B2B marketing operations tools hold a lot of promise for busy marketers looking to squeeze the most out of their marketing budget. Here’s all you need to know about marketing operations, lead nurturing and its ROI.
B2B marketing operations platforms save marketers time and energy daily, whilst also ensuring leads receive appropriate nurturing treatment. They bring together and automate an increasing variety of marketing tasks, like sending timely marketing emails and text messages, managing social media posts and paid ads, scoring leads, segmenting contacts and ordering communication. The list goes on and on.
Marketing operations platforms also track and analyze visitor behavior to deliver metrics that guide marketing campaigns, and help marketers build personalized, cross-channel journeys that generate leads and convert them into loyal customers, and then retain them.
While marketing operations platforms have been around for almost two decades now, most B2B marketers are not using them to their full potential.
That’s why we’ve put together this expert’s guide to B2B marketing operations to help guide you to make the most of the tech.
We tend to talk about marketing operations platforms as if they’re monolithic, but actually, each platform is made up of a number of features, or components, which should work together smoothly. Each platform varies a little, but here’s the gist of what you can expect to find:
A central database to hold all your marketing data, making it easy for you to segment your audience and target the right message to each lead. Usually, this database will be integrated with a Customer Relationship Management system.
An engagement marketing engine that helps you create marketing messages and conversations, and which manages and automates them across all your online and offline channels.
An analytics engine to test, track, measure, and optimize the impact and RoI of your marketing efforts.
A collection of MarTech tools that deliver various solutions to help you scale, manage, and orchestrate marketing work to reach your goals, such as workflows, scoring systems and more.
However, marketing teams don’t use all the features equally. A study found that email automation is the most commonly-used capability, followed by landing page creation and lead nurturing. Analytics and lead scoring have a far lower take-up, while web tracking is used less often and social media automation is largely neglected.
That’s not to say that the least-used features aren’t important, just that they aren’t as valued by marketers. As the market matures and people become more familiar with the tech, we might see that change.
Still on the fence about marketing operations? Here are some of the wonders it can do for you.
Time is a scarce resource, and B2B marketers need as much of it as they can to develop marketing strategies, brainstorm new campaigns, and respond to the most promising leads. Marketing operations saves time otherwise wasted on manual, repetitive processes like responding to early-stage prospects, scoring leads, and answering prospect questions. It also saves time when communicating with other software, such as Salesforce – with automation you don’t need to enter the data twice.
Importantly, it saves marketers and sales teams time by surfacing (aka qualifying) the leads which are most likely to buy, enabling them to focus energy on them first while nurturing others.
When you use marketing operations software, your contacts can be sorted automatically into customized segments. Unlike humans, if your settings (and scoring) are right (and that’s important IF) tech doesn’t accidentally overlook or miscategorize anybody, so now all your marketing communications can be increasingly relevant and organized. That’s because software, unlike people, doesn’t cherry pick based on a whim, but on algorithms.
Bye bye to the days where B2B marketers need to set a reminder for every marketing email and ad campaign. Marketing operations platforms work based on pre-defined triggers, (most actions can be scheduled). They will send each email at the right time, plus they remember to follow up in 2 weeks when your lead returns from vacation and reply instantly to a new prospect’s questions.
It can get expensive to hire extra personnel to carry out basic tasks like sending welcome emails and filing contacts. Software can complete time-consuming tasks whenever the right trigger is hit, saving you money on labor costs and significantly reducing the number of menial tasks marketers have to undertake.
Simply put, you can do more marketing and run more campaigns when the operations are automated. More importantly, you can focus on the stuff that turns the needle, which can’t be done by machines: devising new strategies, coming up with a killer creative concept, crafting just the right copy for the next messaging effort, and more.
Marketing operations enables you to run more campaigns when operations are automatic, increasing your ROI.
It allows you to focus your spending on the right (Correctly scored) leads, driving pipeline for your sales team, helping it generate more revenue, quicker. When set up correctly, marketing operations can enhance the efficiency of generating and converting leads, boosting RoI.
It’s estimated that the average company saves 3.4% on their administrative overheads, boosts sales productivity by 28% and revenue growth by 33% when using marketing operations. Not only that, but costs on average are lowered per lead by 33%, while driving 50% more sales leads.
Marketing operations platforms (well, some of them at least,) can track leads across channels and monitor their every interaction, enabling you to produce detailed reports at the click of a button. Certain platforms include data visualizations to make the results even more accessible. These insights help you refine campaigns to be more effective, hone personalized messaging, and develop a more coherent and unified marketing strategy. You’ll easily be able to see which ebook campaign is driving the most leads and from which ads. Testing which follow up emails convert best is a default view. Different platforms differ greatly in their support of analytics and reporting.
Sometimes, sales and marketing alignment is easier said than done. Marketing operations is no magic wand, but it can help you create cross-team service-level agreements, collaborate on strategies, streamline the marketing-sales funnel, and ensure that sales reps can access information about leads at the right time.
