and development of a minimum viable product (MVP) to introduce and test the defined key processes and technical foundations for the marketing solution.

In the end, the solution for the Flint Group looked like this:

  • Contacts, customers and appointments are now constantly shared between the CRM and the marketing automation solution.
  • Products and sales orders from SAP ERP are constantly shared.
  • Campaign management and segmentation of target groups have been introduced.
  • Tasks are automatically transferred to sales directly from the marketing automation solution.
  • The SAP Sales Cloud has been developed in-house to make it easy to configure which marketing areas are targeted.
  • Access was granted to a number of standard marketing cloud analytics (campaign success, contact profiles and so on).

The project period was tight, but could be kept thanks to the close and trustful collaboration between the customer’s team and adesso’s SAP experts. The Flint Group was able to send e-mail campaigns based on CRM and ERP data and to create fully automated follow-up tasks for the sales department after just three months.

The feedback from customers after it went live was overwhelmingly positive:

‘We are now able to generate strong added value for sales and marketing thanks to the quick and successful implementation of the marketing automation solution. The solution creates the perfect foundation for us to work efficiently and flexibly in marketing in the future.’
Ozan Ozturk, Project Manager and Global Marketing Communication Manager, XSYS, a division of the Flint Group
‘Thanks to their responsiveness and their technical and professional expertise, adesso’s experts enabled us to create continuous, automated processes between our marketing and sales departments in a very short time. The time pressure we were under meant that having a trustworthy and flexible partner was important to us for this project.’
Friedrich von Rechteren, Global Commercial Vice President XSYS, a division of the Flint Group

The result

The Flint Group has taken customer-centric marketing and sales to a new level by implementing a marketing automation solution (SAP Marketing Cloud). Campaigns can now be launched, tracked and evaluated with the high quality of content they want. Thanks to automated processes and high-quality source data, the basis for perfectly coordinated customer approaches and seamless marketing and sales processes was created in just three months.

If you’re now wondering whether a marketing automation solution can also generate this type of added value for your company in next to no time at all, our answer is basically: yes. Because experience shows that a modern marketing automation solution can help any business, whether it’s B2B or B2C.

It’s perhaps reassuring in this context that marketing automation doesn’t have to be a project with costs running into the millions and one that drags on for several months and years. The first really positive results are also achieved within a period of three to six months.

Would you like to learn more about exciting topics from the world of adesso? Then check out our latest blog posts.

Are you curious about marketing automation solutions? We’re more than happy to help, so why not arrange an initial one-hour discovery call, for instance? Just get in touch with us.

Picture Florian   Mages

Author Florian Mages

Florian Mages is SAP Customer Experience Consultant in the LOB Digital Experience at adesso. He is an expert for requirements engineering and for the implementation of the CRM and Marketing Automation Suite in the SAP area (SAP Sales, Service and Marketing Cloud).

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