Marketing Automation for B2B companies

By Michael Macdonald | Behaviour & Marketing Psychology

Feb 10

Marketing automation for B2B companies is our speciality. Sell and Wow are the two latter sections in the Lifecycle Marketing framework. This piece is designed to follow on from Part 1 of our B2B Marketing Automation blog here.

If you are already using marketing automation for your B2B company, we’re here to help you expand on what you’re already doing to make the sale and keep the relationship going. 

If you are yet to start, and know you should be using it, but don’t know enough to begin, this should give you some ideas. 

Oh, and these examples are not just theory, or things that have been copied from other blogs! This is what we are using in our own Customer Journey, and some of our client's B2B companies.

Our aim, with all of the information we give you, is that you leave with a greater understanding of the subject. 

We focus on buyer psychology, the customer journey and marketing automation, and combining all three for your best business possible. 

 If you feel that working with us is the right thing for your business, and you have access to a sales and marketing budget then you’ll get in touch when we’ve hit the right chord and you trust us enough.

 If you’re still finding your feet, starting up, growing on a shoestring, then we’re just here to help you to the next step with useful, pre-tested strategy and tactics.

So, onto the useful information!

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Marketing automation and closing sales for B2B companies

Most B2B companies have at least flirted with marketing automation. Some are in a serious relationship, and some are married to it, either happily, or considering divorce. 

 If you’ve flirted, you will have one of the following:

  • Mailchimp picking up the leads from your free pdf, and depositing them on your ‘list’
  • Leadpages offering a great webinar that goes on your list, with a tag ‘Webinar Interest’
  • A shiny newsletter sign up form on your website that tags a list with ‘Newsletter Interest’
  • Shot your list a discount code for Black Friday

All of the above are a great start, but if you didn’t map out the rest of the journey, and keep them engaged with content that teaches them, helps them or otherwise improves their lives, then you may not have seen results you were hoping for. 

Baby steps, starting small, whatever you want to call it,  is perfect as part of a bigger plan. If it failed, that step is completely wasted if it didn’t spur you on to learn what you did wrong, and work out  what you need to do next time. Failure is not permanent, it’s just a light wound that will hurt, then be a little itchy, and then will scab over, and if it leaves a scar, will make you look tough. 

It’s not marketing automation’s fault that you didn’t know what to do next. 

The previous instalment of this blog gave some examples of using marketing automation to get B2B companies more leads, and keep them engaged. Here we are talking about making the sale, and getting the wow. 

Getting people on your list can be a challenge in itself, but then once you have mastered finding the right people, and following up with them with what they want and need, they should just press the button, and buy your stuff right?

Yup, if you’re lucky!

For the other 99.9% of the world, we need to ask for the sale. 

We need to know what they need, if it’s the right time for them to buy, if they can afford it, and if they are even the right person to be asking. Oh, and we need to know how to ask them too. 

I could go into a mass of acronyms right now, but I don’t want to. You shouldn’t need a glossary to read a blog. 

Enough BANT-er, Let’s see some examples. 

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Lead Scoring

Your ‘list’ is not just a bunch of email addresses, it’s a subsection of the population that has told you that something  you are doing is interesting to them. 

Lead scoring is a way of telling just how interesting, and is a great way of letting you know who on your list is much more likely to be ready to buy than others. 

If you’re in our audience, and you’re at the point where you are considering hitting the button, we should already have you on our hot leads list. Unless you’ve used your gmail address to sign up to our blog notifications, and not your business address. Sneaky, but we respect that, you didn’t know whether to trust us with your most important email address when you joined us. 


How does lead scoring work for B2B companies?

Each platform has a slightly different algorithm setup, but the basic premise is the same - Measuring engagement, and having a way of letting you know the result of that measurement. 

Our platform of choice is Infusionsoft. With that, you can use the inbuilt lead scoring system, and, to a degree, customise it as you like. When you engage with our content somehow, you get points! Points mean prizes, and the more you engage, the more likely it is, that we’ll end up meeting each other on the phone, on Zoom, or in your board room over a cup of Earl Grey and strong black coffee. 

