Change happens daily for marketing and sales teams, and it can be difficult to keep track of every single contact and their information. And once you combine the number of contacts you have with the different stages of the sales cycle, you can quickly become overwhelmed.
This is where B2B marketing automation tools come in. These useful tools are great for saving you a bunch of time and money, and can work to strengthen the partnership between your sales and marketing team.
But what exactly is marketing automation, and which tools are best for saving time and money?
What Is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is a set of tools designed to streamline and simplify some of the most time-consuming responsibilities of modern marketing and sales.
Sales teams use it to automate marketing campaigns and sales activities to increase revenue and overall efficiency. It’s one of the most effective tools found within the B2B sales toolkit.
3 B2B Marketing Automation Tools to Save Time & Money
There are many B2B marketing automation tools out there, and it would take us forever to highlight each one. Instead, here are three that will save you time and money:
- Internal workflow automation
- External workflow automation
- Social media marketing automation
These three tools are great for those attempting online marketing on a tight budget, and can make a huge difference in your ability to achieve business goals.
Internal Workflow Automation
Internal workflows refer to things that happen behind the scenes. They help support the efficiency goals of your sales and marketing teams, eliminate some maintenance minutia tasks, and ensure that crucial boxes are checked at the right time.
Internal workflows are extremely helpful throughout the entire sales process. When used correctly, this marketing automation tool can save you a ton of time and help prevent crucial actions from slipping through the cracks.
Some of the most successful scenarios that occur from building internal workflows are:
- Sorting contact types based on domain
- Matching companies and their contacts together to go on the same record
- Assigning contacts to sales reps based on auto-filled parameters
- Setting the lifecycle stage for contacts based on their activity
- Setting task reminders
Always test the workflow you’ve put in place instead of assuming it’ll function properly. Simple mistakes can mean the difference between a sale and an unengaged contact.
Although internal workflows take a significant time investment to build up and sort, the long-term results far outweigh this investment.
Questions to ask that will help you get started with internal workflows:
- Where are the marketing, sales, and service teams losing time on a regular basis?
- What tasks do your marketing, sales, or service teams hate?
- Are there recurring instances of missing information/miscommunication among teams?
External Workflows Automation
External workflows handle communication with leads or customers and help eliminate redundancy in email communication. Most importantly, they keep the sales process moving, helping to nurture leads.
All external workflows should aim to create a better customer/lead user experience. Don’t try and save time at the expense of the final result.
Some of the most successful scenarios that occur from building external workflows are:
- Form submission follow-up for premium content downloads (i.e. e-books, whitepapers)
- Spread follow-up out over a period of time after a contact performs an activity
- Task reminders combined with follow-up for old leads
- Activity-based lead follow-up
When setting up external workflows, make sure that your target audience's user experience is at the forefront of all your decisions. People prefer to have a personalized, human-like sales experience as opposed to a recycled message sent out to the masses.
Ensure that every touchpoint has a goal that helps the workflow as a whole meet its goals. This can be aided by setting KPIs (key performance indicators) that measure your success.
Questions to ask that will help you get started with external workflows:
- Are there any areas where sales, marketing, or service feels they wish theft could be more thorough with follow up?
- Are older leads being followed up on as much as possible?
- Are there gaps where lead follow up is not happening at all?
- Do you have repeat communication that needs to go out in a certain timeframe for certain groups of contacts?
Social Media Marketing Automation
Social media automation uses software and other tools to automatically publish content on your social media accounts and perform several other behind-the-scenes tasks.
Social media automation works on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and many other popular social platforms. This automation can include:
- Post scheduling
- Stream monitoring
- In-depth reporting
- Realtime hashtag tracking
- Multiple-user management
When using social media marketing automation, there are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:
Hashtags are great for reaching your target audience and getting more eyeballs on the posts you share.
Neglect hashtag research
By using the wrong hashtags, or none at all, you’re missing a crucial chunk of your potential target audience.
Find your platforms
Think about what platforms your target audience is likely to use.
Spam the same post
Make sure there is variety among your posts. If you’re sharing the same post across several different platforms, at least mix up the days and times they will be going out.
Compile thought leaders and reputable third-party sources
Find who you admire from a thought-leader stance and see what they’re talking about.
Forget to interact
This is vital. Ignoring your audience hurts your future chances of interaction.
Balance first-and third-party posts
If your social posts always link back to your page, it will bore your audience. Also share relevant and educational third-party articles to add something unique to the conversation.
Depending on your social platform and audience, you’ll want to only use 2-5 hashtags starting out.
Include compelling images or videos
Plain text is BORING. Add something visual to catch the attention of your audience.
Post just to post
Make sure every post has a goal and is providing value for your audience.
Cross-share posts to personal and business pages
This is a great way to give your business a personal voice.
Forget to give your audience clear next steps
Give your audience an interactive experience by making it clear what you’d like them to do next after reading the post. If possible, end with a question.
Post like a human being
Mix up your posts and try not to make your social media habits look automated. Interact with users and provide the most human experience possible.
Delete Bad Reviews
Deleting your bad reviews and comments makes you look unprofessional. Instead, respond with something encouraging.
Hopefully these marketing automation tips will help you achieve your sales and marketing goals in 2021. As your company (hopefully) continues to grow, you’ll find that these marketing automation tools become even more valuable. You’ll better align your sales and marketing teams and create a consistent, more meaningful experience for potential customers.
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