B2B Marketing Automation Guide: Benefits, Examples, and Tips
By Amelia Woolard
When it comes to marketing automation, the spotlight often shines on B2C instead of B2B brands. But automation isn't just for customer-facing businesses. In fact, its potential for B2B businesses shouldn’t be overlooked.
The beauty of B2B marketing automation lies in the differentiation it offers. While many B2B companies cling to outdated, manual processes, brands that embrace automation gain a competitive edge. Not to mention, they quickly outpace their competitors when it comes to streamlining workflows, nurturing leads more efficiently, and delivering personalized experiences tailored to buyers’ needs.
Learn more about the ins and outs of B2B marketing automation and get valuable marketing automation tips with this guide. We’ll walk you through marketing automation best practices, benefits, and examples of how companies like yours use automation to crush their goals and leave the manual grind behind.
What Is B2B Marketing Automation?
A B2B marketing automation solution streamlines, automates, and measures various marketing tasks and workflows within a business-to-business environment.
It involves using specialized B2B marketing automation software and technologies designed to handle repetitive processes like lead nurturing, segmentation, and personalized outreach. With automation, you can boost operational efficiency, precisely target your intended audience, and ultimately drive more conversions and foster brand loyalty.
B2B sales automation helps businesses accomplish tasks with greater speed and accuracy, which allows teams to focus on strategic initiatives, relationship-building efforts, and other projects. As a result, organizations can quickly adapt to market demands, innovate more readily, and stay one step ahead of their competitors.
B2B Marketing Automation Benefits
Automation improves efficiency across several aspects of your business. The following are some specific benefits of these efficiencies.
Higher Quality Leads
Getting new leads is great. Getting leads that are high quality and ready to convert is even better. B2B marketing software can help you score the latter.
Many businesses focus on snagging as many potential leads as possible. While this can generate some quality leads, B2B marketing automation platforms can accurately assess the sales readiness of your contacts, so you have a better understanding of where your leads are in the buyer’s journey and where they have the potential to go.
By analyzing data, your business can evaluate a range of metrics and behaviors to pinpoint leads with a high potential for conversion. This could involve examining web browsing patterns, purchase history, and similar data. The goal is to prioritize higher-quality leads for your B2B sales pipeline that are more likely to yield conversions. Maintain this approach over time, and your sales funnel will attract more high-potential customers and fewer undecided browsers.
Following up is a crucial element in securing new business. While you may aspire to instantly convert high-quality leads, the reality is that even promising leads often require gentle reminders before they make a purchase.
Fortunately, B2B automation is perfectly suited for streamlining follow-ups. With automation, you eliminate the need for manual follow-ups after a lead subscribes to your email list or abandons a shopping cart. These actions will instantly trigger a series of personalized follow-up touchpoints, such as automated email sequences, so your brand can engage with leads when their interest is at its highest.
Automation not only enhances the speed of response but also ensures your follow-up messages are consistent and accurate. By automating these processes, businesses can ensure that every lead gets the close attention they deserve. Plus, when you better coordinate follow-ups, you can see which messages work best and use that information to optimize your sequences accordingly.
Personalization is crucial to the modern buying experience. These days, even business customers are looking for a bespoke experience when interacting with your brand. 65% of B2B buyers say they’ll switch brands if their company is not treated with a personalized touch.
With the right marketing automation software, you can personalize your shopping experience in ways that human marketers can’t. B2B marketing automation platforms can automatically compare data insights to individual behavior and personalize touchpoints along the way, so your brand always hits the right note with prospects. When buyers recognize that your brand grasps their pain points, they’re more likely to trust you and make a purchase.
Plus, leaving marketing personalization in the hands of B2B marketing automation software means you can provide a personalized experience across various platforms and interactions. Whether it's through email marketing, website visits, or social media posts, automation ensures that your hyper-personalized content remains aligned, no matter how you interact with new leads. This, in turn, reinforces trust and credibility with potential customers.
For your brand to be memorable, it must be consistent. In marketing, consistency translates to delivering a unified customer experience regardless of where a lead stands in the marketing and sales funnel. By ensuring a consistent user experience, you create a seamless sales journey that bridges the gap between sales and marketing teams, guiding your customers from discovery to conversion without disruptions or delays.
