Marketing automation has been successfully adopted throughout B2C marketing strategies to improve conversion rates and marketing resource usage. We’ve seen many B2C marketing tactics successfully used by B2B companies over the years, social media being the most notable. So why hasn’t automation caught on yet and how can it be used?
There is so much potential for sales & marketing automation in engineering and B2B as a whole but no one wants to invest in the idea because potentially 'every job is different', well... the customers’ buying process isn't… our sales process isn’t…. (or not massively) so why can't we map a customer journey around their needs and add automations to it?
By tacking customer journeys on and offline we can identify key stages that influence buying decisions and have marketing automation potential. This can be a bit tricker with B2B or any business that isn’t solely online because the usual analytical tools don’t give you the full picture. Instead, sales and marketing need to collaborate their customer insights from on and offline interactions to build customer personas and journey mapping for their target audiences. They can then identify key stages that affect buying decisions, and add and test automations at these stages. You can also use attribution modelling to give weight to each key stage and use this to help calculate ROI figures for each automation.
Use automation to help your B2B business:
- nurture customers through to conversion.
- increase time resources.
- improve customer service.
And ultimately increase sales.
How can we implement B2B marketing automation?
Short answer: Technology.
Now for the much longer answer…
Before I get into the ways you can implement marketing automation in your business, I want you to think about marketing as everything the customer sees, which therefore means it naturally works alongside sales and customer service to increase sales.
Here are a few examples of implementing B2B marketing automation:
Host your catalogue and sales material so that it’s easily accessible to your current and potential customers. Collect data in accordance with GDPR regulations to automate targeted follow up emails or sales follow up calls based on the information input. For example, you may want to set ‘follow up email’ for all persons who input their job role as ‘buyer’ and set ‘follow up call’ for all who set it as ‘engineer’. This is just an example and could be used to segment audiences based on customer type, what they downloaded, location, industry and more.
B2B loves email marketing, probably because the conversion rates are usually very good. There’s so much you can do here with email automation, but I’ll use aftersales as an example. You could choose to target new customers with a ‘how did we do?’ email or automate bi-annual feedback surveys to all customers. Either way, information on what you’re doing right and wrong will help you develop your marketing plan and increase sales.
When you’re an SME B2B business with limited financial and time resources, automation can help you to help your customers more efficiently. Facebook has created a free powerful artificial intelligence tool in Facebook Messenger that can easily be set up and integrated into your website. There are endless possibilities when it comes to using AI if you just get it to ask the right questions. It can send targeted campaigns, book in queries for faster processing or send prospects to other aspects of your digital marketing to increase customer satisfaction and build trust.
Another high conversion marketing tactic to really target customers and nurture them through the customer journey (whilst ethically gathering data) is landing pages. Create an engaging experience that makes prospects aware of the problem you solve and lead visitors through consideration, towards conversion. Clearly explain a new product or your capabilities and increase CTR to the next step of their journey.
In conclusion, it doesn’t matter if you’re in B2C or B2B marketing, you can still utilise automation in any marketing plan with on and offline synergy to reach your goals. You are a person selling to another person, and a computer will help you do that much more efficiently.