Aside from avoiding the prospect of flooding your subscribers’ inboxes with spam, the benefits of B2B marketing automation are many.
Let’s consider what they are.
1. Time Management
Imagine if you wanted to segment your email list of 1,000 leads manually. It would take an awfully long time, for sure – reviewing the profiles of each lead, figuring out what content they’ve engaged with, what they’ve downloaded, what social media platforms they frequent, if they’ve spent money with you before…
Now scale that up to 2,000 leads. Now up to 10,000. No, delivering personalisation on this level just isn’t possible without an enormous (and expensive) team behind you.
With marketing automation, so much of the heavy lifting involved with many marketing activities – analysing data, segmentation, lead nurturing, lead scoring, campaign scaling – is done for you, leaving the marketing department free to focus on the more creative and critical aspects of their job, such as producing superior content.
2. Understanding of Leads and Customers
Better Marketing automation allows companies to gain much greater insights into their leads and customers.
The various software available enables the marketing team to keep track of which website pages specific visitors have viewed, what emails they have opened, what social media posts they’ve engaged with, what forms they’ve filled out, what content they’ve downloaded, and what products/services they’ve already purchased.
With these insights, it becomes clear what everyone is looking for and what type of content speaks to them – personally. Armed with this information, it’s now possible to create detailed lists of leads, prospects and customers, and from there you can nurture them with content that matches their specific wants and needs.
3. Creating and Identifying High-quality Leads
Lead scoring is a hugely beneficial part of the marketing automation process – not least when it comes to fostering a more productive relationship between your marketing and sales teams.
Indeed, identifying exactly the right moment that a lead should be passed from marketing to sales is one of the hardest parts of managing the whole sales process. Or at least it is without any marketing automation software in your arsenal.
With it, however, not only is it possible to create higher quality leads through crafting better customer journeys with content, but the marketing team will have a firmer understanding of exactly what it is that constitutes a sales qualified lead.
This is done through lead scoring – i.e. benchmarking how likely it is that each lead is ready to buy based on their online behaviour and the information they have surrendered (such as their job titles, industry sector, etc.).
The higher the lead score, the more qualified they become for sales. The lower the score, the more these leads are in need of further education (i.e. more marketing content) to qualify them.
And all of this is completely automated, saving the company time, and producing far greater results.
4. A/B Testing for Higher Conversion Rates
Be it a landing page, a call to action (CTA), an email subject line, or a promotional social media post, split or A/B testing is essential for getting the most out of a campaign.
For each content asset at your disposal, testing subtle differences in design or copy between two versions of it provides marketers with the knowledge as to which version (i.e. either A or B) to run with.
Marketing Automation: The Practical Realities
In simple terms, marketing automation refers to the process of using software to automate marketing practices - email marketing, social media marketing, or those more complex multi-channel campaigns, marketing automation solutions streamline processes, and allow marketing teams to do more with less manual effort.
Let’s stop to think about the whole inbound marketing process for a moment, so we know exactly what marketing automation can streamline and optimise.
The number one goal of marketing is to generate revenue. In the online environment, this is achieved by driving traffic to the company’s website, converting that traffic into leads, those leads into prospects and prospects into paying customers.
Marketing automation helps marketers do their job more efficiently across each stage of the process.
An Example – Email Marketing Automation
Some things are best illustrated with an example. Imagine you have 1,000 people on your email list. Now, what do you think the advantages are of sending each one of these recipients – no matter at what stage they are on the buyer’s journey – the exact same email marketing messages every time you run a blast?
True, if you play the law of averages like this, then a message may sometimes resonate with one or two prospects – but this could hardly be described as being an optimised process.
For one thing, for those one or two that you reach, you’re almost bound to annoy a hundred others with messages that hold no relevance to them – and that’s a big waste of time, effort and money.
But with a marketing automation system in place, it’s possible to send personalised, highly targeted messages that address specific prospects with specific content and make the process of nurturing leads through the sales funnel much more efficient.
A Segmented Strategy
Instead of hitting all 1,000 of those leads with the same message, a far better strategy would be to email only a highly targeted segment of them with an invitation to download an eBook that delves deeper into the topics they’ve been researching on your site.
Then, to everyone who downloads the content, a thank you email is sent out. A few days later, your email marketing automation system then sends out a follow-up email, this time offering them a relevant case study to download.
Now, when someone downloads that case study, the sales department is notified by your email marketing automation system that a sales-qualified lead (SQL) has been identified and is ready for a follow up call.
A better system by far – much more personalised, more focused and moreover, stands a much better chance of achieving the number one goal of marketing (generating revenue) than un-tailored email blasts ever could.
According to research by marketing automation platform Pardot, 75% of all email revenue is generated by such targeted email marketing campaigns, compared to “one-size-fits-all” approaches.
And this is the ultimate benefit of marketing automation – to provide marketers with tools that can better-target prospects with tailored content based on their behaviour. It provides a means to deliver select pieces of information only to those prospects that need it as they make a purchase decision.
In fact, it eases this decision, leads to improved conversion rates which typically equate to increased revenues.
Incisive Edge is a HubSpot Gold partner, although we work with all the major marketing automation platforms. Our specialism is marketing automation optimisation – basically, making your platform work harder to drive conversions and ROI.
If you’re interested in implementing a marketing automation platform or want to get more out of your existing system, just contact us.