Tips for Better B2B Marketing Automation
Any small business owner is likely to be familiar with marketing automation options and best practices when it comes to the consumer side of things. CRM, social media, digital marketing, and retargeting–you’re not only aware of them, but you’re also likely receiving those personalized messages and targeted ads yourself.
And while it sounds obvious to say, these same tools and approaches are not only effective but essential in B2B marketing as well. Marketing automation software can give you back every bit as much as you put into it, and everyone from your digital marketing team to your sales team will benefit from the use of a marketing automation platform.
To help you get started as you consider your full sales funnel and marketing plan, we spoke with several UpCity partners and contributors who have deep expertise in B2B marketing, digital marketing, and automation solutions for small and mid-size businesses. Their tips and advice will help you build a solid foundation for choosing and implementing one of the many marketing automation tools that are available.
Top B2B Marketing Automation Tips
As with any purchase you make for your business, the very first place to start when considering marketing automation software is this–what does my business need? While some B2B businesses will benefit from automation in their lead nurturing and lead generation areas, others may find that automation is more important for their sales funnel and buyer’s journey. Whatever your needs, identifying them and prioritizing them is the best first step you can take.
“Whether you need to schedule social media posts and email blasts, automatically follow up with leads and regulars, analyze data from a recent campaign, or predict marketing trends for the upcoming quarter, find a software system that best fits your needs. This will allow you to focus on your marketing goals instead of getting bogged down in a system’s endless features and capabilities.” –Asad Kausar, CEO of Dabaran Inc.
Next, having a complete and well-formed customer journey came up as a top tip from many of our marketing automation experts. And it’s a natural extension of considering and understanding your business’ top needs.
“Mapping out your customer’s journey and creating multiple content pieces that can be set up months, weeks, or days in advance (like automated emails, social media posts, re-engagement campaigns, etc.) allows you to focus on the data these campaigns produce. You can quickly view the engagement insights and pivot as needed to better address your client’s needs at every step of their journey.” –Laura Sandino, Content Marketing Manager at SmartBox Dental
Understanding your customer journey also provides you with the critical information you need for your content marketing efforts. There’s little sense in putting your resources toward content that won’t serve your needs. But by really digging into both your business needs and the customer experience, you can put your marketing efforts into the most valuable touchpoints in the customer journey.
“Map out the customer’s journey thoroughly before configuring automation workflows. This will help you to properly cover all the key steps, from discovering your brand to making a purchase. Then prepare an excellent content strategy. Create interesting, engaging, and relevant materials to reach all the stages of the customer’s journey. This is how B2B marketing automation works most effectively.” –Anastasia Chernenko, PR Manager at Belkins
Once you have a clear understanding of both your business needs and your customer journey, the next recommendation is to take a comprehensive look at your sales cycle and marketing campaigns. This way you can pinpoint any sales and marketing functions that can benefit from being automated.
“To get the most out of your system, we recommend you start by developing a list of things that could be automated to help you save time, engage your audience, and ultimately generate business. These could include lead scoring, email capture, personalization, social media posting, appointment setting, chatbot, email marketing, workflow, etc.” –Paul Bies, President of Mystique Brand Communications Inc.
Although the automation process can sound complex, even automating simple, recurring tasks that are part of your sales and marketing process can pay significant dividends to your business.
“For our most recent automation, we created a form that worked great on mobile devices and helped onboard people into our CRM paperless and instantly at a local event. People we interacted with also loved the experience! Before doing this, we would jot down people’s information and later add their details manually to our system.” –Edan Ben-Atar, Founder of WebLime
Content marketing and the opportunity to utilize the content you’re already creating is a great place to start with automation and a relatively simple way to get your B2B business moving into automated solutions. Start with any segmentation you can do (or have already done) with your audience, and then identify content you can automatically have directed to those new customers and qualified leads.
“Some of the most common uses of automation we see across our client base are sequences to follow up on new inquiries from your website, and providing resources (e-books, infographics, etc) that answer the most common questions your potential clients are asking.” –Brian Craig, Managing Partner at LegalScapes
Saving time while reaching and interacting with your target audience is one of the key benefits of any marketing automation system. B2B sales teams, in-house marketing departments, and several other departments can use marketing automation to make the sales process more seamless and develop a better relationship with customers by implementing a B2B marketing automation strategy.
