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What problems arise when you automate B2B marketing? [Sponsored]

As B2B businesses look for clever, low cost ways to increase sales conversions and lead generation effort, marketing automation has grown into a serious business. Estimates I have seen value it at half a billion dollars with huge year on year growth, but there are a few marketing automation problems to be aware of.

Don’t get me wrong, I am no naysayer. incite uses and loves marketing automation software, but like the CRM movement that came before it marketing automation has its problems.

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There are lots of process issues which often mean it fails to reach its full potential, especially in the area we work in – complex high value sales.

While this is totally against the automation mantra, the only way to get it absolutely right is with more human intervention at the right points.

Here are some of the main B2B marketing automation problems.

The first point is inbound leads simply not being followed up, qualified and routed at all. No amount of automation can replace inaction!

Then, if you are selling 6- and 7-figure consultancy, services or tech, people want to feel important and loved. They will do this if they are called straight back and their initial brand experience is a positive one. They won’t if they get a trigger email and then nothing.

The next is routing leads into the wrong management cycles. If they go to sales too early, potential good leads get qualified out. Sales teams are busy and most leads for high value B2B services are researching and not ready to buy now (70% – 80% depending on who you believe). Sales are incentivised for short term success and love ready-to-go leads, and when they find they aren’t they disqualify and move on.

According to Eloqua research, 80% of prospects that don’t make the grade today will go on to buy from you or a competitor within the next 24 months. So a quick Q&A and correct routing before it gets to sales could be vital.

Another problem is the amount of data it is necessary to collect to correctly route leads. Everyone agrees if you’re capturing details to access content behind a gate you need to make it quick with the bare minimum number of fields to fill in. These invariably will not give you enough to route properly so a quick call and Q&A will help to put ‘meat on the bones’ and correctly assess and route it.

So folks, marketing automation rocks – it’s a great way to improve sales and conversions – but a little human intervention is necessary too.

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