7 Tried & True B2B Marketing Automation Examples

With marketing automation, you can serve the right content to the right person at the right time – at scale. You can also drive consistency and efficiency with internal processes. And not to mention, it just might be my favorite tool in our marketing tech stack. 

So, how does marketing automation apply in the real world? Here are some of our top tried and true must-have B2B marketing automation examples.

B2B Marketing Automation Examples

What is B2B Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is technology that allows you to automate, streamline, and measure your marketing tasks and workflows.

However, its true power comes through sales and marketing alignment combined with a well-utilized B2B CRM.

Sales & Marketing Alignment in Automation 

If it feels like your sales and marketing teams are on different planets, adding automation to the mix won’t solve that. Ensure your teams are aligned by outlining responsibilities, defining key terms like lead statuses and lifecycle stages and aligning your team goals.

Reaching total harmony among teams can be a process, but at a minimum, it should be an active joint effort. 

Recommended Reading: Lake One’s Guide to Sales & Marketing Alignment

B2B Marketing Examples for Sales Collaboration and Internal Processes

Marketing automation helps to facilitate collaboration between sales and marketing in real-time. It’s the conduit between the two teams. These processes within B2B businesses are centered around sales collaboration and the facilitation of internal processes. 

B2B Marketing Automation Examples

Automation for Sales Collaboration 

Sales collaboration takes place in a variety of ways, but the most common are some of the marketing automation examples outlined below. 

Lead Scoring

Not all leads are created equal and for that very reason, we leverage lead scoring.  Lead scoring is ranking lead readiness to convert based on the lead’s behavior. The idea behind lead scoring is that a lead can take specific actions or engagements which speak to their sales-readiness. For example, a user who is highly engaged on the site, downloading multiple offers visiting key pages (like pricing), and signing up for the blog, etc. is in theory, more ready to purchase than a user who visited one or two pages on the site a couple of times. 

Lead scoring allows a sales and marketing team to work together to develop criteria identifying leads likely to make a purchase so they can be followed up with by Sales. How to do this will be different for each CRM. In HubSpot, you set up your behaviors and scores and then create a workflow or a list to send all leads who meet your threshold over to sales automatically.

Setting Leads to Marketing Qualified & Assigning to Sales 

This next section really applies to setting any lifecycle stage or lead status, but we’ll focus on Marketing Qualified Leads because that lifecycle stage is a must and a big factor in measuring marketing ROI.

Again each CRM will be different, but in HubSpot, our favorite way to achieve this is by creating what we call, a MQL List. The list includes all of our specific MQL criteria like the following:

  • Role is (insert the desired role)
  • Company name is known
  • Phone number is known
  • Industry is (insert the desired industry)
  • And the lead source is none of offline 

Note: MQL criteria setting is part of the sales & marketing alignment process and should be revisited at a minimum twice a year.

Once your list is built with your set criteria, you can create a workflow that notifies sales or creates a task for the MQL to be reviewed by sales.

B2B Marketing Automation Examples

Recommended Reading: 5 Ways Marketing Automation Can Boost Lead Volume

Automation for Internal Processes 

B2B companies often have complex business processes. Marketing automation can drive efficiencies and allow for real-time routing, task creation, and follow-up across functions and channels. 

Lead Routing 

Is your sales team divided into territories? Or divided by certain products, services, or areas of expertise? If so, lead routing is your ticket to removing the manual review of leads and automatically routing by key differentiators. You’ll most always start with a form submission of some type and follow with if/then branches or conditionals to route leads. 

For example: If a contact fills out the “Demo Request” form and their country is set to the U.S., then assign Frank as the contact owner and create a task for Frank to review.

B2B Marketing Automation Examples

Data Governance/Management

It’s also common that workflows be used to ensure your CRM stays up to date and with as many properties completed as possible. Workflows can be used to manage some of the following: 

  • Subscription Types: If contacts fill out forms such as a newsletter sign up, a webinar, product updates, etc… you can manage their subscriptions on the back end with workflows.
  • Opt-Outs: If you want to keep a running master opt-out list, you can create a workflow that states if a contact opts out of communication, add them to a specific list. 
  • Contact Owners: Similar to the above lead routing scenario, you can use workflows to ensure all contacts have an owner.  Or if they don’t, use a workflow to create a task for a sales leader to review.
  • Copying Across Property Types: This might vary depending on your CRM, but you are likely using different types of properties or objects to store your data. For example, a company record or contact record. In some cases, the information should be the same in both places. Rather than duplicating efforts, use a workflow to copy the value from one property to another. 

B2B Marketing Automation Examples for Lead Nurturing 

Lead nurturing is the process of cultivating relationships with potential buyers at every stage of the sales process and through the buyer’s journey. It puts a focus on meeting buyers where they are at, listening, and providing helpful relevant information. 

Marketo

Marketing automation allows you to create lead nurturing campaigns, also known as email drip campaigns which are a series of emails spread out over time that help buyers move from awareness to consideration to decision. 

When it comes to what emails to include and how many and what frequency, it really depends on your personas needs and your buying cycle and the action the contact took. Nurturing campaigns are definitely not ‘set it and forget it’. Email open rates and engagement all the way through to marketing attribution reporting, will be your workflow gut check and point you towards areas for optimization.

Lead to MQL Nurturing & Beyond

Lead to MQL nurturing is a common point in the buyer’s journey in which nurturing can start. It’s likely initiated by a contact downloading a piece of content. From there, you offer the lead relevant information that you think may help them solve the pain point that brought them to your site initially. Along the way, you give them plenty of opportunities to convert with additional content and CTAs.

The goal is to nurture the lead until they become a Marketing Qualified Lead and meet your set criteria. From there, queue sales!

B2B Marketing Automation Examples

Form Submission Follow-Up

Depending on the type of form a contact submits, you might not need a full-blown workflow, maybe a simple thank you will suffice? If so, workflows are your ticket. They can easily go from a 10 email sequence as mentioned above, to a one and done thank you for your submission email.

Pro Tip: Take your ‘Contact Us’ form submissions to the next level by sending a follow-up email post submission letting your contacts know when they can expect to hear from you in response to their inquiry. 

