B2B tech companies often find it difficult to generate quality leads and convert them into sales with marketing automation. This struggle can be the result of poorly combined marketing strategies and a lack of documented marketing processes. Ironically, you can be very good at streamlining business operations for your clients, and yet, not see how to apply the same rules for your marketing.
No one understands the benefits of automation better than B2B tech companies. If you’re in this industry, we know you don’t need to read about how using data can help you reach the right people. You already have that down! Even so, we also know that many B2B tech companies are not satisfied with the results of their marketing automation. Why is that?
Most of the time, it’s because they haven’t found the right tool at the right time, or haven’t taken the time to explore all the features within the tools they currently use.
Platforms like HubSpot can make B2B tech marketing a breeze and create workflows that all tech-minded folks will love. But, like any platform, you need to know how to make full use of it to add real value to your marketing.
Just so we’re clear, this isn’t a blog post about the benefits of using HubSpot. This post aims to equip you with the knowledge you need to make the most out of HubSpot marketing automation for an improved return on your B2B marketing efforts.
1) Get to know your marketing automation tool
As much as 68 percent of businesses use automation in one way or another. But not all manage to see their desired results. As someone in B2B tech marketing, you likely have a core understanding of how marketing automation works. You’ve read blog posts, watched a few tutorials, and are nearly ready to start experimenting on your own.
However, just knowing the essential tools won’t bring you the results your team expects. To manage successful marketing campaigns, you’ll need a deeper understanding of the more sophisticated features available.
You can achieve this by either diving deep and learning everything about your tool yourself or hiring someone who already has that knowledge.
The good news is that most marketing automation platforms provide thorough guidance and exhaustive knowledge bases for users to become familiar with even the most advanced features. HubSpot, for example, uses HubSpot Academy to teach its users inbound marketing, how to implement the inbound methodology, and how to increase your ROI. Every user can use these HubSpot resources to learn how to build and optimize workflows and marketing campaigns.
As with all software solutions: knowledge is power. When you understand exactly how a marketing automation platform works, you can get the maximum value for your money.
2) Have realistic expectations
You can achieve almost any of your marketing goals through B2B marketing automation, but it won’t happen just because you paid a subscription fee. The trick here is to find the right balance between technology and the human element.
Let’s say you decide to try HubSpot. When your team asks, “What does HubSpot actually do?”, don’t stop at giving them a short speech and a link to the HubSpot Academy. It may send the message that the software itself coupled with certifications will do miracles for your sales and turnaround. They won’t.
Your team should understand that their input in this journey and transition is just as crucial, if not more important, as the tool itself. Their effort to learn how to effectively use this automation tool, along with a thorough understanding of your brand’s target audience and what content is valuable to them, will enable you to curate the overall customer experience and ultimately differentiate your brand from competitors.
Investing in marketing automation platforms without also investing in your staff isn’t going to cut it. Overall, marketing automation will save you money and add clarity to your processes, but it’s people who make the magic happen.
3) Define clear goals and evaluate progress
Business growth is a result of planning, plain and simple. Testing is essential, but you need to do more than randomly experimenting things you’ve read about on social media. When you decide to invest in marketing automation, go into it with a plan in mind. If you’re just getting started with HubSpot or another marketing automation platform, what do you want to achieve specifically? Avoid “sales” as your primary goal. It’s a generic answer and doesn’t substitute for clear goals and milestones.
According to a 2020 HubSpot Marketing Report, nearly 25% of marketers aren’t reporting how their campaigns directly impact revenue. Yet, 91% of marketers are confident that they invest in programs that influence revenue. This disparity is a sign that some companies have yet to discover a clear way to communicate and measure their campaign objectives.
Successful B2B marketing strategies need SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. They’re essential for tracking progress, measuring impact, and calculating ROI. Without clear goals to help you evaluate your campaign’s performance, you can’t know what works and what needs to be improved.
Once you have a clear objective in mind, marketing automation makes it easy to track. After setting your marketing objectives, you can measure your efforts by using the platform’s reporting features. This way, you can quickly see the effect of your marketing campaigns on various aspects of the business.
4) Invest in lead nurturing campaigns
For most marketers, lead nurturing is the second most important goal of a marketing automation strategy, right after lead generation. That’s because it’s one of the most lucrative marketing strategies right now. For instance, businesses that excel at nurturing leads can see an increase of 50 percent in sales while reducing marketing costs.
Marketing automation perfectly complements lead nurturing. It can help manage both email and social media marketing, allowing you to focus a significant portion of your efforts on communicating with your leads and guiding them throughout the buyer’s journey. Focusing too much on lead generation and ignoring people in your customer database means that you only miss business opportunities.
Lead generation is important, but so are your existing prospects and customers.
By nurturing leads, you gain a better understanding of what your consumers need. It helps you give them the right information at the right time using appropriate channels. Investing your resources into lead nurturing improves lead-to-conversion rates, grows sales, and, overall, has successful outcomes with reduced marketing expenses.
HubSpot enables you to capture lead information and quickly identify which leads need to be nurtured. Using data, you can pinpoint in which stage of the buyer’s journey your leads are positioned, then segment your email list to send personalized messages to each category of contacts. You can further customize the buying experience by setting lead nurturing workflows and monitoring how your contacts move through the buyer’s journey.
5) Make customer retention part of your B2B marketing strategy
Marketing automation can help you get new leads, nurture them, and keep in touch with your clients once you’ve closed a sale. Many marketers fail to keep customers engaged and improve retention because they forget that automation doesn’t only build relationships, but it can also consolidate them.
Marketing automation allows you to work smarter as you personalize interactions with your clients. All marketing automation platforms include multiple features that can help you stay in touch with your clients and regularly follow up for creating a seamless end-to-end customer experience.
You can use automation to customize the buying experience, deliver high-quality content, or send personalized offers. It’s also effortless to encourage your customers to leave reviews, making it even easier to understand what went wrong if a client doesn’t seem satisfied with their experience.
If you don’t make full use of your marketing automation software, you risk spending too much and getting next to nothing in return. You also need to ensure that you aren’t underestimating the features of your current marketing automation platform, and explore it fully, before investing in another.
You may feel tempted to say that maybe your business isn’t ready for a marketing automation platform like HubSpot. Before you jump any conclusions, take some time to make sure you’ve been doing it right. If you’re using HubSpot, we can take a look to see whether or not you’ve been exhausting its capabilities. Schedule a free HubSpot portal audit to get a complete analysis of your performance, along with a series of suggestions and insights about which tools you’ve been underestimating, and could greatly benefit from using.