Marketing Automation for B2B

By Michael Macdonald | Behaviour

Jan 13

Marketing automation - For some it’s just email marketing, or a monthly newsletter. For others, it’s the core of their business, providing lead capture across different platforms, segmenting leads into highly targeted pools, allowing the sales team to know when to make the call, and the marketing team to send focussed and relevant messaging at the right time in the right place to drive conversions and keep their audience for longer. 

For those using marketing automation, this post is designed to inspire you to expand on what you are already doing. If you are yet to make the leap into marketing automation, it should show you some of the things that are possible, beyond the newsletter, that could help you capture, convert and keep quality leads and customers 

Automation is not just there to tell your readers what you’ve been up to for the month, or that your new flagship product is now available in lime green and (by overwhelming demand) - fuschia. It can help you capture leads with contact forms, surveys, competitions, facebook ads, lead magnets. It can help you follow up with each segment of those leads separately, so those that have signed up for your office health and safety checklist can get a completely different set of emails from those that sign up for your short video series on the type of PPE needed for a Tree Surgeon. 

Your business is there to deliver what people want or need. Regardless of what you sell, you are either solving a problem, or making someone’s life easier or nicer.  

Every business has a customer journey, and marketing automation is there to improve that customer journey. 

If you can master it, it will help you scale by increasing lead volume, lead conversions, save you time, and bring you more business.  

It’s not all just about the customer either. It should make your life easier, and give you more time back from repetitive tasks, like searching for reports, checking up on the progress of your pipeline, or working out what marketing is the most effective in providing leads that are converting the best.

Keep reading to see how we use it in our B2B agency, and how our B2B clients use it to get great results. 

Know your customer Journey

No matter how small or large your business is, we all need the same thing in the same order. 

We need to attract leads, engage with them, sell to them, and then give them what they want with bells on. 

  1. Attract

  2. Engage

  3. Sell

  4. Wow

Those four stages are the bare bones of our version of a framework called Lifecycle Marketing.

(Click the link above for a more detailed explanation on LCM)

Most businesses are great at one of those, and when we start working with a company, the first area we look at is how they are performing in those stages

What are you nailing in these 4 stages?

What stages are your biggest opportunities in?

If a business is spending all of its resources - whether that be money, time or attention on attracting new customers, they cannot be delivering the wow factor in any great depth. 

Naturally, you can go into great depth in all of those stages for your business, and if you aren't sure of your current customer journey, or what you may be able to achieve through marketing automation, read on below to see some examples of ways that we’ve used marketing automation to augment the customer journey for those we’ve worked with, broken up into the stages of Lifecycle Marketing. 

Even if you’re an old-school blue jean, brown shoe, tucked in shirt kinda MD that gets most business from word of mouth, there’s something for you guys too!

Attract:

You go to a whole lot of networking events, and you get in the room with a lot of people that you’ve met before, and some that you haven’t. Some are your target market, and you know you can make a difference. However, there are two other people in the room that offer a similar service as you. It’s all down to the elevator pitch to get their card. You’ve given out hundreds of business cards, and many have never turned into a call.

Marketing automation to the rescue. Most marketing automation platforms allow you to create a webform in the software that you can either use on its own, or put on a hidden page on your website. 

I have one of these, and if you’ve met me recently at a networking event, and shown interest in what I do, AND I think I can help, I’ll use that very short and easy form to take the details on your card. Then I will give you back your card and you’ll be automatically in my task management system. 

The form has two mandatory fields:

  • First Name

  • Email

Optional fields are:

  • Phone Number

  • Where we met

  • Relevant info to meeting (nice to meet you text)

  • Tasks/Notes for my team

If there are a lot of people I’d like to have further conversations with, I’ll fill in 

It takes a few seconds to fill in the form, and two minutes later, or an hour, or whatever I’ve set the system to do, an email will arrive in their inbox

One of our emails looks like this:

Hello ~first name~

It was great meeting you today. 

Just wanted to send you a quick email so you have my contact info 🙂

[nice to meet you text] - (Merged from the form that I filled in)

I've also popped some more generic info about us below, with some links - so you can go have a snoop around if you like...

Have a great Thursday

That is the basic version. 

There are so many ways to customise this form and customise the outcome of the form submission that it could be a half day workshop. 

However, with new systems, always start simple, get used to it, and then progress into things like adding checkboxes that send them into a specific interest campaign. 

Simplify, Amplify, Iterate. 