Date Based Marketing Automations

If you have a CRM like HubSpot, workflows don’t have to be based solely on a contact property, they can be date-based too! This is perfect for webinars, trade shows, and other events. The following can be handled with date-based workflows:

  • Leading up to an event
  • During an event
  • Post-event follow up

Marketing Automation Optimizations 

Okay, you set up all of the marketing automations above, that means you’re done and can move on to the next initiative right?

via GIPHY

In case the ‘how about no sloth’ didn’t give it away, the answer is ‘no’. The setup is only the beginning. Sales and marketing automation tools typically come with better reporting capabilities and you should totally use them. Whether it’s lead flows, MQLs, or subscriptions, reviewing and optimizing your marketing automation workflows are a must.

Also, it’s worth noting there’s a part of the story that can’t always be seen in the data. Take the time to talk to the teams and solicit feedback. Are the automations working? Are they missing the mark? Meeting on a regular cadence will help uncover those issues too. 

So tell us, did you like the examples? Are we missing one of your favorites? Sales and marketing automation can save you time and help your B2B business scale. If you’re considering incorporating automation into your sales and marketing strategy, we’d love to chat.

 Book Your Consultation Now

B2B CRM Strategy: 6 Ways It Can Drive Sales & Marketing Alignment

The B2B buying environment is complex and often multifaceted. With heavy workloads and high goals, one thing remains consistent across the board: strong business relationships help close deals and drive company growth. But how do you keep track of contact history and provide visibility company-wide all while keeping your sales and marketing teams aligned? Queue Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and B2B CRM strategy.

CRM software revenues are now the largest of all software markets with revenues expected to reach over $80 billion by 2025. 

B2B CRM Software Revenue Chart

Image Source: SuperOffice

What is a B2B CRM

According to Salesforce, a B2B CRM stands for Business to Business Customer Relationship Management and refers to systems, technologies, strategies, and processes that help B2B companies manage their relationships with existing and potential customers. It helps companies better understand contacts, their needs, and where they are in the buyer’s journey as it relates to your business. 

Why Invest in a B2B CRM

B2B CRMs should really be thought of as a strategic way of understanding, managing, and delivering on business customers’ needs at each stage of the buyer’s journey. They really are what you make of it, but here are three main reasons why you should take the plunge and invest in a CRM and drive alignment for your internal teams. 

Better Visibility

B2B CRMs provide visibility system-wide and are single-handedly the best solution for keeping a real-time pulse on your contact database and sales cycle ecosystem. Even smarketing meetings (sales and marketing alignment team meetings) can’t provide you with the same kind of real-time feedback across teams. 

Have a question on a contact? Or are you wondering overall how leads that come from paid media are performing? Your answers lie in the CRM.

Working Smarter

We’re big fans of working smarter and not getting bogged down with busy work or meetings for meetings sake. You might be thinking that CRMs create more work because of all the necessary input which is only partially true. It does take time to adjust your daily processes to a CRM, but once you do, your teams will likely find that they are more efficient with contact follow up and reporting, and actually are able to spend more time selling and focusing on target accounts. And as an added bonus, marketing has better insight into marketing qualified lead performance as well, resulting in the ability to hone in lead quality vs quantity. 

Data-Driven Decision Making 

Whether you’re looking for a bird’s eye view or you like getting down and dirty with the details, CRMs undoubtedly provide insight into the data. You can view account activity, pipeline, close rates, and more. You’ll also be able to turn your hunches into a data-driven decision. For example, let’s say you think that the majority of your prospects in a certain industry sign when you can get them to a demo. A CRM would allow you to confirm that in the data and then you could spend your time focusing on how to get more prospects in the said industry to demo faster.

Getting Started with Your B2B CRM Strategy

B2B CRMs should really be thought of as a strategic way of understanding, managing, and delivering on business customers’ needs at each stage of the buyer’s journey. The CRM technology itself is what enables the strategy and makes it possible.  

So where to start? Here are our 6 proven B2B CRM strategies that fuel sales and marketing alignment and business growth. 

Related Reading: Is a HubSpot CRM Right for You? 7 Questions to Consider

Get Teams Speaking the Same Language

CRMs are great, but they’re only as good as in the information you put it in and it’s really difficult to increase usage if everyone has different definitions of some of the basics. Everybody needs to be speaking the same language and have a common understanding of what is critical for your CRM. And trust us, it’s better to iron out the basics sooner in the process rather than later.

Lifecycle Stages & Lead Statuses 

Lifecycle stages and lead statuses may differ slightly in naming depending on your platform, but the purpose behind them likely doesn’t. Lifecycle stages signify what stage your contact is in the buyer’s journey and lead status provides an extra layer of detail as to where they are at exactly. Here are the most common definitions we use across our partnerships.

Lifecycle Stages

  • Subscriber: Contacts who know of your business and have opted in to hear more from your team. This is likely visitors that have signed up for your blog or newsletter.
  • Lead: Contacts who have shown sales-readiness beyond being a subscriber. An example of a lead is a contact who signs up for a content offer from your business.
  • Marketing Qualified Lead: Contacts who have engaged with the team’s marketing efforts, but are still not ready to receive a sales call. An example of an MQL is a contact who responds to a specific form in a marketing campaign.
  • Sales Qualified Lead: A contact that your sales team has qualified as a potential customer.
  • Opportunity: A contact who is a real sales opportunity.
  • Customer: A contact with a closed deal(s).

Lead Statuses

  • Prospect: No marketing automation. Contacts with this lead status are being hunted by sales.
  • New: All new leads will be assigned this status by default.
  • Open: A lead that is currently being worked by sales.
  • In Progress: A connection has been and the lead is in progress.
  • Open Deal: There is an open deal with the contact.
  • Attempted to Contact: Sales is attempting to contact or follow up with a lead.
  • Connected: Sales has connected with the contact.
  • Unqualified: Lead is not qualified to do business.

Pro Tip: Identify your lifecycle stages and statues as part of your Service Level Agreement. Learn more about Lake One’s SLAs here.

Contact Field Basics & Defaults

You’ll also want to work with key stakeholders to define your default required fields. For any field that has a dropdown, you’ll want to make sure those are well-defined among internal teams as well. The basics range from specific contact information needed down to current solution provider, market or buying role. Most CRMs will allow you to customize fields to your business needs.

