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:
- 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).
- 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.
- Lead generation, customer acquisition, and list growth
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.
- 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.
- Nurturing leads
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.
- 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.
- 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?
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 email@example.com. We’ll be happy to help!
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