Marketing automation technology is one of the areas where B2B marketers will increase spending in 2014 according to an article I read in the September 16 issue of BtoB Magazine. There are many more choices available today in Marketing Automation (MA) offerings and one can find the right fit at various price points. This post is not a product review or a comparison of different marketing automation packages. You’ll find plenty of such articles online written by vendors and independent marketing consultants. You can visit sites of different MA vendors and get the laundry list of all the features they offer.
I’ll stick to my area of expertise – industrial marketing and the use of MA in this specific niche. I have used HubSpot for about four years for two different clients and am now using Pardot for another manufacturer. I want to zero in on two key benefits of using MA for improving industrial lead generation and conversions.
- Prospect Profiling
- ROI Measurement and Reporting
Let me say from the outset that both HubSpot and Pardot offer these two options and do them equally well. I use the MA platform that makes most sense for a particular client (Note: I’m just a user of these two MA packages and not associated with either of the companies). As I’ve said earlier, this is not a product comparison post.
Prospect profiling: This may sound creepy as in stalking or spying on someone. That’s not the case at all. I’m talking about using technology legitimately to gain a better understanding of visitors and their needs based on their demographics and site behavior. This kind of actionable intelligence helps sales team have conversations that are more productive from the very first interaction rather than wasting time in probing and posturing. This is very important these days because the buyer behavior has changed and customers can do most of their research online before talking to anyone in sales. That is not to say that sales people don’t have a role to play in the initial stages, it means they must be better prepared. MA helps them do just that!
ROI Measurement and Reporting: The ability to track a prospect from the first point of contact to a “Win” or “Lost Opportunity” is vital to industrial lead generation. You would get a distorted picture if you attributed all conversions to the last click. That’s because industrial sales usually involve multiple stakeholders and sales cycles are long. The ability to measure actual sales generated from industrial marketing is critical because most manufacturing and industrial companies are sales driven and tend to be less marketing focused. It is easier to quantify marketing’s contribution to sales and revenues with MA than it is without.
The images shown here are from Pardot’s free guide, How Automation Works: A Visual Guide that you can download from their site.
As I have written here before, MA is a not a magic bullet for industrial lead generation. MA is a powerful software tool that automates and optimizes many of the steps but technology alone can’t help you if you don’t have a good understanding of your markets, personas and their buyer journeys. That knowledge is required to create relevant content for various stakeholders and their needs as they move through the different stages of their buying journey. More than anything else, you need to allocate enough budget, put the right people and processes in place to manage MA to get the most out of it.
Are you using Marketing Automation in your industrial marketing? How has it improved your lead generation and conversions?