Guest post by Natasha Lane.
Automation can play a powerful role in driving your B2B brand forward. After all, automating processes doesn’t “just” allow you to save time and money. It can also make your operations more streamlined, avoiding human error and ensuring you get consistent results every time.
But while automation makes for an excellent upgrade to your everyday tasks like inventory management, its role can be much more impactful in B2B brand success. By automating routine marketing processes, you can generate higher ROI without spending more on PPC campaigns or hiring more people.
To help drive more sales with B2B marketing automation, check out these seven tips and consider how they might work for you.
1. Overcome Location and Time-Based Constraints (But Not at the Cost of Hurting Sales)
A common challenge for brands targeting businesses across the globe is that their clients operate in different time zones. And while digital marketing makes that less of an obstacle to success, it can make offering solid customer support more challenging.
An essential component to providing a stellar customer experience is to have a superstar support team. But having that team work 24/7 can get pretty costly. One way to address this problem is to invest in a high-quality chatbot integration.
You may have come across impressive statistics about chatbots, stating how 7 in 10 users prefer to use chatbots. But take such stats with a grain of salt. According to Forbes, chatbots do come across as “very helpful.” But they also come with a huge drawback: an almost 80% decline in sales!
With this in mind, the first tip for automating your marketing efforts is be careful about how you use chatbot automation. A great approach is to do a detailed site analysis and identify the busiest times of the day. During these hours, you should always have a human available to answer support inquiries.
But if you see that there tends to be lulls in traffic around certain times, go ahead and use a chatbot. However, remember that bots can’t solve all problems. So make it easy for your customers to get in touch with a human (unlike what Facebook does in this example).
2. Be Smarter About Lead Generation
B2B sales don’t happen overnight. If the average consumer needs six to eight marketing touches before turning into a viable sales lead, a business is likely to require more. Therefore, it’s a good idea to consider investing in automation for lead generation.
Simple solutions, like popups, can be automated with time or action-based triggers, allowing B2B brands to deliver their pitches at an optimal time in the buying journey.
HubSpot, for example, has an exit-intent popup set up on its blog, prompting readers to sign up for the brand’s newsletter before closing their current tab. It’s an easy-to-copy tactic that does a great job of combining the power of automation and lead generation, ultimately helping you nurture subscribers into paying customers.
3. Create an Immersive Onboarding Process
Another super-easy way to automate your B2B marketing is to create welcome emails that boost customer experience from the moment a person signs up for your services.
This effect is easy to achieve with tools like Mailchimp that allow you to create one-time messages or entire series that welcome new customers.
For example, this onboarding email from Buffer is structured as a short course on social media post scheduling. The automation not only helps trial users get acquainted with the software, but it also acts as a timely reminder of how long they have of their free trial, gently nudging them towards becoming paying customers.
4. Find the Right (and Wrong) Keywords
Another great way to automate your marketing is to use the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to optimize your ad spend.
Whether you’re investing in PPC campaigns on Google, social media, or marketplaces like Amazon, the single best way to improve performance is to choose the right keywords.
Start by targeting hyper-relevant search terms, then make it a habit to weed out keywords that underperform (leading to high bounce rates or requiring expensive bids).
By letting AI do that job for you, you’ll save a lot of time going through reports. You’ll also ensure your campaigns are consistently up to date without you having to spend all day monitoring them.
If you’re not comfortable with entirely automating your ads (yes, we understand, you want to keep total control of your budget), consider at least automating your data collection from multiple sources with a tool such as Mozart Data.
That way, you’ll get useful insights about your campaigns while maintain control over where your money is going.
5. Use Automation Features to Stand Out From Your Competition
In providing B2B products and services, much of the work happens on a month-to-month basis. According to Statista, more than one-quarter of B2B brands get more than 50% of their sales from recurring orders.
But while repeat sales are great for building a solid revenue base, they can also mean a lot of legwork. For example, data shows that the average number of hours businesses spend chasing down payments is 1.5 hours per day. That’s not just a waste of time for you, but an unnecessary inconvenience for your clients as well.
Fortunately, you can use automation to overcome this obstacle. By implementing a payment automation solution that either generates invoices based on input (and sends automatically sends gentle reminders when payment is past due) or works on a subscription model, you can appeal to more businesses and reduce collection efforts.
Popular freelance platform Fiverr put time and money into developing a subscription model for service providers, knowing how good of a selling point it could be. Not only is it convenient for clients, it also opens up room for greater profits. Plus, it ensures a more consistent cash flow.
6. Automate Your Social Media and Content Marketing
How about a marketing automation tip you can start implementing right away (and for free)?
You probably know how important consistency is for leaving a great impression on social media. But it takes a lot of posts per day to ensure you’re on your target audience’s radar. And preparing and publishing those posts takes significant time as well. Fortunately, you can use scheduling tools to automate the process, eliminating any need to sit around and wait for the perfect moment to click the “Publish” button.
Facebook and Twitter both offer scheduling functionality. Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest, however, do not. With this in mind, it’s not a bad idea to explore programs like the above-mentioned Buffer or choose an option like Hootsuite.
Not only can you maintain an active social media presence, but you can automate your hard-hitting marketing campaigns to appear everywhere simultaneously, helping you boost sales.
It’s essential to keep in mind though that while you can automate posting, you can’t automate engagement. To assure you can respond quickly to mentions of your company or products across social media platforms, use a brand monitoring tool like Brand24 or BrandMentions.
7. Use Automation to Learn From Your Failures
Automation won’t always be the right tool for driving more sales for your B2B business. There will always be things you’ll have to do by hand. But you can use automation tools to turn all opportunities into chances for growth.
Even simple solutions, like adding a short questionnaire to your newsletter unsubscribe page (as in the example below from HypeAuditor) or your service cancellation pages can go a long way in providing you with information you can later use to improve your business. And the better optimized your customer experience is, the higher your chances of making more sales in the future.
Clearly, there are many great ways you can automate your B2B marketing efforts. But without a doubt, the best implementation of automated processes are those that take into consideration your data and your customers’ needs.
As with most aspects of marketing, the best approach to automation is to test, monitor, and make the investments that work best for you.
Natasha Lane is a lady of a keyboard and one hell of a geek. She is always happy to collaborate with awesome blogs and share her knowledge about branding, digital marketing trends, and business growth strategies. To see what she is up to next, check out her Twitter feed.