Marketing Automation is a bit like a teenager: eager to grow, but still looking for her true identity and in a phase of rapid change; simultaneously, the expectations of both companies and their customers are evolving regarding what is required of marketing in the B2B field. Consequently, we are witnessing a continuous transformation in conceiving the relationship between supply and demand and involving the audience.
Current strategies focus not only on inbound marketing initiatives aimed at generating qualified leads: today, we try to reach the right roles (both in companies potentially and in actual customers) through a personalized experience that is expressed beyond the presence on social media or navigation within the website; all this to encourage the growth of turnover by managing the entire life cycle of the relationship between the company and its interlocutors.
In this ever-changing climate, both B2B companies and Marketing Automation platform providers are reexamining the role, purpose, and potential of automation in marketing – which is a great thing. When investing in fostering the success of a company, it is essential to understand precisely the situation and what this entails for the career of marketers; in this article, we present some helpful information to know how to define your strategies, choose the most suitable technological platforms and manage the professionalism of collaborators.
Customer Lifecycle Management Is Key To B2B Marketing
Marketing Automation appeared on the scene just over a decade ago (which is why she is a teenager), along with the promise of transforming marketers from mere corporate brand “supporters” to authentic contributors to revenue growth – all thanks to new technological solutions explicitly developed to encourage lead maturation. After several efforts, also aimed at creating methods to generate additional leads (and demand in general), reality has shown – beyond a reasonable doubt – that much more than a simple automation platform is needed.
To support the company’s economic growth (and that of the size of its reference market). As more and more companies embrace cloud-inspired business models, it is a priority for marketers to manage the entire lifecycle of their contacts; the task of marketing does not begin when someone fills out a form on the website to receive a series of newsletters and does not end when someone signs a contract and becomes a customer. Today, on the one hand, it is necessary to discover and involve the right interlocutors by identifying them online when they express a need and before they turn to us.
On the other hand, the fact that marketing contributes to turnover must be declined on a series of activities aimed at selling additional complementary or superior products (cross-sell and up-sell), to favor and automate renewals as much as possible and to retain customers also by supporting their requests and highlighting their needs (customer advocacy). This means that marketing teams collaborate with multiple business entities. At the same time, the technologies, information, and processes that make this transformation possible in the B2B environment must extend far beyond Marketing Automation platforms.
In addition, strategies involving the creation and implementation of tactics specific to each organization with which you have a relationship ( account-based marketing ) are at the top of the priorities to facilitate the closing of contracts and expand your presence at the various customers. As a result, most B2B marketing automation platforms and solution providers have added account-based marketing tools and customer lifecycle management capabilities to their offering.
Marketing Automation Platforms Evolve Trying To Understand (And Prevent) The Needs Of Their Users
And here, punctually, a further reference to adolescence and its typical problems; at that age, one wonders: who am I? What do I want to be when I grow up? You are looking for your own identity – which would explain why many significant companies offering Marketing Automation solutions have already renewed their management team once or twice. Marketo is rushing to move beyond automation and become a well-rounded platform for “customer engagement”;
Finally, Salesforce and Adobe hardly even talk about Marketing Automation out-of-court anymore. In many B2B organizations, automation has become synonymous with email campaigns, nurturing, and qualified lead scoring; these skills are essential for marketing. However, they are not enough to create new customers or expand relationships with existing ones to retain them and obtain new contracts. For this reason, “early adopter” marketing automation solution providers are all committed to increasing their offering to include customer lifecycle management in the broadest sense of the term.
Creating Turnover Goes Beyond “Simple” Automation
Those involved in marketing are well aware that automation has not provided immediate results, despite the excellent conditions; today, we are aware that – at a minimum – an integrated technology stack is needed, capable of leveraging customer information that is accurate and concretely usable, of measuring performance and of putting in place unified processes to connect market, sales, and marketing without neglecting the constant commitment to find and keep the best talent in modern marketing.
Today’s Marketing Automation is surrounded by and about a series of technologies, processes, and data necessary for creating turnover in all its forms. Many new elements have emerged and are playing a prominent role in the B2B field; we refer in particular to:
- Top-funnel marketing – the identification and involvement of key people within the organization of their most important customers before their development begins.
- Data and knowledge – the use of predictive analytics tools and machine learning to better focus one’s efforts
- Sales technologies – the availability of tools and processes aimed at improving effectiveness and efficiency for the development of new opportunities in the sales pipeline, as well as managing customer relationships
- Customer experience – the ability to implement initiatives aimed at customer satisfaction, listening to their needs, and building loyalty
Being An Expert In Marketing Automation Platforms Does Not Automatically Make You A Career
In practice, the ability to understand and manage automated marketing activities is something of an essential requirement and, to be successful in B2B, marketers must have extensive knowledge related to:
- Technologies and processes within the complete customer lifecycle
- Go-to-market strategies across multiple markets and product lines
- Analytical and “intelligence” tools to be used daily
- Tactics for managing the production of new turnover, specific to each account
In summary, the time has come to mature beyond the pure automation of the techniques that allow you to inform and train the audience to prepare them for sale: you need to find new valuable contacts by looking for them in suitable areas, gaining attention and trust, personalizing as much as possible. Our relationship with them fosters their purchase intention – operating in synergy both with the entire pool of contacts we have in each client company and with the other teams we collaborate with within our organization.
Everything must then be reinforced by a constructive relationship to be refined over time, in which the aim is not only to sell “other” but above all to constitute a reliable reference for our interlocutors: a sort of trusted third party that works alongside the sales force and can be counted on for any need.