Skip to content

What do we mean by Marketing Automation in B2B Lead Generation?

Mike Harrison 08-Feb-2019 11:35:12
The role of marketing automation in lead generation

Let’s face it, Marketing Automation with the Lead Generation process isn’t anything new. But are we clear on what it actually is? How can it be defined?

From the outside looking in, the name implies that the marketing function in a business is automated. Imagine a factory where the need for human involvement is diminished and only required to fix or repair machines that have broken down, or to improve and innovate to increase performance.

But with Marketing Automation this is not the case. The reality is that marketing automation exists to take away most of the heavy lifting, allowing marketers time to optimise their activity, maximise their reach and do more.

Book a free Inbound Marketing review with Essential

Marketing Automation - defined

Marketing Automation incorporates tools, platforms and technologies that enable marketing teams to more effectively and easily market on multiple channels online (email, website and social for example). It also lets users automate repetitive tasks and then report on the success of those activities.

Marketing Automation - the purpose

The paragraph above describes what Marketing Automation is, but the why isn’t completely explained. Yes, marketing automation is there to make marketeers lives easier and allow them to do more with the time they have. But ultimately that’s not the real reason why it exists.

The driving force behind Marketing Automation is the need to generate more leads! Leads, leads leads! To drive business sales and measure the success, the ROI of those activities.

Lead Generation

Marketing Automation isn’t just simply a ‘push’ activity. With traditional Email Marketing via ESP (Email Service Provider) platforms such as Mailchimp and Constant Contact, you send an email out to a target database and then track who clicks on what.

Not heard of push or pull marketing for B2B Lead Generation? Here’s a quick definition:

  • Push Marketing: a promotional/awareness strategy where an organisation attempts to get their content and message to their target audience regardless of their desire or interest for their product.
  • Pull Marketing: quite the opposite where the organisations use gathered intelligence to specifically target those consumers who are or have shown interest in their product or subject matter.

Marketing Automation is very much a push-pull-connect

For Lead Generation, Marketing Automation extends beyond just ‘pushing’.

  • Pull - Marketing Automation incorporates:
    • The identification of anonymous visitors on your website,
    • Lead conversion: the capture of information via dynamic forms
    • Helping consumers decide on the need for your product based on their interests
      • Personalised responsive emails with dynamic content
      • Dynamic page content
      • Triggered emails/messaging based on user interactions
  • Push - the building the awareness of your product:
    • Traditional bulk emailing
    • Scheduling and post messaging to social media
    • Creation of dedicated landing pages and blog articles
    • Visual workflows
    • Drip campaigns
  • Integration:
    • Website
    • Social Media
    • Google Adwords
    • CRM
    • Surveys
    • ++ and much much more

Driving Sales

Some Marketing Automation platforms, such as SharpSpring, embrace the sales function too. The purpose of marketing after all is the generation of leads for the sales team.

Marketing Automation platforms provide sales with:

  • Lead Scoring: Prioritise the pipeline, making it easy to spot and reach out to sales-ready leads
  • Sales Notifications: Email or text sales teams when a lead indicates they are ready to buy
  • Full Pipeline visibility and Opportunity management
  • CRM with less noise
  • Email automation for lead nurturing
  • Smart emails to target individuals with great personalised content.

Measuring ROI of Marketing Automation

Marketing teams cannot possibly know how well they are doing without some level of performance measurement. Therefore to help optimise their marketing, automation strategy platforms usually provide:

  • Comprehensive Campaign Analytics
  • Exportable graphs, reports and raw data
  • A/B Testing to see exactly what works best (also known as Split Testing)
  • Identification and elimination of waste data
  • Content ROI tracking.

The Marketing Automation difference

Traditional email marketing is very much a ‘hit-and-hope’ exercise. If you bombard a database long and hard enough eventually some leads will drop out of the bottom. The tools and features of Marketing Automation however allow you to effectively connect one-to-one with each customer delivering to them a much more personalised experience.

It’s not about you

The one-to-one connection through content that is valuable to the customer increases the chance of forming a much richer relationship and thus improves the chances of a lead turning into a sale.

It’s not about you, it’s about the customer and the customer’s needs. With both Marketing Automation and great content you can paint the picture or tell the story which helps that individual decide to buy.

Summary: Marketing Automation is great, but it’s not quite hands-free

We’ve defined Marketing Automation as a platform that creates and manages processes to deliver campaigns across multiple online channels, automates tasks and emails through workflow and provides the insights and scoring for sales to identify and prioritise leads. But here’s an important reminder: It’s not just fire and forget.

Those processes need planning and preparation. Like seeds in a garden, your audience needs nurturing in order for them to grow into a solid lead. So with the great functionality that Marketing Automation brings, great content helps to convince customers that your offering is something that they need. 

read our guide to generating leads using Inbound Marketing