Putting B2B Marketing Automation to Work

January 29, 2013 by

Funnel-imageIn my last blog post, I briefly touched on the growing demand for marketing leaders to better optimize processes that directly impact sales growth.

Pressured not just to deliver a high volume of leads, but high-quality leads that will convert into sales pipeline opportunities, B2B marketing leaders are increasingly turning to marketing automation platforms to help manage and improve their customer acquisition efforts, according to Techaisle, a global SMB & Channels ICT Market Research and Industry Analyst organization.

Marketing automation software is not enough

MarketingSherpa Marketing Automation ChartHowever, it’s also clear that many organizations are struggling to get the most out of their marketing automation implementation and are making it a top priority to do so.

The implementation of these applications alone does not make for an optimized sales funnel. It takes an in-depth analysis of your target buyer’s behaviors, your content strategy, and lead qualification process to get these systems to really work for you.

Considering the trend towards lengthening sales cycles and the growing number of individuals involved in the buying process, that means developing a formal, repeatable lead generation process is really the only way to get the most of your marketing automation software.

Automation sucks. Personalization rules

Regardless of the marketing automation tool you currently have or are thinking of using, successfully building automated, trigger campaigns (lead nurturing, etc.) without your prospects feeling like it’s a formal, repeatable process can be tricky.

No one wants to feel like they are part of mechanically-driven marketing drip campaign. If you’re going to get the most of a marketing automation tool, every touch point should convey personalized content that aligns to the customer’s stage in the decision cycle, taking into consideration their preferred delivery channel.

Check out these great articles on developing a buyer persona framework and building a content factory for ways to get started.

It gets better

Since the topic of marketing automation is both vast and deep, I’ll be writing a series of articles covering everything from vendor selection and database migration to campaign creation and lead gen optimization. My goal is to help you:

  • Develop a business case
  • Clearly identify funnel stages and definitions
  • Establish and optimize lead scoring and management with Sales (Yes, they need to be a part of it)
  • Develop and optimize lead nurturing campaigns

Remember, the output of this work will vary from organization to organization and there is not one clear-cut universal model that can be applied across all. That said, I can help you avoid some of the most common pitfalls (having made them myself) and plan to recruit some of the brightest minds to help guide you on the subject. At the end of this series, you should be well on your way to getting your B2B marketing automation to work for you.

What marketing automation topics/pain points are you interested in reading about most?

  • http://www.kranzcom.com Jonathan Kranz

    Luis: Check out my podcast conversation with Kevin. One of the big issues with automation is that marketers using it feel overwhelmed with features and functions they don’t understand.

  • http://twitter.com/Keithfinger Keith Finger

    Marketers also struggle with knowing what to send for any particular point in the process, and having a rationale for that decision.

    • http://blog.openviewpartners.com/author/luis-fernandes/ Luis Fernandes

      Hey Keith, your point is well taken. By truly understanding your target audience first, the process of defining each touchpoint along the buyer journey and aligning content to each of those touch points in essence becomes a well-tuned relationship marketing program. It takes a lot of discipline and effort to concentrate on one particular segment at a time and build value-add content around the entire life-cycle. It seems the rationale for investing in a relationship marketing program often arises in response to failing demand generation programs – forcing marketers to react. Hopefully, this series will help before they get to that point.

    • http://blog.openviewpartners.com/author/luis-fernandes/ Luis Fernandes

      Hi Keith, your point is well taken. By truly understanding your target audience first, the process of defining each touchpoint along the buyer journey and aligning content to each of those touch points in essence becomes a well-tuned relationship marketing program. It takes a lot of discipline and effort to concentrate on one particular segment at a time and build value-add content around the entire life-cycle. It seems the rationale for investing in a relationship marketing program often arises in response to failing demand generation programs – forcing marketers to react. Hopefully, this series will help before they get to that point.

  • made in Korea

    Thanks Luis Fernandes, great list of resources here. If I may be so bold as to suggest my own blog

  • Natalie F

    I am struggling getting buy in from IT leadership because of the assumption that integration will be too costly with our third party website host and MS Dynamics.