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When it comes to marketing, B2Bs face unique challenges. What methods do you use to grow your customer base? What about developing those critical customer relationships? What about budget, and headcount? One solution to these and other problems, is marketing automation. 

The 2016 State of Marketing Report surveyed over 400 B2B marketing leaders and identified the top challenges they faced in managing their marketing strategy. The top five: budget constraints, quality of leads, keeping pace with customers, new business development and customer acquisition are all areas where marketing automation shines. So how does it help? 

1. Budget constraints 

If even thinking about your budget makes you break out in a cold sweat, you are not alone. 25% of the UK B2Bs surveyed identified budget constraints as their number one challenge when it comes to their marketing strategy. But the good news about marketing automation is that you can do more with less.

A team of one can run all of the elements of a marketing campaign with a marketing automation system. Adding headcount isn’t necessary to implement marketing automation. A single person can track, target, and keep campaigns organised, and by reviewing the tracked data, you can determine the ROI of each aspect of your strategy. 

2. Quality of leads

As one of the top issues facing B2B marketers, it’s clear that lead quality is something to pay attention to from a marketing standpoint. When it comes to leads, it’s quality over quantity: sending dozens of a leads to sales isn’t much of a good thing if most of them aren’t useable. But how do marketers identify the best leads before they get passed to sales? 

The answer is a scoring and grading system. Marketers can evaluate a prospect’s activities- for example, clicking a link in an email, visiting the pricing page on your website, or downloading a white paper or case study -  and assign leads a ‘score’. They can then grade them based on how closely they fit the profile of your business’s ideal buyer. This way, the best leads will go to sales first, and the tension-filled gap between sales and marketing will close. 

3. Keeping pace with customers

Technology has changed the way that customers interact with businesses and it’s no wonder that so many marketers see this as a critical concern for their business. Automating aspects of your marketing can help you get over this hurdle - particularly if you have a longer sales cycle or a business model that requires more touch-points with clients and prospects.  

With lead nurturing, you can add prospects to a list to automatically receive information on specific products or offers. It enables you to keep prospects informed during a long sales cycle and ensure that your business stays top of mind. You can also personalise your interactions with prospects by separating them into lists based on their interests. So if a prospect consistently looks at information on a particular product, you can email them other content that focuses on it. 

4. New business development

Developing new business is critical for growth, but locating potential growth markets requires analysis of your marketing data. If you’re tracking visitors to your website and building a complete picture of who they are and why they’ve come to you through the use of forms and landing pages, you’ll get a better sense of which markets and industries your business appeals to. 

29% of B2Bs reported that revenue growth is their top metric for measuring marketing success, and 23% also put customer satisfaction in their top three. (The State of Marketing 2016)

The tracking capabilities of marketing automation also extend to tracking your campaigns. With features like A/B Testing, you can be certain which campaigns, calls to action, layouts and headlines are having the biggest impact on your buyers.  With this kind of insight, you can be sure that your budget is being spent on the campaigns that are going to drive the most revenue. 

5. Customer acquisition (audience/list growth)

It’s no surprise that this makes the top five. Expanding your audience or list of subscribers is no easy task, but marketing automation has the tools to help you meet your business goals. Creating a personalised experience makes your content more relevant to buyers. How relevant? 60% of B2Bs surveyed said that they would be increasing spend on web personalisation. 

With dynamic content, marketers can choose what content displays to prospects with different interests. So for example: if a prospect from the automotive industry visits your site, they might see a case study featuring a company from the same industry. 74% of B2Bs reported that dynamic content, or predictive intelligence helps their company create a path to lead customers through the sales-cycle. 

Marketing automation creates a way to remove some of the manual time and effort from marketing, freeing your resources to concentrate on devising the kinds of campaigns that will increase revenue and the success of your brand. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how marketing automation can solve your business’ pain points, take a look at our Complete Guide to Lead Nurturing