More attraction - Everybody loves a checklist…

The PDF is still a great way to get people to sign themselves up to be in your email list, wherein you email them forever for the rest of their life. However, if you’re anything like me, you have a hundred or more PDF’s that you have on your reading list, and it’s only when you’ve refreshed your social media feed twice that you’ll get to reading them and taking notes. 

Checklists are still greater in a B2B environment. Because they’re instantly useful. One page of usefulness that could make a huge difference to a business. 

Take Lucy’s blog here, on optimising Blogs for SEO. It has a really handy checklist for anyone wanting their blog to actually get people coming to their site, and all it asks is that you fill in a cute little form with your email and name. Not that I’m suggesting you do that right now, or you’ll stop reading this blog. 

We’ve only just released Lucy’s SEO blog, but it’s getting views already, and it won’t be long before content creators start hitting the purple button and signing up. 

As soon as they download, they will be marked with segmentation tags. That way, they can go into specific email campaigns that are directed toward their areas of interest. We’re not selling straight away, as we haven’t yet earned their trust, but what we are doing is continuing to send useful targeted information. 

The segmentation that follows is what allows us to be able to help businesses with the information they actually are looking for, and probably need help with. 

The two examples above are only a drop in the ocean as far as the attract phase is concerned. 

You can have a lead sign up form in any content that is on the internet. We’ve used all of the below for attracting new B2B leads. 

Lead Generation 2020: Using Marketing Automation for B2B companies:

  • Networking follow up forms

  • Checklists

  • Webinars

  • Competitions

  • Ebooks

  • Free Consultations

  • Surveys

  • Blogging - With a blog sign up form

  • Video blogs

  • Guest Blogging on external sites

  • Newsletters

  • Pop up boxes with discount codes

  • Automated social sharing

  • Podcasts 

  • Paid advertising - Google, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube

Seen enough? If we can help you attract more leads through brilliant Marketing Automation - Hit the button below. It will be your request for a free ‘Marketing Therapy Session’. 

MTS BUTTON

(Request a call)

Engage

Open the conversation

Once your audience have put up their hand and showed interest, and hopefully are segmented into their groups, you have the chance to move them on in the journey. All the hard work of finding and attracting is done. 

Making the sale could happen here if they have a high awareness of their need, and that you are the solution to that need. However, all you know at this point is that they have an interest in the lead magnet they have downloaded. You need to know more. 

Marketing automation has a whole host of tools that can help you here. Even the most affordable programs will come with some sort of tracking. Again, it doesn’t need to feel creepy, remember that personalisation is key to building trust. 

On a basic level, when we send follow up emails, we are tagging link clicks so that we are directing leads to a particular subject matter, some emails will point to a blog, and we can use automation to trigger certain actions when someone has been on a blog page. If they stay on a blog page for 2 minutes, it is an indication that we have caught their attention with that subject, and allows us to build that profile a little more. 

When they have visited 5 different blog pages, some for a long time, we have a much better idea of what they need than when they first came into the system. 

As an example, we are building up a library of blog posts on how to get the best out of Infusionsoft and Keap, our favourite platforms for marketing automation. We have been using it for 6 years now, and know it inside out, and back to front. As an agency, people come to us to help them develop their use of Infusionsoft, and build out their ideal customer journey within it. 

We chop and change our lead magnets on a regular basis, but one that we’ve had success with is a free Checklist. 

Of course, we use Infusionsoft within our own business as the hub of all our marketing. 

We can use our campaign checklist in conjunction with web page automation to identify people that:

  1. Are using Infusionsoft

  2. Are doing it themselves 

  3. Need guidance on how to use it, or day to day help building and maintaining it

Someone that is already on our list, having signed up for our newsletter will be receiving emails. Those emails will have links in them. If we don’t already know what their main area of interest is, we can direct them to blog pages that have different areas of interest in. 

Ideally, for this example we want to know if someone fits all 3 of our criteria above. 

We can do that by doing the following:

  1. Setting up a web page automation action, so that anyone that is on our database that spends more than two minutes on an Infusionsoft related page is tagged with ‘Infusionsoft Interest - 2 Minutes on Blog (blog name)’

  2. When someone has reached a count of 3 tags for reading Infusionsoft related blogs at length, we can use that to trigger a very short email series that offers an Infusionsoft Campaign Checklist. 

