Technology needs to be factored into sales plans as a key to sales person success. CRM and marketing automation technology is the key software that needs to be in place. And sales management needs to be sure sales people are working effectively with the technology.
Many companies use CRM and marketing automation for lead generation, but often not enough emphasis is put on lead nurturing at the sales person level. Marketing automation can do a good job nurturing the lead, but the sales rep needs to take over and plan follow up based on the lead's response to the various marketing touches.
The sales rep needs to have a mini strategic plan based on the nurturing touches, and sales reps' activities responding to these touches need to be monitored for levels of lead conversions to customers. Companies need to look at whether their sales and marketing managers are using this sales performance information to help grow them to better levels of performance.
Lead nurturing to lead conversion is (or should be) one half of a sales plan. The other half needs to be deeper penetration of existing customers. Marketing automation plays a key role here if a company is able to integrate business intelligence from their ERP and migrate it to their marketing automation and CRM suite.
As an example, ERP business intelligence identifies customers' buying under expected levels - especially where cross selling plays a major role. Marketing automation can campaign to low levels of penetration, but as with lead follow up, sales people must follow up and sell based on marketing automation campaign objectives.
Both lead nurturing and deeper penetration of existing customers are very responsive to CRM automated workflow. An example is a series of planned email and personal touches by sales people following automated campaigns. Almost all popular CRM software has automated workflow, but most tend to be underutilized- causing companies to miss great opportunities.
Just having CRM and marketing automation in place doesn't assure success. A marketing/sales plan needs to be in place with clear cut goals. These goals need to include sales results driven at the end of the processes by sales people. Many companies do not put enough emphasis here. Many do not have the necessary levels of sales person accountability for results. Just having the technology in place isn't enough.