According to a MarTech Today research report investigating B2B Marketing Automation Platforms, 52% of B2B marketers said that a lack of an effective strategy was the largest obstacle to their use of B2B Marketing Automation. The problem is clear, but the solution is not as obvious. This lack of strategy may be partly due to not fully understanding the capabilities of a marketing automation platform.
What Does a B2B Marketing Automation System Do?
Each automated internet marketing platform has its own capabilities, but most of them have a basic set of similar features. Five capabilities often misunderstood by businesses include:
- Website visitor tracking.
- Lead management.
- Centralized marketing databases.
- Native CRM integration.
- APIs or app marketplace for plug-and-play access.
Website visitor tracking
Website visitor tracking is the process of identifying website activity that is helpful to sales and marketing teams, whereby the company can position itself to generate more leads and higher sales.
Website visitor tracking tracks customer interactions across touchpoints and includes tracking of keywords, page views, visitor flow, demographics, firmographics, and behavioral data of known and unknown visitors.
Lead management includes the complete process of acquiring, tracking, and managing leads from the moment the lead is generated to its conversion. Data generated during the process is used to measure the success and efficiency of campaigns, in addition to a company’s marketing team and sales team.
An automated lead management platform includes:
- Automatically acquiring and capturing leads.
- Evaluating and qualifying leads.
- Nurturing leads.
- Tracking leads.
- Handing off leads to the sales team.
Centralized marketing databases
For seamless work between different teams and departments, a centralized database makes it easier for everyone to immediately access information. Centralized databases can be accessed by employees who need the information, without taking the time to communicate with another person.
Additional reasons centralized marketing databases are important include:
- Centralized data reduces reporting time by 80-90%.
- Centralized data helps businesses reduce their marketing budget by 15-30%.
- Centralized data is the key to leading a data-driven culture.
- Centralized data facilitates teams operating together.
- Centralized data is the foundation of a business’s 3-5 year plan.
Native CRM integration
For companies not using proprietary tools and custom software, native CRM integration makes the process of starting and using a marketing automation platform simple.
Support is generally provided by the software company, and complementary systems seamlessly work together.
APIs or app marketplace for plug-and-play access
Marketing automation platforms can typically be accessed through APIs or plug-and-play apps, allowing marketers to customize them to their exact needs.
Reasons why the API trend for B2B marketing automation platforms will continue, according to MarTech Advisor, include:
- Connecting seamlessly with third parties.
- Bridging and agile management of data sources.
- Curtailing security lapses.
- Bringing mobile apps and SaaS together.
- Digital transformation.
- Flexibility in running applications.
More Commonly Known Capabilities
In addition to the features above, more commonly known capabilities of marketing automation platforms include:
- Email marketing management.
- Landing page development.
- Mobile marketing.
- Social media marketing.
Martech Intelligence Report: B2B Marketing Automation Platforms
The Martech Intelligence Report includes detailed information about the capabilities of B2B marketing automation platforms.
It also includes vendor profiles for the top suppliers of B2B marketing automation platforms:
- Act-On Software
- Adobe Campaign
- IBM Watson Campaign Automation
- Mapp Digital
- Oracle Eloqua
- Salesforce Pardot
Download: B2B Marketing Automation Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide