If you aren't sure what marketing automation is, don't worry. Put simply, it means using technology to perform routine jobs automatically, so you don't have to do them yourself. When you hear the term, you might immediately think of email marketing campaigns, but while emails can form part of a company's automation strategy, there's much more to it than that. Successfully automating your marketing means using technology to send the right messages to your potential and current customers at the most appropriate times, so you can generate leads, convert them to sales and nurture existing clients. For an overview of what automation can do, just watch this short video:
While the example in the video relates to B2C sales, this type of automation can be just as beneficial to B2B companies. Here are seven ways in which adopting the technology can help B2B tech marketing executives get great results.
1. ENABLING YOU TO STREAMLINE YOUR OPERATIONS
74 per cent of senior marketers in the UK who took part in a 2015 survey listed "saving time" as one of the biggest advantages of automation and it's certainly an attractive one. There's an impressive array of products and platforms on the market, enabling you to automate everything from lead generation to social media management and remove a host of mundane tasks from your to-do list. That means you can spend your time more creatively, designing campaigns that will entice more people to buy your products or services. It's not just marketing staff who could benefit either – automating your lead generation, lead qualification and customer retention processes could free up sales and customer service team members to do other things as well.
2. GENERATING MORE – AND BETTER - LEADS
A recent report revealed that six out of ten businesses considered generating leads to be their greatest challenge and 28 per cent were finding it harder to spot good leads and prospects than they were a few years before. Luckily, you can simplify the process by using automation tools. You can automate your social media activity, for example, taking the hard work out of driving traffic to your website. By providing website visitors with useful content, whether in the form of targeted landing pages or free e-books and videos, you can encourage them to give you their contact details. You can then use automated email drip campaigns to strengthen your relationships with them until they're in a position to buy. That means the leads that you obtain from your efforts will be warm, saving your sales team precious time.
3. HELPING YOU TO PROVIDE A BETTER CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
According to a 2017 report, 59 per cent of B2B companies believe that the most significant benefit of using automation platforms is that it allows them to make their communications more relevant, improving their customers' experiences. Bombarding prospects with generic emails could alienate them, but automation tools can help you to pinpoint exactly when in the sales process to contact them and enable you to personalise the messages you send. As one recent survey showed that 80 per cent of B2B companies viewed personalised content as being more effective than non-personalised content, using it could make all the difference to your sales figures. You can also use automation to communicate with your existing clients, nurturing your relationships with them more effectively and showing them that you understand their needs.
4. ENABLING YOU TO SECURE MORE SALES
Automating your marketing processes could also improve your conversion rate. In fact, according to one study, 77 per cent of firms that use this technology get more conversions as a result. By setting up systems to coax prospective clients through your sales process in ways that work for them, you can reduce the chances of them dropping out and ensure your company is at the forefront of their minds when they're ready to commit. You can also use the technology to analyse buying behaviour and spot leads that aren't likely to convert. Removing them from your database will allow you focus your efforts on those that have greater conversion potential.
5. MINIMISING YOUR SALES CYCLE COMPLETION TIME
Not only could you increase the number of sales you make, you could find that you're taking less time to close deals – and in the fast-moving world of tech marketing, making quick sales is a must. One early study even claimed that the sales cycle could be completed 70 per cent faster when automation was added to the mix. You can certainly use it to follow up leads, educate potential customers about your product, guide them through the sales funnel, and get them into a "ready to purchase" position quickly and effectively. Your sales team can then jump in as and when necessary to provide personal responses to queries and complete the final transaction.
6. BOOSTING CUSTOMER RETENTION
A 2014 study revealed that customer retention was one of the key areas in which automation could play a role, and the technology has come on in leaps and bounds since then, allowing you to do even more. You can use it to provide your clients with additional content and effectively targeted messages in order to encourage them to stay with you. Not only can you reinforce the benefits of using your product or service via automated means, you can also take advantage of upselling or cross-selling opportunities in a time-efficient way. Statistics have shown that lowering your customer churn rate by just 5 per cent could boost your company's profits by at least 25 per cent and that the more loyal a customer is, the more their lifetime value (LTV) will increase, so doing so makes perfect business sense.
7. IMPROVING YOUR MARKETING METHODS
Automation platforms and tools can provide you with information about the way in which your leads and customers behave. By studying this data, you could identify buying triggers, determine the type of communications that potential customers prefer and even get an idea of what individual leads are likely to do next. You can then use those insights to increase the effectiveness of your marketing strategies. Some automation platforms also feature A/B testing tools, which allow you to directly compare the effectiveness of two campaigns. With 60 per cent of businesses in one study describing A/B testing as "highly valuable", this could have a positive effect on your results.
Overall, by introducing automation into your tech marketing operations, you could increase efficiency, boost income, improve your return on investment (ROI), and fine-tune your strategies and campaigns, putting you on the road to success.