Why use Automation for Sales & Marketing in B2B?
75% of marketers surveyed by Social Media Today said they currently use at least one type of marketing automation. Automation for marketing and sales ranges from single-use tools to all-encompassing platforms of features designed to generate leads, qualify and nurture them, scale personalized conversations, increase pipeline velocity, and ultimately—close more sales and generate more business with the right customers.
For B2B companies, automation platforms are vital for qualified lead generation, especially for those selling indirectly or through a channel of distributors. Since B2B sales cycles are often times longer and more complex than B2C cycles, time spent following up with junk leads who are poor fit and ultimately don’t make a purchase is a lot of time (and money) wasted. Automation platforms solve for quality lead generation complications with features that allow your sales and marketing teams to work together more effectively, qualify leads and automatically enroll leads in nurture campaigns, and track a lead’s touch points with your company.
Measuring the ROI of Automation
At the end of the day, conversion is the metric to track in order to determine the return on investment of any marketing effort. Determining the ROI of a sales and marketing automation platform is a matter of comparing a historical conversion rate to how the rate changes with the implementation of automation.
In general, a higher conversion rate following automation adoption would mean the platform has successfully generated more high quality leads. Meanwhile, a lower conversion would indicate that lead generation has gone up, but the lead quality is down.
In order to translate conversion into dollars, you need to account for the revenue gained by those customers who converted because of marketing automation efforts and compare it to the cost of the platform and other costs associated with using the platform, such as cost of employee time spent using it or cost of hiring an agency to help with setup or strategy.
Tracking who converted because of efforts set into motion by automation is easy to track with automation. Platforms that track customer touch points indicate what a customer looked at and interacted with before they made a purchase, and automation runs reports on either default metrics or ones you customize specific to your business and buyer’s journey.
Common Challenges with B2B Sales & Marketing Automation
Companies invest in automation platforms to drive revenue by increasing their quality lead generation, which is a matter of improving targeting and the ability to supply the right information at the right time. However, several factors can impact how well an automation platform accomplishes these tasks.
A study by Liana Technologies found that the three biggest challenges in B2B success with marketing automation are a lack of expertise, human resources, and strategy. Additionally, a study by SmartInsights and Communicator found that B2B companies struggle most with the following areas of marketing automation:
- Integrating existing systems
- Employee adoption of the technology
- Configuring tracking metrics to prove ROI
It’s easy to see how a lack of expertise, manpower, and strategy could make these areas of automation difficult. With minimal experience and confidence, effective implementation and adoption is harder to achieve, and with no clear strategy, determining what metrics will show success is near impossible.
How Agencies Alleviate Challenges with Automation for B2B Companies
B2B organizations looking to use automation, but lacking the skills themselves, will need to call in some backup to succeed. Agencies who provide services in automation setup and strategy solve these common issues holding companies back.
Business growth agencies provide the expertise, human resources, and strategy needed for effective sales and marketing automation. A business growth agency works with your team to understand your product, customers, and the unique challenges of your business. From there, they build a strategy fit specifically to meet those challenges. From advanced integration support to training sessions and dashboard configuration, a partnership with a business growth agency is an ideal option for B2B companies whether they’re looking to start with automation, switch up their platform, or revamp their strategy.
While hiring an agency adds an additional cost to implementing sales and marketing automation, the overall impact of adding in their expertise will drive better automation results. And generally, an agency will cost less than hiring a marketing director while having more manpower and experience to get the job done.