June 28, 2022
By Kaci Antoine, Marketing Content Specialist
The sales cycle of a small-to-medium B2B company can last as long as 60 days, while enterprise sales cycles can last six months or longer.¹ Implementing a B2B marketing automation tool like Hubspot helps companies engage more prospects across channels and nurture them successfully throughout these long sales cycles. 64% of B2B marketers say marketing automation leads to more sales, and 95% of marketers say marketing automation helped them achieve primary objectives.²
As marketing automation becomes more common, sales and marketing teams can utilize it in myriad ways to improve their buyer’s journey, customer experience, and even marketing and sales alignment.
Your buyer's journey maps the path potential buyers take from initial interest to purchase. Studying your buyer’s journey can help you identify where your teams can use B2B marketing automation most effectively. Ensure you understand:
With this data, you can optimize your marketing strategy by implementing marketing automation at key points in the buyer’s journey. For instance, look at your most successful nurturing campaigns. Are there any specific parts of that campaign that lend themselves to automation? Would segmenting your leads make it easier to automate pieces of the buyer’s journey?
Marketing automation is also an excellent tool for automating lead nurturing for leads who are further away from a purchasing decision or may not be qualified right now. Instead of manually tracking leads needing additional nurturing or removing them from your nurturing process, you can drop them into a long-term nurturing process and be alerted when a long-term nurture meets a certain threshold or takes a certain action that makes them a marketing-qualified lead.
Finally, consider how you might use marketing automation to connect with and activate your current customers by alerting them to new product releases, upselling them on additional features, or encouraging them to send referrals your way.
The ideal outcomes of marketing automation are that you can automate repetitive tasks — allowing you to focus on higher-value projects — and that these automated processes perform better than a manual process by consistently implementing successful marketing practices across all lead interactions. You must set clear and measurable goals to ensure your marketing automation performs well. Focus on metrics that measure effectiveness rather than vanity-based metrics, like the number of emails sent. For example:
Read more about evaluating and improving these metrics here: Marketing Math for Beginners: How to Calculate and Improve Key Marketing Metrics
As marketing automation continues to evolve, companies must provide their teams with training and education to ensure they use it effectively. Failure to provide these resources leads to lower ROI on automation, lost revenue opportunities, and poor experiences for your leads and customers.
With that in mind, companies can keep employees up to date on the latest B2B marketing tools and automation strategies by:
Sales and marketing teams need to work together to significantly increase revenue opportunities. About 35% of marketers reported that their top reason for implementing marketing automation was to improve relations with the sales team.3 When these teams are aligned throughout the marketing and sales processes, they can deliver a unified buyer experience and generate more value. A few areas where marketing automation can improve marketing and sales alignment include:
Automated marketing applies processes consistently across all leads, so it provides a great opportunity to test messaging, strategies, and content with leads and find out what is most effective. Testing can help you quickly identify what works and what doesn't so you can iterate on successful ideas and eliminate those that don't produce results.
If you're not sure what to test, start with the basics:
Marketing automation is changing the way companies do business. Marketing automation platforms provide many tools that help B2B marketers create innovative solutions and understand their buyers on a deeper level.
Using these five strategies will help you elevate your marketing automation and improve outcomes for your marketing and sales teams.
¹HubSpot,The Enterprise Sales Cycle: How Massive Deals Come Together, July 08, 2021
2Oracle, Five Keys to Successful Automated Marketing, 2021
3Ascend, The State of Marketing Automation: A Research-based Guide for Marketers, August 2021
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