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Why marketing automation

Why marketing automation

March 11th, 2016 Posted by CRM, Digital marketing No Comment

I’ve held the view that the manufacturing industry has always been at the vanguard of change and has been passionate about adopting newer technology and systems. Well almost. I cannot say the same thing when it comes to embracing IT & learning to leverage the digital ecosystem. I should know a thing or two about this, because that’s where I got my feet wet and sort of earned my spurs. Investing millions on a new, state of art machine or quality testing tool would be par for the course, but talk about CRM or any digital marketing tool, then you might as well be a spoiled brat or better still, the devil himself. Managements seldom realized or sensed the value of soft resources like IT, especially of their strategic impact. But the times are a-changing.

It’s quite interesting to learn that in the B2B world today, a buyer of products or services typically completes roughly 70% of his buying journey through online search and other digital channels, before establishing any contact with a vendor’s sales person. In the past few months, I was also pleasantly surprised to have been approached by quite a few entrepreneurs wanting help to build B2B online marketplace for industrial products. As played out, this scenario presents both a tremendous opportunity for B2B companies and poses challenges, as well.

Opportunity

  • You can let the buyer find you when he is really interested, rather than you spraying the whole countryside with your marketing ammunition and not finding any targets

  • Helps you learn more about a buyer’s need & to effectively tailor the buying experience

  • Get to deepen your engagement with prospects through multiple channels and retain control too

  • Transparency & efficiency culminate in a business relationship, borne out of trust and value…that’s the way we want it, right?

The challenge for B2B businesses is in determining how to make the transition from a system of manual, people-heavy & disparate processes to an efficient and seamless process with a tool like marketing automation.

Marketing automation helps:

  • Track and identify the needs of a prospective buyer

  • Establish a pattern of prospect behavior and do segmentation

  • Provide targeted nurturing, leading to lead qualification

  • Measure results of marketing campaigns, refine and optimize marketing investments

  • With well primed & better profiled leads, sales greatly improve the chances for conversion

  • Take the routine out of marketing tasks and utilize resources better, leading to shorter sales cycles

Let me explain some aspects of marketing automation by taking an example. John is the owner of a company manufacturing industrial products and to promote its products, has taken a booth at a trade show. Being a smart marketer, he has set up a very impressive booth that offers visitors every bit of information they would normally look for and even has product samples and working models set up for demos. Obviously, John does his homework well and his pre-event marketing was so effective that it has ensured good traffic to his booth.

So, we have prospect A who steps in and goes over to the display board that has the profile of John’s company and then goes over to a few of the other display boards before settling down in front of one about a particular product. John’s sales person who has been watching him unobtrusively, steps forward to offer help. The prospect wants to know more about the product. After the sales person gives all the information, prospect A thanks him and walks away. In walks prospect B, goes straight to the sales person and pretty much enquires about all the products. When the sales person asks him for his specific interest, the prospect mentions that he has none and that he was plain curious and just checking.

After about an hour or so, we have prospect A walk into John’s booth again and reach out to the displayed product, the one he had shown interest earlier. The sales person who is wiser from the experience, holds it up for A to examine and then quickly offers to show a demo of the product. The prospect seems impressed with the demo and expresses his desire to have a more detailed discussions. The sales person requests for his business card, which A readily parts with and then he also firms up a suitable schedule for the meeting. As A leaves the booth, the sales person has a triumphant smile on his lips knowing that he’s got the first lead of the day.

It would be interesting to draw a parallel between the experience in a tradeshow, as described above and that of a visit to a company’s website. Both are marketing assets and you have to be sweating them. The only crucial difference is that in a tradeshow, you have a physical interface with a visitor, whereas in the case of a website, the contact is virtual. This is key to understand what makes marketing automation so very invaluable to B2B companies.

Let me elaborate a little on the analogy:

  • The pre-event marketing that John had done is akin to activities like SEO, search advertising, affiliate marketing, etc., that are used in the digital world to drive traffic to a website.

  • The visit behavior and the interest shown towards specific products/topics by prospects A & B are observed keenly by the booth sales person. In a website, these are tracked through diagnostics present in marketing automation tools that record page visits, page views, time spent and whole lot of other metrics.

  • While the sales person let go of prospect A the first time around without getting his contact information, the content in landing pages generated by a marketing automation tool would ensure that appropriate calls-to-action would get the website visitor committed to part with this information.

  • When prospect A returned to the booth a second time, the sales person easily recognized his interest and straightaway offered more insights of the product, by way of a demo. This was a good hook to offer the prospect. Similarly, in marketing automation, based on the history of a visitor’s activity at a website, different and more contextual content would be offered to guide the visitor or prospect to gradually move up the prospecting process and make him buy-ready.

  • It is fair to assume that if prospect B were to revisit the booth, he might not get the same un-wavered attention that prospect A would have commanded. Marketing automation ensures this by automated lead scoring which allows prospects to be rated on pre-defined rules of behavior and allows segmented engagement, leading to higher lead conversion rate.

While we have dived into only a few of the functions of a marketing automation tool, it is apparent that for B2B marketers, this presents a unique opportunity to direct their efforts with minimal resources, but more focused targeting, thereby leading to larger and quicker gains from their marketing investment.

To learn more about Pardot marketing automation and how it can help grow your business, visit www.knstek.com and ask for free consultation.

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