We have ours set up in Infusionsoft as follows:

  • Our hottest leads are those that attain 50 Points
  • If you open an email, you’ll get 5 points 
  • If you click an email, you’ll get 10 points
  • If you fill in a webform, it’s 15 points
  • If you are tagged with a certain lead magnet tag, you get another 10 points
  • If you unsubscribe, your points disappear into the void, and we’re sad. 
  • These points expire after 60 days, so if you get to 30 points, and then do nothing for two months, you will lose points. 

Attaining the dizzy heights of 50 points means that we can be notified by Infusionsoft when someone reaches that level. We can set up some other rules to make sure that our list of 50 pointers does not include existing clients, or people that we’ve worked with in the past that don’t need us anymore, or existing business partners, or family members. 

If you have a sales team that are just hammering their way through your list, once month a to see if they can get a sale, how useful would it be to know that Person A had been reading all your emails, and clicking on links, and Person B had opened one, and unsubscribed?

It’s not just for salespeople. When someone reaches 50 points, that can trigger other automation. If you have a secret promotion you only want to send to the people most likely to buy, it can be started when someone reaches a score. If you have your best email ever, that you know is going to make sales, you don’t want to waste it on people that have not been opening your emails. If Johnny has not opened your last 3 emails, don’t send him that sales email now, send it when he at least reaches 20 points, and is more likely to pay attention. 

Making the offer

If you have reached the point in the customer journey where you’re ready to make the offer by email, whatever style of sales email you create, you’ll need a call to action. Most likely a button. But where does the big button point to?

This could be many things - it could be direct to the product on your existing Ecommerce platform, which they will select, add the quantity, and head off to the checkout, and that will happily take their money,.

Or, it could be just an enquiry form, that will trigger a call back where you can take the order. 

Alternatively, a standalone order form, the product preselected with a quantity of 1, ready for their credit card details. 

We often use the last option, the order form. 

Order forms

Our fave system, Infusionsoft comes with built in Order Forms. You can add your own styling and branding to them, but the entire page has one function - To make it as easy as possible to purchase what they want. It has no menus, no navigation, no popups. Just simple. 

It’s preselected with the quantity of the product, has information pertinent only to that product, with some benefits and features, (and possibly a money back guarantee and the re-assurance that the transaction is secure). It has all the usual purchase fields necessary, and no more, and a nice clear ‘BUY NOW’ button. 

When a customer makes a purchase, the automation begins again for the B2B company.

Any sales sequence they are in, will stop when the purchase is made

Segmentation happens - They are now a customer instead of a lead, and we tag them with the purchase that has been made

The delivery campaign can begin - Welcome new customer - Thanks for buying (more on that next)

What if they don’t complete their purchase?

Abandon ship! They’ve abandoned their cart - for whatever reason it may be - The cat has just knocked something over (happened as I am writing this), or the postman comes with your brand new card reader (also just happened), or your mum phones and wants to talk about her teeth (yup). 

If you don’t have something in place to either send them a reminder, you potentially lose the sale. 

Your sales pipeline has a leak!

The easiest way to patch up that leak is with a bucket - In this case a ‘cart abandonment’ series. A short series of emails that is meant for those that click on the link to go to the purchase, but don’t get to the end of the process. 

If someone has taken the effort to click on the link to your order form, you may not want to carry on with the sales emails you have been sending, as they are past that point. 

Aside from the silly examples above, they could have some serious doubts when they come to the bit where they have to enter their credit card details. 

The cart abandon series is an opportunity to do many things - Allay fears, build trust, build in some urgency, and just plain remind them what they were doing. Be careful playing on fears and pains though. It’s ok to identify a problem and show them how you are the solution, but it’s not nice to nail them into the ground with fear and scare them into buying your thing. They’ll only get buyer’s remorse if they do buy, and they may not be able to afford your thing, and just carry on feeling really bad. And possibly hate you for it. 

Of course, if you have a handy dandy sales team that is itching for your hottest leads, then fire this straight at them! Their stats will love you for it. 

Instead of sending them the short email series, just have your automation send a task to them if your lead has clicked the order form link, but after 2 hours, has not bought. Simples!

Like graphics? - Here’s a really simple example of the low that we’re talking about:

                  

How do B2B companies wow their customers?

Deliver a great experience. 