“If you don’t already have an all-in-one marketing platform, ensure you integrate your primary marketing, CRM, analytics, and collaboration tools. In an integrated world, data can automatically be populated in your CRM and assigned to a sales rep, a follow-up email can be sent out automatically, and the sales rep gets all the relevant details sent their way, and all without the manual labor involved in setting up that first meeting.” –Colton De Vos, Marketing Specialist at Resolute Technology Solutions
Personalization is another big opportunity area for B2B marketers, and automation makes it much easier to create a personalized email sequence or sales process that will resonate with your current and prospective customers.
“Personalize website experiences, including personalized landing pages that can maximize your digital footprint without overspending. And create a content plan that resonates with and engages your specific audience. Doing this builds trust, provides value, and increases the chance that your leads will convert. Then use A/B testing to improve the conversion rates on these landing pages and your results can skyrocket.” –Nicole Denson, Marketing Manager at Big Leap
Webinars, templates, landing pages, email campaigns–no matter where you start, automating some of your sales and marketing functions will have a significant impact on your business and can set you up to continue growing and expanding those efforts whenever needed.
“By automating what you do for sales and marketing, your business can get more out of your investment, track performance, improve key processes (like shortening your sales cycle), and generate more leads.” –Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2
Hear From Industry Experts
Read the latest tips, research, best practices, and insights from our community of expert B2B service providers.
B2B Marketing Automation Tool Recommendations
Beyond the basic principles and benefits of marketing automation for B2B companies, our expert panelists also had recommendations on specific tools and functions that could help you get your business into automation quickly and easily.
“Investing in no-code automation has been a game changer for our agency’s efficiency. My advice would be to sign up for an account with Zapier or Make (formerly Integromat) and explore the integrations that they’ve already built out for tools that your team works with. There’s a good chance you can automate some processes and save your team dozens of hours every week.” –Pat Ahern, Managing Partner at Intergrowth
Our panelists also mentioned that there’s nothing wrong with the basics; starting from wherever your business currently is in its use of marketing channels, there are countless benefits available from even simple automation efforts.
“Our society has made B2C purchasing extremely easy in many industries, including ones that used to be more difficult. Although complex automation systems exist, it is surprising just how many B2B companies don’t have extremely simple ways for new leads to book appointments with relevant staff. Basic automation for B2B companies needs to start here using a tool like AcuityScheduling or HubSpot Calendar.” –Sarah Banowetz, Managing Partner at Banowetz Marketing
AI has also made tremendous progress in the last couple of years, and applying artificial intelligence tools to your marketing automation can help you find efficiencies while nurturing B2B leads.
“Utilize AI to help boost your content marketing. Tools like Jasper.ai can help speed up content creation, especially for startups and small businesses that have limited staff or resources.” –Andrew Smith, Co-Founder of Stiff Upper Lip
No matter what field or industry your B2B company operates in, the goals and needs are often the same-generate B2B leads, nurture those leads, get them the information they need (from problem-solving to pricing and everything else), and convert.
“Digital delegation is key, especially for small businesses. You need to find tools that work on multiple levels for your business and bring your various marketing efforts together–like gohighlevel.com.” –Scott Carr, Owner of Farmhouse Networking
Maximize Your B2B Marketing Efforts with Automation
There is no shortage of functions that fall under your sales and marketing umbrella. This is why marketing automation can be such a huge benefit for B2B organizations. From SEO efforts to metrics and customer data analytics, from generating referrals to managing the full customer lifecycle, B2B marketing automation offers numerous benefits for business owners and startups alike.
While extensive, this advice from our panel of experts is still just the tip of the iceberg. And transitioning your marketing and sales efforts into a marketing automation platform is a significant project. This is exactly why these experts and many others are available through UpCity to provide knowledge and guidance on everything from gathering customer data and developing personas to generating referrals and converting sales.