Our perspective at VantagePoint

Marketing automation in B2B | 3 ideas to get started

“Marketing automation” can sound a little scary. Maybe you don’t have a CRM. Maybe you don’t have the time to manage another piece of software. Maybe your budget is already maxed out. I get it — marketing automation seems like an easy thing to add to the “one day” list.

But one great thing about marketing automation is that it’s not an “all or nothing” type of tactic. If you have access to the software (such as through VantagePoint), you can test out smaller programs and later build on those efforts.

So, where do you start?

According to data on Marketingcharts.com, based on a study from Econsultancy/Act-On Software, the top reasons B2B marketers choose to implement a marketing automation system include:

  1. Generate higher quality leads
  2. Increase Revenue
  3. Align sales and marketing for mutual success

Based on those top three goals, here are some not-so-scary tactical, e-mail-based ideas:

  1. Using MA to generate higher quality leads: Consider connecting any lead-gen tactics already in market to an automated lead-nurturing e-mail program. After prospects download a gated piece of content, for example, they could automatically be sent a follow-up e-mail(s) with links to free related content. Monitor who engages with the follow-up e-mail(s) and pass those leads onto sales, rather than the entire original list.
  2. Using MA to increase revenue: Often it makes sense to keep the sales team focused on finding and closing new deals, which means smaller customer penetration opportunities don’t get much attention. Select a customer group to focus on and set up a series of e-mails to “drip” over the course of several months reminding customers of things like preventative maintenance, helpful accessories or related products/services. Once the simple “journey” is scheduled, it runs itself.
  3. Align sales and marketing for mutual success: Following a major trade show, work with the sales team to identify which leads require a more personal follow-up from the sales team and which require some additional nurturing. For the nurturing group, start with an e-mail that touches on several topics or products covered in the show (complete with content offers), and then drip additional follow-up e-mails that are more focused on topics they show interest in. Pull quarterly reports, and send a list of seemingly interested leads to sales for personal follow-up, along with insight on what content/products they’ve been clicking on.

None of these options require constructing complex journeys, lead scoring or making a heavy investment in e-mail/content development, yet all of them have the potential to simplify or enhance sales and marketing efforts.

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