Forbes magazine recently reported that the marketing automation software industry could reach $7.63 billion by 2025 and grow at a CAGR of 13.3%, according to a study by Grandview Research.
With all this growth on the horizon, it’s a great opportunity for B2B organizations to do a reality check on their own approach to marketing automation, especially the tools they use and how well their customer relationship management (CRM) data is linked to marketing automation tools.
Doing this is important because the whole premise behind marketing automation (MA) is acquiring high quality customer data and insights from higher numbers of contacts, and using that data at scale to nurture leads along the buyer’s journey.
Our goal when working with clients on marketing automation tactics is to build up customer insights that lead to more engaging messaging, which in turn nurtures greater numbers of high quality leads through the buyer journey. Whether it happens through email, landing pages, or social media messaging, the idea is to create workflows based on the content users have interacted with and the actions they’ve taken.
Downloading a gated whitepaper from a landing page, for example, may trigger the organization to send a series of targeted emails on the same topic, each time prompting an action, response, or request for help. These actions, which can ultimately be automated, help to stage contacts in terms of their readiness to buy, based on the content they engaged with and the actions they take.
With a number of moving parts, MA may seem to be complex, but we can help. By breaking it into six supporting strategies, we’ve come up with a way to approach MA that helps to ensure B2B success:
6 Ingredients for Successful Marketing Automation Programs
- Profile your audience: Marketing automation efforts should be designed to help an organization progressively increase the quantity and quality of information available within contact records. This helps the organization to develop a more targeted approach with each contact as time goes on.
- Integrate CRM data with the MA platform: Because we use CRM data inside MA platforms it’s important that that contact data is kept up-to-date. People change jobs and locations frequently, and having that information can make deals happen. Both teams need to have the latest information, and integrating the two systems, as seamlessly as possible, is a great way to make sure the data is accurate.
- Streamline tactics: One way we help make MA efforts as manageable as possible is by creating templates for various tactics that can be shared and reused. For example, building and using consistent email and landing page templates makes the execution process far easier and less daunting. It also brings a more cohesive feel to email and inbound marketing efforts, which can be important for generating trust among prospects.
- Refine messaging tactics: Since MA efforts show which clients are not being engaged as well as which ones are, this information should be used to help develop re-engagement campaigns to try to engage those individuals who did not raise their hand the first time around. It may also help organizations to better time their messaging efforts during the seasons or times of the year when it is known that prospects are making their buying decisions.
- Recalibrate web pages: Updating poorly performing landing pages is one of the foundations of strong marketing automation. Many companies may believe MA is built primarily on email marketing but that’s only one part of it. In order to leverage all that MA can do, organizations need to consistently generate new leads, and one of the best ways to do it is through gated website content like whitepapers, webinars, or e-books. Companies that use email marketing exclusively are likely to experience list decay, since email marketing doesn’t generally provide a way to update contact details that have changed, or to add new contacts the organization is not aware of.
- Develop a lead scoring system: Making MA efforts work properly also means being able to characterize the quality of the leads that get generated. Contacts who are engaging with the content obviously should score higher than those who don’t, but there are different degrees of engagement.
In our view, organizations should look at both firmographic and behavioral factors to determine how to score leads. Firmographic factors are the basic attributes like company size, market sectors, geographic location, while behavioral factors refer to the actions contacts are taking on site or in response to email or social media: for example how and where did they convert? And how many times did they visit the website over the past 30 days. Contacts with the ideal firmographic factors, combined with positive behavioral traits, obviously should be scored higher than those who don’t.
Coming up with quantitive means to describe both of these factors makes it easier to score leads objectively. And the higher scoring leads will help to prioritize efforts for both marketing and sales teams.
By using each of these six tactics within MA campaigns, B2B organizations will see better results nurturing leads along and helping organizations to attract more leads who are ready to buy.
For more details on any of these processes or answers to specific marketing automation-related questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out and get in touch with us.