B2B marketing automation and lead scoring is a strategy for automating the process of capturing, managing and nurturing prospects through the marketing and sales journey. Marketing automation works well in B2B markets because the buyer journey is long and information hungry, but it’s also finding a home in consumer marketing.
When you want to create a journey that automatically guides your prospects to a purchasing decision you need a marketing automation solution. B2B marketing automation allows businesses to communicate with prospects automatically based on where they are in the buyer journey. Marketers can save time and increase ROI by developing create once and use many times nurture flows and marketing assets. Traditional marketing automation was once centred on email marketing, today, communications can be sent as text messages and over social media.
The B2B purchasing cycle is a long one, and it can take many months for a visitor to become a lead and then eventually a customer. The longer the buying journey, the more time and resources it takes to nurture that lead. Buyers are now also less likely to contact a vendor until later in the buying journey, meaning that marketing needs to do much more upfront. At the same time as buyers are becoming more information hungry, marketing budgets are being reduced. With less budget and higher demand, marketing teams need to do much more with less.
Why do you need marketing automation?
B2B marketing automation allows you to set up automatic processes that your prospects go through without your intervention. With marketing automation, your teams can produce assets that can be reused multiple times. These assets can be shared at the right time, with the right prospects, with no need for manual intervention. In essence, this is what marketing automation is all about, automating the many repetitive tasks that a marketing team undertakes.
Where does marketing automation sit in the marketing funnel?
Broadly the B2B marketing funnel has three levels:
- Top of funnel – the widest point where the job of the marketer is to attract traffic.
- Middle of the funnel – the job of the marketer is to nurture good leads and filter out bad leads.
- Bottom of the funnel – the job of the marketer is to convert the lead to a sale opportunity.
Marketing automation supports the middle of the funnel, helping to nurture and score leads in the marketing funnel.
- Marketing automation systems can nurture leads in the marketing funnel by offering relevant content, at the right time and on the best channels.
- Marketing automation systems can score leads based on actions so that only the best quality leads make it to the sales team.
What are the benefits of having a marketing automation system?
Marketing automation helps businesses to take prospects on a content journey that nurtures them towards making a purchasing decision. It’s highly methodical, measured and if executed correctly, very cost effective. It also supports the one thing every business struggles with, the close alignment of sales and marketing.
- Planning – B2B marketing automation tools, allow campaigns to be planned well in advance and marketers are no longer dependent on a spreadsheet to keep track of when the next email is supposed to go out. There is now a single view across all campaigns.
- Rules – B2B marketing automation tools can be set up with clear rules that prevent prospects from getting spammed with multiple messages. Rules can fully dictate when a prospect receives a message or even if they receive it at all.
- Prospect management – A marketing automation tool will keep track of your prospects as they move through the marketing funnel. With clear nurture flows, no prospect should be left behind.
- Control – With all your comms coming out of one tool, it’s now much easier to track what messages are being sent and who is receiving them. Improved tracking makes it less likely you’re going to target the same audience with mixed or inconsistent messaging. Branding can also be controlled centrally with templates for emails and landing pages.
- Cost savings – Your prospects enjoy a more personalised experience, and your marketing teams are now able to create campaigns and collateral that can be used multiple times over.
- Automate sales-ready leads – Marketing can dynamically score the activity of leads and pass them to sales when they reach a threshold of engagement. Marketing and sales can work together to define that threshold.
Marketing automation for small business
Many small businesses assume marketing automation is out of their reach. It’s true that until very recently the only way you could leverage marketing automation was to use enterprise tools like Eloqua and Marketo. Today, marketing automation solutions are available for even the smallest budgets. One of the best solutions and one designed with small businesses in mind is ClickFunnels (read my ClickFunnels review). ClickFunnels offers an all in one solution for building marketing funnels and its automation system called Actionetics is one of the best.
Stats to help your marketing automation business case
If you’re thinking about marketing automation but not yet sure how it can help your business, or if you need some data to build your business case, then your marketing automation consultant can help!
- 67% of marketing leaders currently use a marketing automation platform(source)
- 68% of top performing businesses are using automation in their marketing strategies(source)
- 63% of the companies that are outgrowing their competitors use marketing automation (source)
A marketing funnel can help you automatically nurture prospects into sales-ready leads. For the B2B small business, not needing to worry about where your next lead is coming from could be invaluable.
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