Lead-nurturing using marketing technology suits B2B businesses to a tee, as the transaction or customer lifetime value is significant, yet the buying cycle is lengthy.
2015 saw small to medium sized B2B businesses starting to adopt marketing automation software; although still only 10-12% of the SME market has implemented a marketing automation programme.
This statistic is surprising low, considering the hype around the technology and the compelling statistics claiming that it can help you to generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost per lead.
One of the reasons for low market adoption within the SME space is that as a relatively new technology, there are few marketing managers with experience in implementing and successfully delivering these benefits.
This lack of experience has led to some businesses adopting marketing automation – for the right reasons – but making mistakes, not seeing the results they had hoped for and simply throwing the software in the bin.
At the other end of the scale, some businesses have retained the marketing automation software but are simply using it as an expensive email marketing platform.
There are of course many B2B businesses that have invested in marketing automation and are seeing growth that is enabling them to get ahead of their competitors; they are generating more leads which are of a better quality.
How can SMEs Minimise the Risk of their Investment Failing?
The answer lies in having a realistic understanding of the range of skills that are needed to develop a marketing automation programme. The software itself is only the enabler, and therefore only a small part of the overall solution.
The skills required include being able to set the right strategy, develop high quality content, design (to make content and the website match the quality of the content), analysis of results, tech skills to use the software (which can be complex) and lead generation to feed the programme. And most importantly, experience!
The challenge for many SMEs is that they will have some of these skills in-house but are unlikely to have them all.
This is perhaps the demarcation between businesses that have benefitted from marketing automation and those that have failed (or haven’t adopted yet); recognising their skills but equally recognising their skills gaps and getting professional help to fill any holes in time, resource, skill or experience that exist.