Marketing Automation

The Shifting Sands of B2B Purchase Patterns

The B2B marketplace today is more complicated than ever. A fundamental, internet-age shift in power has thoroughly transformed B2B buying behavior. Prospects used to have very limited information and resources for assessing solution providers. Now, they have much more insight and options at their disposal.

Ineffective sales prospecting techniques like cold calls are getting the cold shoulder. Most savvy B2B buyers find solutions through online search, social network sharing, subscribing to content that’s relevant to them and engaging with brands who provide customised content catered to their needs.

If you don’t want your marketing message to get ignored, it needs to be more targeted and personal than ever.

The result? The average sales cycle has increased 22% over the past five years. You must evolve and look for new avenues to engage your prospects.

Read more about it on our blog: 9 reasons why automation is indispensable to your marketing.

The shift in B2B purchase decisions

Marketing Automation – What’s In It for Me

Traditional marketing workflows cannot handle what it takes to produce suitable, personalised responses to prospects all through the buying process, matching the right content to the right point in time. This is where automation comes in handy.

 

Marketing automation is a platform for conducting a well-tuned and synchronised orchestra of all inbound and outbound, goal-oriented marketing activities, tailored around personalised user experiences. It allows you to create and handle customer interactions with more speed and customisation.

Most Marketing Automation platforms provide solutions for:

  • Lead management
  • Lead nurturing
  • Lead scoring
  • Campaign management
  • Social marketing
  • Landing pages
  • Integratie with CRM systems
  • Messaging (email, SMS, social)
  • Multi-channel marketing
  • Marketing analytics
  • Resource management


Automation tools use marketing scores to identify and target content to prospects when they need it most. That value translates to engagement and empowerment - and in due time, response and sales. The best marketing greater quality leads, and attain higher ROI.

the sales conversion funnel



As a rule of thumb, in the sales conversion funnel:

25 procent is niet relevant

25% of your subscribers entering the funnel are not relevant at all.


25 procent is relevant

25% are golden opportunities directly passed through the sales funnel.


50 procent is later relevant

50% may present opportunities at a later time.


lead nurturing

The vast majority of your prospective customers will not convert on your first message. For maximum conversion, this 50% needs to be nurtured down the funnel with stage-appropriate, individualised content presented through marketing automation.

 

Instead of sporadic and disconnected campaigns, with marketing automation you can nurture leads and guide prospects through the sales conversion funnel. The ultimate marketing automation strategy is to become more efficient and effective at moving people/companies from lead to customer, in other words, improve revenue funnel conversions. 

Separating Fact from Myth

You may hear marketing automation and email marketing being used interchangeably. The fact is that email marketing is a component of marketing automation, but not quite the same. Marketing automation connects multiple touch points and marketing channels including social media, email marketing, and content marketing. Here are two more myth busters.

marketing automation is spam

Myth

Marketing automation is spam.

Fact

Marketing automation is one of the most user-friendly marketing channels out there because it’s tailored around personalised user experiences. You’re not blasting audiences with an advertising messages. Imagine instead that you’re nurturing leads and guiding prospects through the sales conversion funnel.



marketing automation is koud, zielloos en onpersoonlijk

Myth

Marketing automation is cold, inhuman, and impersonal. “Automation” is just another way of saying that we’re spamming people.

Fact

Marketing automation makes it easier to send personalized, 1:1 targeted messages. In other words, marketing automation makes communication stronger. When you automate your marketing, you can focus more heavily on the quality of your campaigns and messaging. Marketing automation gives your team the ability to add more personal touches to your campaign – by collecting data on a prospect’s interests and goals, you can custom-tailor future offers so that they are more relevant.

 

Marketing automation will empower your organization to do the following:

  1. Add dynamic content based on an individual’s specific user profile. For instance, you can send targeted offers based on website patterns.
  2. Categorise customers and prospects by common behaviors, interests, and demographic details. These will be dimensions for segmenting your customers.
  3. Develop optimal marketing patterns. Marketing automation can help your company test different variables like email send times, subject headings, and ideas for personalisation.
  4. Integrate marketing channels to deliver a comprehensive, cross-platform user experience. Make sure that every touch point is carefully planned for optimal conversion optimisation.

Three Tenets of Marketing Automation

1. Fragmented Lead Lifecycle

A lead might interact with your brand at multiple touch-points such as Conferences or Trade Shows, eDM Campaigns, Online search engines, Websites or through coming across Print and Digital content. This could lead to a fragmented lifecycle. For instance, a lead might learn about your brand at a Trade Show, then discover your website through an ad campaign and later subscribe to your newsletter.