Pro Tip: Think wisely about the field ‘type’ you select when creating properties as it’s nearly impossible to use a single line text field in list segmentation or workflows. This is due to the room for error in data input. For workflow usable data, dropdown selects are one of my favorites! We reserved single line text for fields like phone numbers, addresses, notes, etc. 

Segment Contacts for Personalized Communication

Personalization in a B2B email can improve click-through rate by as much as 14% and conversion rates by 10%. Personalization starts with list segmentation. Of course it can come in to play via the actual insertion of personalization tokens (names, role, etc.), but deciding who you are communicating with is the first step. 

B2B CRMs allow you to segment contacts by where they are at in the buyer’s journey (lead, customer, MQL), their product interest, industry, etc. without needing to think about each contact and manually emailing a custom communication. This is also critical for sales and marketing alignment and allows both teams to tailor communications. Get more tips on writing B2B sales emails here.

Close the Feedback Loop in Real-Time

A key component of sales and marketing alignment is closing the feedback loop between sales and marketing. It’s absolutely essential that sales provides feedback on lead quality and lead status in real-time. 

Closing the feedback loop entails:

  • Sales communicating a lead is rejected
  • Sales communicating why a lead is rejected (poor timing, bad contact information, no budget, etc.)
  • Communication on when lead nurturing is taking place
  • Communication on if and when to resume lead nurturing once it’s been paused 

All of the above is made possible by a B2B CRM in a relatively quick and painless way. 

Leverage Lead Scoring That’s Based on Engagement

Lead scoring is a systematic and scientific way of ranking leads based on their readiness to purchase a product or service from your company. Scores are assigned to certain criteria such as a lead’s fit for your product or service, expressed interest through different activities like filling out a form or watching a webinar, and position in the buying cycle.

Lead Scoring provides a reliable, predictable, recurring means for deciding which leads are sales-ready, and ordering them by importance takes the guesswork out for both teams.

Lead scoring can be done by either using explicit data/demographics and/or implicit data/actions or behavior. A B2B CRM allows you to track and gather implicit data more easily such as: email opens, click-through-rates, key page views, and form fills. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to track and leverage the data across teams. 

Related Reading: Lead Scoring Basics 

Universal Deal Stages & Pipelines That Reflect Sales Cycles

Pipelines and deal stages help to break down complex B2B buying cycles into a measurable process that’s easily digestible. Whether you have an established sales process or you’re starting from scratch, B2B CRMs like HubSpot make it easy to create your ideal process.

HubSpot B2B CRM Strategy

Image Source: HubSpot

Most processes of course start with a meeting and end either in closed won or closed lost. The pipeline gives you visibility into what’s in process, when things will hit, and most importantly, what’s stuck in the process. 

Use Forecasting & Reporting to Better Manage Teams

B2B CRMs like HubSpot really shine when it comes to taking your data inputs and turning it into dashboards and usable reporting. Maybe you could create manually? But the time savings and accuracy that come with CRMs are too good to pass up. Here are a few ways to leverage CRM data for forecasting and better managing your teams.

Related Reading: 6 KPIs for Sales & Marketing Alignment

Sales Team Activity: View activities by sales rep on a rolling basis. Activity includes number of calls, meetings, emails, new contacts, deals closed, etc. It’s easy to see top performers and those who might be phoning it in.

HubSpot B2B CRM Strategy

Image Source: HubSpot

Forecasting Deal Revenue: Get a clear view of what’s coming down the pipe associated with the deal stage and its likelihood to close. The benefit of these reports are two-fold. It keeps your sales reps accountable knowing that their estimates will be used in reporting and it also allows you to better forecast. 

HubSpot B2B CRM Strategy

Image Source: HubSpot

About Sales & Marketing Alignment Services at Lake One

At Lake One, technology is at the core of all our sales and marketing thinking. We call these services basecamp.

  • We work with our partners to make sure their basecamp is “right sized” for their organization.
  • That the goals and strategy are leading the technology choices and not the other way around.
  • But most of all – that the technology is embraced and providing value to the organization.

 Book Your Consultation Now

Building Blocks of a Quota Crushing Sales Enablement Program

Sales enablement is quickly gaining traction across organizations. High-growth companies are finding that in order to grow the business and hit revenue targets, sales teams need more support. 

According to HubSpot, Sales Enablement is the iterative process of providing your business’s sales teams with the resources they need to close more deals. Resources include content, tools, knowledge and the information needed to effectively sell and close more deals.

Source: Demand Metric

Although sales enablement programs aren’t one size fits all, successful programs have these building blocks in common.

sales enablement program

Strategy

A successful sales enablement program almost always starts with a good strategy. In order for a program to make an impact, it needs to be aligned with the needs of your organization, but in order to do that, you need to understand where your team is at today. Your baseline.

  • What current challenges is your company facing?
  • What are the teams’ pain points?
  • Where is there friction in the buying process?

Open dialogue should start to unearth areas of opportunity for team alignment, streamlined processes and content creation. 

Sales Enablement Content

There are two key areas when it comes to sales enablement content – content alignment and content management.

Content Alignment

Sales enablement content can be for both internal sales support and for lead generation. Marketers are hyper-focused on the buyer’s journey and who better to bring back information from the front lines than the sales team? Sales can share insights into knowledge gaps, buyer objections, and content performance. Some examples of sales enablement content are:

  • Internal Sales Support Content: Product sheets, competitor comparisons, email templates and snippets, one-pagers, presentation support, and social messages.
  • Lead Generation Content: Blog posts, white papers, case studies, and videos.
Source: Uplandsoftware.com

Creating content that is underutilized and undervalued, doesn’t benefit anyone. Aligning your content strategy with buyers to further support sales efforts is a win-win across the board.

Content Management

According to Inc., the average salesperson spends about 440 hours each year trying to find the right content to share with their prospects and customers. Yikes.

Creating the content is only half of it. Take it the extra mile by making the content easily discoverable by sales. This can be as easy as a shared file system, a Google Doc, or as sophisticated as creating trackable documents and leveraging marketing technology. You want your team to spend their time selling, not tracking down assets.

