B2B Marketing blog

The 5 main reasons for marketing automation in B2B

According to Forrester Research, in 2015, CEOs will demand a detailed ROI report that shows how marketing contributes to revenue generation or other business objectives. A proven way to illustrate marketing’s contribution is by introducing a marketing automation system. This relatively new technology helps measuring the effectiveness of marketing, offering better insight into the ROI of marketing programs and initiatives. In fact, B2B marketers have five major challenges that stress the importance of using marketing automation software.

Also the 5 main challenges of B2B marketers

‘Marketing automation’, in other words the automation of marketing activities, makes it possible to measure and improve the effectiveness of marketing and sales. To achieve this, marketing directors will have to establish the right mindset and bring their team along. If they want to create and implement new processes then it is important to emphasize the urgency of those changes. As far as we’re concerned, the five main challenges of B2B marketers are pointing to the main reasons to start with marketing automation tomorrow.

1. Engage with suspects and prospects relevantly and effectively

The top marketing challenge for many organizations is engaging with buyers and decision makers within their target audience. Companies cannot attract and engage buyers with content and offers, nor can they engage them in effective dialogues, unless they have insufficient insight into potential buyers. What are the top issues, concerns and goals of these buyers? What sort of information are they interested in? What channels do they use to find information?

Unfortunately, most insights about buyers is siloed, captured and stored in different systems across the organization. In addition, organizations need to tap into data from social media engagements and numerous other sources outside of the company. To effectively engage with buyers, marketers must unlock and integrate this data and make it accessible to everyone who interacts with prospective customers. A marketing automation system can serve this need.

By using this data to gain a more complete picture of each individual in the contact database, organizations can better interact with these buyers. This is the first step to engaging prospects in a relevant way, to win their trust and build a relationship.

2. Deliver qualified leads to sales

Many B2B marketers generate and send all leads to sales directly, without any qualifying, scoring or nurturing. As a result, the quality of these leads is often quite poor.

No streamlined marketing and sales process

Few organizations use a clearly defined and streamlined marketing and sales process. Result is that sales don’t take the leads that marketing provides, seriously – a less effective pipeline and fewer conversions from lead to client.

Supplying good leads for sales

Organizations with an efficient lead management process have a more successful sales department than organizations where this process is not streamlined. The visible results show in higher conversion rates and more won clients. Research agency SiriusDecisions states that at these companies generate 47% more sales deals. The challenge of many marketers is therefore supplying qualified leads to sales, as well as a high quality lead generation and lead management process.

3. Demonstrate the ROI of marketing

As companies focus more and more on numbers and results, marketers face growing pressure to show their value to the organization. In fact, Forrester Research says that in 2015, CEOs will demand a detailed ROI report that shows how marketing contributes to revenue generation or other business objectives. Yet many B2B marketers struggle to demonstrate the ROI of their programs and initiatives. As a result, their credibility is undermined and they find it challenging to improve their performance over time.

Measuring an incomplete picture

Marketers who are busy measuring the performance of their tactics – such as email open and click-through rates and website traffic – overlook other important measurements. Emails are only one touch point in an often very long buyers’ process that consists of several phases. To measure the ultimate impact of marketing, marketers need to show an extensive and integrated picture of the performance across all channels, from first touch all the way to revenue.

According to research by marketing automation vendor Eloqua, 53% of marketers are responsible for results on a strategic level. In other words, more than half of marketers are responsible to prove the ROI of marketing. Yet only half of the marketers are able to actually measure it on this level.

4. Save marketing costs

Because of the often-limited marketing budget, many marketers are under constant pressure to reduce costs. Marketing automation makes this possible by automating marketing processes and providing reusable templates that eliminate many mind-numbing, time-consuming tasks.

Do it yourself or outsourcing it?

A marketing manager can also achieve more efficiency by training the marketing team so that you are able to do everything in-house. The other side is that when you are marketing director and you have an inefficient marketing department, outsourcing can be a better solution.

5. Decrease dependency on the IT department

The fifth and final challenge is decreasing the interdependency between the marketing and IT department. Many marketers are strongly dependent on IT to get things done. For instance, creating and publishing registration forms and landing pages. When marketing is reliant on an IT department with other priorities, marketing campaigns can be delayed, leading to frustration throughout the organization. Marketing automation more agile marketing department. Is your B2B marketing challenge in this Top 5 list? Which challenge is on top of your list?

In the next articles on this topic, we cover the with the following:

  • How can marketing automation help B2B marketers overcome these challenges?
  • What are the costs and benefits of marketing automation
  • What should marketers look for when choosing a marketing automation system?

This blog previously appeared on Frankwatching (in Dutch only).


Shimon Ben Ayoun

Shimon Ben Ayoun is co-founder and managing director of spotONvision and the B2B Marketing Forum. He helps marketers in the transformation of marketing as 'cost center' to 'revenue generator'. He is constantly looking for innovations in B2B and technology to increase the success of marketers.