If you've been paying attention to the massive shift of traditional marketing efforts to that of digital marketing, you'll notice that automation is one of the primary drivers for business leaders looking to take their marketing game to the next level.
Marketing automation used correctly can be an extremely valuable method to help businesses create more web traffic and leads, which ultimately helps to increase revenues, all the while reducing redundant activities and/or unnecessary headcount.
For business leaders that are considering an investment in B2B marketing automation software and services, I can't stress enough how much of a transformational impact this can have on an SMB sized business literally overnight. Well, maybe night overnight, but done correctly you could see massive results in short order.
If marketing automation is a new frontier for you, it can be difficult to understand what options are available to you and what tools and strategies you should be considering, as well as the associated benefits one can gain from marketing automation tools and strategies.
At first glance, it may sound a bit complicated but the reality is that most marketing automation systems today are quickly deployed and easily managed and fairly light on the wallet compared to the future returns you can anticipate in the months and years ahead.
Before digging into the 6 real life examples of B2B marketing automation tactics, a good working definition is in order.
According to Wikipedia:
"Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks."
Simply put marketing automation is a way for you to automate repetitive task by leveraging software and become more effective and efficient in your marketing efforts.
Marketing automation supports many use cases and provides tremendous value for all sorts of marketing activities but shines the brightest when it comes to lead creation and lead management through your sales funnel.
When people hear the term marketing automation, many think first and foremost of email marketing, however the reality is marketing automation spans well beyond traditional email automation that you've become accustomed to.
If you're committed to growing your business revenues and slashing time spent on repetitive task B2B marketing automation software and services is something you should highly consider.
6 Game Changing B2B Marketing Automation Examples
Let's learn about the different types of automation strategies available to help drive web traffic, leads and revenue with B2B marketing automation.
Example #1: Automated Live Chat (ChatBots)
Web chat has been around for a long time, however the days of having to employ an actual person to monitor and respond to requests is no longer a good use of time or money.
Even if you outsource this function it's still more expensive than having software automate this capability.
And there is no getting around chat. In fact, more than 40% of web visitors expect your website to have some sort of chat capability so they can ask questions in real time. If you can't provide the answers right away, your competitors will.
Here's the good news, there are many great chat solutions available today that will allow you to quickly enable live chat on your website without having to pay for a person to monitor it.
Take for instance, tools like HubSpot offer modern chat software that allows for powerful automation capabilities, such as being able to respond to general questions, route inquiries to the proper channel or schedule future sales meetings, are just the tip of the iceberg of what's possible with a HubSpot's chat automation, also referred to as a chatbot.
Whether you have an overburdened customer support team or you desire to increase the number of lead conversions on your website, chat automation can be a great automation tool that reduces repetitive task and delights customers and prospects.
Another great use case for chat can be found with the concept of a "conversational landing page".
Traditional landing pages contain an embedded static form that most web visitors are accustomed to interacting with. The reader exchanges their name and contact details in exchange for something of value, oftentimes expecting a sales call as a result.
Readers look at the static, non-engaging form and make an initial judgement call as to whether or not they are going to submit their required information knowing they may be bombarded with spam and unwanted sales calls.
A conversational landing page, leveraging chatbot capabilities, encourages interaction with the reader which feels more like a conversation. The giving and receiving of information in real time is much more powerful than a static form promising something in return.
Here's a real life example you can explore: https://www.cumula3.com/netsuite-pricing-bot-2020
This particular chatbot built for a conversational landing page was designed for a NetSuite VARs to create ERP software leads. The chatbot can help readers/prospects schedule demos, provides pricing examples, setup software trials and much more 24/7, with zero human intervention.
And of course, if there is a particular query that the chatbot does not fully understand it can route to a Business Development Rep (BDR) or Customer Service Rep (CSR) right away for human interaction.
While this example is specifically geared towards a NetSuite ERP Software Reseller. You can create Chatbots to support a wide range of industries and use cases.
Example #2: Behavioral triggered prospecting automation (Advanced Concept)
If you have a mature website/domain their should be specific web pages that drive the majority of your traffic. This may be a pricing page, a product download page or a product/service comparison page since these types of queries generate the majority of leads for businesses.
You may have excellent web traffic, however if readers do not engage with your forms, chat or decide to pick up the phone and call you, this anonymous traffic is of little value, right?
Fortunately all is not lost with an data intelligence and automation tool like Zoominfo pared with marketing automation tools like HubSpot.
With Zoominfo you can setup a saved search to run daily that will analyze the web traffic of specified pages pages and provide you the names companies coming to your specific pages.
It will then run this list of companies against your search criteria and only pick out the companies and contacts that meet your "ideal customer profile" (ICP) and then automatically import them into your CRM on a daily basis.
Once these newly imported contacts/companies hit your CRM, it will automatically trigger sophistic workflows (using HubSpot) to prospects that have have been visiting your website.
Being able to send a timely sequence of relevant emails, SMS text, social media outreach (e.g. LinkedIn) and phone calls after a prospect visits your website is an amazing way to generate new leads that otherwise might not have been created since they never engaged with your site, chat or called you.
In this scenario outlined above you can automate the entire process with the exception of the Business Development Reps (BDRs) making the follow up phone calls as part of the sequence workflow.
This tactic is an incredibly powerful use marketing automation and behavioral & demographic data to engage with prospects that failed to convert on your website.
Example #3: Marketing Automation (Lead Scoring, nurturing & Routing)
Let's say you've mastered the art of generating web traffic and your site is great at converting traffic into known leads.