In a B2B company, delivering what you promised is a must. B2B companies rely far more on word of mouth and reputation than B2C companies. Getting an organic referral from a happy customer is not only the cheapest form of lead generation, but is also immensely satisfying. 

If you have an off-the-shelf product like a course, or training program, how are you treating people that have purchased it? 

I’m sure there’s a welcome email there, and hopefully an email giving them all the information they need to login and start using it. The next level to that welcome email is a welcome series that not only tells them how to get into their course, but how to make the most of it. 

I’m an Appsumo addict. I open every one of their emails looking for the next immensely useful tool that is going to either save me time, or make our business more effective at what we do. 

We’ve bought a fair few things from Appsumo, and without fail, it’s the ones that have a welcome series that have got me using their product. 

If you are an appsumo addict - Head into your account, and look at your purchase history. 

I have some apps in there that I bought licences for, and never used. I searched through my email history, and there’s one thing they all have in common - I redeemed my code, logged in once, and never heard from them again. 

I’m a busy little B2B company owner. I get 50 emails a day trying to sell me something, I ignore most of them, but always click on the ones that are there to teach me how to use the great thing I’ve bought. 

Helping your customers get the most from their purchase is an essential part of your organic and word of mouth strategy. It’s not enough to sell and forget. You need happy customers and the best way to make them happy is to help them. 

You also have the opportunity to get to know them a little better and help them solve other problems. 

A great example of this comes from the accounting software I use, Kashflow. 

Our accountant put me onto them, and helped set it up, and also has access to it to do our accounts. 

When he signed me up, he had a welcome series that helped me use the software, and it was a great help. That’s awesome, but Kashflow went one step further. They started sending me emails that helped with other areas they guessed I might need help with. 

I get regular emails offering a free webinar teaching me something about company accounts, tax regulations, legal obligations and other such potentially boring, but essential aspects of being a business owner. 

I’m sure they are segmenting me, and scoring me within their software, but it’s working, because to date, I’ve also signed up for their HR system, and their payroll system. It wasn’t something I was out looking for, but they had the right person for their software, they had the person with the budget, and they had me at the right time. 

And, of course, when I signed up for their payroll system, they sent me handy emails on how to get the best from it. It now runs my payroll for me, with a few clicks from me once a month. 

Your biggest B2B strategy is to be useful. Be really useful. Your product or service can help businesses grow, earn more, save time, reach more people etc etc etc…. What will make you stand out against your competitors is the extent to which you help them. Are you going the extra mile to be useful? 

Asking for more

Of course, it may be that the obvious way to help people you know have achieved results with your product or service is to offer them the next level of your product or service. 

So… How about a webinar for those that have achieved something, or purchased something you know has a natural upsell? 

The webinar is very often used as part of a lead generation and conversion process, but it can be just as useful for people that have already bought from you. We’ve banged the drum of customer lifetime value in many a blog post, but it’s popping up here again. 

One of our clients David has done exactly this to great effect. We didn’t create the webinar for him, but we did set up all the automation behind it, and it’s just a great example of helping your existing customers achieve their goals faster with a more in-depth product. He has a large segment of his list who have bought a low priced product, an online course. He ran a webinar to this list, with a great offer at the end, and he had  massive success with the offer. He also has a great copywriter to hand who has created a Facebook ad that brings brand new people into the webinar, so he effectively has two funnels for the price of one. 

If you search for ‘webinar strategy’, you will come up with hundreds of thousands of results, but the basic premise of many of them is the same. 

Offer webinar > Get people Registered > Do Webinar > Make Offer > Segment by attendance > Follow up with different segments

Here’s another handy little graphic on that. 

                        

So - How’s your wow? 

What are you doing to wow your customers, and ask for more?

We’d love to hear from you. We help many types of businesses create their ideal customer journey. Are you a B2B company? If so, we’d love to offer you a free Marketing Therapy session

Spend 30 minutes with one of our directors. Person to person, on a Zoom call. 

We’ll ask you what your current customer journey is, and we’ll offer you free advice on how you might create your ideal customer journey from attracting your leads, to converting them, to keeping them and turning them into a source of new leads. If we are the right fit to help you with that journey, then we’ll chat more. If not, you’ll go away with your own plan on us. 

Book a FREE Marketing Therapy session

Lie back on the proverbial couch and let us dig into your marketing problems

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