As a B2B marketer, reaching your target audiences may seem impossible.
To get the best results, you must navigate massive amounts of data while managing numerous channels, deliverables, and campaigns. To top it off, your efforts must be highly personalized for hyper-segmented audiences.
It’s no wonder marketing teams heavily rely on marketing automation for successful outcomes. Forrester has predicted that spending on marketing automation will hit $25 billion by 2023, signaling a 14% annual growth rate since 2017.
More than half of B2B marketers are using marketing automation. Of 2,190 professionals surveyed, 55% indicated that they used it in their strategies. That places marketing automation just behind analytics tools, email marketing-specific technology, and CMS as the top MarTech tools used by B2B marketers.
Although you may already use marketing automation, you may not be getting the maximum benefits. Take a look at our 8 best practices for successful B2B marketing automation to determine if you have gaps in your strategy.
What are the best practices for B2B Marketing Automation?
1. Identify specific goals
Every ambitious B2B marketer wants to help their company increase revenue.
But that’s not quite enough. Break down the specific goals in which marketing automation can help you achieve your company’s overall goals. It’s the most effective way to strategically launch a campaign with marketing automation.
To help you prioritize goals, consider some of the following benefits of marketing automation.
- Improving the customer experience
- Optimizing overall productivity
- Enhancing the ability to identify sales-ready leads
- Measuring performance (what’s working, what’s not)
- Attracting more quality leads
- Increasing micro-conversions in the customer journey
- Increasing efficiency within the marketing department
- Proving marketing ROI
Frequently measure how you’re doing in specific areas, and tweak or overhaul your marketing automation campaign to improve results.
2. Define/refine your buyer personas
Whether you have 5,000 or 50,000 prospects, you need to build one-on-one relationships with every single person on your list.
Delivering that type of personalized experience is impossible without data. Data and automation are vital for getting results.
With an effective marketing automation strategy, you can constantly define—and refine—your buyer personas. Simply use the data insights provided through your campaign. You’ll have a well-rounded view of your customers and prospects.
Buyer personas are a critical component of a successful B2B marketing automation campaign. Throughout every phase, you need to keep your focus on buyer personas. Use them to communicate with prospects. Meet potential buyers’ needs, desires, and expectations.
All of your content should reflect that you understand your prospect’s challenges. You should seem genuinely intent on providing actionable information.
3. Map a workflow that reflects the buyer’s journey
If you want more sales-ready leads, create a solid lead management process that guides your prospects towards a conversion.
Without a map designed to engage your prospects throughout the buyer’s journey, marketing automation will be an under-utilized tool. You may fail to see the gains you should be experiencing.
Using the marketing personas you’ve developed, invest time in mapping a workflow that identifies and addresses concerns in each of the following stages:
Awareness: The prospect understands they have a problem, and starts to seek solutions.
Consideration: The prospect further defines their problem and starts to review and compare their options for solving it.
Decision/Buying: The prospect makes a final decision by purchasing a solution.
Post-Purchase: The prospect seeks a deeper understanding of the solution, seeking ways to maximize their investment.
Working backward from a customer’s final decision to buy, determine which micro-conversions need to occur along the way. Here are some questions to ask as part of that process:
- What challenges and objections do we need to help them overcome?
- How can we deliver some “ah-ha” moments in our content?
- What are the differences among our audience segments? Are we delivering to each one?
- Is the content for each phase accurately reflecting the audiences’ needs?
- Are CTAs engaging, warm, thoughtful?
When mapping the workflow, also take into consideration factors like timing, tone, and incentives to convert. For example, consider offering discounts on your solutions only after the prospect has indicated a deeper interest in your product—at the Consideration Phase.
As you gain more data insights from your marketing automation, you can start fine-tuning your workflow to reflect customer behavior.
4. Create relevant, valuable content for the buyer’s journey
You can create an excellent framework for marketing automation. However, if you can’t deliver exciting content, you’ll end up with an unsuccessful campaign. Buyers want engaging and relevant content that meets their needs.
Through its analysis of customer data, marketing automation can help you understand what you should be saying to your prospects to engage them at various stages of the journey.
Your content needs to be designed to inform and sell prospects on your solution—long before they ever talk to your sales team.
Here’s why: More than 70% of B2B buyers say they’re now fully defining their needs before engaging with a sales rep, according to a recent report.
You can’t underestimate content for a successful B2B marketing automation campaign. Content is critical for sales engagement, and it has nearly as much conversion power as your sales reps. It should be designed to reflect the values and mission of your brand.
Invest your efforts in answering prospective buyers’ questions with content. This will make elevate your platform.
Use a variety of rich content, such as ebooks and white papers, to offer an in-depth perspective. They can also help you accomplish the next two points in this list.
5. Strategically capture relevant lead info
Personalization is an essential way to keep your prospects engaged. Make sure you’re keeping their attention from the start by capturing relevant personal information through your forms.
For example, if you have gated content (like white papers and ebooks), don’t merely ask for a name and email.
Start segmenting your audiences early and efficiently with forms that ask for job title, company size, industry annual revenue, etc. These types of details can guide the personalization of your campaigns. They also can help you identify which prospects are more likely candidates for your solutions.
It’s possible that a small company may be an unlikely candidate for your software solution, especially if it’s designed for manufacturing companies with 5,000+ employees.
Streamline your processes by investing more of your team’s efforts to engage and follow up with prospects who fit your buyer profile.
6. Build an effective lead scoring model
B2B marketing automation can be enormously effective for nurturing leads—automatically guiding them through the stages of the buyer journey.
Marketing automation can also score leads—identifying engagement-ready behaviors among prospects.
You can set up your system to assign scores to prospects, based on specific behaviors. These can include downloading content, email opens, click-throughs, reading in-depth content, or checking pricing.
If a prospect has reviewed two ebooks, attended a webinar and reviewed the pricing categories on your site, those interactions can trigger a notification that they’re sales-ready.
Likewise, through an automated lead scoring system, you can identify prospects who may not be ready to buy. In this case, it may be a lack of engagement that signals a longer buying cycle—the skimming of a few blogs or limited responses.
Through a deep analysis of your lead scoring system, you can also detect customer behaviors that precede conversions. This can provide the insights you need to determine how best to interact with sales-ready prospects.
These lead scoring practices have another side benefit. They can help you earn the trust of your sales team, bridging the gap between the two departments. By consistently delivering quality leads to your sales team, you can work cohesively to increase engagement and boost sales.
7. Create a cohesive multi-channel experience
The shift to a mobile-first mindset is inevitable when it comes to approaching the B2B segment. According to a survey by the Boston Consulting Group, 80% of B2B buyers now use mobile at work.
And when it came to buying decisions, 60% indicated that a mobile device played a significant role.
Marketing automation allows you to create a seamless experience across numerous channels, ensuring that your messaging is cohesive on any device. It also extends to user-friendly experiences on your website, emails, social media campaigns, and other channels.
8. Create a campaign designed to reduce your churn rate
Marketing teams are successfully using marketing automation to reduce their churn rate. Insights on customers who fail to renew or subscribers who fail to convert can help you intervene before these audiences lose interest.
An analysis by marketing automation can identify gaps in how you’re addressing customers’ needs—giving you the ability to improve in these areas.
By including these eight best practices in your marketing automation strategy, you can quickly scale your results, better target your audiences and improve the efficiency of your B2B marketing campaigns.
Ready to get more results with your B2B marketing initiatives? Try Delivra. We’ll show you how you can use marketing automation to make better connections with your audiences.