Fragmented Lead Lifecycle of a lead

How do you track such a fragmented lifecycle of a lead?

Marketing Automation aids you in tracking such a fragmented lifecycle of a lead by allowing for customer-centric, multi-channel, personalised marketing across all stages of the buyer lifecycle.

Marketing Automation gives you a single snapshot of the entire life of a lead.

Through Marketing automation, you can track all the touchpoints and channels (both online and offline) prospects use to connect with you as well as keep track of the progress of the lead and nurture the lead down the funnel. Automated workflows, pre-defined scenarios and customer-driven triggers are set up in a connected and omnichannel way. A single customer view is imperative as is a connected approach.

2. Individualised, Segmented Nurturing

Every prospect has different needs, buying cycles and processes. Marketers want to give every lead individual attention. However, a number of tasks in the workflow could be repeated for every lead. For example:

Sending a welcome message for new subscriptions to newsletter
 

Followed by an invitation to a webinar two weeks later
 

Then sending them a reminder the day before webinar and so on


But what if the lead doesn’t respond to that welcome message? With marketing automation, you can tailor subsequent action points to the precise activity of the lead, thus guiding them individually through the lead funnel according to their lead characteristics.


Marketing Automation 0DBranched Logic in Action

Marketing automation automates this workflow and helps save time and resources, without compromising on the personal touch for each lead, thereby providing you with quality leads.

With personalized, segmented lead nurturing, you strengthen the relationship with each prospect over time, interacting in a range of settings, learning more about their needs and capabilities while advancing seamlessly from one interaction to the next. This also gives you insight on when to commit more resources to the relationship as well as when to pull back and give the prospect some space and time.

3. Lead Definition - Lead Scoring

A lead is a qualified prospect that is beginning to display buying behavior. However, not all leads may be equally relevant. Only 27% of leads sent directly to sales are qualified2. The challenge then becomes, how do you set apart the good, quality leads from those who are just beginning to look around? That’s where lead management, and specifically, lead scoring comes in.

Lead scoring is an essential component of modern lead management. By tracking your prospect's behaviour and web activity, you can ascertain their level of interest in your solution (engagement) in addition to your interest in them (demographics and firmographics targeting). Only by combining both factors can you deliver legitimately qualified leads to sales.

To label the leads for conversion-readiness, you can attach a score or value to them, based on three criteria:

Completion

Do you have the basic minimum information of the lead, i.e. Name and e-mail address?

 

Match/Fit

does the lead fit with the persona of your ideal prospect?

 

Engagement

how are they interacting with your content and marketing messaging?


Based on this scoring, you can set a threshold to filter leads more likely to go into the sales funnel. Once the score hits the lead threshold you have set, the sales teams can intelligently follow up on qualified leads for sales conversion.

 lead scoring_EN


When a Lead Scoring Model is effective, the key benefits are:
  1. Increased sales efficiency and effectiveness

    Lead scoring focuses sales attention on most important leads, ensuring that leads that are unqualified or have low perceived value are not delivered to sales for engagement. Through this prioritization process, sales obtains higher-quality leads, which elevates conversion rates.

  2. Increased marketing effectiveness

    A lead scoring model quantifies what types of leads or lead attributes matter most. This allows you to more productively target its inbound and outbound programs and send more high-quality leads to sales.

  3. Tighter Marketing and Sales alignment

    Lead scoring prevents the Marketing and Sales departments from being at loggerheads over which lead is more qualified by establishing a common definition for which lead types are ready for teleprospecting or field sales attention. It provides a common language with which the marketing and sales team can discuss the quality and quantity of leads generated.


For instance:
You would probably rank a vice CXO-level lead who has spent time on both your products and pricing page higher than an executive- or intern-level lead with the same behaviour. You may also rank one Director over another if the first Director has displayed a greater level of engagement on your website. Assuming engagement as a proxy for interest and intent, each of these scores go into a profile of your lead to aid you in ascertaining when they're ready to speak with a sales person. 

Wrapping Up

The Revenue Per Sales transaction (RPU) of the average B2B organization validates the comparably small spend on marketing automation.

Marketing automation generates more qualified leads and collects valuable sales intelligence to boost closing rates.

These efficiencies are exceptionally invaluable to your B2B customers.

Whether your organisation’s yearly revenue is $300 billion or $6 million—or less— marketing automation is the platform that will drive your enterprise into the new age of relationship-based marketing with tangible results.