Pro Tip: At Lake One, we do a hybrid approach for sales enablement content that consists of a workbook that we call a “Content Audit” along with trackable sales documents in HubSpot. We often categorize the assets by industry, service area, and persona, for easy lookup.

Sales and Marketing Alignment

The alignment of sales and marketing teams for sale enablement isn’t just necessary- it’s the entire point. When creating your strategy, keep that at the heart of it all. Ultimately, you want to create a symbiotic relationship between both teams. Sales should be communicating their needs and knowledge to marketing as we mentioned. This includes what assets would be most helpful in their sales process as mentioned, but it also includes what feedback they receive from leads, how long their sales process typically takes, etc. At the same time, marketing should be communicating back to sales about up and coming events, relative data points and new assets on the horizon. 

You’ll hopefully kick off your strategy creation with a meeting of the minds from both teams, but plan to make this a recurring event. The aim is to have regular check-ins to keep communication open, analyze data, and optimize your efforts.

Learn more about marketing’s role in B2B Sales Enablement 

Training & Reinforcement

We understand busy schedules more than anyone, but training and reinforcement is a must and is non-negotiable for making your sales enablement program stick.

Source: Brainshark.com

According to the Harvard Business Review, salespeople lose 80 to 90% of what they learn after one month. 

Training doesn’t have to be a days-long convention on solution selling. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. Frequency and consistency are key. Not sure what to train your teams on? Here are a couple of suggestions to help you flush it out.

  • Review the team stats. Do you have a stellar performer that is standing out about the rest that could share some pointers with the team? Or is your team performing below industry benchmarks?
  • Just ask. Chances are your team has areas that they’d like to improve if given the opportunity.

The Role of Technology in Sales Enablement

According to Forbes, the term “sales enablement technology” refers to a software or system that allows the sales team to access content that is relevant to their target consumer and appropriate for the consumer’s position in the sales funnel. It also makes content accessibility and reporting a heck of a lot easier.

From notifications of initial interest all the way through to closing deals, consider how you want your sales and marketing teams to work together. How can you streamline the process, using technology? Where can you automate a manual process? 

The specific role technology plays in your sales enablement program can vary, but will likely consist of a few of these basics.

Source: 6connex.com

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

A CRM helps manage and organize your company’s interactions with prospects and clients. It’s your central source of truth for account ownership, account activity, and the state of the state. It’s critical for alignment.

Of course though, CRMs these days aren’t just CRMs. There is an opportunity to integrate your CRM with your marketing automation software. A CRM, like HubSpot does this seamlessly and can bring your sales enablement strategy to the next level because it allows your team to see, nurture, and report on leads. Thorough contact records are kept up to date automatically with the actions leads have taken on your website including things like content downloads, email opens, and page visits. These insights help to bring your content full picture.

Related Reading: Is a HubSpot CRM Right for You? 7 Questions to Consider

Additionally, a CRM allows for progress tracking of sales or deals. It’s really where your sales enablement strategy is able to come to life as a shared information access point for better visibility and better forecasting. 

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is the use of technology to automate elements of your sales and marketing processes. It’s the clincher in a sales enablement strategy and how you can make the most out of your CRM. Marketing automation can be used to aid in prospecting, lead nurturing, sales follow up and streamlining internal processes. 

Marketing Automation for Manufacturing

Related Reading: Sales & Marketing Automation: What it is & what it can do for B2B

Getting Your Sales Enablement Program Started

Now that you know the basics, here are a few tips for getting started.

  • Start with the end in mind. Know your goals and work backward, determining which levers you can pull to make an impact. 
  • Don’t develop your strategy in a vacuum. Sales enablement is a team effort so make sure you have buy-in and agreement from key stakeholders.
  • Progress over perfection. You’re going to have bumps and you’re going to face challenges. That’s okay! We’re big believers in learning as you go and going forward.

If you’re considering building a sales enablement program, we’d love to chat. Contact us.

Marketing Automation for Manufacturing: How to make it Your Firm’s Unfair Advantage

Manufacturing is an industry that can often rely heavily on trade shows, in-person meetings, and product catalogs. However, like many industries, there’s a pressure and need to survive and thrive in the digital marketplace we’ve all become accustomed to. One tool manufacturing companies can have in their toolbox, is marketing automation. Marketing automation helps manufacturers simplify complex b2b processes while personalizing and scaling their digital marketing and sales efforts. 

With 48% of Marketers using marketing automation, it is one of the 4 most popular methods to create personalized customer experiences. – House of Marketing “Yearly Marketing Survey 2019” (2019)

By definition according to HubSpot, marketing automation is a tactic that allows companies to nurture leads through the buyer’s journey using personalized and valuable content. It also supports scale and growth within organizations. In this post we will talk about five key areas marketing automation can fuel your modern marketing strategy.

marketing automation for manufacturing

But First, Strategy.

Marketing automation is all about using software to automate manual processes and activities. These activities can include email, lead routing, social media, managing contact data properties, lead scoring, contact follow up, and more. But those are all features and functions. Technology is a solution. Not a strategy. 

Marketing automation is most effective when it’s driven by a persona-centric, buyer-focused, process founded strategy. 

Looking for help with strategy? Book a free consult.

Marketing Automation for Email Marketing

Marketing automation is so much more than email, but it’s likely what comes to mind first when you think about marketing automation. When done correctly, it allows for personalized emails to be sent to a segmented list from your contact database.

Why is this important? Manufacturers can have massive contact databases that house leads, vendors, reps, distributors, and customers alike. Personalizing communication and tailoring your message to your personas is key for engagement and effectiveness.

List Segmentation

List segmentation is pulling contacts that meet a certain set of criteria at a given time based on the information you have in your database. When potentially crawling through tens of thousands of contacts, automating list pulling is a must. 

For example, if you want to send an email to all of your customers who are engineers, who have an interest in product XYZ and reside in the U.S., list segmentation is the way to go. With a few clicks, you’ll have the list you need to provide relevant, timely, and helpful information in your communication.

Personalization

Automated marketing emails don’t have to ‘feel’ automated. Marketing automation allows for email personalization at scale. Here are a few examples for manufacturers.

