Data allows B2B marketers to paint a rich picture of their target customer with the goal of increasing sales. Today’s marketing automation solutions track and engage real prospects all along the buyer's journey. Crucial decisions about strategy and outreach can be informed by granular insights on how businesses purchase your goods or services. These tools provide a competitive advantage against less sophisticated sellers.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation refers to technologies and processes that help businesses identify and engage with customers in a more sophisticated way. Using pre-defined characteristics or triggers, marketers can set parameters that automate repetitive tasks. Marketing automation allows brands to easily scale and optimize their marketing and sales efforts across channels, improving ROI without creating more work for employees. Automation depends upon reliable data collection and analytics integrations in order to make the right move at the right time.
How B2B Marketing Automation Works
B2B marketing automation solutions can help with lead prospecting, lead nurturing, and campaign management. There’s no single type of marketing automation software that can solve for everything; different tools serve different purposes. However, many people interact with these processes within customer relationship management (CRM) platforms.
It all starts with the collection of customer data. Even marketers are sometimes surprised at the breadth of information available to them, including data gathered via:
Website Analytics Programs: This includes detailed insights on visitors to your website, including the pages they visit and which URLs generate the most sales. Tracking cookies allow brands to see when someone returns to your site and these bits of code can be linked to supplemental third-party data about off-site behavior. There are also solutions like D&B Visitor Intelligence that help B2B marketers unmask anonymous web traffic in real-time to understand the companies and buyer personas visiting their website.
Ad Networks: Google, Facebook, and other advertising networks can track online behavior, classify customers by demographic characteristics, or allow businesses to retarget qualified leads with relevant ads.
Third-Party Providers: External data providers, including Dun & Bradstreet, gather additional information from online and offline sources that can be linked to customer profiles. When your customer is another company, you may be able to review business credit files, public financial documents, and more.
How B2B Companies Use Marketing Automation
Marketing automation can bring improvements in a variety of areas, including:
- Lead Generation: Access to detailed insights about a business allow marketers to devote their time to qualified leads in relevant industries.
- Customer Engagement: Email platforms can be configured to send messages when someone performs a specific action, such as clicking on the “Contact Us” page. Tracking cookies allows for website personalization — the practice of serving up a unique page based upon someone’s past behavior.
- Outreach: The more you know about a prospect, the easier it is to tailor a pitch to them. Businesses no longer have to rely upon gut instinct when real data is available to guide the initial conversation.
- Customer Retention: Automation makes it easier to re-engage stale accounts. Emails can be triggered after a certain period of time has passed since the client’s last order.
These are just a handful of the ways B2B marketing automation can help companies solve common problems.