Future of Marketing – B2B: Business Automation

September 10, 2013 | Admin

future of marketing - business automationThe future of marketing is fast moving, constantly evolving and a point of intrigue for both B2B and B2C marketers. From new trends to increased competition, marketers have the unique task of playing the role of both the visionary who must foresee and predict market trends as well as the realist who must show hard facts and prove value.

In the next few posts we will be looking at the roles of the B2B Marketer and the B2C Marketers: how they are different, how they overlap and what tools need to be in each of their toolkits to be the most effective at reaching their unique strategic goals. So how do the roles of marketers vary from B2B to B2C?

First up: B2B. B2B marketers often feel like fighting an uphill battle compared to their B2C counterparts, but the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side. No matter what industry, the focus is still on generating leads and creating great content to open the door to communication and help prospects along their buying journey.

Both B2B and B2C must sift through the plethora of platforms and services in order to determine which will be best for their team and company.  Despite the countless options, the two tools that should be in every B2B marketer’s toolkit are Marketing Automation and CRM. These two tools form a Business Automation dream-team that, when integrated well, proves value by increasing leads, sales and ultimately the bottom line.

Marketing Automation:

Marketing Automation is a marketer’s biggest ally when it comes to lead generation, personalization, and tracking. Pardot recently did a fantastic article outlining the differences of marketing automation and CRM. Essentially, marketing automation allows B2B marketers to generate leads and develop relevant, personalized campaigns while automating daily tasks to free up precious time.

Take a look at some of these stats to get a better view of Marketing Automation.

  • The marketing automation market is predicted to grow from $3.2 billion in 2010 to $4.8 billion in 2015. (International Data Corporation) TWEET THIS!
  • Gartner estimates a 15% savings on creative production with marketing automation. TWEET THIS!
  • Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads. (Source: The Annuitas Group) TWEET THIS!

That last statistic matters in a big way, and here’s why: Generating leads is one of the biggest thorns in the sides of both marketers and sales teams. You may be all too familiar with questions like these:

How do we generate more leads?” “Where do I get good leads?”, “How do I keep track of the leads?”, “How do I qualify the leads?”, “How do I track ROI of lead nurturing?”, “When do I pass them along to sales?” ….and suddenly you are in a tailspin into the unknown marketing abyss.

marketing-automationBut before you take a dive off the marketing cliff, marketing automation is the service that answers many of these unruly questions.

Marketing Automation enables B2B marketers to execute campaigns based on detailed information on each new lead. It gives you access to detailed information to  segment your marketing database in order to send highly customized emails and drip campaigns that enable you nurture and convert more leads. All the information you want to know from social profiles, website views, content clicks and activity will be stored in your automation platform. This is a wealth of information for executing effective lead nurturing campaigns and personalized communications.

Marketing Sherpas recently completed a study showing that 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales, but only 27% are actually qualified. Not good news for sales…or marketing for that matter. Marketers must juggle sales results with their marketing efforts so strong marketing-sales alignment is important for long-term growth.

In fact, Marketing Automation users report 47% of nurtured leads make larger purchases over non-nurtured leads. (The Annuitas Group)  TWEET THIS!

Another key benefit of marketing automation is….lead scoring. Most Marketing Automation systems have the concept of a grade or score that automatically deems a lead an MQL based on buying behaviors and passes it to your CRM for real time sales follow up. The system looks at a variety of actions a prospect may complete and combines them into a unique score or grade. Once they have interacted enough times, their score will reach a certain, defined, threshold allowing you to confidently pass to sales as a marketing-qualified lead (MQL). Best part – this process can be automated. You will receive an alert once a lead has qualified and if your tools are integrated, the lead will automatically be passed to your CRM tool.

 

What is Customer Relationship Management (CRM)?

CRM is primarily a sales tool, focused on collecting data about existing customers, managing new customers and sales opportunities. CRM houses all of the important data sales needs to reach out to leads while managing existing customers. CRMs track sales activities from the point of accepting a lead, traveling through pipeline, to becoming a customer and revenue generated from accounts. It covers every stage of the lead’s lifecycle as they move through the pipeline and gives reps the tools they need to effectively follow up with leads and manage their territories.

Once a lead is converted into a Customer it gives Account Managers, VPs and even the finance team insight into revenue, ROI and opportunities for up-sell and cross-selling. CRM is beneficial for both pre and post sales teams in tracking prospect and customer activity, support and follow-up engagement. With data ranging from social profiles to purchase history, CRM tools gives reps a 360 degree view of their prospects and customers in one view.

We all know that data is king and companies who thrive in the coming years will have a firm grasp on how to leverage and execute on their data. Your CRM is your database. When used in unison with your marketing automation tool, the impacts are enormous.

Why does integration matter?

Integration is key because it directly effects your bottom line. Marketing automation and CRM systems are two of the greatest tools in a B2B toolkit. When integrated well, these two systems allow you generate, nurture and convert leads lending to a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months. (Gartner Research).

Integration

Opening the door for steady communication between both platforms makes this a powerful duo. Integration allows you to track and analyze every step in the sales cycle from the initial lead generation to the close of sale.

Unfortunately, in a recent survey, only 33% of companies who use both CRM and marketing automation said the two integrated well. (Source: The Experts Bench) TWEET THIS!

That is the problem Kevy solves: Integration. Here are some ways you can increase ROI though integrating both Marketing Automation and CRM systems.

  • Track ROI of Campaigns to Converted Leads

Bi-directional integration from your CRM into your Marketing Automation platform allows you to tie closed won accounts back to a specific campaign – helping you manage the extremely difficult task of tying ROI to marketing efforts. This allows you to attribute revenue to campaigns and more accurately measure ROI of marketing efforts. By analyzing which campaigns are returning the highest value it allows the marketer to focus on what’s working to increase lead-gen even more and scrap what’s not.

  • Real-time Lead Follow-up

When a lead interacts with your site, landing pages or content, reps can be notified for real-time follow-up giving them more ammo when reaching out to prospects. This ensures that any communications are timely and relevant.

  • Automated Communications

We would love the opportunity to send personalized emails to every prospect that comes through our door. But unless you are in the very early stages of a company, this is just not sustainable. Marketing automation allows you to automate this task freeing up more of your time for other important tasks.

  • Social & Behavior Tracking:

Marketing automation tracks important demographic details and behavior data to qualify leads for both interest and best fit. When your Marketing Automation system is integrated with your CRM, your sales team has a more holistic view of your customers giving them access to valuable information that they can leverage to help them close the deal.

  • Send the Right Message to the Right People at the Right Time

Using the detailed prospect information gathered from your marketing automation service, you can send targeted messages and drip emails that are personalized to the prospect’s interests. These segmented, personalized communications help you create more relevant content that prospects will find more interesting and engaging rather than blasting generic messages, thus increasing your conversion rate.

This only grazes the surface of ways that marketing automation and CRM can be used together. When these two tools are integrated and sharing data they can improve productivity and increase the level of business automation – freeing up your time to focus on your core business. Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost. (Source: Forrester Research). Those numbers are hard to argue with and can become a powerful duo that enable both sales and marketing to see increases in their bottom line.

Interested in integration? Check out Kevy and how our integration platform can help automate more of your business activities.