Marketing automation is seen as the saviour for many hard-up B2B marketers, whether they are hard-up for budget or hard-up for time. It also holds the keys to another tantalising promise; the ability to really measure your campaigns across the whole go-to-market funnel and determine the marketing ROI of your campaign tactics.
But perhaps best of all marketing automation allows many small and medium businesses to really compete for marketing "oxygen" with the big dogs in their sector.
What should B2B Marketers look for in a marketing automation platform?
Here are the top 10 key capabilities:
1. Built in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to help get you found by your targets market using keywords.
2. Integrated social media publishing and tracking to get the message out to where your targets are hanging out online.
3. Integrated blogging platform, absolutely central to all good marketing campaigns.
4. A decent email engine.
5. A landing page builder and lead data capture capability.
6. An automated lead nurturing capability.
7. A leads database that maintains a full record of your leads activity.
8. A lead scoring system to help sales prioritise sales-ready-leads.
9. The ability to integrate simply with your CRM system.
10. Detailed analytics that allows you determine the most succesful sources of leads and campaigns.
This is quite a daunting list of capabilities. Key to mastering the marketing automation challenge is to pick an automation platform that integrates as many of these these capabilities into a single tool (or perhaps a couple of tools at most).
Otherwise the aforementioned hard-up marketer will spend precious time pushing data from one reporting spreadsheet to another.
There are a number of tools out there, but for our money you can't go past Hubspot, but we are biased! We are a certified Hubspot partner and use it to help the majority of our clients build effective lead generation engines.
Its also true that marketing automation is just the engine (albeit a powerful one). Effective B2B marketing starts with good planning and great content, and is completed by applying a structured process over time.
For a full understanding of how to build effective lead generation engines that deliver quality leads to your sales team, we would like to invite you to download this complimentary eBook:
What other features do you consider necessary for a marketing automation platform? Share them with us in the comments section below.