It is almost impossible to think of marketing (especially digital marketing) these days, without thinking of marketing automation. It has become a critical component of any online marketer’s arsenal. According to Google Trends, ‘marketing automation’ is one of the most frequently searched terms on Google these days. And why not? After all, on average, 49% of businesses use marketing automation, and 55% of B2B companies are enjoying its benefits, according to Emailmonday. This is not surprising, because it helps to improve operational competence, reach more customers and boost revenues.
B2B marketers are specially benefitted by the increased number and quality of leads flow into their pipeline with the help of marketing automation tools. Forrester Research states that B2B companies using marketing automation software see a jump in their sales pipeline by 10%, on average. No wonder, then, that “marketing automation was amongst the most piloted marketing technologies of 2015,” according to Salesforce. And that increasingly, large, medium and small companies are relying on the concepts, processes and tools of marketing automation for realizing their business goals.
Let’s take a hard look at exactly why B2B marketers have come to swear by marketing automation:
- Generate high-quality leads: With the use of landing pages and forms, marketers can gather information about visitors to their website. This information can be passed on to the sales team for following up. More significantly, the process of lead scoring helps to determine the quality of leads obtained. This enables sales teams to focus only on those leads that have a high probability of converting to paid customers. In effect, marketing automation takes care of quantity as well as quality of leads.
- Nurture/Engage Your Leads with Offers: It is a well-known fact by now that a customer contacts a product/services company only about 2/3rds of the way down their research process. Marketing automation facilitates lead nurturing – the means by which the prospect is gently nudged towards making a purchase by offering something that will influence the decision. In fact, research has demonstrated that companies that actively nurture their leads are able to give their sales teams 50% more sales-ready leads.
- Optimize email marketing: Important for B2B marketers, email marketing is more than just shooting off standard email templates. Automation tools such as A/B testing enable changing individual elements of an email, segmentation of the customer list, and other tricks to test their success rates. This way, the most effective version of emails can be worked out and only those sent out, for maximum open and click rates.
- Trace the trail of successful campaigns: Closed-loop reporting is a valuable feature of marketing automation that helps to look back on successful campaigns which generated high sales, so that they can be replicated. Conversely, this can be used to discontinue plans that don’t yield results. Consequently, automation tools can point to the most efficient use of the marketing budget.
- Visibility into the funnel: Integrating marketing automation with CRM tools imparts a bird’s-eye view of the sales funnel, and insights into which customers are at what stage of their journey, how long they stay there, and so on. These insights can help to create more effective campaigns in the future.
Clearly, the best marketing automation platforms provide a broad range of functionalities – email marketing, lead generation, lead scoring, social media management, analytics and reporting – that ultimately drive revenue and increase ROI considerably for B2B marketers.