B2B Marketing is undergoing a transformation that includes many shiny new ideas and approaches. One of those is called Inbound Marketing. Inbound marketing is about helping your potential customers find your company and engage with you via content that’s relevant to them. It’s about reaching beyond the boundaries of your company-owned web properties with the intention of catching the attention of your prospects and enticing them to engage with relevant content back on your Web properties. Inbound marketing definitely has merit for expanding your company’s reach and creating a holistic process for engaging prospects based on their desire to interact with you. It certainly beats buying a list and sending cold, intrusive emails hoping to engage them. This said, inbound cannot carry the load alone. That’s where marketing automation comes into play—to take up where inbound leaves off.
Smart marketers are combining inbound approaches with outbound methods to build long-term relationships with prospects to help them transition into buyers. It’s up to our content and messaging to attract prospects and persuade them to opt in for more of our great content. After that happens, marketing automation supports the process that enables marketers to continue to engage prospects based on their expressed interests.
With lead scoring and behavioral insights, it’s up to marketers to employ outbound communications in response to what we learn about our prospects. During a long, complex buying process, marketers must help their prospects take the next steps based on where they are in the buying cycle and what they need to know next.
Relying solely on inbound marketing leaves a lot to chance.
Instead of a hoping your prospects will continue to return on their own, help them do so by harnessing the capabilities provided by marketing automation.
Marketing Automation software puts four key capabilities within easy reach:
Lead Scoring Models: The ability to score based on fit and interest helps marketers respond appropriately at the right time. The ability to prioritize leads for follow-up helps to ensure that only the most highly qualified leads are passed to sales.
Response Triggers: Certain behaviors can be indicative of transitions during the buying process. With marketing automation, salespeople can be alerted to step in or automated emails activated to provide more of the information prospects have indicated they want to receive.
Progressive Profiling: The ability to customize your landing pages to collect additional information marketers can use to increase the relevance of content and interactions with prospects can help you build better relationships. Richer profiles help your sales team take next steps to move prospects closer to buying.
Lead Nurturing: Different information is required during each stage of the buying process. Providing that information across the buying cycle helps companies become trusted advisors and relied-upon resources their prospects come to depend upon.
Just remember that the tools and techniques marketers employ require compelling content to drive the desired results—whether inbound or outbound. The point is that the shiny new approaches have a place in the marketing mix, but not at the expense of eliminating invited communications to help facilitate the buying process. Being helpful and relevant are required regardless of the approach. Marketing automation can help you with both.