The digital age has made marketing automation even more vital for business success. 63% of marketers now widely use marketing automation tools.
However, for small B2B businesses, marketing automation may initially seem more like an expense than an investment. As a result, many hold off using this strategy, thus missing out on the benefits.
This article will examine whether marketing automation should be a priority for small B2B businesses. If so, what is the best way forward for them?
What Benefits Can Small B2B Businesses Derive From Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation technology could make it much easier for small businesses to connect with the right prospects. By integrating marketing automation platforms and data-driven decision-making, small businesses can now reach even more people.
Since it is fast and cost-effective, you can achieve your marketing goals faster, speeding up your business growth as well.
Marketing Automation keeps track of all interactions with prospects. So your B2B business would access valuable data to gage the effectiveness of your campaigns.
It would then become easier to create targeted and personalized campaigns to reach your leads with this information. Such would help produce great ROI for your marketing.
Marketing automation can significantly boost user experience on your platforms. The tools can help you speed up response times, for example, through chatbots. It can also ease the personalization of messages. Statistically, personal messages increase customer engagement and encourage purchase.
Such benefits are essential for small businesses seeking to improve their brand image.
Marketing automation can help small businesses to align sales and marketing. Automation offers processes like lead scoring, email marketing, webinars, social media, etc., which allow sales and marketing teams to collaborate when handling prospects.
For example, teams can determine when to hand over sales-qualified leads to the sales department through lead scoring and email sequences.
What Can Small Businesses Automate?
Automating your lead generation process is perhaps the easiest starting point for your business. Depending on your business, there are multiple avenues to attract leads, such as social media, websites, webinars, etc.
So, you can create valuable content and use automation tools for distribution, sign-up forms, answering queries, etc. These draw in more prospects to work with, thus improving your chances of winning more clients.
Email marketing automation is also a common option for B2B firms. Whereas manual emailing can work for a new company, you will need a more effective way to reach your audience as you grow. You will need to focus on more developmental aspects of the business.
There are plenty of email marketing automation tools on the market. You only need to find a valuable package that works for your unique business. It should allow you to personalize messages and create email sequences as well.
For businesses with plenty of regular customer queries, you can automate your feedback platforms, for instance, through chatbots. Nowadays, customers expect prompt responses. So, you need to be available to provide them to enhance customer experience.
Automation systems like SharpSpring can help you set up effective chatbots that also include a human touch. This is essential given that many customers are growing weary of robots and automated replies.
Key Strategies For Small Businesses When Using Marketing Automation
1. Adopt a phased approach to marketing automation
For a small business, attempting to automate your entire system in the shortest time can prove counterproductive. You might spend more time on small tasks and thus experience project delays.
The quickest way to get started with marketing automation is to adopt an iterative process that focuses on critical elements and includes them step by step over time. That way, your campaigns move faster, and you also save time and money implementing multiple automations over a longer period.
2. Seek customized solutions
Not all marketing automation solutions are great for your business. Many B2B companies today purchase top-notch systems and tools yet only use a fraction of the features.
Rather than spend heavily on tools you don’t need, you should look for vendors that allow you to customize your system.
For example, FunnelBud can help you set up niche systems well suited to your unique business. As you scale, you can always purchase and integrate additional features. That way, you can maximize ROI on your marketing automation.
3. Maintain And Maximize Personalization
Personalizing customer experiences is ever more important. However, many small businesses tend to confuse marketing automation with an impersonal approach. Much as B2B customers are businesses, they are still run by humans.
Therefore, when implementing marketing automation, you must still customize your messaging and customer interactions. Understand your target market and practice segmentation and targeting in your interactions to reach the right people with the right message.
4. Invest in training staff for marketing automation tools
Your small B2B business must invest in training your staff to use the necessary tools. Encourage the use of automation tools company-wide, such that all your tasks and departments operate in sync.
Furthermore, when adopting new tools and systems, ensure your staff are well equipped to work with them. It becomes more costly to outsource such functions because you'll need to pay extra personnel and features that your team doesn't use.
5. Segment and target specific audiences to maximize leads and conversions
Marketing automation will be fruitless if not backed by appropriate segmentation and targeting. You must study and understand your ideal audience. That way, you can appropriately divide and target them for communications.
These strategies ensure that you are saying the right things to the right people at the right time. Backed by automation, it then becomes easier to drive engagement which increases chances of purchase.
So, should marketing automation be a priority for small B2B businesses? The answer is yes!
While purchasing automation systems may come off as a huge expense, it is an investment that yields excellent results like faster growth. But that is only if you do start out right.
Given the financial and structural issues such firms face, it helps adopt smart strategies like iterative processes, customized solutions, etc. These strategies help you maximize the benefits of automation without affecting your bottom line.