Marketing Automation software is changing the face of B2B marketing.
As buyers do more research on the Internet, they interact with sales people less often and later in the selection process. This makes marketers increasingly responsible for attracting new customers, providing them with information and actually managing prospect relationships over time.
When used effectively, Marketing Automation software helps to meet these challenges. It replaces separate systems for email, web visitor tracking, lead scoring, nurture campaigns, campaign management, ROI reporting and other core components with one solution that streamlines marketing processes and shares data, helping marketers operate more efficiently and resulting in shortened sales cycles and increased win rates.
It was Bill Gates, however, who observed that the introduction of a software system into an already inefficient business process only magnifies the size of the problem.
With this in mind, successful Marketing Automation implementation requires a solid understanding of your target market, thorough planning and relevant, well-written content.
Some of the key players in the Marketing Automation space
Is Marketing Automation suitable for companies of all sizes?
While there are platforms to suit both small and large companies there are certain types of businesses where marketing automation is likely to be more effective. This has less to do with the size of the business and more about the nature of what they sell, who they sell to and how it is sold. For example B2B business selling a reasonably high value product with a long sales cycle probably benefit from a marketing automation approach. It can be very effective at “automating the education” of potential buyers and this can be very powerful when selling the likes of new technology, high value consultancy etc.
Case studies provided by McRae & Co
How can lead management (lead nurturing, lead scoring) help close the gap between sales and marketing?
At the core of marketing automation lies the capability to nurture leads and implement an intelligent scoring system to automatically qualify leads based on user actions. This allow marketers to educate prospects with the right material at the right time, quantifying their interactions (email opens, click through, file downloads) using pre-determined scores until they demonstrate enough “sales ready” behaviour. For instance, a company might deem 100 points as a sales ready score, at which point a prospect will duly be assigned to a sales rep.
If executed successfully, businesses can expect shorter sales cycles and higher win rates. There are blog posts to the right of this page which include case studies.
Is Marketing Automation adding credibility to marketing?
A recent survey showed that 73% of CEOs believe that marketers lack credibility. This is because, generally speaking, the success of traditional marketing has been difficult to prove. The intangible nature of many marketing campaigns coupled with the lack of data and evidence around success have contributed to this perceived lack of credibility and the potential isolation of marketing from other key business functions.
Online marketing is helping to change this situation, introducing analytics, statistics, tracking data and all sorts of tangible information. What marketing automation does is further enhance the demystification of marketing by introducing even more information and data and helping to join up more of the dots. It does this by not only providing reports and analytics but also by linking campaign data directly to ROI. Such tangible evidence of success (or failure) also allows marketers to adapt quickly to campaigns which are not yielding the desired results.