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5 Ways Your B2B Marketing Automation is Failing

Ascend2 found that the most significant barrier to marketing automation success is the lack of an effective strategy. And according to B2Bmarketing.net's Marketing Automation Benchmarking Report, 17% of marketers say marketing automation has been very beneficial for their company. Five-seven percent said it was quite beneficial, while 26% saw limited to no benefit.

If your business sits in the last bucket, the 26% that is not yet reaping the benefits of marketing automation, you’re likely ready for some tips on what you need to do differently. How can you join the 74% of B2B marketers who say they are experiencing a 10% or greater increase in sales opportunities through lead nurturing?

For marketing automation to yield its revenue generating benefits, you need each of the three pieces to the puzzle: people, process, and the marketing automation system. If one is missing, the likelihood of success is greatly diminished.

It often comes down to reversing the age-old cart-before-the-horse problem. In the rush to adopt marketing automation, marketers sometimes fail to do their due diligence.

If your horse is not leading your cart full of marketing initiatives forward, you may be stuck at any of these five obstacles. I will help you put the process and necessary people in place, freeing up your marketing automation system to do the job it was designed to do.

1. Lacking Strategy to Generate and Nurture Leads

Have you planned to acquire lists of leads or attract them through your content marketing initiatives? If you want to use content marketing successfully, you’ll need to create a content strategy. That starts with using persona research to understand your buyers’ journey.

By talking with customers as well as prospects who ended up not doing business with you, you can learn how buyers travel from initial problem identification to awareness of a solution, to weighing the alternatives and making their final decision. Dig deep to find out the questions that potential customers ask throughout the buying cycle.

Once you know the questions your buyers ask, it’s easy to create your content plan. Simply map the customers’ questions to the content that will answer them. Decide which content you’ll make available for everyone to build awareness. Determine which high-value content you’ll reserve for people who are willing to exchange their contact information for it.

Winning the lead is just the beginning. Since half those leads won’t be ready to buy day one, but will be in the future, you need to plan a way to nurture them. Marketing automation provides the system to make this happen effortlessly. However, you need a content plan for the email nurtures. You should design each email to answer one or more of the buyer’s questions, educating them, so they have the knowledge they need to make a purchase decision. Remember, each insight you share builds a little more trust.

Of course, you don’t have to limit your nurturing to emails. While email marketing is a fast and cost-effective method, you may want to supplement it with telemarketing and direct mail. Telemarketing offers the greatest level of personalization and is often essential to gathering the information you need to qualify a lead. Direct mail may be appropriate when you are trying to reach a C-level decision maker and want to provide a tangible representation of your organization.

2. Failing to Set Goals for Data Acquisition

Now that you have a solution in place to attain your leads, you need to make sure you know what data to acquire for each of them.

Bear in mind that you may not be able to get all the data during the initial lead capture. So, it’s a good idea to test the number of fields that you put into a form on your landing page. It’s possible you’ll see higher conversion rates when you ask the lead to fill in only one or two fields, however, you may discover the leads are not high-quality. If you ask the lead to fill a few more fields, you likely will have lower conversion rates, but the leads could be more qualified.

No lead form is apt to capture all the information that you require to qualify your leads. So, you want to decide how you are going to follow up and gather the remainder of the information that you need. You may, for example, need to have a one-on-one phone conversation to determine whether the leads have the budget required, the authority to buy, the need for your product or solution and some urgency to make it happen.

3. Not Keeping Score

Marketing automation systems enable you to score leads to represent the perceived value of each lead, in other words the likelihood that it will turn into a sale. So a fundamental aspect of your marketing automation strategy should be to determine how to score each lead based on demographic criteria (size of firm, title, etc.), as well as their behavior. Someone who downloads a white paper, watches a webinar, and signs up for a free demo would likely score higher than another individual who only reads a blog post.

4. Sailing Without a Crew

We talked about needing people, processes, and systems to achieve your goals. Before you launch your marketing automation system, ensure you have people in place who can create the content to fuel it. Also, get a team lined up to handle telephone conversations you’ll need for in-depth lead qualification.

You’ll likely need skilled business development specialists who are comfortable working on the phone. While you may not need to have these individuals in-house, it’s good to vet out a business-to-business telemarketing company before you get started with marketing automation. Look for a vendor that can provide staff on an as needed basis. Also, their reps should be able to talk peer-to-peer with top managers and C-level executives.

5. Neglecting to Measure Success

You could very well be missing out on one of the beauties of marketing automation: the ability to review the success of your marketing initiatives. Before you get started, determine what you want to measure and the reports you need to review. You can create a dashboard that enables you to access daily, monthly, and quarterly metrics with the click of a button. This dashboard empowers you to get the insights you need to take action and optimize your marketing efforts.

To make the most out of your marketing automation system, put a process and the people first in place that you need to support it. They are prerequisites for success.

Join other Modern Marketers that are delivering better leads, aligning marketing with sales, and generating a lot more revenue. Download the Marketing Automation Simplified guide to see your marketing automation system succeed.

Marketing Automation Simplified

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