The benefits of automation tools for B2B companies

Marketing automation is a trend that’s been growing rapidly for the last five years. Businesses know that they can no longer solely rely on a manual or organic approach to generating leads and driving sales.

So what are the benefits of automating your marketing process, and which tools have we at The Practice found to be most effective?

When it comes to lead generation, using marketing automation software is one of the most trusted ways to target audiences at specific points in your business’s sales funnel. And from there, the process to conversion is made easier- in fact, research by Gartner found that businesses who used lead automation software reported revenue increases of 10% or more over a 6-9-month period.

For lead nurturing, one of the benefits is undoubtedly increased efficiency. If we take the email marketing process for instance, time can be saved by simply using an automation tool such as Hubspot or Marketo. Programmes such as these work by eliminating the manual task of sending out relevant emails to your leads- instead they can automatically send specific content based on triggers, such as the recipient’s engagement habits, interests and location. And of course, campaigns can be personalised with the recipient’s name, or a tailored ‘thank you’ response for example, resulting in a valuable amount of time saved.

And in terms of content creation, tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer are a blessing for social media marketers who need to configure and preschedule posts ahead of time. One of the benefits of Hootsuite in particular, is the fact that it enables marketers to add in streams focusing on particular hashtags and keywords too, allowing them to monitor online conversations without having to conduct new searches each time. To our mind, it’s the most efficient way to keep an eye on multiple channels, and automate activity all in one place.

On the downside however, marketing automation is an area that many businesses struggle with, chiefly due to the complexity of using such intricate tools. Lack of product understanding renders such a process ineffective- in fact, a recent report from AutopilotHQ revealed that almost 25% of businesses found these programmes too complicated to use. Then there’s the issue of budget as well, with many companies not having the funds in place to purchase premium subscriptions of their preferred tools. And should they be able to afford their system of choice, it can often be difficult for them to find the time and budget to offer proper training too, or find skilled employees.

However, to our mind there’s no question that at least one automation should be used by your business, depending on your marketing goals- whether that be mass targeting, online listening, or simply for planning ahead of time. This enables staff to concentrate on the one thing automation can’t provide- strategic tasks.

Does your business rely on one or more automation tools for your digital, email and social media marketing? Which have you found to be the most effective? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please tweet to us @PracticeDigital and share your comments on our Facebook page.