Today’s top marketing teams are borrowing strategies from R&D teams, including that of “failing fast.” Marketing operations platforms help you to float new content and campaign ideas, test them rigorously, and reject, refine, or ramp them up accordingly.
That said, marketing operations platforms are no silver bullet for your marketing problems, and if you implement them carelessly or insufficiently, you’ll find you’re just creating more problems for yourself.
Your choice of marketing operations platform makes a huge difference. Pick a platform that addresses your core requirements, and provides the best match for your business processes. Remember, marketing success is all about integration, so if your marketing operations doesn’t play nicely with your existing tech, it’s not likely to serve you well. Speak to us to see what platform will work best for you.
Once you’ve made your choice, you need to deploy it correctly. A typical marketing operations deployment comprises these three core aspects:
Business process definition – this is the crucial step on which the success of the initiative depends. In this step, you need to map out all the business processes that are about to be impacted by the new system. At a minimum, these should include:
Depending on your company, you may need to define additional business processes that your marketing operations system can affect.
Marketing set up – putting in place the templates for all the different assets that your marketing operations system will use as part of its one-off or automated campaign management.
Technical configuration – integrating the marketing operations platform with all the other business tools in place, such as your website, CRM, email servers, webinar platform provider, ad network accounts, social media accounts, etc. This step is usually very well documented and supported by the platform vendors, so as long as you’ve done a good job with the previous two steps, your path to blissful enjoyment of all the benefits that marketing operations can offer is now open.
Contrary to popular thoughts, a marketing operations platform doesn’t mean you can “set and forget” it; in fact, the opposite is true. You need to constantly review and optimize it. Your marketing goals keep changing, your audience’s needs keep evolving, and the platform and tech itself also keeps developing. For example, your criteria for MQLs/SQLs will change over time based on experience from numerous campaigns. Your operations platform needs to also be updated in order to remain relevant.
Furthermore, since in its essence marketing operations systems deal with marketing and sales data, keeping that data clean and maintaining its hygiene will soon become a top priority for your system admins. Truly it is one of the most basic jobs of any marketing operations specialist.
See what the most common issues Marketing Operations teams encounter when working on a new account on HubSpot and learn why we love the HubSpot Ops Hub.
Most Common Problems Ops Teams Encounter
B2B HubSpot platform is much loved by businesses of all sizes. It is incredibly user friendly and has the most complete reporting and analytics package, hands-down.
HubSpot marketing operations is also our recommendation for landing page and email newsletter creation, as long as you’re just targeting one geographic location at a time. The HubL language, the intuitive editing experience, and the versatile templating system make it a great tool for marketing operations experts.
On top of that, HubSpot is known for offering excellent help services and fantastic resources, and boasts, in addition to the core marketing platform, an Operations Hub to serve as a unified toolset for marketing apps, business process automation, and customer data processing.
We answer some of your commonly asked questions about HubSpot in our blog:
You can also purchase various HubSpot tools individually
When you get started with marketing operations, you’re probably eager to apply it to everything and anything on your to-do list. But like with everything in life, you need to walk before you can run. Here are the top 5 tasks to prioritize:
Marketing operations can track activity for each lead and analyze it to produce reliable lead scoring for each prospect. With better lead scoring, you can make better decisions about how to target each lead, make better use of your resources, and analyze your highest-performing channels.
Sales notifications are alerts which let you know when a lead crosses a threshold for interest and/or purchase intent towards your company. They help make sure you strike while the iron is hot and the lead is paying attention, so you don’t miss an opportunity.
Sales sequences take email automation to the next level. Use your platform to create streamlined, smooth, automated marketing campaigns spanning multiple channels which send personalized messages to the right lead, on the right channel, at the right time.
Marketing operations allows you to build lead nurture funnels which take your unqualified prospects, score them, and move them through a carefully thought-out series of interactions until they are ready to make a purchase.
Leads expect to receive some kind of notification after they submit a form, and these emails have extremely high open rates. So make the most of the opportunity by using marketing automation to send customized, relevant messages that delight your leads, instead of generic thank-you messages
Once you’ve covered the basics, you can move on to:
Automated form submission and tracking
Social media automation
When it’s in the right hands, marketing operations can rocket-power your B2B tech marketing.
Marketing Envy has the experience and know how to help you set up your marketing, sales and service operations platform and make the most of its capabilities. We’ve so far deployed and managed 100s of HubSpot platforms.
Our packages include the technical setup of your B2B HubSpot deployment and operations,
setting parameters for your lead qualification, sorting out your social media profiles, blog, landing page, etc., aligning your sales, cs, service and marketing teams, syncing and migrating Salesforce, setting up your CRM, dashboards, and reporting, and more.
Our reputation as HubSpot experts precedes us.
With dozens of implementations behind us our team is exceptionally well positioned to set up your marketing, sales and service tech stack.
C-level execs care about results.
We believe that whatever tech stack you have deployed, your ability to produce results depends on your marketing strategy, sales execution and the smooth processes flowing between them. As experts, we will gear you up for success and implement whatever’s necessary to answer your management’s call.