When you use data-driven automated workflows, you can guarantee a consistent UX for your customers. Whether it's an initial contact through a marketing campaign or a follow-up email triggered by a purchase, maintaining a consistent message and approach reinforces your brand's credibility and dependability.
Marketing automation for B2B isn't just about setting up touchpoints and figuring out when to send them out. It can also plan out your entire customer journey, helping your business nurture leads effectively by understanding their needs at every stage of their buying journey. This not only helps you close more deals but also makes the customer experience better, giving it a polished and reliable feel that encourages repeat business.
When your sales and marketing funnel is finely tuned, it's primed to give you a higher return on investment (ROI) and bring you closer to your business goals. If you're looking for a higher ROI — and who isn't? — B2B marketing automation tools should be at the top of your priority list.
By streamlining and automating marketing processes, you can not only optimize your operational efficiency but also free up resources to explore other areas for improvement. When you can better organize your marketing efforts, you'll see a direct impact on your productivity and efficiency — in fact, marketing automation boosts sales productivity by 14.5% and trims marketing expenses by 12.2%.
Another way that B2B marketing automation software leads to higher ROI is through its ability to provide valuable data that can be analyzed and applied to the business in practical ways. Because a B2B marketing automation platform will meticulously track and analyze the data it picks up along the way, it can provide suggestions about what’s working, what’s not, and how to improve processes in the future. This type of intel can be a revelation for teams aiming to scale their business and achieve the highest possible returns.
Examples of B2B Marketing Automation
B2B marketing automation has the potential to revolutionize the way your business operates. Let's explore real-world examples of B2B companies that have successfully harnessed the power of automation to achieve remarkable results.
MKM Boosts Its Digital Presence and Online Revenue
One of the big challenges B2B brands face is keeping up with the rapid pace of digitization. Buyers are expecting more out of their online experiences, and if B2B businesses hope to stay competitive, they’ll need to adopt better digital storefronts.
MKM, the largest independent builder’s merchant in the UK, knew it needed to modernize its website, which was slow to load and costly to maintain. In addition to creating a faster front end and overhauling its commerce experience, MKM also turned to marketing automation to bring more people to its site.
With a marketing automation tool in place, the brand boosted site traffic by an impressive 39% year-over-year. Additionally, these new site visitors contributed to a 7.9% increase in average order value and a 43% increase in total web revenue.
Kyocera SENCO Embraces Personalized Digital Experiences
If you want to set yourself apart in the B2B world, personalization is key. Today’s customers are quick to disengage from generic, irrelevant marketing messages and prefer companies that provide highly personalized digital interactions.
Kyocera SENCO recognized this shift in customer expectations and sought a way to streamline many facets of its digital sales funnel. The brand also sought to amplify its digital presence across multiple areas, including branding, website presence, and personalized B2B experiences.
To accomplish this, Kyocera SENCO concentrated on three key areas: using digital experiences to differentiate the customer experience, establishing a robust digital presence, and implementing a data-driven customer service program.
Investing in personalized experiences and a well-rounded digital brand proved to be a worthwhile endeavor. Kyocera SENCO has seen a remarkable 59% increase in total sessions and continues to expand across 15 European markets, maintaining a consistent brand experience as it scales.
Global Industrial Differentiates Itself With Educational Resources
B2B buyers like to educate themselves about your product before they make a final purchase decision. In fact, consumers are 131% more likely to purchase after reading something educational about a product or service.
Global Industrial sought to empower clients with informed purchasing decisions and establish itself as an industry thought leader by offering comprehensive educational resources on its products and the manufacturing industry.
The industrial products supplier leveraged B2B marketing automation to create a comprehensive Knowledge Center for its website. The Knowlege Center includes expert advice from industry insiders on topics like business growth and the industrial sector. There’s even a “recommended for you” feature that suggests helpful content visitors are likely to engage with.
Global Industrial has strengthened its website experience by integrating the Knowledge Center with its distribution website. Now, the company shares 12 times more content each month than before and serves over 25 different customer segments.
B2B Marketing Automation Best Practices
Certain marketing automation strategies can supercharge your efforts, helping you nurture leads effectively and drive meaningful engagement throughout the buyer's journey. These best practices are a few of our favorite tried-and-true tactics.