  • Addressing your recipient by name in the greeting
  • Referencing their company name when giving an example of how their company could benefit from your product
  • Referencing their role or job title when discussing pain points or solutions pertinent to their role
  • Referencing the last piece of content they downloaded by name and asking if they are finding it helpful
  • Customizing the sender information per contact by contact owner
  • Referencing product or product category of interest
  • Referencing examples and case studies

When using platforms like HubSpot, you can pull in nearly every property as a personalization token within your email. 

Pro Tip: It’s a good idea to test your email internally, prior to sending your full list to confirm the personalization tokens rendered in the copy as intended. 

Marketing Automation for Manufacturing
Found on  HubSpot, Research by Jupiter Research.

Marketing Automation for Lead Generation

Marketing Automation facilitates lead capture and lead generation most commonly through forms and landing pages. Leads can take all sorts of forms for manufacturers. New distribution partners, new suppliers, all the way to end users and customers. But they all start their journey at contact with your firm. 

Landing Pages

Landing pages are web pages that are optimized for conversion and focus on a clear call-to-action for your personas such as downloading an ebook, requesting a catalog, signing up for a newsletter or requesting a quote.

Manufacturing websites can be robust because they house many product pages so providing dedicated landing pages that cut out the noise and drive one action becomes really important. 

Forms

One key part of landing pages that is so fundamental it deserves a call-out of its own, is forms. Forms provide the chance for your personas to share information with you in exchange for something (an ebook, a purchasing quote, etc.) Selecting which form fields appear in your forms is a part of a sales and marketing aligned strategy. Here are some form fields for consideration for manufacturing:

  • Job function
  • Location
  • Company name
  • Product interest
  • Readiness to buy

Although I’m sure there is a lot of information you’d like to know about our contacts, be selective and make sure the number and type of questions you ask is equivalent to the value the user gets in turn for completing the form. 

Pro Tip: Platforms like HubSpot allow you to leverage progressive fields which means you aren’t showing repeat questions for the same lead. This allows for you to continue to collect valuable information for repeat form fills.

Marketing Automation for Manufacturing

Marketing Automation for Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing is the process of cultivating relationships with potential buyers at every stage of the sales process and through the buyer’s journey. It puts a focus on meeting buyers where they are at, listening, and providing helpful relevant information. 

On average, 50% of the leads in any system are not yet ready to buy (Marketo)

Marketing automation allows you to create lead nurturing campaigns, also known as email drip campaigns which are a series of emails spread out over time that help buyers move from awareness to consideration to decision. Here are a few examples of actions that can initiate a lead nurturing campaign for manufacturers. 

  • A lead downloads a piece of premium content like an ebook
  • A lead attends a webinar
  • A lead requests more information on a specific product 
  • A lead downloads a case study or a buyers guide

When it comes to what emails to include and how many and what frequency, it really depends on your personas needs and your buying cycle. Nurturing campaigns are definitely not ‘set it and forget it’. Email open rates and engagement all the way through to marketing attribution reporting, will be your workflow gut check and point you towards areas for optimization.

Marketing Automation for Sales Collaboration & Internal Processes

Marketing automation is a major element of sales collaboration and simplifying internal processes. 

Marketing Automation

Sales Collaboration

At  Lake One, we bleed sales and marketing alignment. Marketing automation facilitates collaboration between sales and marketing in real-time. It’s the conduit between the two teams. Manufacturers can use marketing automation for the following sales collaboration oriented workflows:

  • Lead scoring
  • Assigning lifecycle stages and lead statuses
  • Handing off Marketing Qualified Leads to sales
  • Closing the lead quality feedback loop

Related Reading: How to Marketing Qualify Your Manufacturing Leads

Internal Processes

Manufacturing companies often have complex business processes. Marketing automation can drive efficiencies and allow for real-time routing, task creation, and follow-up across functions and channels. It’s made possible again through workflows. Here are some examples of workflows leveraged by manufacturing companies to drive efficiencies.

  • Routing leads by sales rep territory
  • Sending custom ‘Thank You’ emails by country
  • Routing internal requests like samples, RFQs or catalogs
  • Creating custom tasks by sales rep for lead review
  • Automatically setting subscription types
  • Setting product interest categories

The possibilities are nearly endless when it comes to creating custom workflows to support your internal processes. 

Marketing Automation for Reporting & Attribution

At the end of the day, it’s about numbers. Marketing automation platforms give you the ability to create dashboards for your organization to view the reporting that matters most. Typical reports manufacturers can leverage include:

  • Contact lifecycle funnel (from a lead all the way to a customer)
  • Lead source
  • Traffic sessions
  • Email performance
  • Landing page performance
  • Sales pipeline

Is Marketing Automation Right for Your Manufacturing Company?

We realize marketing for manufacturing can be complex, especially when you add marketing tech. Building a revenue operations machine with the technology to automate and support the complexities of your customer channels can come with plenty of questions.

Interested in exploring if marketing automation is right for you? Book a free 1-hour consultation with Ryan, our lead strategist.

 Book Your Consultation Now

Sales & Marketing Automation: What it is and what it can do for B2B

You likely know that sales and marketing alignment is our jam. We are all about the two teams communicating openly and working towards common goals. But did you also know that we are all about working smarter? Sales and marketing automation can help you with some of the heavy lifting allowing you to scale and spend your time on the things that matter most to your business.

Despite the joint naming, sales automation and marketing automation serve distinct purposes within an organization. In this post, we’ll define both sales and marketing automation and share some of our top tips for implementation. 

Sales & Marketing Automation

What is Sales Automation?

HubSpot defines sales automation as the mechanization of manual, time-consuming sales tasks using software, artificial intelligence (AI), and other digital tools. 

With the sales team focused on one to one communication, automation can help with prospecting and outreach and cut down on response time, making sales uber efficient. More specifically, sales automation helps with:

  • Lead distribution
  • Lead follow-up emails
  • Meeting scheduling
  • Sales quotes/proposals
  • Customer onboarding
  • Lead scoring
  • Approvals
  • Lead qualification

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is using software to automate marketing activities such as email marketing, social posting, and reporting. 

With the marketing team focused on communicating to a group of people, (ideally targeted to personas), automation adds scalability and also personalization. Without marketing automation, it’s nearly impossible to include personalization at the scale needed for most B2B businesses. 

