What is marketing automation and what are the benefits of using it?

Marketing automation is hot topic in the world of digital marketing, but what does it mean? And what are the benefits for your business in B2B? In this article, we will explain what the benefits of marketing automation are and how it can facilitate the conversion of leads. 

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation is the combination of specialized tools and technologies combined with strategy to automate marketing activities. Think of repetitive tasks such as email marketing, push notifications, social media posts or lead segmentation/qualification. 

It is not only more (time) efficient, but you can also delight the lead/prospect with a highly personalized experience. Sending relevant messages via the right channel at the right time. Depending on where they are in the buyer’s journey, those customized messages will help convert prospects into customers.

6 benefits of marketing automation

1. Increase the relevance of your business proposition to your target audience

According to several studies, individual buyers in a B2B environment expect more personalized messages. Personal content will help them to solve questions and buyer barriers for their specific situation at a given time. The advantage of marketing automation is that you can automatically share relevant and valuable content with your leads.

For example, when a buyer is in the consideration stage you might offer a whitepaper about a specific problem your product solves. By using marketing automation tools you can track when this whitepaper is downloaded. Afterward, you can send them other relevant content over time that is specific for their phase in the buyer journey as defined in your content marketing strategy or the specific problem they downloaded the whitepaper about.

This can all be done using workflows and if/then structures. E.g. IF the last email is opened THEN send message X. IF not, then send message Y. You can serve the right content at the right time and give the buyer a best-in-class experience that will reflect on your company.

2. Align sales and marketing departments

Many organizations cope with the problem that marketing and sales work too independently from each other. Which results in leads getting different information at different times, multiple contact moments or a contradictory business proposition. 

Marketing automation changes this. It helps to create a joint overview where marketing & sales can align their actions.  Setting marketing and sales goals together results in a  more efficient workflow that gives the lead the best buying experience. An extra benefit is that this joint overview can be analyzed by both departments and that they can agree when the lead gets hand-over from marketing to sales in an automated way (lead scoring). 

3. Simplify repetitive marketing tasks

One of the main developments in the B2B industry is the automation of follow-up tasks that were previously performed by marketers or the sales team. For example: sending out a welcoming email or adding a lead to the CRM. Especially this last one could be a real problem and quickly be forgotten by the marketing or sales team. Automation tools make sure no lead falls through the cracks.

When a lead moves down the marketing funnel he needs follow-up or specific information. Remembering when to contact a lead at a specific moment is in the past thanks to an efficient follow-up process with lead scoring and automation workflows. When using marketing automation you have the possibility to determine specific triggers in the buyer journey (E.g. the lead visits your website more than 4 times in 30 days). Based on these triggers you get an idea of the quality of the lead and when it’s time to send out a message for the perfect follow-up.

4. Collect quality data

Thanks to the data collected by marketing automation tools, you can deliver the right content at the right time. The collected data is, after consent of the lead, stored in a database for further use. This data includes implicit data and explicit data. Implicit data is collected during a visit to the website and captures all actions of the lead. E.g. pages visited, scrolling behavior, traffic source, … . Explicit data on the other hand is data where a contact has provided the information him- or herself. This could be a job function, name, company name, … .  

Thanks to this data it is possible to offer highly relevant content and create strong buyer personas. This again helps you to generate more high-quality leads.

5. Generate more leads

After reading all the previous benefits it is no secret anymore. Offering qualitative content at the right time will get you more visitors and interesting leads. Marketing automation will make sure that leads are presented with relevant content that is aligned with what they need at that certain moment. By automating, personalizing and offering ‘premium content’ (e.g. white paper, templates, eBooks), you can trigger your target group to offer a piece of their data. Which gives you a better insight into what they need and how you can follow-up on this specific lead.

In any way, a marketing automation set-up needs to be backed up by a well-defined marketing strategy. Marketing automation can help you to make the process more efficient but it is just a tool to reach your goal. The value you bring and the difference you make for the buyer are still key in your marketing efforts. Especially in B2B marketing.

6. Improve your ROI

Marketing automation can definitely increase the number of quality leads that are transferred to sales at the end of the funnel. By combining all the above benefits less time is needed to invest in the following up of leads and more leads will be converted to customers (automatically). It’s an investment to set-up the initial process but once it’s going, you will almost certainly see the time and money saved by automating the marketing process.

Want to receive more information about B2B marketing automation or do you want to have a conversation about what the business case for your company can be? Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation via the form below!

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