As companies face mounting challenges in the face of evolving customer expectations and increasingly complex buyer cycles, B2B organisations are increasingly relying on Marketing Automation platforms to deliver higher ROI across multiple touch points.

B2B organisations have typically been one step behind their B2C counterparts in terms of adopting digital tools that enable customer-centric strategies: only 23% of B2B companies are confident that they have achieved a customer-centric organisational structure, yet customers are 5.2 times more likely to purchase from companies that offer a great customer experience. We think it’s time for B2B companies to stage a comeback.

Technological advancement has seen the rise of a new generation of Marketing Automation platforms that facilitate data analysis, enable prediction of future consumer behaviour and provide deeper insights into the customer lifecycle process. As companies have access to more data than ever before, they are also uncovering opportunities to fine-tune their marketing processes.

What are Marketing Automation platforms?

Marketing Automation (MA) systems automate and support the steps in an organisation’s sales and marketing processes. They enable efficiency and can either be implemented to streamline existing processes or create new ones. Companies may implement MA systems to achieve different objectives, such as generating more high-quality leads, using split-testing features, improving conversion rates, or shortening sales cycles. They also enable customer segmentation and facilitate targeted marketing, such as personalised email campaigns.​

Reasons why companies implement Marketing Automation

Bringing on multiple digital systems doesn’t have to get messy, either. Most MA platforms can be readily integrated with CRM databases, such as Salesforce, to synchronize data and reinforce the power of digital. As little as 17% of companies have fully integrated customer data across all areas of their organisation: MA tools can go far in ensuring that companies use data to its full potential.

A prominent feature of MA platforms is how they can support the marketing and sales teams by integrating a lead nurturing programme. Whether built from scratch or using campaign building blocks that can be populated with content, companies can use this mechanism to distribute content at strategic times throughout the buyer journey. For example, a general newsletter can be customized according to the topics that are likely to be of most interest to the lead at that time, according to activities such as any information entered into a form on the company’s website landing page.

What is the difference between Email Services Providers, Client Relationship Management systems, and Marketing Automation tools?

iON

MA tools can also help tidy up existing entries in a companies’ database. Data hygiene is another useful feature that MA platforms offer: reliable data is crucial for performing tasks such as mapping leads. Good data is essential for cultivating prospects, for example when assigning lead scores as a method of filtering leads. Information is often captured erroneously on website forms – either because prospects are reluctant to provide accurate information (how many times have you given out the wrong telephone number to avoid being contacted?) or because they don’t know the correct answer (such as when the question relates to budget). Progressive profiling is another feature that can help mitigate errors or negligent form-filling by prospects by allowing the profile of the customer to be built up over time, using information drawn from a variety of channels.​

The challenges of implementing an effective Marketing Automation strategy

MA tools can also help tidy up existing entries in a companies’ database. Data hygiene is another useful feature that MA platforms offer: reliable data is crucial for performing tasks such as mapping leads. Good data is essential for cultivating prospects, for example when assigning lead scores as a method of filtering leads. Information is often captured erroneously on website forms – either because prospects are reluctant to provide accurate information (how many times have you given out the wrong telephone number to avoid being contacted?) or because they don’t know the correct answer (such as when the question relates to budget). Progressive profiling is another feature that can help mitigate errors or negligent form-filling by prospects by allowing the profile of the customer to be built up over time, using information drawn from a variety of channels.​

Despite their diverse features, companies often fail to reap the full benefits of AM integration, with less than 1/3 companies using the full spectrum of services offered. This is often due to a misunderstanding of how to fully integrate AM systems into their business processes or failure to execute a comprehensive digital strategy to accompanyadoption of a new digital tool. As the old adage goes, if you fail to plan, then plan to fail: to get the best MA tool for the job at hand, companies have to first identify the issues – or opportunities – they face and define what features are essential in achieving their goals. It is also important to understand the full spectrum of MA features and how these can be applied to your business, as well as how to integrate MA with any existing digital systems in your arsenal. Lastly, as with any digital strategy, companies should spend time developing a comprehensive strategy that enables company-wide adoption of the digital tools available, as well as understanding what the developments mean at the customer-level.

Leave a Reply