Is B2B marketing automation at the expense of personal contact? On the contrary!
Some 80% of all sales in the commercial sector are only realised after around five to twelve contact attempts – according to figures from ProSpex. We can therefore safely conclude that a sale is the result of a good relationship. But those who use the importance of personal contact as an argument against marketing automation couldn’t be more wrong. Good marketing automation is after all not a replacement for personal contact, but a valuable addition. Marketing automation saves time.
You can, for example, automate certain tasks that are time-consuming and labour-intensive, so you no longer have to carry them out manually. Just consider, for example, sending a confirmation of receipt when someone fills out a contact form; or sending a reminder email to people who have not yet registered for your event. The greatest value of marketing automation, however, lies in the doors that it opens to new possibilities.
B2B marketing automation leads to more personal communication
Marketing automation makes it possible to communicate with large numbers of people at the same time without losing that personal touch. By making clever use of the information in your database you can for instance approach people with personalised special offers based on their interests. And your organisation probably has more knowledge of those interests than you actually realise. After all, you can find out a great deal based on the links that someone clicks in the emails you have sent, or the web pages that someone visits on your website.
For instance, suppose that your organisation supports companies with various types of IT management services. If someone on your website has recently downloaded a whitepaper on the advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing, there is a very good chance that this person is interested more in your cloud services than in printer support. This is valuable information that you can use to, for example, send someone an email giving advice on how to switch over to the cloud.
Lead nurturing: an important b2b marketing automation process
Apart from identifying interests and communicating at a personal level, marketing automation also makes it possible to take prospects and customers by the hand and lead them further through the sales process. If, for example, someone consumes content in which the various types of cloud are compared you can assume that the person is in an exploratory phase. You can then modify the content of your newsletter accordingly.
And even more interesting is the moment that someone indicates they are ready to make a purchase. Does the person download a whitepaper containing information on what to consider when selecting a supplier? Or is the person asking for a price list? This is an ideal moment to mail an appropriate offer. Or better still, to send an automatic signal to the account manager who can then contact that person personally. Lead nurturing, such as guiding prospects through the sales funnel, works the best if you vary automated contact moments with personal contact.
The right information about the sales funnel
In the above example it is possible to assign to the prospect the appropriate account manager the moment it becomes clear what the person is interested in, in this case cloud services. This would be a sales person who is specialised in the subject, and who after a personal talk can then determine whether the customer has a genuine interest and is actually in an exploratory phase. As marketing automation informs the sales person the moment a customer moves further in the sales funnel, he is able to act at the right moment and communicate more effectively with his customers.
B2b marketing automation means qualitative talks
Sales people usually don’t have time to contact all prospects personally five to twelve times. And nor is this necessary. After all, some prospects never lead to a conversion however much time you spend on them. Marketing automation makes it possible to approach the right prospects in the right manner, providing insight into their interests. This therefore means carrying out sales talks in a more targeted way and less cold calling. In short, marketing automation and personal talks are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, thanks to marketing automation the sales department is able to carry out more personal talks than ever.