6 Reasons Why Marketing Automation is Essential to B2B Lead Generation

The day of researching and qualifying every single business lead manually are coming to an end. Forget spending hours going through your leads to identify whether or not they are the right person. There's technology for that -- affordable technology. In fact, many of your marketing activities can, and should, be automated. 

In 2015, 80 percent of marketing automation users reported generating more leads, and more importantly, 77 percent are seeing an increased number of conversions.

Well, if those stats don't say it all, am I right?

Clearly, marketing automation is a powerful tool for both marketing and sales. That is why more and more businesses are turning to marketing automation tools like HubSpot for b2b lead generation. It can be used to help you elevate your business processes, nurture more leads to close, and get you better results than running everything manually.

What is Marketing Automation?

Let's a take a quick step back and review what "marketing automation" is and what it entails. Marketing automation refers to the software that exists with the goal of automating marketing actions.

Marketing automation frees up some of your time by taking care of repetitive tasks. Many smart marketers are using software to automate tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions. The software also helps you prioritize and execute marketing tasks more efficiently, and at scale. 

Ultimately, the goal of marketing automate is to generate more revenue for your company. To do that, we need to drive traffic to a site, convert that traffic into leads and close those leads into customers. Marketing automation really shines in the conversion and closure stages, especially during lead nurturing. Because of this, marketing automation is a natural fit with any inbound marketing strategy. It enhances the conversation and helps you do more with your existing resources. 

How does it work? 

Marketing automation software integrates with your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, where all of your customer data is stored. Here at 41 Orange, we use HubSpot as our CRM and it has many marketing automation features already built into it.

While your marketing team may be sending individual emails to individual leads, marketing automation allows you to put a process in place to generate communication based on of 'triggers,' actions leads take on your site. This is especially useful in nurturing leads through the entire buying process, delivering targeted messages to each lead. 

This automation process is called a workflow. Here's an example:

  • A website visitor downloads your latest ebook that they found from a recent blog post
  • You send a thank you note after they complete their download with more information
  • A couple days later you send a follow-up email offering that person case studies related to the topic of the ebook they downloaded
  • They download the case studies, and your marketing automation software sends a notification to your sales team so they can follow up 

 

Additionally, when someone becomes gives you their information, they are entered into your CRM. Your marketing automation software will then recognize this person whenever they interact with your website or blog. This means that you'll have more visibility into what each lead is interested in: which pages they've looked at, which articles they've read, what actions they've taken on your site. Marketing automation allows you to automatically target or interact with those individuals based on their interactions.

With inbound marketing and marketing automation, we're able to generate and nurture 3x more leads than we have in the past (doing it all manually). What used to take us 5+ hours a week for our sales and marketing efforts, including emailing leads, researching prospective clients, now only takes us 2 hours per week. It's really great -- as a business owner, I highly recommend it.

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Here are six reasons that marketing automation can help your business grow, with examples from HubSpot:

1) Convert more visitors

What if first time and return visitors saw different things on your website? This level of personalization becomes possible with marketing automation. You can address each person based on their current stage of the buyer's journey and deal more directly with their current wants and needs. 

For instance, a return visitor could be shown the products that they looked at during their last visit, or be offered a coupon code to sweeten the deal. Likewise, if a return visitor has already downloaded a certain resource and they told you (through your form) that they are a marketer, as opposed to a business owner, you can surface up an offer geared towards marketers on their next visit, versus an entrepreneur. 

The idea is that by offering people resources that are relevant to them, they will be more likely to convert.

This type of automation brings users a more personal experience. In a recent survey performed by CMO.com, 30% of consumers had a positive experience with retargeted ads (the process of showing an ad related to the leads most recent behaviors). By letting your automated marketing efforts engage, you can better personalize your offerings and give customers what they want.

2) Track interactions with leads

Without good tracking, you don't know enough about your prospects or your marketing efforts to learn what works and what doesn't. By tracking your leads' interactions with your content, you can build a solid picture of your prospects and what they want from brands like yours.

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HubSpot shows you all the interactions a lead has had with your content.

More than that, because you're tracking these interactions, you're going to have valuable insights into what is working, what isn't, and how to fix it. 

For example, if you're not getting the number of leads you want, you can look to see why not: Is it that your visitors are down? Is your conversion rate too low on a landing page? By having the data at your fingertips, you'll know exactly which lever to pull to get results.

3) Trigger automated emails to nurture your leads

Triggered or drip email campaigns allow you to nurture each lead who signs up for email updates or downloads a resource. No worries about leads falling through the cracks or never following up. With marketing automation, your email client will send out new messages at a measured rate. These emails can gently steer your prospect down the sales funnel, coaxing them toward a sale without pressure.

The beauty of an automated email campaign is that your hard work is replicated again and again with little further effort. Once you have had the initial email series written, it can be sent again and again to each new prospect. Outside of occasional tuning and updating, once you have created the series, you can benefit from it for months or even years.

Consider a business that sells security software. Prospects can provide their email address to get a 10 part email series on best security practices. By the end of the series, many will be ready to buy. Then, after purchase, periodic emails can be sent to remind them of updates and to offer an upsell of related products.

Workflow-example.pngExample of a HubSpot workflow -- you can choose different action based on a lead's behavior

 

4) Learn what your prospects are saying about products or services like yours

You could manually scan Twitter, Facebook, Quora and other social media outlets throughout the day. Or, you could use social listening tools to get reports about what people are saying about your business, your competitors and your industry as a whole.

Social listening allows you to learn more about your current and prospective customers and what they want from companies like yours. By learning their wants, their needs and their pain points, you can customize your products and your marketing campaigns to truly answer their desires.

Social listening tools can be as primitive and simple as a series of Google alerts for mentions of your business or as sophisticated as applications that scan thousands of accounts and bring you the results in digest emails. These tools save you from manually trawling through numerous platforms and allow you to see the larger picture of how your brand is talked about on the web.

As a bonus, you can see where your best customers are most likely to hang out. This allows you to concentrate your social media marketing efforts on the platforms where you can get the best return on your marketing investment.

5) Scale marketing and sales operations

With most types of offline or online lead generation, you need to increase your budget if you want to increase sales. Getting more prospects through pay-per-click advertising often requires more ads or a higher budget so that your ads appear more often. A larger social media presence means more hours spent posting and interacting on your social media channels. More cold-calling requires more sales people working the phones.

But, marketing automation allows you to scale up without the cost of new personnel. You can create replicable actions once, then benefit from them again and again. VentureBeat reports that brands typically see a 20 to 50% increase in revenue after adopting marketing automation.

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6) Increase your marketing ROI

Once you create an automated marketing asset, it's yours. You can use it over and over to attract the attention of new prospects. Over time, your cost per conversion will continually drop as you convert more and more prospects to clients. 

By letting automation handle every action that's appropriate, you can save your staff's efforts for the places where manual actions can be the most impactful. You can also give potential and current customers a buying experience that is more closely tailored to their preferences and needs. 

In the end, your team members are used more efficiently, your clients are happier and you can dramatically increase your return on your marketing efforts and dollars.

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About the Author: Samantha Anderson

Samantha Anderson

Sam is a co-founder and inbound strategist at 41 Orange.

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