Marketing Automation for B2B: Building Effective Strategies

Maximize your marketing automation for B2B investment with these tips for building and implementing effective strategies.
Article Outline

Marketing automation is a tool that promises to help streamline workflows, scale with ease, and get better results. But as with any tool, it’s only as good as the strategies behind it, right?

Yet creating better strategies requires better data, and this is where many marketers get stuck. 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 a lack of internal knowledge is also a challenge.

Without this intelligence, knowing whether your strategies have foundational cracks is hard. That’s why we’ve pulled together our favorite B2B marketing automation strategies to set you on the path to success.

Marketing automation B2B: Focus on personalization

Customers are impatient, and their attention is now more fragmented than ever. With only seconds to capture their attention, missing the mark is far too easy. And that’s why you need a secret weapon: personalization.

The more personalized your content, the more likely prospects will engage and move further along the buyer’s journey.

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. Building your marketing automation strategy should involve identifying your target segments, mapping your content based on those groups, and creating targeted nurture campaigns to keep them moving through the customer journey. And, of course, you’ll want to measure those results (which we’ll discuss shortly).

Marketing automation for B2B: Account-based management and lead scoring

Buyer personas … have you created them yet? It’s common for B2C and B2B companies to create personas to more effectively target various audiences and capture their attention. However, because you’re a B2B marketer, the personas you create are very different from B2C personas. How?

B2B companies have complex buying processes (hello, long sales cycles!). Oftentimes, multiple buyer personas are involved in a single decision, which isn’t nearly as common with B2C companies.

Without the right tools, it’s hard to nurture various stakeholders within a business and even more difficult to measure where the group is as a whole when making a final decision. This challenge can lead to missed opportunities and negatively impact your organization’s ROI.

Fortunately, developing an account-based management and lead scoring system as part of your b2b marketing automation 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 a company’s stakeholders interact with your marketing content and assign scores to each of their actions to determine whether they are ready to talk to sales.

Marketing automation strategies: Alignment of marketing and sales

Marketing and sales alignment … it’s gotten a lot of attention, right? And for good reason, considering that aligned companies experience 19% faster revenue growth and 15% greater profits compared to their nonaligned counterparts.

As you work to get aligned, connect with your sales team and consider asking the following questions.

  • What kinds of insights do your salespeople need in order 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 B2B 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?

As sales and marketing become more aligned, your results and customer experiences will improve. And marketing automation is an important tool to support that alignment.

For example, Hitachi High-Tech Analytical Science wanted to automate lead creation and drive tighter sales and marketing alignment. “We wished to drive closer alignment with our sales, marketing, and service teams to provide a smoother, richer customer experience,” says Global Digital Marketing Communications Manager Kerry West. “We wanted a deeper integration to precisely target and nurture customers at all stages in the buying journey and improve our ROI.”

Using marketing automation, they automated 40% of all new marketing leads, dramatically cut down on manual tasks, and achieved significant gains for marketing and sales.

Define how you’ll measure B2B marketing success

You’ve heard it a million times: “You can’t improve what you don’t measure.” And yes, most marketers know you need to measure results. But what are you measuring those results against?

A successful B2B marketing automation strategy should include KPIs that define what success looks like. With those KPIs in hand and a tool that helps you pull relevant data, you can easily show results to your key stakeholders.For example, Avery Dennison lowered software costs by 37% and tripled email open rates after enhancing its Act-On implementation. Achieving similar results starts with goals, defining KPIs, measuring them, and iterating to replicate and improve success.

Find marketing automation B2B partners that provide strategic and implementation support

B2B marketing automation has the potential to amplify your marketing success, but it’s about more than just the tools. How easy is it to use the marketing automation tool? Is it intuitive for your team? And does it have the right capabilities to measure results and scale performance? And even more important: will your partner provide strategic and implementation support?

With the right partner, you’ll have a competitive advantage because of their expertise and knowledge guiding you on the path to success. And when you’re ready to level up your marketing automation strategy, you can move on to more advanced strategies to further multiply results.

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