  3. If they download this, we can follow up with even more targeted messaging. If you have a sales team, this could include a call after two days to see if they are using the checklist, and do they want a free consultation that will give genuine advice, and offer your services. 

The timing of all of these actions will totally depend on your audience. In our database, this can take anything from three days to a year, or longer. This length of time will depend on many factors, including their experience level, their awareness level, their position within the company and their budget

This process is greatly improved, and the lead to sale time shortened by knowing your target audience as intimately as possible when you implement B2B marketing automation. 

On a basic level, you will need to know a few things about your ideal audience. Building out an idea of your ideal customer will allow you to cater your customer journey toward attracting them, and making sure that your follow up is catered toward them, and doesn’t guide you toward people that will never actually buy from you

Being able to mould your content to your ideal audience from the outset positions your potential leads further down the awareness path. The more your leads are aware of their need, and the availability of a solution to that need, the shorter the journey from lead to sale is. 

We have a good mix of basic and advanced content within our customer journey. If we can identify those people that are consuming more advanced content, we can reach out to them on a personal level knowing  they already have a greater knowledge and need of our help than many colder leads. 

As with the ‘attract’ section above, there is huge potential for engagement and follow up using marketing automation platforms. Here are a few more that we’ve used once people have already signed up, to drive engagement, build trust, and build a more accurate profile of our ideal customer. 

Get on the web(inar)

Webinars are still working in the B2B environment. They are also a lot easier to do than they have ever been. 

It’s now within the reach of every business in some form. 

If you’re using Infusionsoft, it’s fairly simple to set up a Zoom webinar, using PlusThis to link Zoom to Infusionsoft.

  • Plusthis will link to your upcoming Zoom webinar, and give you a nice registration link to put in your emails

  • You put this link in your broadcast to the segment that you would like to help. 

  • People register, and PlusThis tells Infusionsoft via a tag, so you don’t need to keep reminding them to register. If they don’t register, you can send another email or two with the link. 

  • When registered, they will get a countdown to the webinar to remind them to come. 

  • If they turn up, great, you get to tell them how they can improve their lives

  • If they don’t, you can send them a reply, or invite them to another webinar, or tell them that they missed a great offer, but no problem, here’s an offer that is nearly as good. 

  • You can even email those that turned up but didn’t stay until the offer, saying that they missed the best bit. 

Many many more ways of engaging your leads and existing customers are available within your marketing automation platform, and here are a few more...

Engage your leads in 2020: Using marketing automation to drive B2B engagement:

  • Networking follow up campaigns

  • Welcome campaign (indoctrination)

  • Competitions

  • Webinars

  • Free Consultations

  • Surveys

  • Blogging 

  • Guest Blogging, which helps with social proof

  • Video blogs

  • Newsletters

  • Podcasts 

  • Ebooks

  • Re-engagement campaign for cold leads

Look out for the next two stages ‘Sell’ and ‘Wow’ in the next part of this series!

We started out as a B2B marketing automation company in 2014. By that time we’d already worked with hundreds of businesses, helping implement small doses of marketing automation.  When we began our journey as a three person team, we had clients that knew us, and trusted us to deliver what they needed. - Help with implementing the marketing automation platform they already had.  

We still have some of those clients after all these years. 

They stay with us as the ROI of the software has been augmented by some well planned big shifts and constant small tweaks to make sure that we’re using every tool in the box that can be effectively and economically implemented to keep the KPI graphs pointing in the right direction. 

Nowadays our remit has expanded to bring in and help businesses succeed through a well planned and well executed customer journey, using mountains of research in buyer psychology, including Kenda writing an Amazon Bestseller (Hack The Buyer Brain) over a 4 year period. 

We no longer ‘just do implementation’. Our own marketing automation has grown with our business, and has indeed created a lot of that growth. We were very aware when we expanded into the consultancy space that a few companies were talking the talk without ever having walked the walk. 

We never wanted to be one of those. Most of our clients have been advised to create great content, and where necessary we will create that content for them. We wouldn’t offer that service if our own content did not provide three quarters of our best leads. 

Whilst a really shiny website with clever graphics looks welcoming and professional, the mark of a great B2B website is whether it keeps you reading, builds trust, proves that the company knows their subject intimately, and ultimately spurs you to take action and make contact right now.

Enough about us - Tell us about you:

The button below is your chance to bring us into your business, let us map out your existing customer journey, and help you design and build your perfect customer lifecycle using great content and marketing automation. 

It’s 2020. Hit it now.

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