Getting Started with a B2B Marketing Automation Strategy

  • Categories:

    Marketing Automation

  • Date:

    July 18, 2023

Getting Started with a B2B Marketing Automation Strategy

Marketing Automation

B2B marketing automation strategy can encompass a wide variety of tactics, processes and channels, all with the goal of automating routine tasks to save time, scale your efforts and make your marketing campaigns more effective. Most marketers know that marketing automation strategy and software are powerful tools, yet only 76% of businesses reported using automation in 2021 — and many feel they’re not using it effectively.

With so many possibilities, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when creating a B2B marketing automation strategy. Luckily, you don’t need a lot to get started. All you need is marketing automation software, a CRM database and the time to create a plan, execute and optimize.

Start with these steps to build a successful B2B marketing automation strategy and grow from there.

1. Lay the foundation of your strategy with good data.

Before you ever send an email, think about the contacts already in your CRM database (if you have any) and how you will add new contacts over time to grow your database and convert new customers. What information do you know about your existing customers? What data do you need to collect about new contacts moving forward? How will these data points make your marketing automation strategies more effective and provide your customers a better experience with your brand?

A successful B2B marketing automation strategy is built on contacts who have opted in to receive communications from your business and been segmented to provide the most value to each of your audiences.

For many B2B businesses, necessary data includes at least name, email, company name and job title or role. This information allows you to communicate how your product or service will specifically help them do their job better. Other pieces of data to consider include industry, company size and location information such as state or ZIP code, especially if this is how your sales territories are divided.

It’s also important to consider the offer on which a contact is converting when asking for specific pieces of information. For example:

  • If someone signs up to receive a free product sample or quote, it might be necessary to ask for details about their budget and timeline.

  • However, if someone downloads a guide about the top five ways your product is changing the industry, they’re probably not ready to give up that kind of information just yet.

Each time you launch a new campaign or tactic, use it as an opportunity to consider whether there are unique pieces of data you can collect that will make your marketing and sales follow-up more personal and effective.

2. Start simple and define the goals of your B2B marketing automation strategy.

Now that you understand the existing and new contacts in your CRM and where they are in their customer journey with your brand, you can provide the right information to take the next step with a well-timed and relevant automated email campaign. While marketing automation strategy can include more channels, an email campaign is often the best place to get started, because it’s relatively easy to set up and effective.

Remember: You don’t have to email everyone in your CRM database all at once. You also should not email everyone the same thing.

Instead, start with one audience or one campaign. Determine your goals and what actions you want your audience(s) to take. Then, create a campaign strategy with those actions in mind. You might have to create the content that drives these actions and provides value.

A few starter campaign ideas include:

  • A newsletter campaign versioned for a couple of your top personas to ensure the content is relevant and valuable to each audience

  • An automated drip campaign that triggers after a contact downloads a content offer, feeding them content related to that offer and answering questions that help them take the next stage in their buyer’s journey

  • An automated email from a sales representative that triggers based on a contact’s level of activity on your website, such as looking at multiple product or service pages and reading several blog posts

3. Measure and optimize, optimize, optimize.

Once your campaign is in the market and has collected enough data, it’s time to review the results.

Here are some actionable insights to look for:

  • How do your email open, click-through and conversion rates compare month over month? What’s working? What’s not working?

  • Which emails are driving the most conversion actions?

  • Which pieces of content and topics are performing the best with your audiences? Can you use this insight across channels and for future email content?

  • Which call-to-actions or design elements are generating the most engagement?

  • What time of day, day of the week and kinds of subject lines generate the highest engagement? These are all informative and easy-to-execute A/B tests.

  • Which audiences are engaging the most with your email content?

Your first measurement report should set benchmarks for your marketing automation program. Each month, try to uncover actionable insights that lead to optimizations and improve your results month over month. Not every optimization or test will work, but an automated email program should never be set and forgotten. With enough attention and optimization, email can be one of the most effective channels for driving conversions and sales.

4. Grow your program, measure and optimize again.

Once you’re comfortable with your first campaign, use your learnings to layer on new audiences, content offers and other campaigns. Don’t forget about how you’ll incorporate your sales team, notifying them of lead activity and when they should start a sales conversation and training them on the tools that can automate their processes to save time.

Measure and optimize each new campaign against your goals on an ongoing basis and watch your strategy become increasingly more successful.

Interested in a strategic partner to help create and execute your B2B marketing automation strategy? Get in touch.

Explore more articles from Wray Ward.