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Pros and Cons of Adding a Marketing Automation Platform to Your B2B Website

WebEnertia

Marketing Automation

Managing your B2B digital marketing portfolio is a big job.

When your lead generation efforts start to really take hold, rapid growth can start to overwhelm your team’s ability to respond quickly enough and adeptly enough due to sheer volume of tasks they are being asked to complete.

You need to act before you risk damage to your sales experience, lead list and brand. Marketing automation can play a key part in helping you scale, but it’s a big investment that can have a major impact on your employees, customers, and business.

For employees, a marketing automation platform can require new learning and skill development, but can also save time and reduce or eliminate repetitive tasks, making things much easier.

Maximize Opportunities, minimize risks

Customers can benefit by getting your critical message at their critical time, but they can also face neglect and disillusionment if marketing platform adoption and execution isn’t thought through and managed properly.

For your business, marketing automation can be a transformational change that helps you reach new heights, but it can also end up a costly burden that takes a toll on resources and morale without delivering the benefits you expected.

You want to make a careful, informed decision. You want to maximize the opportunities of a marketing automation platform, while minimizing the risks and potential pinpoints.

Some companies try to adopt a marketing automation platform too soon, often struggling because they have little or no quality marketing content and a comparatively small lead list.

Some companies try to adopt a marketing automation platform too soon, often struggling because they have little or no quality marketing content and a comparatively small lead list. Those best positioned for success have a combination of a robust client relationship management system (CRM) ecosystem to leverage, a sales team clamoring to deliver good, robust content and leads throughout the funnel, and a marketing team struggling to stay on top of a wave of automatable prospect engagement activity.

Many of today’s companies find themselves in between, where a marketing automation software integration is starting to look like a good idea, but deeper analysis of market trends, and marketing automation pros and cons is in order.

Each company’s situation is different, of course, but here are some key factors to consider going into deeper analysis.

Buyer Empowerment, Platform Automation Among Key Trends

Buyer Empowerment, Platform Automation Among Key Trends

A number of surveys of B2B buyers confirm that most of the buying process is happening online and without the need of a sales rep, a signal that more automation is appropriate and likely taking hold as digitally empowered buyers are trending upward. Furthermore, per Forrester, 60 percent of buyers would rather not communicate with sales reps as their primary information source.

This buyer empowerment is forcing companies, even small businesses, to think about sales and their marketing campaigns in new ways. Personalized email campaigns and other account-based marketing efforts have become a more important part of lead generation, powered by improving and expanding automation tools.

In fact, per Salesforce, 67 percent of marketing leaders use an automation platform and many say they are planning integration in the next couple of years, and those using marketing automation platforms are expected to expand that use by 31 percent.

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Pros of B2B Marketing Automation: A lot of really good things can happen, and happen quickly

Properly planned and executed, connecting cloud-based marketing automation tools to your website can have an immediate and meaningful impact. Key benefits include the following:

  • Improved customer experience: A marketing automation platform helps connect prospects and leads to timely, relevant information based on their specific behavior at the right time. The platform empowers customers to navigate their purchase journey smoother and easier with the platform as an able guide. Where previously the customer experience was fractured and distant, marketing automation tools and their workflows empower targeted personalization that deepens the connection efficiently and at scale.
  • Better customer data: A marketing automation platform will provide deep analytics about prospect interaction, helping marketers understand the depth of the funnel and customer segments, how content and personas are connecting, and ultimately what’s working and not. This analytics dataset affords important opportunities for marketers to update, improve and optimize marketing strategy and supporting materials by providing scores and return on investment (ROI) details on a campaign by campaign basis.
  • Freeing up staff time: By automating many tasks that previously had to be done by hand, a marketing automation tools can free up more time for analysis and optimization by the team, leading to more responsive and effective marketing efforts.
  • May be cost effective: If you already have a robust CRM configuration or are considering purchasing a CRM system as well, adding in or bundling a marketing automation may save you time and money.

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Cons of B2B Marketing Automation: It’s not cheap and it’s not easy to do well

While there are important benefits to integrating marketing automation to a B2B website, they are not without their challenges and risks, which fall into two key categories:

  • They are expensive: Beyond the fees for the platform itself, you will need to budget for setup, onboarding, and likely additional resources to effectively leverage all the marketing and sales capabilities of the platform.
  • They are complicated: Underestimating the complexity is a common misstep in marketing automation website integration projects. Many organizations think they’re ready when they’re not. This typically happens for one of two reasons:

    1. They don’t have the right people trained to operate, manage and support the platform during and post-deployment, which can lead to deployment delays and underutilization of key features.
    2. The content marketing plan is insufficient, leading to ineffective campaigns and missed opportunities.

Top B2B Marketing Automation Platforms for Your Consideration: Hubspot vs Marketo

We consider two of the most popular CRM, marketing automation combination systems as best in class, though there are numerous opinions and breakdowns of the tradeoffs among marketing cloud players. Marketing Automation Insider provides a detailed breakdown of several systems, but our top two are Marketo and Hubspot.

Both systems include key features such as lead scoring and segmentation, event management, web activity tracking, and Salesforce integration. Costs are comparable depending on integration scale and number of contacts. Both systems also support progressive profiling.

MARKETO

Marketo is a solid overall marketing platform, with a simple, intuitive backend that makes creating forms and landing pages easy. It has several key distinguishing features, including the following:

  • Javascript forms are easily integrated on websites
  • Simple email distribution admin
  • Connects to SAP and Oracle, a key advantage for many larger organizations.

Hubspot

Hubspot also offers a strong suite of features that make it a solid option for businesses of all sizes. Its key distinguishing features include the following:

  • Highly scalable platform can support entire website and integrate internal analytics and heat maps
  • Flexibility to customize tool kit
  • Campaign management via mobile app.

We like both platforms and recommend considering both in evaluating your marketing automation platform needs.

hubspot vs marketo

Before Starting Your Project: Do Your Homework and Ask Yourself the Right Questions

Before you launch the effort, make sure you’ve properly weighed the pros, cons and market trends. Even if you feel confident about your successful outcome, consider bringing in an experienced partner to help guide you. Costly failures happen for a number of different reasons and you want to help make sure you’re on the track to avoid them.

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