Marketing automation is software that allows B2B firms to automate marketing and sales efforts to cut costs, generate more leads, close more deals, and measure marketing success better. It allows businesses to take action based on the behaviors of prospective customers. It's so effective that 53% of B2B companies are currently using the tactic while another 37% plan to adopt the technology soon. But how do B2B firms aim to respond to the changing landscape to benefit from marketing automation in 2022? Here we dig into the topic so B2B companies can identify if marketing automation is right for them.
Using marketing automation software can help your business improve efficiencies, personalize marketing messages, connect marketing to closed sales deals, and measure your strategy effectiveness and marketing ROI. To some degree, you can set up marketing campaigns and leave them on “autopilot” while focusing on other business objectives. When used effectively, it will align your sales and marketing teams toward a common goal.
Below are the common features you'll find in most marketing automation tools:
Lead Scoring – score prospects based on behavior so you can follow up with proactive prospects.
Lead Nurturing – automatically stay in communication with prospective customers through the sales process
Prospect Tracking – identifies activities that prospects have interacted with on your website or marketing
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tool Integrations – connecting your leads with marketing activities that closed deals.
Integrated Reporting – see where leads come from, which campaigns are working, and the number of deals closed
This is just a brief list of the options it provides. With the technology and integration constantly evolving, there are bound to be many more to come.
Sequences and Workflows
When you start investigating platforms, you'll read and hear a lot about sequences and workflows. They are two related options for your sales and marketing team to automate emails with prospective clients in a way that makes your marketing less costly and more effective. Both are essential to a comprehensive B2B marketing plan, but there are key distinctions and benefits provided by each.
One of the biggest differences between these two automation tools is the type of emails that are sent through them. Sequences send emails from your connected inbox as sales emails. On the other hand, workflows use marketing emails that are saved for automation. These emails are sent through a marketing automation platform, such as HubSpot, allowing the sender to customize the "from" address in the email editor.
Sequences send a series of email templates to contacts. When creating sequences, you are using sales email templates. Workflows send marketing emails, which do not use the same templates. Marketing emails can either be created in a drag and drop editor or using a marketing email template, which can be found in the design manager. This is where your B2B marketing agency partner can provide the most value: in ensuring your messaging stays on-brand and your emails speak to your target audiences and personas.
Key benefits of marketing automation in 2022
There are a number of benefits, as already discussed, to using marketing automation software. That said, recent changes both in the marketing landscape and in marketing automation capabilities mean that some benefits are now more pronounced than others. Here we break down four key benefits, as we see them:
First, marketing automation makes your sales and marketing teams more efficient. You can reduce staffing costs and/or free up the time of existing staff to work on more important, strategic projects. Instead of manually sending emails or posting on social media daily, marketing automation software can automate those processes. This means that your marketing team can do more creative work, like planning and brainstorming for upcoming campaigns and projects, and your sales team has more time to actually close deals. Your staff or partner agency can post on social media, create an email nurturing campaign, post a blog, or create a landing page all in the same software. Ultimately, this saves your team time when you're creating campaigns and increases the effectiveness of those campaigns.
If you combine your sales and marketing automation efforts by using the same software, you'll be able to align company goals and efforts. Essentially, it'll make the process of going from marketing qualified lead to sales qualified lead that much easier. In fact, marketing automation can lead to a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead. Plus, it can also help you generate more leads and increase sales. Your marketing team will spend more time strategizing ways to increase conversion rate, while your sales team increases productivity. It's a win-win.
Speaking of increasing conversion rates, marketing automation can also make your team more effective. Marketing automation software can help you increase your conversion rate and manage your leads more efficiently. Your marketing automation software will track your leads and you can even use it to retarget your website visitors who don't convert. And trust us when we tell you that most website visitors DON'T convert right away. They require multiple touches. A marketing automation platform can help you keep leads interested with compelling, personalized content at just the right frequency.
Reporting your analytics can seem like a daunting process, but with marketing automation platforms, it doesn't have to be. You should be able to use your software to generate automated reports. All of a sudden, a cumbersome task is simplified. Additionally, marketing automation platforms can give you a high-level overview of your overall process. This will help you see complications and friction points. With accurate, streamlined reporting you can see where things are going wrong. Do leads drop off during your lead nurturing email campaigns? Or is it during your sales process? Either way, accurate analytics will help you spot those points and fix them in a timely manner.
In short, if you have a contact database and are proactively marketing your company’s products or services, YES! The saying goes, “80% of sales come from 20% of advertising.” Marketing automation will provide some clarity into specifically which advertising efforts are working. By measuring your funnel, you can identify issues in the process and create strategies to improve conversion rates.
It all starts with a strategy. Without a strategy, you have no chance of success! Marketing automation software can be complex, so start with the fundamentals and grow from there. It’s important to have standards for your contact data and keep it organized. Otherwise, you’ll end up with garbage in your CRM which will cause your marketing automation to be ineffective. The B2B marketing specialists at DaBrian Marketing Group can help you design, implement, and manage an effective marketing automation system.
Lastly, you must have or create relevant content in different formats (text, images, gifs, video, datasheets, case studies, etc.). Relevant content is king, and without it, you are just a peasant in your industry! We can help you there, too, because we both know you're too busy to pull it all together on your own.