Marketing automation helps to accomplish the following:

  • Updated tracking
  • Real-time alerts
  • Automated lead-hand off
  • Forms
  • Landing pages
  • Social post scheduling
  • Emails 
  • Lead nurturing
  • Lead qualification

Did we mention you can use marketing automation to outsource lead gen? Read more.

Sales & Marketing Automation Tips for B2B

If you’re either considering sales and marketing automation for your business or your current efforts aren’t going so well, this next section is for you. Here are our top five sales and marketing automation tips. 

Tip #1: It starts with alignment

If it feels like your sales and marketing teams are on different planets, adding automation to the mix won’t solve that. It’s best to have a meeting of the minds first. There you should outline responsibilities, define key terms and align your goals. 

Alignment can be a process, but at a minimum, it should be an active process.

MarTech Assessment

Tip #2: Don’t overbuy

Underutilized technology can be a costly expenditure. Not every company needs sales and marketing automation and not every company needs all the bells and whistles of enterprise-grade solutions. Being aligned as a team will help you hone in on the features that are necessary.

Here are some questions for consideration when evaluating the needs of your teams:

  • Are you struggling to segment and prioritize leads?
  • Do your leads require nurturing?
  • Is your sales team struggling to find the time to follow up with leads?
  • Are you leveraging your content?
  • Do you know where your teams are coming from?
  • How are leads handed off?

Tip #3: Have a plan 

Sales and marketing automation can be great, but not without a plan. Having an agreed-upon strategy of what matters to your organization will help you select the tech that meets your needs and execute day to day.

Automation isn’t the entire strategy, but it’s part of it.

Tip #4: Who owns automation?

Bringing on new technology can sometimes have people asking, “Who’s on first?” We strongly recommend appointing an automation internal champion. This person is responsible for adoption, consistency and holding teams accountable.

Tip #5: Don’t forget you’re marketing and selling to humans

When it comes to automation, you can have too much of a good thing because at the end of the day, you’re still marketing and selling to humans. No one wants to engage and converse with a robot, especially if the buyer is in the decision stage. 

 Make sure to:

  • Monitor replies to your automated your messaging
  • Use personalization
  • Practice social listening 
  • Analyze the data and optimize

Avoid these B2B email nurture mistakes that will leave your leads dead in the water.

Tip #5: Automation isn’t set it and forget it

C’mon. Is there anything in sales or marketing that is set it and forget it? The answer is no. There isn’t. Sales and marketing automation tools typically come with better reporting capabilities. Use it! 

Also, there’s part of the story that can’t always be seen in the data. Take the time to talk to the teams and solicit feedback.

Sales and marketing automation can save you time and help your B2B business scale. If you’re considering incorporating automation into your sales and marketing strategy, we’d love to chat.

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8 Cringeworthy B2B Email Nurturing Mistakes that Leave Your Leads Dead in the Water

According to Gleanster Research, 50% of qualified leads aren’t ready to buy. 

Okay, so if they are interacting with your website, but they aren’t ready to buy, what are they doing? They are likely researching solutions to solve their problems and considering several options prior to making a purchase decision. 

The way that we as marketers help leads through the buyer’s journey, is by leveraging email nurture sequences, also known as lead nurturing. Lead Nurturing by definition is the process of building effective relationships with potential customers throughout the buying journey. 

One to one direct communication with all B2B leads isn’t scalable, but using nurture email sequencing is, and it’s effective. The caveat? Email nurturing must be strategic. 

Here are 8 B2B email nurturing mistakes that will tank your conversion rates and leave your leads dead in the water.  

B2B email nurturing mistakes

Mistake #1: Not Having a Lead Email Nurturing Campaign at All

Every B2B company needs lead nurturing one way or another. Not convinced? Start by asking yourself these questions:

  1. Do you have content available for download?
  2. Do you have a chatbot?
  3. Do you have a ‘Contact Us’ form on your website?
  4. Do you offer a demo or webinar?
  5. Do you a newsletter sign up?

If you answered yes to any of the above, email nurture sequences are for you. They do some of the heavy lifting by giving the potential buyer the information they need to help themselves, yet still provide them with the opportunity to easily raise their hand for sales. 

And let’s face it, if you’re not nurturing them, another company likely will and your lead will be drawn elsewhere.

Mistake #2: Forgoing Strategy and Research 

Nothing can turn your leads away faster than poorly targeted random marketing emails. Let strategy and research fuel your persona development and help you craft your marketing plan at large. Email lead nurturing should roll up nicely and be aligned across teams.

Interested in how Lake One does strategy? Here’s what we include.

Mistake #3: Not Using Personalization

Make sure your emails sound like they were written by a human being for another human being to read. 

Related Reading: Best Practices for Writing B2B Sales Emails

If you’re using a marketing automation software like HubSpot, you’ve likely collected data that can be easily inserted into your emails to add a personal touch. It can be as simple as addressing the email with their first name or you can take it a step further. Do you know their role? Their job title? The more insights you can glean from your leads, the more tailored you can make your emails. 

Also, here’s a fun fact. 

B2B Email Nurturing Mistakes

Mistake #4: Death by Sales Pitch 

Not all leads are ready to buy the second they begin interacting with your brand, so hang tight on transcribing your elevator pitch.  

It’s important to meet personas where they are at in the buyer’s journey by providing relevant, helpful content. Videos, blogs, additional resources, case studies, and customer testimony are perfect tidbits that can be shared via email nurture campaigns.

Are sales pitches ever appropriate? Absolutely. There comes a point in the nurture sequence, which should be determined by user engagement, where you absolutely ‘ask for the sale’. Here are some ways to do that.

Mistake #5: CTA Overload

Every email should have at least one clear call-to-action (CTA), but too many CTAs can be a distraction. Not to mention, it makes for an ugly email. 

Pro Tip: If you’re unclear about the purpose of your email, the lead likely will be too. Take a step back and list out the email subject, primary CTA and secondary CTAs if you have them, in a doc prior to building out your sequence. 

Mistake #6: Radio Silence When Leads Engage 

This one seems simple enough, but you’d be surprised how often email replies go unanswered. If a lead replies to your nurture sequence, where does it go? Who checks the inbox? Whose responsibility is it to reply? Make sure to have a game plan in place prior to launching.

What’s worse than silence? Any of these mistakes!

