B2B Marketing Automation
Automatically nurture and support prospects through the increasingly complex buying journey. Save time and increase ROI by developing create once and use many times nurture flows and marketing assets.
The B2B purchasing cycle is a long one, it can take many months for a visitor to become a lead and then eventually a customer. The longer the buying journey the more time and resources it takes to nurture that lead. Buyers are now also less likely to contact a vendor until later in the buying journey, meaning that marketing needs to do much more upfront. At the same time as buyers are becoming more information hungry, marketing budgets are being reduced. With less budget and higher demand, marketing teams need to do much more with less.
The solution is B2B marketing automation. B2B marketing automation allows you to set up automatic processes that your prospects go through without your intervention. Now your marketing teams can produce assets that can be reused multiple times. These assets can be shared at the right time, with the right prospects, with no need for manual intervention.
What is B2B marketing automation?
In essence marketing automation is about automating the many repetitive tasks that a marketing team might be responsible for. The most common application of B2B marketing automation is in email marketing, where nurture sequences are used to take the prospects on a journey towards becoming customers.
The difference between traditional email marketing and marketing automation is that predefined emails are triggered based on the actions of the prospect. Triggers are defined by nurture flows where every action and response to that action is mapped. In the past where we might have sent out a broad email blast, now with B2B marketing automation tools we can take a much more personal approach.
What are the benefits of B2B marketing automation?
B2B marketing automation isn’t the single solution to all your marketing challenges; it’s not a silver bullet. For example, B2B marketing automation is not going to suddenly result in a huge influx of new prospects. It does, however, bring some massive advantages to the marketing organization, which can increase productivity and bring closer alignment to sales and marketing.
Planning – B2B marketing automation tools, allow campaigns to be planned well in advance and marketers are no longer dependent on a spreadsheet to keep track of when the next email is supposed to go out. There is now a single view of all campaigns.
Rules – B2B marketing automation tools can be set up with clear rules that prevent prospects getting spammed with multiple messages.
Prospect management – A marketing automation tool will keep track of your prospects. With clear nurture flows, no prospect should be left behind.
Controll email frequency – With all your comms coming out of one tool, it’s now much easier to track what messages are being sent and who is receiving them. Improved tracking makes it less likely you’re going to target the same audience with mixed or inconsistent messaging. Branding can also be controlled centrally with templates for emails and landing pages.
Cost savings – Marketing automation is an investment, with a potential for high ROI if setup and used correctly. Not only do your prospects enjoy a more personalized experience, but your marketing teams are now able to create campaigns and collateral that can be used multiple times over.
Automate sales-ready leads – Lead scoring allows marketing teams to dynamically score the activity of leads and pass them to sales when they are ready to be contacted by sales. Marketing and sales can work together to define that scoring threshold.
B2B marketing automation best practices
B2B marketing automation tools can’t work alone
B2B marketing automation isn’t a lead generation tactic. Marketing automation can capture leads but can’t generate leads alone. Marketers still need to fill the top of the funnel. Point your demand generating tactics at landing pages that capture contact information, feeding your marketing automation system.
Spend time setting up nurture flows and rules
Marketing automation tools are only as good as the automation flow setup within them. These flows are the blueprints for how a lead should be nurtured and setting them up takes time. A marketing automation tool with no nurture flows is a glorified email marketing tool.
B2B marketing automation tools should collect data from multiple sources
Gather data from all touchpoints – Marketing automation tools might use email to nurture prospects but should tap into all your touchpoints to gather data. For example, marketing automation tools should be set up to gather data from visits to the website. The pages a visitor looks at, assets they download and even their engagement with you on social media is data that a marketing automation tool can use.
Lead scoring unlocks the true potential of B2B marketing automation
Your marketing team might be generating thousands of downloads, but you can’t pass these all to sales. Traditionally these leads would need to be qualified manually. Now, with marketing automation, rules can be setup the dictate when a lead should go to sales. These rules can “score’ the activity of a visitor and pass the lead to sales once a threshold is reached.
Different actions require a different response
There will be certain actions a prospect performs that should move them right to the top of the pile. When implementing marketing automation, it’s important to think about what these actions might be. For example, sending a contact request, starting a live chat or visiting a pricing page, could all signal that the prospect should be contacted by sales.
B2B marketing automation doesn’t work without content
Your prospects will engage with your business through the content you provide. If the content is irrelevant or doesn’t align with expectations, then your marketing automation tool isn’t going to work.
B2B marketing automation must support the buying journey
As with all B2B digital marketing activities, a detailed understanding of the customer journey is critical. Your demand generation activities, your nurture flows and the content your business generates, must support the buying journey.
Provide the right content at the right time
Businesses need to think about what content is most relevant at different points in the buying journey. An infographic may get the most engagement at the start of the journey, but towards the end, your prospects are likely to expect case studies and proof points.
User experience matters in B2B marketing automation
B2B user experience design should play a prominent role in the setup and management of marketing automation. Landing pages should be set up with conversion optimization in mind, email templates should be mobile friendly, and of course, the entire nurture flow should deliver a positive customer experience. Your user experience team should support with best practice and insights from your customer base.
Test, test, and test
Marketing automation tools generate large amounts of data. Used estate or to your advantage optimize your activity. Test your landing pages, emails, assets, and nurture close to see what gets the highest conversions and engagement.