Marketing Automation and B2B Lead Generation Services
Within the past few years, marketing automation has been taking the forefront of planning by marketing departments in companies around the world. The potential to transform the marketing process shows its ability to nurture prospects from the first contact through conversion. Businesses that use marketing automation have reported a 15% increase in sales productivity and a 12% reduction in costs. But can marketing automation work with today’s modern B2B lead generation services and strategies?
First, what is ‘marketing automation’? In its most basic sense marketing automation refers to software that automates several marketing actions such as emails, social media and other prospect-development actions. It is also the process of collecting, scoring, nurturing and then contacting highly-qualified prospects through automated methods. Leads from various sources (such as web campaigns) are added to a database and scored. Those leads are then nurtured by various means (such as email campaigns) to bring the prospect closer to the point of buying. When the lead reaches a certain point of readiness, the lead moves to the sales team who then calls the prospect directly.
So, can marketing automation processes work with other B2B lead generation services? The simple answer is yes, and very well. B2B lead generation is the process of reaching out to targeted and qualified leads to entice them to connect with the website or sales team of a company. These are the leads that the marketing automation process can use. It is within these two processes that the collaboration of the two departments can take place and better, more qualified leads can move into the marketing automation funnel.
Here are three steps to make this work:
Policies and procedures. Each step of the process must be carefully designed and mapped to ensure optimal performance of the system. Each step leads to further moving the prospect through the sales funnel, so it is imperative that those steps are at maximum effectiveness. Create clear policies and procedures for dealing with the prospect, so the prospect becomes more qualified with each step.
Qualifications and metrics. Create precise definitions to describe the prospects as they move through the sales funnel as well as after they become customers and are subject to follow-up. Each cannot be treated the same because they will take different actions as they move through the funnel. Also, establish metrics for both the effectiveness of the steps in the process, the results of the entire funnel and the definition of the prospect. The continuous analysis of prospects is necessary to ensure they are qualified and regularly converting.
Collaboration. Because of the actions above, there needs to be discussion and communication between the marketing and sales departments. Lead generation, nurturing, and ultimately forwarding to the sales team requires precise definition of what constitutes a “sales-ready lead” as opposed to someone who is “just looking”. Also, lay out the policies and procedures, as well as the metrics, carefully so that there is no confusion. Finally, regular review and discussion are necessary to ensure proper operation of the process as well as to identify areas of improvement.
In short, B2B lead generation services and marketing automation work very well together. The secret for optimum results is to plan and implement the programs carefully rather than thrown together and launched.
KEO Marketing’s experts can put together a solid program for both B2B lead generation and marketing automation to help you collect more qualified leads at a lower cost. For a free marketing audit, contact KEO Marketing or call us at 888-702-0679.
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With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.