Mistake #7: Thinking Lead Nurturing is One and Done

The more blogs I write, the more I feel like a broken record that’s stuck on research and optimization. But it’s so true. Lead nurture emails are perfect candidates for optimization and should be based on research.

Not sure where to start the optimization process? Let the data be your guide vs intuition. Subject lines, CTAs, and email timing are all great optimization candidates if the data points are lackluster.

Mistake #8: Keeping Sales in the Dark 

Lead conversion is a team effort and often a result of both the sales and marketing team working towards the same goals

Lead Scoring Guide

When it comes to workflows and email nurture, it’s especially critical that sales and marketing align and have a system in place to signify when a lead is actively talking to sales or vice versa. Nothing can confuse or in some cases, annoy your leads more than emails from several people at the same company. Not sure if you’re aligned? Here are some tips to check.

The good news, this can be easily avoided if you’re using HubSpot by leveraging enrollment criteria, lists, and lead status. 

6 Must-Track B2B Email Marketing KPIs

Whether you’re a seasoned marketing pro or an email novice, check out the list of our top B2B email marketing KPIs we like to track. But before we dive into the metrics, we need to touch on one major email marketing necessity, goals. 

B2B Email Marketing KPIs

Email Marketing Goals 

You should know by now that random acts of marketing (executing marketing tactics that aren’t part of an overarching strategy) are a major don’t in our book and that definitely applies to emails. You might be thinking, “It’s just an email.” And in a sense, you’re right. However, all email communication whether it be a newsletter or a simple follow up email post-download needs to be part of a greater digital marketing strategy.

Learn all about Lake One’s Digital Strategy here.

Okay, so how do you go from the big picture down to your email campaigns? You break it down email by email.

HubSpot recommends doing a quick gut check before you send your next email by asking yourself these questions. What is the goal of my email marketing? Is it to grow my subscriber database? Generate more leads? To convert more existing leads into customers?

B2B Email KPIs

Once you have your goal(s) determined, you’re ready to figure out which metrics you need to track. Read on for our top 6 fav B2B Email Marketing KPIs.

Need help goal setting? Download our SMART Goals template.

#1. Bounce Rate

What is bounce rate? Bounce rate is the percentage of emails that could not be successfully delivered to the email recipient’s inbox. 

Why we track bounce rate: Emails can bounce for several reasons and fall into two categories, “hard” and “soft”. Soft bounces are temporary problems with delivery like issues with an email client’s server. Hard bounces are permanent problems such as a nonexistent email address and will never be delivered. 

Okay, so an email can’t be delivered, how does that affect you? Our friends at HubSpot say contact list cleanup is a must and we agree. All hard bounces should be removed from your list immediately because internet service providers (ISPs) use bounce rates as one of the key factors to determine an email sender’s reputation. Too many bounces = Spammer when it comes to ISPs. 

#2. Open Rate

What is open rate? Open rate is the percentage of recipients that open a given email.

Why we track open rate: Recipients can’t convert if they aren’t opening your emails, so the open rate can be a great place to start for optimization. We have to disclose though, not everyone is a fan of tracking open rate because it can be an unreliable metric. An email only counts as opened if the recipient also receives all embedded images within that email. Image blocking is an option via email clients- it’s definitely a possibility your number is off. 

So all of the above aside, we still like to keep open rate on our radar, especially when optimizing subject lines and using it comparatively. 

B2B Email Marketing open rate

#3. Click-Through-Rate 

What is Click-through-rate? CTR is the percentage of email recipients who clicked on one or more links in an email. We often refer to the links as the Call-to-Action (CTA) of the email.

Why we track CTR: CTR is a great indicator of how your email is performing and if your content is resonating with your personas. Are recipients actually clicking on the links that you want them to click on? According to Campaign Monitor, the average click-through rate for most campaigns is slightly over 4%. Here are some tips on how to optimize your followup email CTAs for a higher CTR.

#4. Conversion Rate

What is conversion rate? Conversion rate is the percentage of email recipients who clicked on an email CTA and completed the desired action. Think completing a form, signing up for a free trial, making a purchase, etc.

Why we track conversion rate: Conversion rate is the money maker! Both figuratively and quite literally in some instances. The first step in email marketing is getting the user to click on your link in the email and the second is getting them to convert. This is a major metric in determining if you are meeting your goals.

Lead to MQL/Customer Conversion Rate

Depending on your email campaign goals you can really drill down when it comes to conversion rate. It can also spin off into other metrics such as Lead to Marketing Qualified conversion rate and Lead to Customer conversion rates. 

#5. ROI

What is B2B Email Marketing ROI? ROI is the overall return on investment for your B2B email marketing campaign. 

Why we track ROI: ROI is a KPI staple. Just like any other initiative within your company, you need to track ROI. Are you making money? Are your marketing efforts helping the bottom line? ROI analysis can point out areas of opportunity and areas that are burning cash. 

While we’re talking about KPIs, are you tracking your sales and marketing team alignment? Here’s some more info.

#6. Unsubscribe Rate

What is Unsubscribe Rate? Unsubscribe rate is the rate at which email recipients are unsubscribing from receiving email communication from your company. 

Why we track unsubscribe rate: Unsubscribes alone shouldn’t be the only indicator you review for email performance; however, if your unsubscribes are high, check it out! Perhaps your email is too aggressive, your customers have outgrown you, or your persona messaging is off.

Whatever the reason, high unsubscribe rates are like a big flashing light saying, “Change needed here.” 

Smart Goals Worksheet Template

Words to the Wise

It’s easy to get lost in the numbers and become hyper-focused on the KPIs of B2B email, but here are few things to keep in mind.

  1. Keep it in perspective. Don’t rest solely on percentages. Make sure to look at how many recipients are contributing to the data before you go optimization crazy.
  2. Optimize. And then Optimize again. Perhaps it goes without saying, but if you see a number you don’t like, optimize! Emails are perfect candidates for testing. 
  3. Give it time. You want to give your email campaign time to do its thing. Rapid-fire changes aren’t helpful because it muddies the waters of what’s actually contributing to the change. 

