What makes good marketing automation in 2021?

Marketing automation has certainly evolved in the past year as Covid-19 escalated the need to adapt to digital marketing, but what makes for good marketing automation today? Kavita Singh spoke with Peter Bell, director of enterprise and commercial marketing at Adobe, to discuss three practices.

Create a lead-to-revenue process

A lead-to-revenue process is a set of guidelines marketers can use to make their marketing automation goals a success.

Peter says: “Your marketing automation strategy should embody your lead to revenue process. You can go buy the software, you can go buy the technology, you can augment that with a great webinar platform, and you can build that full martech stack out, but if it doesn’t reflect the core business process of creating leads and turning them into opportunities and seeing those opportunities to turn into revenue, then you’re really missing the opportunity, because that’s the potential. But to realise the potential, you need to reflect on that core business process in the implementation.”

A common mistake Peter sees is an unclear lead-to-revenue process. Each stage needs to have a clear entry and exit criteria. Along with having a very clear and defined outline of each stage, all roles and departments need to be signed off on how they’re playing their part as well.

He continues: “I’d say a lot of this starts outside of the technology, and you need to rely on that. A lot of this technology is amazing but it starts on a whiteboard, figuring out the jobs between different teams and setting up those agreements between teams, and that’s a very human side of it. We get very excited with technology, but the human side is the place to start.”

Utilise lead scoring to your advantage

Another tracking tool to utilise and incorporate into your marketing automation is lead scoring. Lead scoring can be used to separate the strong prospects from the weak. It’s also useful to find out when is the right time to label a prospect as ‘sales ready’. However, it can be a tedious balance of when to reach out. You don’t want to risk reaching out too early, and you don’t want to wait too late either.

Peter continues: “If you go to a website as a consumer on a B2B profile, and then the phone rings 30 seconds later, and someone just says ‘You’ve been to our website, do you want to buy something?’ It's horrible. You won’t respond to that emotionally or intellectually, and it’s way too soon. And if we leave it too late, there’s the potential that you are going to leave and go towards a competitor. How do you manage this? You manage this by lead scoring.”

With lead scoring, there are three metrics to look out for, which include:

  1. Firmographic: industry, size and location of the prospect.
  2. Demographic: job title, gender and prospect.
  3. Behaviour: interactions on website and events.

One tip Peter offers is to pay just as much attention to negative scoring as it can help build trust with your sales team. For instance, if you’ve got great demographic and firmographic data, but that person leaves their job or doesn’t interact with your website, these can eventually lead to the loss of points (as it should). That’s when negative scoring can be really helpful.

Create segmented groups

Segmenting your email lists can be extremely beneficial if you’re looking to create more relevant and bespoke messaging and higher engagement.

Peter says: “Marketing automation promises to put the right content in front of the right person. And that almost 100% relies on data. So, if I show up in your database as a 22-year old female, you can see blatantly I’m not, then that’s bad data. Clearly, you’re going to fail.”

You can create automation workflows that move contacts to specific lists depending on their unique engagement and interactions. However, that means keeping your account data up-to-date regularly to ensure good marketing automation. You’ll want to hold onto those existing customers as much as possible using various metrics such as product interest, campaigns, and level of interest in the company to segment leads. You can also utilise segmentation to distinguish leads that have had little to no activity within a timeframe.

Peter concludes: “Many times in B2B, it’s about having the right information about the companies you’re selling to. In B2B, you’re looking for those segments in the market where there’s going to be the highest propensity to purchase.”

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