Sales and marketing is all about touchpoints – getting in front of, and staying in front of your target audience and ideal buyer. As sales-driven marketers, we know that B2B sales aren’t (usually) made on the first call, and that the relationship shouldn’t be one-and-done. It’s about leveraging the relationship, building a deeper connection with your customer, and growing accounts. This means that campaigns should focus on touchpoints — engaging with current, past, and could-be customers over and over again.

Marketing automation enables you to stay in front of quality leads and increase your touch points while reducing overall load and strain on your marketing team.

First, what is marketing automation?

Marketing automation, in the simplest terms, is the practice of using software to automate the process of connecting with your prospects via e-marketing, like your website, email, and content/blog. There are a number of solutions for automation for manufacturers of any size.

Marketing automation is the bridge between the marketing/sales gap and enables your website to act as a business system rather than a marketing brochure that happens to live on the web. By tracking detailed metrics, or key performance indicators, manufacturers can make smarter marketing decisions based on quantifiable data, and ultimately provide more qualified leads for their business development teams. With automation, marketers can automate the process of sending targeted email messages to specified lists of prospects and customers based on their interests.

Assuming you’ve already defined your ideal buyer persona, automation enables marketers to create and implement targeted marketing campaigns, increasing engagement from your audience with less human-capital required.

Automation can be used in any type of company, but manufacturers especially can see an increase in engagement and output when using automation.

Why? Manufacturing content tends to be more technical in nature than consumer products – especially when taking into consideration details such as safety ratings, material specs and licensing – that may take more time to source and write unique content than other industries. By automating the process of content delivery to your list, manufacturing marketing teams create the content once and use an automation platform to distribute.

How can manufacturers get started with automation?

  • Create your ideal buyer persona and integrated marketing campaign
    Implementing a marketing automation platform without first developing a smart strategy is akin to getting in the car and just driving. You’ll get somewhere, but it might not be the right place and the trip won’t necessarily be a smooth one.
  • Choose your automation platform
    There are tons of available platforms to choose from. Some things to keep in mind while evaluating the platform that is best for you are what CRM and business softwares you are currently using, your budget for marketing/business tools, and how you will use the automation platform.
  • Set up your list segments
    Automation works best when you have your audience profile segmented. Essentially that means separating your marketing lists based on criteria that makes sense for your business. That may mean segmentation based on industry, company size, what product they are interested in, etc. — your segmentation really depends on your company and market. We also suggest segmenting current customers and prospects — this allows you to send more targeted messages to customers and non-customers, as well as ‘hot’ prospects and ‘cold’ prospects.
  • Organize your content
    Just as we organized our lists by segmentation, manufacturers will want to organize content by segmentation as well. The content will be used on a manufacturers website as well as serve as the backbone for the automated messages.
  • Iterate and optimize
    As with any marketing campaign, it is important to track metrics and optimize your campaign to continue improving.

Not using marketing automation, CRM, or content marketing yet to market your business and don’t know where to start? We’re happy to help – sign up for a free marketing power hour and see what automation can do for you.