January 31, 2019
Marketing automation for B2B companies
Traditionally, marketing automation software had a reputation for being expensive, clunky and not particularly user-friendly. Additionally, some of the top-of-the-range packages were so complicated that companies often had to hire developers to install them. For those reasons, many small-to-medium businesses and start-ups never bothered looking into marketing automation.
The good news is that these issues are slowly becoming things of the past. Today, marketing automation is more affordable and easier to use thanks to considerable shifts in technology and scale. In fact, some platforms are so easy to set up that no developers are required. Best of all, marketing automation allows brands to increase sales productivity by up to 14% and reduce marketing costs by more than 12% (Emarsys). It’s no wonder why many B2C businesses are taking marketing automation up in droves. And although marketing automation is often overlooked as a marketing tactic for B2B companies, there’s no reason why they can’t also get in on the action.
B2C versus B2B marketing objectives
The objective of B2C marketing is to build a solid brand by developing personalized experiences that speak to the heart of the customer. After all, personalized experiences lead to higher engagement; and higher engagement creates leads. The ability to create personalized experiences involves understanding how customers behave and a sound knowledge of customer psychology.
In contrast, B2B marketing seeks to engage and generate leads; the best way to do this is to provide value to them by educating (and ultimately onboarding) these leads. For this reason, it’s completely necessary to craft personalized content. B2B marketers should focus on the following goals:
- Develop a marketing message that broadly applies to a wide range of recipients
- Ensure your customer onboarding experience ticks all the right boxes
- Implement a solid lead nurturing strategy to convert leads into a buyers
Because B2C and B2B marketing goals differ, B2C and B2B businesses will use marketing automation differently.
How marketing automation can be useful for B2B businesses
Marketing automation can help B2B marketers provide value to the businesses they are targeting. One way to create value is to give audiences “free” information that may be useful to them — and marketing automation makes this seemingly mammoth task very easy. Sending emails jam-packed with useful information such as links to thought-provoking blog posts and examples of ways to use your products is an excellent way to do this. A good email campaign can:
- Encourage sign-ups
- Facilitate onboarding
- Engage leads to drive free trials
Marketing automation can also help you monitor how engaged your contacts are throughout the customer journey (see below for a simple email engagement template).
All-in-one versus best-of-breed marketing automation solutions
There is a tendency for many B2B marketers to turn to all-in-one marketing automation software. This means that they are choosing a solution that offers everything crammed into one package. All-in-one solutions may sound great in theory, but they are not cheap — and many marketers are essentially paying for features they don't need.
Smart marketing automation solutions such as Autopilot are much more cost-effective. Autopilot doesn’t reinvent the wheel as many all-in-one software products do; instead, it offers a simple and intuitive interface that integrates applications and features from market-leaders. Because of this, you only pay for the features you need.