When you’ve finally found that great lead -- or leads -- through your inbound marketing efforts, the relationship with that potential customer is just beginning.
In fact, interactions between your company and that fresh lead should span every step of the buyer’s journey and their trip down the sales funnel. It'll require regular engagement and providing appropriate information at the right time, along with awesome sales follow-up emails and other outreach.
In other words, you’ll have to do a little inbound lead nurturing.
Lead-Nurturing Emails and B2B Marketing Automation
Guiding a lead along does take time and effort -- two things that may be in short supply at your busy company.
That’s where B2B marketing automation can come in and take that lead from an interested shopper to a committed buyer. The benefit of marketing automation is that it takes pressure off you while continuing to engage your leads through:
- Lead-nurturing emails (also called workflows)
- Social media posts
- Other targeted content
For example, lead-nurturing email workflows can send out follow-up email sequences at predesignated times. This way your salespeople don't have to drop everything when a new lead comes in -- your marketing automation tools take care of it for them.
Manufacturing, healthcare technology, and other B2B industries have a long buying cycle -- lead nurturing is especially essential here. As you'll see below, B2Bs tend to lag in adopting modern marketing practices, so you have an awesome chance to blow by your out-of-touch peers.
Lead nurturing and marketing automation are crucial to the B2B sales process and can have big impacts on your company’s bottom line.
Lead-Nurturing & Marketing Automation Stats That Prove Their Impact
And now, the digital marketing stats you've been waiting for!
- Only 19% of manufacturers planned to adopt automated marketing tech in 2020. (Source: Kommando Tech)
- About 20% of all marketers are using automation for email marketing campaigns. (Source: HubSpot)
- However, about 68% of all businesses use automation in some form. (Source: HubSpot)
- Of those who use automation, 23% are automating delivery of content marketing. (Source: HubSpot)
- Among B2B marketers, 58% plan to adopt automation technology. (Source: Emailmonday)
- Of the people visiting your website, 96% of them aren't ready to buy yet (Source: Marketo). If sales contacts them too soon, they may feel harassed.
- A study by Ascend2 revealed that 53% of respondents, spread across all industries, confess that the majority of their leads require long sales cycles.
- The customer buying journey is hard -- 77% of B2B buyers said their most recent purchase was highly complex or difficult. (Source: Gartner)
- Mooster says 36% of marketers use marketing automation to shave off time from -- or totally eliminate -- their repetitive tasks.
- Email automation campaigns are among the top three strategies email marketers use to improve job performance. (Source: HubSpot)
- Marketers using automation software report generating 80% more leads. (Source: SmallBizGenius)
- Triggered emails have a click-through rate 152% higher than traditional emails. (Source: Email Monks)
- Those who use marketing automation strategies say time is the biggest barrier to using them. Those who don’t automate say budget is the biggest barrier. (Source: Responsify)
- Top-performing sellers say they receive better leads from Marketing -- 94% of them call the leads they receive through marketing efforts either “excellent” or “good.” (Source: LinkedIn)
- Experts predict global spending on marketing automation tools to surpass $25 billion by 2023, a 14% annual growth rate. (Source: Instapage)
- You can lose an estimated one in four potential customers simply by providing no relevant content or content that isn't helpful enough. (Source: Quoracreative). Always be educating, not selling!
- Email marketing has a 4400% ROI on average (Source: OptinMonster). Who said email was dead?
- Automated marketing emails generate 320% more revenue than standard marketing emails. (Resource: Campaign Monitor)
- Even qualified leads need nurturing! One survey reported that 40-70%+ of qualified leads still aren’t ready to buy. (Source: Databox)
- Among B2B organizations, 15% don't include outreach in their sales and marketing processes to keep leads warm (Source: Gartner Research). Creating helpful, relevant content for all steps of the buyer's journey can soothe the concerns of leads and shorten their time-to-purchase.
The Evolution of B2B Sales Strategy
These are just a few of the 100s of other statistics out there. Efforts to maximize lead follow-up and workflow marketing automation will continue to evolve. Companies will have new best practices to report from their successes.
Want to be one of these success stories? Start by revamping your trade show email strategy. This free guide includes sales email templates and all the trade show tips and tricks you need:
(Editor's note: This article was originally published in January 2016 and was updated in March 2021 with new stats and insights.)