How Marketing Automation Helps B2B Businesses

marketing automation services for B2B companies

B2B companies face multiple challenges when it comes to managing their online marketing strategy.  Marketers need to assess lead quality, identify potential growth markets, and grow their audience, all while dealing with increasingly limited budgets and resources.  Fortunately, there’s a solution that can address all of these challenges and more—using marketing automation with a B2B approach.  By using marketing automation tools, you can automate many repetitive tasks, maximize your marketing team’s efficiency, and boost your profits. The best way to set this up is to employ a marketing automation service provider to set the tools up specifically for your business.

Benefits of Using Marketing Automation for a B2B Business

While many of the benefits of marketing automation tools apply broadly to both B2C and B2B companies, the actual implementation approach differs for B2B.  In this article, we look at the ways marketing automation tools can benefit a B2B company. They include the following:

  1. Doing more with less

For most small- to medium-sized B2B companies, tight budgets and resource constraints are an ongoing challenge.

One key benefit of marketing automation is that it allows you to do more with less.  A person who is trained and dedicated to using marketing automation software can often manage most, if not all, the essential elements of a marketing campaign. These include manual tasks such as content management and delivery; campaign scheduling and execution; and data cleanup (removing duplicate or inconsistent data residing in various silos).

  1. Tracking anonymous web visitors

The vast majority of B2B website visitors won’t bother to fill out a form that’s on the site. Since they often prefer to do their research anonymously, how can a business prevent these potential leads from slipping through the cracks?

Marketing automation tools enable you to track anonymous visitors. One way of doing this is by assigning them a Visitor ID. Using their IP address, the tool can track what company they are coming from, and which geographic region. Once these leads reveal their identities to you by filling out a form, the marketing automation system can integrate whatever information it had previously collected to give you a head start in your understanding of your new business prospect.

  1. Lead generation, customer acquisition, and list growthmarketing automation process

According to a 2019 study by Statista, 65% of B2B businesses say that Lead Generation is one of their biggest challenges.  It’s not easy to grow your audience or expand your list of email subscribers, but marketing automation includes tools that can help.

For example, say you use a landing page or blog article to encourage a visitor to provide you with their contact information and opt in to receive your emails. Once they respond, the email delivery feature of the marketing automation system can send them a sequence of messages with content designed to further stimulate their interest in your product or service. The system can also adjust which new emails get sent automatically based on how they respond.

What determines which emails get sent out, and when, is defined in a “workflow”. This workflow is a series of rules which you create to specify what content the recipient receives, and the actions they need to take to receive it.

  1. Assessing lead quality

Quality trumps quantity when it comes to leads–there’s no point in sending your sales team a huge number of leads if the majority of them are not high quality leads, ready to buy. To find the highest quality leads, you need to use lead segmentation techniques.

To start the process, marketing automation tools may assign a “lead score” to measure the overall quality of a lead. The score can be based on demographic, firmographic and behavioral data.

The firmographic part of your lead’s score can increase based on how well their company matches your target characteristics. This could include your target market segment, company size, and geographic location. The behavioral portion could be designed to increase when the lead performs certain tasks that indicate increasing levels of interest. This can include visiting a site page, filling out a form, or viewing a demo

To make things as efficient as possible, the tools can be programmed to trigger an alert to sales to follow up when an especially high score is detected.

Some marketing automation platforms can even pull data from multiple channels, including social media and mobile platforms. This additional information gives you an even deeper understanding on who your prospect is, and what is important to them.

The ability to predictably identify higher quality leads for your sales team to focus on makes the best use of their time and increases conversion rates.

  1. Nurturing leadsbuyer's journey strategy

In the early stages of the sales process after you have identified a lead, marketing automation can help you nurture those leads along the buyer’s journey using targeted emails focused on their unique interests, based on their website activity.

Use of such targeted emails ultimately results in much higher conversion rates than a one-size-fits-all approach

While we’re on the subject of content, it’s worth noting that, while content marketing is important for both B2C and B2B companies, relevant content is absolutely crucial to all B2B marketing activities. Effective B2B lead generation and nurturing depend on it.

Good content addresses the needs, concerns and pain points of your prospective customer. It allows you to demonstrate your expertise and breadth of knowledge, which B2B prospects value highly. Drip campaigns that maintain your lead’s interest, blog postings that address your customer needs, and webinars that educate, all rely on a library of relevant, high quality content.

Marketing automation tools help you make the most of this content for lead nurturing by delivering right content at the right time for the greatest impact, and with much less effort.

Important Tip: Don’t forget to continue to nurture your existing customers after their initial purchase! It is actually 50% easier to retain (and sell more to) an existing customer than to acquire a new one according to Marketing Metrics. Surprisingly though, a Demand Gen study found that only 29% of brands nurture their existing customers beyond the initial purchase.