Define Buyer Personas
Before you can successfully market to new B2B customers, you’ll need a good understanding of who they are and what problems they need to solve. This understanding starts with buyer personas.
Buyer personas are fictional profiles of your ideal customers. They're crafted from market research, data analysis, and insights gleaned from your current customer base. These personas capture demographic details, pain points, and typical behaviors. With this information, your team can better understand how your business fits into their journey and solves their problems.
Creating these personas before launching any automation campaigns sets a solid foundation for targeting and why you're doing it. This information is key for your B2B marketing automation platforms to work their best and deliver top-notch performance.
Collect the Right Information
Your B2B marketing automation platform collects the information you specify about your customers. That’s why you must know which type of information is best to collect. The good news is that with help from a B2B marketing automation strategy, you can effectively gather the exact information you need to drive your business forward.
Your buyer personas will form the basis for your data collection approach. Then, use lead capture forms, such as welcome surveys sent via B2B email campaigns, to ask relevant questions. For example, you’ll want to know the industry your lead works in and the size of their company.
Continue gathering information at every stage of the funnel and across every channel you use. Keep an eye out for any behavioral data, like website engagement, which can clue you into their interests and challenges as they evolve throughout the buyer’s journey.
Use Lead Scoring
Wondering if that lead is really ready to convert? A lead scoring system can help you figure it out. This is a strategic lead generation tool that helps you assess a lead's readiness to make a purchase decision.
Lead scoring systems assign scores based on criteria like website interactions, demographics, and engagement levels. For example, being within your target audience demographic may earn a lead one point, while filling out a contact form could rack up 10 points. The higher the score, the closer the lead is to sealing the deal.
Lead scoring is helpful because it helps sales and marketing teams pinpoint the leads that are most likely to convert. This way, they can focus their efforts where they're most likely to pay off.
Build Your Workflow on the Buyer’s Journey
Every stage of the buyer’s journey is unique. Near the top of the funnel, your buyers crave more information about your business and the product you offer, so they can begin to build trust. As leads get closer to the bottom of the funnel, they seek specifics about pricing and features. Between these points lie various chances to guide leads along the sales pipeline and turn them into new customers.
When setting up your marketing automation workflow, it's essential to keep the buyer's journey in mind and align your interactions with their evolving needs at each phase. By understanding where a lead is on their journey, you can tailor your messaging and content to provide them with the most relevant information at the right time.
By embracing a buyer-centric approach, marketing automation empowers businesses to cultivate meaningful relationships with buyers. As leads progress through the funnel, they consistently receive personalized interactions that address their specific needs and concerns, leading to a more informed and confident purchase decision.
Use Relevant Content
Did you know that relevant content can seriously impact a B2B buying decision? 72% of business leaders report that content marketing has given them more leads. With those results, it’s no wonder 71% of B2B marketers believe that content marketing is more important to their organization now than it was last year.
Providing valuable and helpful content at every interaction is crucial for keeping leads interested and nurturing them effectively. Automation lets your marketing team or sales team deliver the right content that speaks to their needs and challenges at different stages.
Whether it's insightful blog posts, tailored webinars, informative landing pages, or real-life case studies, offering content that is genuinely helpful and valuable heightens the customer experience, builds trust, and eventually leads to more conversions.
Unlock Automation Opportunities With Bloomreach
The power of B2B marketing automation lies not just in its convenience but also in its ability to reshape how B2B brands engage with their audience. The right B2B marketing automation platform will empower you to transcend the limitations of manual processes, allowing you to create personalized experiences, nurture leads effectively, and ultimately drive growth in ways you’ve never experienced before.
Embracing automation isn't merely a choice — it's a strategic move that positions your brand at the forefront of innovation in the B2B world. As you begin planning for the upcoming year, consider where automation can save your team time and resources and help you actualize your biggest goals, so you can continue to succeed in the growing and evolving B2B landscape.
Bloomreach offers the marketing automation capabilities you’re looking for in an e-commerce partner. That’s because our solutions are powered by Loomi, our AI built for e-commerce and backed by over a decade of insights. We’ve also trained on B2B-specific data, so you’ll be ready to tackle the unique challenges facing your business right from the start.
Take the next step in your journey to B2B marketing automation by learning more about why your brand should focus on personalization.