marketing automationMany B2B companies today are searching for solutions to generate more leads and are considering marketing automation.

For some companies, this has meant venturing into the fast-paced and complex world of B2B content marketing. And while almost any content you produce can’t hurt, simply throwing content on your website and waiting for leads to come in is no longer enough. To succeed and thrive in 2014, you need digital tools that help you manage and streamline your sales and marketing process from start to finish.

One tool that many B2B companies are leveraging with great success is marketing automation. The exact features of these platforms vary somewhat from vendor to vendor, but for the most part, they all help you track and monitor your prospects engagement along various stages of the B2B sales cycle.

In terms of content specifically, here are three ways marketing technologies increases the effectiveness of B2B content marketing.

1.  Allows you to track content engagement by prospect.

One of the most beneficial features of marketing automation is the ability to measure content engagement by prospect. With a normal analytics solutions, like Google Analytics or WordPress Stats, you can only see the number of people who clicked on a link or watched a video. With marketing automation, each prospect that visits your site is ‘cookied’, and their subsequent activity and engagement on your site is tracked. This means you will know that it was ‘John S. from ABC Company’ that read your blog, rather than just some anonymous visitor.  This type of data allows you to see when specific prospects have shown enough interest to motivate a follow-up email or phone call to move the deal forward.

2.  Enables you to keep track of and nurture not-yet-ready-to-buy prospects.

Research has shown that only 5% of B2B prospects are ready to buy at any given time. Many B2B companies today do not have a strategy to deal with the other 95%; they simply discard them as ‘not interested’. However, by nurturing your leads with ‘light’, educational content every once in a while, you can often find new interest (and deals) from leads you generated six months or a year ago. Marketing automation helps you in the nurturing process by giving you a place to track and manage your prospects and their content engagement on an ongoing basis, rather than just campaign by campaign. For example, if a prospect dropped off or ‘went dead’ just before your proposal stage but reengages six months later, you can pick up right where you left off because you have all the data you need in front of you.

3.  Allows you to use analytics to refine and improve your content and sales process.

One of the most valuable things marketing automation provides is data. Using the platform’s analytical features, you can track and monitor engagement at a more detailed level in order to understand when and how to improve. For example, some platforms allow you to not only see when a video was watched, but also how long it was watched for. This way, you can see if a lot of your prospects are dropping off at the same place, and know that you need to refine that piece of your message.

For more on how marketing technologies can benefit the B2B sales process, you can read 3 Tips for Success from an Outsourced Marketing Automation Provider. Feel free to contact us with any questions.