Last updated on April 9th, 2016 at 10:52 am
B2B marketers are faced with an avalanche of data from multiple digital marketing channels and consumer devices. There is no “one tool to rule them all”, so B2B organizations are turning to marketing automation platforms to manage their complex buyer environments.
MarketingLand recently released a white paper on this topic called B2B Marketing Automation Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide to help B2B organizations make the right choice for them.
Marketing automation overview
Marketing automation platforms are used to streamline sales and marketing processes through centralized software. The tool eliminates the guesswork and extensive manual effort normally required to manage multiple marketing channels and the associated data. A Pardot customer survey reported a 34% boost in revenue after implementing a marketing automation platform.
Each platform has three core capabilities: email marketing, website visitor tracking, and a central marketing database. After that, each vendor adds in advanced features that may be useful to your organization, which are included either in the base price or they are priced as an add-on.
The benefits and drawbacks to marketing automation
Marketing automation platforms can provide any B2B organization, regardless of size, with some benefits, including increased marketing efficiency, a multichannel view of prospect behaviour, and improved lead conversion.
Robert Holmes, Vice President of Marketing and Sales, Mac Tools, likes how Pardot helps his team track customer behaviours so they can better understand their customers.
“Once you understand your customers’ behavior and purchasing patterns, you can make smarter decisions and really help get them the things that they need,” he says.
At the same time, marketing automation can be overly complex for some organizations, and have a number of drawbacks including: time-consuming implementation and on-boarding; overly-complex functionality that leads to it only being used for email marketing (or other simpler processes); and internal teams that are resistant to using it.
Remove the fear of marketing automation
Today’s prospects are managing more of the buying process themselves, without ever speaking to a sales representative. B2B marketers need better visibility into the buyer’s journey to see where they can be more effective, creative, targeted, and aligned with sales goals. Marketing automation platforms can help them do all this, but only if they get over the fear and mental block they may have about these platforms.
With the right platforms, B2B marketers will be able to:
Increase their marketing efficiency by automating their manual content creation, management, and personalization tasks; get a better handling on their campaign scheduling and execution; maintain their data hygiene; and more.
Enhance their ability to generate more and better qualified leads by combining multiple customer data points with a lead scoring system, and identify sales-qualified leads faster.
View prospect behaviour through all the marketing channels they interact with. The platforms today integrate multiple data streams and marketing channels to create more comprehensive prospect profiles.
Skura, a sales enablement company based in Oakville, ON, uses HubSpot’s marketing automation tools, where they saw a 190% increase in monthly organic traffic within the first six months, a 2.8x increase in email leads, and a 30% email conversion rate. Kent Potts, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer, is impressed with the amount of time his teams save by using HubSpot.
“HubSpot has allowed us to save 1.5-2 days per week with improved productivity. Rather than time spent implementing and creating, we’re now executing and deploying,” he said.
Take the questionnaire to see what marketing automation platform to choose
The MarketingLand report goes in to more detail about all of this information, and also includes a four-step process to help organizations choose the platform that is the right fit for their business needs and goals. This process mirrors the typical evaluation steps organizations should use when purchasing any new software, but includes some marketing-specific questions to ask.
Photo credit: Agent 3.