How email marketing automation provides value in the B2B lead process

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Most marketers have a good feeling for the area of email marketing and it’s possibilities. Zooming in on the B2B lead process, the possibilities on marketing automation side are less well known and even less often fully utilized.

This is a big loss, because automated marketing campaigns are just as important for providing value and day to day marketing ROI.

So what precisely is the value that email marketing automation can provide in lead generation, lead scoring and the whole B2B lead process?

Handling complexity through email marketing automation software

Email marketing might seem simple on the surface. But if we take into account the activities and resources that come with effective follow-up and creation of engaging marketing messages, it can become quite complex, quite quickly.

Large firms might have dedicated marketing resources for lead-generation purposes, or maybe employ a full-service marketing agency. Crafting the right marketing campaigns,  and increasing both quality and the number of generated leads fall under their responsibility. Email marketing is often combined with a host of other social media and online marketing activities to further engage potential customers.

Keeping on budget and pockets full

These days, costs can place a potential burden on operations. Marketing activities and investments in marketing automation software must generate a solid return on investment. In an earlier article I discussed the efficiency that automation tools can provide by smart handling of data. Interestingly enough, email marketing automation tools can aid in improving the return on marketing campaigns.

What marketing automation does for lead generation

Marketing automation mainly focuses on marketing process and technology. Some even say that marketing automation is synonymous for software. In addition to automating processes such as the flow of marketing data, marketing automation allows you to design and realize marketing campaigns and to determine which (buying process) stage a customer is in.

Messages and alerts are triggered from the marketing automation tool. This behavioral email messaging is a built-in, core functionality. The marketer customizes it to fit a customer-specific journey and messaging. Instead of designing a single email or blast, the marketer creates campaigns in series of (customized) emails and other follow-up actions.

An example of how email marketing automation can work in a campaign:

  1. A potential customer registers to download a free report/white paper.
  2. The industry and the demographics of the customer who has downloaded the report are captured via the download form, for instance.
  3. After the download, a follow-up thank-you note is sent introducing the sales representative.
  4. A series of emails (case studies of similar demographics) is triggered to this potential customer over time.
  5. If the prospect engages with the other mails as well, the prospective customer will be considered to be more sales ready. An alert is generated to prompt a sales representative to personally follow up.

The value of effective lead generation

Increasing the quality and quantity of lead generation is the ultimate objective of many a marketing campaign. But often the leads generated are not yet ready to be pulled into the sales process.

Many factors can be considered in order to separate potential hot leads from general leads or useless leads. Especially when the product being sold involves a complex buying decision and a higher investment, this becomes more and more a task where Marketing Automation provides value.

Lead the way and score points through lead scoring

With an email marketing automation tool, you can automatically launch several marketing campaigns with timing and content that match the recipient. You also can segregate the leads by quality and buying stage, making the most effective use of sales capacity. The system will score the leads generated based on the way they engage in the campaign.

For instance, points are allocated to leads that requested download reports. Higher points are allocated when a price sheet is downloaded. The demographic of the lead is captured and weightage allocated accordingly.

Someone whose title is Vice President is given higher weightage than someone with a designation like Office Manager, based on their roles in decision making unit. In such ways leads are weighed and scored, with only the effective leads sent to the sales department. It doesn’t have to be a personal sales follow up, many companies just want to know exactly the right timing to present a (right) offer, but still keep it in an email communication flow.

Proving the value of marketing automation

In proving the value of marketing automation, the quality of sales leads is a big determinant. However, the efficiencies of the automated process prior to that hand-off moment reflect the true cost savings.

Image via Flickr

About Jordie van Rijn


Jordie van Rijn is an independent email marketing consultant and Analyst. He is the Founder of Email Vendor Selection and specializes in smart email marketing, optimisation and RFP / vendor selection. Named on of "50 Online Marketing Influencers to Watch in 2016 " by Entrepreneur magazine.

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  • John Ross

    Looking to get started with email marketing but don’t have any leads to build off from? Check out a company called LeadFerret.com and start searching for b2b leads.