Marketing automation for B2B: a great support for your sales in the data age

If you’ve heard about applications such as HubSpot, Pardot and Mautic, you know you can use those to mail your leads automatically. But you can also use these services to make forms for your website, to segment your audience, to create workflows, et cetera. It’s a really convenient tool, but you’ll need a good plan first. Let’s be honest, it’s the data age – why shoot blanks?

It sure sounds attractive to automatically mail your leads. You send a huge amount of people and if this leads to a sufficient amount of conversions, you can recoup your costs in a short time. But it doesn’t work like that. First of all, marketeers are expected nowadays to create a well-prepared plan with clear objectives. Believe us, it takes very much creativity to integrate shooting blanks into that plan. Marketing automation is a great tool to support your marketing strategy. But you’ll need a plan as well for setting up a great marketing automation flow.

The importance of the flow

Everybody receives mails, all day long, because along the way, you’ve earned a spot on all kinds of mailing lists. For example, you order something through a web shop and they start sending you marketing mails. If these aren’t relevant to you, you’ll unsubscribe from the list. But that’s a less likely scenario when you receive mails that are actually relevant: interesting discounts for products you’ve viewed recently, or recommendations based on earlier purchases.

Let’s ‘translate’ this B2C situation to B2B. The latter often has a different starting point for flows: not a purchase, but a download. A lead has given you their mail address in exchange for a whitepaper or e-book. This means they already have a certain amount of interest in your proposition, which is useful information for your sales representative, who can start approaching the lead.

This is business as usual for industries with serious investment projects and implementation processes, as well for subscription-based services. This is the kind of purchase in which quite some decision makers are involved: managers, C-level, the experts who will work with your solution.

In other words: don’t expect this decision to be made in one go. What you’ll need are several touchpoints, as well as several content pieces that align with those touchpoints. This is called a flow: a logical sequence of content pieces you share with your lead in order to convince them.

Is it time yet to address the C-level?

Let’s take another look at the web shop example. Its system knows what you’ve bought before and mails you personalised recommendations. How is this possible? Because of the gathered data, of course. A bigger purchase actually doesn’t differ from this very much. A marketing automation dashboard gives you insights in which lead has opened which mail, as well the links they’ve clicked. This is a great way to gauge interest in a much more specific way.

Does your lead show a lot of interest, but no purchase has been made yet? Maybe their C-level lacks enthusiasm. That means you could mail a whitepaper written for the C-level, or one that at least contains an executive summary. You could also write your content in a way that provides IT managers with useful arguments to convince their executives. Or your sales representative calls the lead to subtly inform about the nature of the bottleneck. In the end, this is what marketing automation is about: helping your sales representatives to target your leads as targeted as possible.

The good news: you don’t even have to manually check if it’s time to mail a new content piece. Marketing automation ‘takes the temperature’ of the lead by analysing several interactions: opened mails, clicks, downloads, page visits. This tells you if your lead is warming up already. If so, the flow enters its next stage, or a new flow is started. This is a very efficient way of working for both marketing and sales. If the lead enters a new stage of the flow, your sales representative receives a notification. They can take action, with a much better aim.

Collecting data

A great advantage of marketing automation: it works on two interconnected levels when it comes to data. On the one hand, it uses the collected data to send targeted mails. On the other hand, the application keeps collecting new data, which helps you to build your database. This data helps you to map your audience, to make plans for new content items that fit their needs even better, and to improve your marketing automation flow. In other words: marketing automation is marketing for the data age. If you’re asked for well-prepared marketing plans, you have the access to the data that will substantiate these plans.

ContentXperience is a full-service marketing agency that can both set up and manage your marketing automation. We can also develop a wide range of new content items, so you can build the perfect flow to convince your leads. Feel free to contact us.

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Marketing Automation Partners