  1. Alignment of Marketing and Sales Teams

By using marketing automation tools, marketing teams can align their efforts with sales teams to ensure that they pass leads over to sales that are actually “sales-ready”, and do so in a timely manner. An important key to making this work is to make sure both teams work together to define and agree upon the scoring criteria. This way your sales team will actually trust and use the resulting ratings.

  1. Improved ROI

It’s common for companies to see a significant boost in revenue after they implement marketing automation.

There are a few different reasons for this increase.  First, more leads can be processed with fewer resources. There is also more consistent follow-up and fewer errors. A marketing automation system doesn’t get careless and start making mistakes when it is handling 15 different campaigns instead of just two.

Second, marketing automation analysis tools allow you to take hard data and use it to measure the effectiveness of your efforts. The information you are able to glean from the data can help you justify money spent on specific campaigns, and also help you make smart decisions about how to proceed with future ones.

Should You Use Marketing Automation for Your B2B Business?marketing automation services

If you’re a business owner, CEO or Marketing VP and need to decide whether using marketing automation services makes sense for your B2B business, be aware that these tools do require an initial investment of time and money. They also don’t deliver success overnight.

Also, various factors need to be considered as part of the process of determining which marketing automation software would work best for your business. This includes decisions on how much you can afford to invest, whether you want to simply integrate your existing CRM and lead generation tools or are open to replacing them. You also need to consider the amount of time and training needed to set up and maintain a particular system.

B2B companies that do make the investment will find that marketing automation software can enable them to implement online marketing strategies that result in long-term growth.  In the long run, when you eliminate the time and effort involved in routine marketing tasks, your marketing team can focus more on content creation, planning, and strategies that boost your bottom line.

Want to Know More?

If you would like to learn more about how our marketing automation services help your B2B business, please call us at 408-643-0150, or email hwalker@wsismartwebmarketing.com. We’ll be happy to help!

Defining Your Target Audience for Effective B2B Digital Marketing

defining your target audience for effective 2b2 digital marketing

Great marketing is about making a strong connection with the customer. In the consumer space, that often means working on emotion, ambition, even worry or fear. In B2B marketing, the emphasis is very different.

While you still need to make that connection, effective B2B digital marketing services will focus on business solutions, value, and long-term outcomes rather than emotional impulses.

But in both the B2B and B2C spheres it’s vital to know who you’re marketing to. If you don’t know your target audience, you can’t reliably find the right buttons for your content to press, whether that’s on the emotional level or by making the hard-headed business case.

The Importance of the B2B Buyer Persona

The most effective way of defining your target audience is to develop one or more buyer personas for each of your product lines. Each persona will lay out the typical characteristics of an audience you can target, and you can use this to inform your marketing content. The personas should cover details including:

– The industry sector the target audience works in, for example technology manufacturers, software companies, engineering services, and so on. This will form the basis of the content you develop.

– The buyer’s role in their company, their level of decision-making power, and who if anyone they may report to.

– How does their role influence what they value in a product? For example, do they look for price, technical specifications, or level of support?

– Their typical educational level, along with their industry qualifications and areas of expertise. Will they most appreciate an overview of your product, or the full in-depth technical details?

– Their daily priorities and longer term goals, whether this is generating leads, improving company efficiency, or increasing bottom-line revenues.

– The typical challenges they face in their work, and how your products can work toward meeting them. Ideally, you should identify a solution which their current supplier isn’t offering.

In each case, focus on how the details of each persona can direct the approach taken by your content. And remember, in larger organizations, there may be several people involved in each buying decision, and a different persona for each role will likely produce the most effective results.

For example, the content aimed at the daily user of a product may need a very different slant to that aimed at the finance department which gives the final purchase approval.

Using Real-World Data in Persona Development

This process of buyer persona development shouldn’t rely on hypothetical ideas plucked from thin air, although by necessity there may be some creativity involved. To be truly effective, personas should be constructed from the reliable data you have to hand.

Look at your previous customers, particularly those with the highest value. What characteristics do they share? Which questions can you ask to build an accurate persona? For the clearest picture, use both hard sales information along with the insights of your sales team, if applicable. You may also want to use the services of an external marketing analyst to talk directly to some of your customers on your behalf. They can provide insights to better understand what things are important to them and why they choose to use your products or services.

 

How Buying Personas Bring Consistency

Putting these details together not only provides a starting point for the language and messaging used in your marketing, but it helps to keep a consistent approach throughout an organization. Everyone in your company from sales to support can work from the same angle, helping develop the trusted relationships on which B2B marketing is built.

 

Effective, Expert B2B Marketing

Creating an accurate buyer persona is key to B2B marketing success, but it can be a complex task. Our B2B digital marketing services team has the experience and expertise to help you through the process, combining our tried and tested approach with your unique sector knowledge to create personas which will work to advance your content marketing success. If this is an area you need to develop better contact us for help.