The 5-Step Blueprint to Building Conversion Paths

Conversion funnel by definition can mean a few different things depending on the source, but here at Lake One, when we talk about conversion funnel as it relates to an inbound marketing program, we’re talking about the call-to-action, landing page, thank you page, and follow-up email that supports our inbound efforts. 

Read on to learn more about the key components of a conversion funnel along with some insider tips for implementation.  

conversion funnel

Call-to-Actions

With content consumption at an all-time high among consumers, Call-to-Actions (CTAs) are uber important. 

In Marketing, a call-to-action (CTA) is an instruction to your target buyer designed to provoke an immediate response. Figuratively speaking, CTAs are a hand wave or an arrow saying, “Hey! Look over here. We have something you might like!” 

CTAs use action words to direct the user. For example, ‘download this white paper now’, ‘click here’ and ‘watch the video’. There are so many examples of CTAs, but a few elements stay consistent across the board.

  • Headline: Write a header that makes it clear and easy to see what it is you’re offering.
  • Sub Header: Explain the value to the user of what you’re offering, but keep it concise. Space is limited. 
  • Image: Include an image that relates to what you’re offering to catch the user’s eye and add additional context.
  • Action Words: Here’s where you actually say what action you want the user to take (download here) typically called out by a button or highlighted differently in some way.

Below is an example of a Lake One’s CTAs. Go ahead. Click on it 

LinkedIn Marketing Guide

Landing Page 

Although the majority of B2B businesses are using landing pages, not all landing pages are created equal. 

Landing pages are different than your other website pages for a few reasons and should contain at a minimum, the following elements.

No Page Navigation

Landing pages should be designed to be lean mean converting machines and the full navigation menu can distract users. We want them to submit the form and get down to business. 

Above the Fold

Keep the main gist of your offer (body copy, image, form, CTA, etc.) above the fold. If the CTA is below the fold and requires a scroll, conversion rates could suffer. You want to make it as easy as possible for the user to convert.

Landing Page Copy

The copy should have a header, a subheader, a few sentences that explain your offering in more detail, and then roughly 3 – 5 supporting bullets that talk about the user benefits of your offer and what the user can expect by submitting the form.

Image

Include an image on your landing page that depicts the offer. The image should be sized appropriately and placed in close proximity to the copy and the CTA making sure to add value and not distract the user from converting.

Here’s an example of the type of image we like to use. Click to see the full funnel in use.

conversion funnel

Form

Forms are an absolute must. They are the method you’ll use to capture the lead’s information in exchange for whatever your offering. Make sure that your ask matches the value of the offer. For example, if you have a form 10 questions deep for an infographic, you’ll likely scare away your user.

Insider Tip: My favorite form field is ‘Role’. Role is imperative because it essentially identifies the lead by persona. Role identification allows us to better tailor our workflows, and, not to mention, it gives us better insight into who is actually submitting our forms and engaging with our content. Oh and the bonus is, we’ve found that ‘Role’ is a light ask for the user as it doesn’t hold the same trepidation that company name or phone number can.

Needing help setting up your conversion funnels and forms might be a sign it’s time to hire a digital marketing agency. Learn about the other indicators here.

CTA 

All landing pages must have a CTA that’s clearly visible and intuitive to the user as to what they’re getting and what step to do next. 

Truthfully, the above just scratches the surface on the information available on landing pages and best practices. Here is an awesome infographic by Unbouncedescribing additional elements of a landing page if you want to learn more. 

Thank You Page

Some conversion funnel implementations don’t use a ‘Thank You Page’ (TYP), but we are big fans. In short, a TYP is just that- a page thanking the now lead for submitting their information via the form to obtain whatever it was you were offering. The TYP also hosts an actual link to the file, guide, case study, etc. 

If you’re peeking ahead and seeing that we deploy a follow-up email that also contains the asset link and thinking TYPs are pointless, they aren’t! TYPs have an important job and here are a few highlights on what they bring to your conversion funnel:

  • Trust: For some leads, submitting information via the form in hopes of obtaining an asset can feel a little uncomfortable. They are likely wondering if they’ll actually get the asset, will they start getting spammed and harassed, etc. TYPs are a chance to build trust with your lead by showing them you’ll give them what you promised and you’ll do it fast. 

Learn more about lead follow up strategies here.

  • Conversion: TYPs have prime real estate for additional CTAs. Make sure the CTAs are relevant and helpful in aiding in the next step of the buyer’s journey. Also, insider tip: Make sure the CTAs are not interfering with the user clicking on the asset to download it. It can go from helpful to intrusive quickly.
  • Brand & Site Exploration: Unlike landing pages, TYPs have a full navigation menu and can incorporate links to the company’s social media pages as well. It’s a chance for the lead to explore more on their own.
  • Tracking: Without getting too technical for the sake of this post, the TYP is a perfect place to fire your conversion pixel for tracking. Why? Because in order for the TYP to render, the form submission must be completed. You get the lead’s info, they get the asset. Bam. Conversion.

Follow-Up Email

Follow-up emails consist of a direct link to the piece of content (or whatever the CTA promised) and then an additional CTA to interact with your brand an additional way like a newsletter sign up or to check out your blog.

The emails are pretty simple, but we send them for a few reasons. 

  • User Experience: For example, if your offer is a download of a white paper, how convenient for the lead is it to have the white paper sent to their inbox vs needing to download it and save it right away? 
  • Conversion: It opens the door of communication with the lead via email and provides them with more ways to convert and interact with your brand right from their inbox. 
  • Lead Nurturing: Simple follow up emails can be a great segway into lead nurturing as the lead will have already received their first email from you. It seems more natural after sending the high-value first email to continue a cadence.

Key Takeaways

In summary, now that you know about the elements of a conversion funnel, here are a few reminders to take with you if you put the elements above into practice.

SEO. SEO. SEO.

All conversion funnel elements must be optimized for SEO. Think images, landing pages, meta descriptions, URLs, etc. All of it. 

Optimize. Rinse. Repeat.

Nothing in marketing is set it and forget it, including conversion funnels. Let the numbers be your optimization compass. They’ll point you to where you need to focus your attention first.

Marketing is for Humans.

When in doubt, always remember you’re content was created for humans and so were your conversion funnels. Where is your eye naturally drawn? Can you understand what you’re offering quickly and easily? A little humanity gut check can go a long way.