Marketing automation in B2B sector - expectations versus reality
B2B marketing departments in different companies face similar challenges linked with the need to segment customers fast or the fragmentary nature of the data stored in many systems and spreadsheets. Their legacy leads from past marketing campaigns are often out of date. In addition, marketers are forced to perform repetitive tasks that are not automated and require manual processing, such as export and import of marketing lists.
To top that, there are also cooperation-related duties to attend to and quite often the relations between marketing and sales departments are tense because of the lack of understanding for one another's objectives. Sales divisions are frequently dissatisfied with the quality of leads obtained from marketing. At the same time, marketing budgets are often too small to ensure high quality leads. What is more, in the majority of situations marketers find it hard to prove the existence of a direct link between their efforts and the final value of the sales. The campaigns run by the marketing department provide many leads, but in the direct sales contact it often turns out that they are no longer interested to continue negotiations or to buy the products or services on offer.
Almost half of marketers and sales representatives from the sector of B2B declare that providing their customers with significant information poses a challenge for them. 48% of marketing specialists struggle to personalize their interactions with customers and 42% sales representatives claim not to have the appropriate and complete information to hold a productive conversation with the customer. These days both functions need to learn the language of their customers' needs, because it is the only key to accomplishing the objectives.
Combination of marketing and sales
Pardot is a tool that combines the efforts of the marketing and sales departments.
Marketers use Pardot to communicate with the potential customer in real time, create a simple sales path and predict customers’ needs based on their activities and tests.
On the other end, sales persons know how to make the first contact and when. Notifications about the customer's activity in real time substantially speed up taking further, adequate steps. The sales department may launch ready-to-use marketing campaigns and assign customers to the relevant educational, post-sales and re-engaging programs. Finally, the information derived from the application help identify trends and use them for faster deal closure.
How to increase ROI?
According to the surveys conducted among Salesforce clients the implementation of Pardot directly translates into an increase of ROI.
How to measure it?
The basic requirement to measure ROI is to link the marketing automation application with the sales data. In order to achieve that, one needs to combine Pardot for instance with Salesforce CRM. Both applications are built on the same platform which guarantees one of the fastest integrations on the market.
Pardot stores information about the campaign costs, whereas CRM is the source of sales value data. In the marketing application each customer is allocated to a specific marketing campaign. When more advanced commercial talks are about to begin, the sales representative creates a sales opportunity in CRM and indicates the expected profit. Since both systems are combined, the sales opportunity can be allocated to a specific campaign. Upon deal closure, Pardot automatically calculates the ROI connected with the activities taken as part of the specific campaign associated with the deal.
System integration drives well-founded decisions and allocation of funds to the most effective marketing campaigns.
Based on the survey carried out by Salesforce in 2015 with the participation of 400 randomly selected clients, following their launch of Pardot the respondents observed a 34% increase in their ROI, a 34% increase of revenues and 37% higher campaign effectiveness.
Pardot provides a ROI calculator to estimate the marketing automation ROI.
How long does it take to implement marketing automation?
It depends on the availability and the possibilities of the customer. We have been involved in implementations that lasted only a week, and in projects that took up to 90 days. The effectiveness of implementation depends on the commitment of the customer, the time needed to get to know the system functionalities and their adjustment to the company's needs. As a rule, Pardot implementation takes up to 60 days.
On average, our clients see the marketing automation results after a year, but please keep in mind that the system operates based on data. The more information is put in, the more thorough the analytics and the easier it is to use it.
The key functionalities of the system include:
- tracking prospects' s activities on the website and notifications about the customers' activities online sent in real time,
- Engagement Studio - a module for building e-mail programs for communication with customers at every stage of interaction - from obtaining a lead to becoming a brand ambassador,
- building forms with the function of progressive profiling and dependent fields,
- building the so-called landing pages (and using dynamic content function),
- automatic allocation of new leads to sales representatives,
- connection, through ready-to-use plugs, of the data gathered in the application through CRM systems - Salesforce, SugarCRM, MS Dynamics and NetSuite.
These functions translate into:
- generating better leads;
- creating personalized and well-addressed e-mails;
- faster lead conversion processes and strengthening the sales pipeline;
- calculation of ROI on marketing activities.