Writing newsletters, generating leads, and communicating in a way that is tailored to the target group are all tasks that marketers have to accomplish efficiently and with minimal effort. Marketing automation is the optimal solution here....
Writing newsletters, generating leads, and communicating in a way that is tailored to the target group are all tasks that marketers have to accomplish efficiently and with minimal effort. Marketing automation is the optimal solution here.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation consists in software solutions that can be used to automate individual marketing and sales processes. The digital platforms used combine functionalities such as CRM synchronization, databases, and web controlling.
Not only does marketing automation save time and effort in day-to-day tasks, but the budget spent on measures can also be considerably reduced. In addition, the digital tools help to better plan, manage, and evaluate cross-media campaigns. The automated software processes support marketers in:
Data collection, maintenance, and transfer to other data systems
Creating landing pages
Posting social media content
Publishing targeted content
Calculating the ROI
Customer service and retention
Of course, not all tasks belonging to a good marketing strategy can be converted into automated workflows. However, marketing automation tools are capable of facilitating and optimizing the segmentation, generation, and scoring of leads, among other advantages.
Automated workflows can thus be implemented in order to specifically address buyer personas without having to constantly make changes or incorporate individual measures.
Prerequisites for using marketing automation
For automated marketing processes to offer real added value, companies and marketers have to fulfill some prerequisites.
#1 Know the target group
If you don’t know who your target group is, you probably won’t be very successful in B2B marketing. If the buyer personas are not clearly defined beforehand, a marketing automation system has no chance of addressing potential and existing customers in a targeted and personalized way. Automated communication can then quickly backfire. If, for example, networks such as LinkedIn are used to randomly send automatic InMails to users, these can quickly be regarded as spam and thus come across as unprofessional.
#2 Adapt the technical infrastructure
If a company wants to use marketing automation tools, it has to be aware that they necessitate major digital changes. Interfaces must be created between the new tools and existing CRM systems as well as the company’s website. This can prove to be quite complex due to sensitive data management regulations, so it is advisable to involve the IT department and data protection officers to ensure meticulous planning and execution.
#3 Clean up your database and define a data pool
Clear data structures, up-to-date datasets, and uncluttered CRM and ERP systems are crucial to successful automated marketing. Eliminating duplicates and updating or removing contacts may be time-consuming, but it’s the only way to ensure, for example, that the emails you send actually reach the intended recipients. Ideally, the contact data you have stored should be checked once every quarter to prevent chaos and guarantee successful email marketing.
#4 Step out of your marketing comfort zone
For marketers, data-driven marketing also means letting go a little. Once the workflow has been determined for a campaign, last-minute or custom adjustments are no longer so straightforward. They also have to trust in the data that the system provides them with – and only then decide to what extent processes need to be optimized.
Using marketing automation in B2B marketing
Establishing workflows using marketing automation tools can take the current marketing strategy to new levels and significantly influence lead generation. For that reason, it is worth building automated workflows in the following areas:
#1 Lead generation
Automated processes generate leads by shaping the customer journey of website visitors, for instance. They are directed from one stepping stone to another, ultimately ending with the required contact details being recorded in the company’s database.
If, for example, a user stumbles across a blog article via the organic page and finds it interesting, he or she may want to learn more and download a whitepaper. To do this, the user clicks on an embedded call-to-action button that automatically links to a landing page. To receive the desired information, the user then has to complete and submit a contact form. These details land in the contact database and the lead has thus been converted completely automatically.
#2 Lead segmentation
Once the leads have been recorded in the database, they can be sorted into lists according to certain criteria, including:
Specific interactions with the content being offered
Categorizing the leads makes it possible to adapt and distribute targeted content based on customer interests.
#3 Lead nurturing
Even if a lead has been successfully generated, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the customer is immediately interested in products or services. Fostering and nurturing your contacts is therefore vital. Regular, personalized email marketing is an easy way to achieve that: personalized newsletters peppered with content that actually interests the recipient are ideal for strengthening the customer bond.
#4 Lead scoring
A lead scoring workflow established within the framework of marketing automation automatically classifies leads in the database and sorts them according to their current stages in the purchasing process. Accordingly, the lead is assigned to the corresponding stage and, on that basis, further steps can be taken in terms of nurturing or sales measures.
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