These days, more and more companies are getting on board with marketing automation. But many are also quickly realizing that investing in a new tool is not an immediate fix to all their marketing problems. Picking the right platform, having a thoughtful strategy in place, and being able to measure the impact of their campaigns are factors crucial to their marketing automation for B2B success.
In fact, according to our State of Marketing Automation report conducted in partnership with London Research, 49% of marketers cite being unable to measure ROI as a key barrier, and 36% note that lack of internal knowledge is also a challenge. These percentages indicate that not all marketers have a handle on their investment or a plan in place to measure their impact, something that is likely keeping them from completely leveraging and benefiting from marketing automation.
Having a game plan in place before diving into marketing automation will prepare marketers to take full advantage of their new solution and provide the tools they need to enhance their efforts consistently over time. Of course, we understand that knowing where to start can be daunting, especially if you’ve never used this technology before. So we put together these tips to help you build an effective B2B marketing automation strategy that will help you beat out the competition and drive results for your organization.
Focus on Personalization
Providing each and every customer with a tailored experience may seem like a tedious undertaking, especially for us familiar with the time-consuming process of manually exporting, segmenting, and importing lists from a customer relationship management (CRM) system into an email service provider (ESP). Thankfully, marketing automation removes much of the work involved by allowing marketers to set up rules indicating which behaviors and characteristics qualify contacts to be automatically entered into a certain group.
It’s up to you, however, to work with your team to determine the best way to segment your audience (industry, product interests, stage in the sales funnel, pain points, size, etc.) and which content and tactics you need to engage them. Part of building your marketing automation strategy should involve identifying your target segments, mapping out your content based on those groups, and creating targeted nurture campaigns that will keep them moving through the customer journey.
Develop and Implement an Account-Based Management and Lead Scoring System
Unlike our peers working in the B2C space, B2B marketers often have to cater to multiple personas within an organization in order to keep the ball rolling and get a deal in front of their sales team. Not only is it a challenge to engage and nurture various stakeholders within a company, but without the proper tools, it can also be nearly impossible to measure where the group is as a whole when it comes to making a final decision. This challenge can lead to missed opportunities and negatively impact your organization’s ROI.
Thankfully, developing an account-based management and lead scoring system as part of your marketing automation for B2B strategy can prepare your marketing and sales teams to strike while the iron is hot. This approach allows you to gain an aggregated view of how stakeholders within a company are interacting with your marketing content and assign scores to each of their actions to determine whether they are ready to talk to sales.
Improving collaboration and alignment between your marketing and sales teams involves much more than CRM integration. In order for your organization to get the most out of your marketing automation platform, both marketing and sales have to be committed to using it and on the same page about how to do so.
Therefore, before you start shooting off emails and passing on leads to sales, you should discuss the following with your sales team:
What kind of insights do your salespeople need to have more targeted conversations that help close deals?
How will you score leads? And what makes a lead qualified to talk to sales?
How can your sales team leverage marketing automation? What features are available to help them improve their outreach efforts?
What is the best process for handing off leads to sales? What are the next steps once that is done?
Including the above considerations in your marketing strategy will help you ensure more seamless collaboration between marketing and sales, allowing you to target the best opportunities and maximize ROI.
Define How You’ll Measure Success
A strong marketing automation tool should provide you with insights that enhance your marketing strategy moving forward. All the information you gather will be valuable in some way, but certain data points will be more important than others to members of your leadership team, and a few will be more useful in helping you analyze and revise your efforts. Your marketing automation strategy should outline which KPIs you want to keep a close eye on to continue to improve your efforts and let key stakeholders of your organization know how you’re making progress toward achieving your goals.
Search for a Vendor That Will Provide Strategic and Implementation Support
Marketing automation helps organizations go beyond one-off emails and random acts of marketing to execute more targeted and personalized marketing across the board. As we mentioned before, however, lack of expertise and resources continue to be barriers keeping marketers from maximizing their marketing automation software and seizing opportunities for the best possible ROI.
Companies that want to get up to speed quickly and equip themselves with the knowledge and resources they need to be effective with marketing automation should consider vendors that offer strong strategic and implementation support. These offerings help marketers ensure that they have everything in place to use their marketing automation platform and achieve their goals — and include guidance and support from experts along the way.