You could argue there are only two things any b2b marketer needs to worry about:
1. will my marketing plan deliver the targeted return on investment?
2. am I on top of the latest trends, technologies and the competition to ensure next year’s plan is successful too?
I know that rather simplifies what we do as marketers, but it’s likely how your CEO will view your contribution to the business.
Are you reaching your targets and how are you affecting the future success of the business?
In recent years a strategy that has helped with both of those questions is marketing automation; essentially the use of technology to personalise each interaction with a customer based on their behaviours.
You see automation all the time in consumer marketing. Just log into Amazon and look at the products it recommends for you. They are all based on your search history on Amazon.
But there are real opportunities through automation for b2b marketers too.
For example if a visitor to your website reads a blog post on optimising server speeds, you could promote a white paper on load balancing in the related posts section. You could also flag this contact to your inside sales team for follow-up if the visitor has achieved a suitable lead score.
The more closely linked your marketing automation platform is to your CRM, the more accurate this behavioural targeting will become. Also you will build a much better picture of your target audience too, fuelling your sales team’s ability to follow-up and close.
But it doesn’t stop there, for example you could employ a retargeting campaign too.
Retargeting enables you to target digital advertising based on what customers are searching for online. If you ever wondered why facebook is showing an advert for a product you searched for in Google the previous day, that’s down to retargeting.
But marketing automation is not always as simple as it sounds. There are lots of choices of automation products, ranging from Oracle Eloqua and Marketo at the top end, to more SME focussed products such as Act-on and Hubspot – read reviews on all of the marketing automation platforms on G2 here.
The complexity and high cost makes choosing a marketing automation platform fraught with pitfalls.
It can be costly to change direction if you choose poorly too. This is why your CEO might not be so keen to jump into automation without careful consideration.If you are faced with the need to convince a CEO to buy into a marketing automation project, here are four key benefits to help you sell in your project:
1. Increased efficiencies
Marketing automation often comes with a hefty price tag, but delivered well can actually save time and increase efficiencies through improved marketing operations. Imagine multiple marketing transactions taking place concurrently, in a targeted way without a marketing manager having to be physically involved. That’s essentially automation.
With the ever-growing number of channels we use in marketing this can save a considerable amount of time. Not only that, but you can more easily deliver a consistent message and creative execution across each channel too. Assuming all of your creative is planned well in advance.
The initial costs may be high, but the overall increase in efficiencies should quickly pay off and save money. That’s a tick in the box for the better bottom line.
2. Improved attribution
With marketing automation you get a much clearer picture of which tactics are and which aren’t working. You are more easily able to attribute sales to campaigns and ultimately assess the value of each marketing tactic.
Want to know if the leads from a trade show have converted? Check. What about enquiries from a web form? Check. This new level of attribution will enable you to tell your CEO which 50% of the marketing / advertising budget is working, saving time and money in the future. If you know what works, simply repeat those tactics in next year’s plan.
3. Better customer profiling
Marketing automation platforms enable you to collect a lot of data on your target audience:
– What are their core demographics?
– What content are they reading online?
– Which assets have they downloaded?
– How long have they spent on your site?
– Who else from each account has engaged with your campaign?
The list goes on and it’s incredibly valuable. This data creates a picture of your audience you can use for lead scoring, passing on to sales only those leads that are of a certain quality.
Marketing automation powers the single view of the customer that’s so valuable to marketing and sales professionals alike.
4. Improved alignment of sales and marketing
Marketers are often accused by sales teams of not providing adequately qualified, or a great enough volume, of leads for them to achieve their targets. This is evident when you see sales managers working on separate CRM’s than their marketing colleagues.
An effective automation platform brings the two teams together much more closely since it creates that single view of the customer. If you are a sales oriented organisation – and what successful b2b company isn’t – then it’s crucial that sales and marketing play together nicely. An automation platform might just be the silver bullet to this age-old challenge.
What does this mean for your CEO? Likley increased revenues and lower costs.
I’m sure there are many more benefits to using marketing automation, but these address the key issues any high performing CEO cares about: customer experience, revenue and ultimately bottom line.
If you would like to know more about how a marketing automation platform could help you to grow you business, please get in touch. You can also share your experiences in the comments below.