By Raman Mittal
B2B Marketers are witnessing a rapid snowballing of digital platforms that can influence the overall customer journey. The emergence of these platforms has made it increasingly difficult for marketers to manually utilize their full potential simultaneously. It is leading to increased adoption of marketing automation tools to reduce manual inefficiencies and automate communications based on triggers and rules.
Nevertheless, a B2B marketing automation implementation, depending on a company’s scale, is generally a costly and resource-heavy task that requires a comprehensive needs assessment and due diligence. Yet, once implemented correctly, it can potentially impact the performance in the sales funnels heavily.
Let’s have a look at some of the significant benefits of a well-implemented marketing automation platform (MAP).
Marketing Efficiency – Marketing automation eliminates the time-consuming and manual tasks of content management and personalization, campaign scheduling and execution, data hygiene, and lead nurturing to ensure efficiency
Enhanced Performance – Marketing Automation can combine multiple variables like demographic and behavioral data with a lead scoring system to generate and identify better sales-qualified leads
Multi-channel Personas – Marketing Automation platforms can integrate multiple channels to create a more comprehensive user persona
Sales & Marketing Synergy – Marketing automation software aligns sales and marketing efforts to ensure that sales reps work with genuine leads. By working in unison to set scoring parameters and define qualified leads, sales and marketing come into synergy
Improved ROI – According to Forrester Research, B2B marketers that implement marketing automation experience a 10% increase in their sales pipeline contribution. Therefore, companies using marketing automation have a higher probability to build a more robust sales pipeline, have more productive sales representatives and witness better revenue growth.
It is more critical now more than ever for B2B marketers to build a competitive advantage, resonate with the audience, create brand awareness, and gain customers through marketing automation. For that, Marketers need to find answers to three primordial questions:
What is the key objective of a B2B marketing automation?
Marketing automation for B2B shares the same principle as its B2C counterpart, i.e., triggering automated messages in response to contact activity and maintaining regular communications with contacts, leads, and customers. While both focus on targeting users with the right message in real-time, there is a fundamental difference in their objectives. While B2C focuses heavily on personalization, B2B focuses on education. B2B marketing automation transitions lead towards conversion and retention by nurturing them with helpful, educational content.
Why does a company need a MAP?
According to HubSpot’s State of Marketing 2021 report – 76% of companies in 2021 report using automation. Of those who don’t, 26% plan on adopting automation in 2021. Early adopters of marketing automation begin to reap the rewards much sooner. MAP implementation helps B2B marketers save time by automating scheduled social media posts and emails. When fused with the CRM, MAPs can give you a comprehensive big picture of your entire funnel in real-time and the relationship the company enjoys with its target audience. MAPs also play a crucial role in lead nurturing by assigning lead scoring based on a contact’s activities and nudging it with target communications to increase engagement, eventually converting it as a customer.
How to determine if a company has the capacity and expertise to implement and run a MAP?
Setting up and running a MAP is a resource-intensive task, and companies should ensure conducting comprehensive due diligence of the organizational and technical capabilities of the company. Also, a clear understanding of the MAPs implementation process and post-implementation support is a must-have. Then there is the human factor, deploying a marketing cloud without the right people is challenging. Companies will have to hire experts or outsource the MAP implementation and maintenance. Therefore, to avoid overspending on a system that will underperform, companies first consider the necessary resources at hand to run the MAP successfully.
What features should I look for in a Marketing Automation Platform (MAP)?
An organization wanting to automate its marketing processes needs to focus on the key parameters/features in a MAP that are important for the success of such an endeavor.
Key features to look at while evaluating a MAP are:
1) Initial setup complexity and cost with CAPEX and OPEX planning
2) 3rd party software interaction to utilize all the MarTech platforms in use.
3) Social Media Integration capability
4) Lead Lifecycle Management to manage the lead journey from lead generation, nurturing to closure
5) Visitor/Page Tracking to track user engagement
6) Multi-channel marketing campaigns for different customer journeys
7) Lead Scoring Mechanism to qualify and target leads more probable to convert
8) Reporting and analytics capability to monitor performance and ROI
9) Smart List & Static list capability for different targeting strategies
10) Technical operations complexity to identify gaps in current capabilities.
11) ABM Strategy to target key decision-makers at target companies
12) User Community to upskill stakeholders or identify and hire experts
13) Customer Support for dependability and speed, and technical depth
Marketing automation, when implemented correctly, can do wonders by nurturing leads, building sales pipelines, and generating revenues. Nevertheless, B2B marketers must conduct a comprehensive need assessment of the features and capabilities in a MAP to target leads and convert them into customers successfully. B2B marketers should also weigh in the benefits these platforms deliver compared to the overall cost in terms of talent and resources to implement, run and maintain such a platform. Purchase and deployment of a marketing automation platform is an expensive and time-consuming activity and should be done only after extensive due diligence.
The author is the co-founder and chief marketing officer of TO THE NEW. Views expressed are personal.