What do you do with these leads to ensure they take the next step by turning into a sales opportunity?
Or how do you make sure your sales team only focuses on the best leads that have the best chance at closing?
This is where marketing automation (scoring, routing & nurturing) comes into play.
As you are well aware all leads are not created equal therefore you can't treat them all the same. Each type of lead needs to fall within a particular bucket for further action.
The first thing you want to understand is how good is the lead.
This can be accomplished through the concept of lead scoring. Lead scoring takes into account both demographic information as well as behavioral data of the lead.
Lead scoring may look at behavioral attributes such as:
- Email address type - corporate email vs free email - are they a real lead?
- Web pages viewed - pricing pages vs employment pages
- Form submission - what assets have they downloaded?
- Email Opens/Clicks - did their email bounce, do they click on our emails?
- Job Title / Department - is this the right persona we want to sell to?
- Company Revenue - is this company large enough to warrant our solutions?
- IP address - can we sell to this company based upon where they reside?
- Email address type - corporate email vs free email
Once the lead is scored you can trigger various internal and external email workflows based upon their score and/or a combination of other factors.
Here's a simplistic example:
- If lead's IP address is US or CA add 10
- If leads email address is a valid corporate email address add 10
- If lead submits form "x" add 20
- If lead visits employment pages subtract 10
- If lead visits pricing pages add 15
- If lead has title "CFO" add 5
- If lead email address bounces subtract 25
- If lead is based in EST based upon IP address and has a lead score greater than 50 route to Account Executive "John Doe" and assign sequence "XYZ" which contains 6 emails, 2 SMS, 3 Calls and 2 social outreaches over a 6 week duration.
- If lead is based in Mexico based upon IP address and email address bounced and has a lead score zero update lead status as "disqualified".
- If lead is based in PST based upon IP address and has lead score of 25 route to BDR "Jane Doe" and assigned sequence "ABC" which contains 12 emails over a period of 6 months.
These are simple examples but the point is with the right tools you can build very smart and relevant workflows only once and have them run 24/7 not requiring a sales or marketing manager to look at each one before making a decision on what to do with the lead.
Oftentimes you'll find that when a lead converts they are not ready to buy today, they have only begun their research process, which is common with larger ticket items.
However, in highly competitive industries it will be necessary to say top of mind, sending the prospect valuable insights and content on a periodic basis eventually leading them into a sales cycle.
All of this can be accomplished using a marketing workflow engine such as HubSpot.
Example #4: Social Media Automation
According to HubSpot, Social Media Automation means:
"Social media automation is the process of using automated tools to improve your social media presence through content curation and scheduling social media posts in advance. Automation tools can help reduce the amount of time spent gathering posts last minute so you can spend more time growing your account by engaging with your audience."
Trying to coordinate the publishing of various assets across multiple social media channels can be quite messy without a centralized tool to manage your social channels and assets.
This is where automation of social media management can save you tremendous time and bring consistency across your social media channels.
Many of the social media automation tools also have the ability to proactively monitor any mentions of your brand or can alert of you of topics that of interest to you.
While it's a best practice to have a real person create social media post and respond to comments, having a tool to automate the scheduling and publishing of content across all your channels with detailed analytics in one place is a huge time saver.
Example #5: CRM Data Management Automation
Having clean data is necessary for effective marketing campaigns and as you are aware a CRM database can get messy really quickly.
This is where using B2B marketing automation tools can come in handy. There are numerous data fields you'll want to keep pristine such as:
- Contact Owner
- Company Owner
- Lead Source
- City State and Zip code
- Company Revenue
- Company Employee Count
Tools like Zoominfo and HubSpot can help you automatically append or update CRM records based upon the rules you specify. These rules can run in the background so that your highly paid BDRs and AEs can focus on on creating leads and closing deals instead of data management.
With clean data your sales and marketing teams can contact the right people at the right time with the right messaging from the right people within your organization.
Example #6: Buyer Intent Engagement Automation (ADVANCED CONCEPT)
Similar to example #2 above, you can engage with companies & contacts that show interest in the types of products and services you sell in an automated manner.
"Buyer intent" in a nutshell identifies businesses that have shown recent interests in products and services that you offer but may or may not have been to your website. Buyer intent vendors are looking for trends in web behaviors organization wide to spot variances compared to historic trends.
There are several vendors in the buyer intent space, at Oak City Inbound we are familiar with Zoominfo. With Zoominfo buyer intent data, paired with HubSpot's Marketing Pro, you can automate the import of companies and contacts (that meet your criteria) which trigger automated multichannel (email, SMS, social, phone, task creation) outreach.
When used correctly this powerful combination of automation, software and data requires very little human interaction but can scale as high as your budget will afford.
Marketing Automation is Here to Stay. Are You Ready To Embrace IT?
Marketing automation technology will have a significant role in distinguishing best in class companies from the rest of the pack. Those that are slow to adopt marketing automation solutions will be at a serious disadvantage compared to their peers.
Further, marketing automation allows smaller companies to compete (and win) against much larger organizations. Technology can be the great equalizer when used correctly.
Companies that have successful deployed marketing automation solutions will unequivocally state that it was one of the best decisions their company has ever made.
Companies that have been unsuccessful with marketing automation will talk about how much of a waste of time and money.
It really comes down to choosing the right technology vendors and choosing the right partner that has the necessary domain expertise you need to be successful. If any one of these three legs are missing on the stool (technology, partner, industry knowledge) there's a good chance you'll get subpar results from B2B marketing automation.