5 Benefits of Marketing Automation for B2B Businesses
Automation has made life easier for marketers. It allows us to handle routine tasks and get them off our daily to-do lists. From email marketing to social media and ad campaigns, marketing automation requires initial thought and preparation.
However, once it is up and running, it will do most of the heavy lifting for your team.
Most B2B companies have come to appreciate the significance of marketing automation. Around 53% use it daily, and the rest plan to add it to their marketing efforts. That means, however, that there’s still a percentage that isn’t using marketing automation for B2B businesses.
If you’re not using marketing automation just yet, here are the five benefits of B2B marketing automation that should make you rethink your stance.
1. Better Leads
Lead generation is one of the key priorities for B2B marketing teams. B2B marketing automation platforms allow you to track and understand customer behavior and their position in the sales funnel or customer journey.
Marketing automation helps you target, attract, and acquire more leads. Automation will help you manage your B2B marketing campaigns and paid digital advertising. You can give visitors an opt-in or lead capture form to fill out. After the form is submitted, the lead is automatically added to your email list for lead nurturing. Even the lead nurturing itself is automated, thanks to autoresponders.
Once you attract more leads, you can now begin to qualify the leads and determine which ones to send over to sales for further nurturing. That’s another process where marketing automation comes in handy. Your CRM can help you with lead scoring, for example. (We’ll discuss lead scoring and qualification later in the article.)
2. Improved Follow-Up Strategy
Ever found yourself so occupied that you forget to send that follow-up email to a prospect in time? We’ve all been there. Marketing automation is here to solve this issue.
People work fast nowadays. We expect a prompt response to every query we pose. A delayed follow-up could mean losing a prospect to a competitor.
Automation is one of the most efficient sales strategies in the market today. It allows you to follow up with prospects on autopilot. Simply create a generic email and type in a few personalization settings to deliver an automated yet personalized experience for each prospect.
According to a study by SpotlerUK, the top three most used email marketing techniques in most B2B marketing automation strategies are:
- Initial welcome sequence - Emails are sent to new site visitors immediately after they opt into your email list. These are personalized with the prospect’s name and take up 69% of email automation techniques used today.
- Autoresponders - These are similar to welcome emails and are sent immediately after a visitor submits an email opt-in form.
- Nurturing emails based on the content browsed or items downloaded - These can be classified as follow-up emails. Since the customer has shown strong interest in a particular subject, the emails are deployed to nurture the lead.
- Up-sell or cross-sell emails to existing customers - These show the customer the benefits of the higher packages and lead them to purchase a better package from your business.
Automation allows you to continually nurture prospects who are not immediately ready to make a purchase. You can also add drip campaigns to your automation software to catch each customer action and promptly send a customized response.
Marketing automation reduces bottlenecks that would lead to extended conversion times. This could, in turn, lead to lost opportunities to make a sale. It helps you reduce operating costs and increase your business revenue.
Additionally, it boosts customer experience and allows you to nurture the leads that matter to your business. These benefits become a powerful incentive to improve service to your end user. Follow-ups will continue to be a solid B2B marketing trend into the future.
3. Tap Into Lead Scoring To Prioritize Leads
B2B marketing automation helps you qualify your leads and prioritize those further down the sales funnel. This is also referred to as lead scoring.
Your marketing automation software will give a numerical score to each lead, depending on their engagement level. These tools also conduct predictive lead scoring using machine learning. The engagement factors used for scoring include:
- The number of pages visited - If the visitor views multiple pages on your site, they are highly engaged and therefore are top priority prospects.
- The kind of pages visited - Did the prospect visit your pricing page, or did they view your homepage only before leaving your site (aka bounce rate)?
- Content downloaded - Did the prospect download an ebook, a template, or a brochure?
- Emails opened - Did they open the email with a discount quoted on it or the one with a free ebook or template for them to download? It shows what they are interested in from your business.
- Email links clicked - If they click the link you provide in your email campaign, it indicates high interest in what the email offered them.
This score is then displayed to your marketing team so they know which leads to prioritize.
If a visitor has a high lead score and engagement score, that is one to prioritize immediately. If a visitor has a high lead score but a low engagement score, then that one can be engaged after the higher-priority prospects.
What’s more, lead scoring can act as an automation trigger itself. For instance, a score can be set to trigger a specific follow-up email. It can also be used to shift an email address to a different email list of priority prospects. This is called automated segmentation.
Marketing automation solutions allow you to capture highly engaged prospects in time and send them over to sales. Compare that with the tedious work of looking at each prospect manually to see where they are in the customer journey. Because of the sheer number of leads, this process cannot be sustained. So, you’re left with trying to engage all your prospects and just hoping any of them will convert.
4. Cuts Down Lead Conversion Times
The B2B customer journey is lengthy because of the multitude of product options customers have to choose from. Automation gives customers the information they need and collects customer data to initiate processes such as lead scoring. B2B and SaaS marketing automation allow you to swiftly respond to customer engagement and queries. This cuts down on the time it takes to convert a prospect to a paying customer.
An Oracle B2B marketing report found that 77% of marketing automation users reported increased conversion rates.
As discussed earlier in this article, prioritizing leads through lead scoring helps reduce lead conversion times significantly. When the hot leads are quickly taken up while interest is high, they are more likely to convert quicker. It applies the classic saying, “strike the metal while it’s hot.”
Add automated responses to customer emails in your email marketing campaigns. This lets customers get the information they need quicker, informing their buying decision. You can use chatbot features to engage website visitors while interest is at its peak.
In case the chatbot lacks a pre-existing answer to a customer’s query, the automation software will transfer them to customer support personnel to answer the query on live chat. These are some of the effective B2B marketing automation features at your disposal that will help you significantly reduce lead conversion time.
5. Improved Workflows
As mentioned earlier, once you automate mundane tasks, your teams will have enough time freed up to focus on higher-priority work. This not only boosts their productivity but also increases creativity and efficiency at work. Marketing automation reduces human error and increases accuracy.
One of the most common ways B2B marketing automation has been used to improve workflows is through email automation. Other common ways are posting on social media and data management.
Automation helps you streamline your sales and marketing teams as well. The marketing team brings in leads and qualifies them using the software. The team then sends high-priority leads to the sales team for lead nurturing and conversion.
In addition, marketing automation workflows allow accountability and coordination among teams. For example, your sales CRM will tell you which employee is interacting with which leads.
By displaying workflows for all team members to see, it’s easy to know who’s responsible for each task. You can also see how each member is hitting their set goals.
B2B marketing automation allows you to reduce the number of repetitive tasks you have to do in a day. It helps you gain better leads and guides them to the top of your sales funnel. With the improved follow-up strategies provided by automation, you reduce the number of leads who fall through the cracks and improve your team’s efficiency.
Marketing automation software scores leads for you, allowing you to segment prospects and prioritize the hot leads from all marketing channels. You get to cut down on lead conversion times, reducing lost conversion opportunities.
Finally, your workflows become more streamlined, allowing for efficient business operations and marketing activities. You can now use marketing automation in your business and maximize ROI.
About the Author: David Khim is the co-founder of Omniscient Digital, a content marketing agency that works with growing B2B SaaS companies. Previously, he was at HubSpot for 6 years serving as a Growth Marketer and a Growth Product Manager. He's been featured in HubSpot, Product-Led World, and Buffer and spoken across the world from San Francisco to London and Milan to Kyiv.