3 SMB Marketing Tips Straight from Marketing Automation Users

Over the past two months, we’ve been working with a few of our small business clients to better understand how they’re using marketing automation with their small teams. When some common themes started to crop up, we decided to package their wisdom in the hopes that it might benefit other businesses dealing with some of the same pain points.

If you find yourself dealing with dysfunctional sales and marketing workflows, difficulties with content distribution, cumbersome and time-consuming processes, and decision-making that might as well be called “guesswork,” then you might benefit from some of the advice provided by five of our small business clients.

As you begin incorporating marketing automation into your existing workflow — or if you’re only just beginning to think about maybe, possibly, some-time-in-the-near-future implementing an automation tool — here are a few tidbits of advice offered up by Pardot clients who have started using marketing automation with their small teams and seen critical benefits from it.

(Don’t forget to check out the full Pardot Customer Spotlight eBook, Five Ways Small Businesses Are Powering Growth with Marketing Automation, for the full stories behind companies like Vidyard, Field Nation, Xcentric, and more.)

Automate to save time.

What do all of the following have in common: completion actions, automation rules, lead scoring, lead grading, lead assignment? Look past the fancy lingo and you’re left with some really powerful marketing automation features that can help you cut down on tedious, manual processes (read: save time).

For example, Pardot client Vidyard uses a combination of these features to automatically assign leads to sales based on pre-defined actions, helping the company to increase their MQLs by 300% in just one year.

“We worked with our sales team to define high-value actions that would send leads straight to sales,” explains Joe Gelata, Director of Demand Generation at Vidyard. “Similarly, if a score went above the threshold we set, that lead would automatically be assigned to our sales team.”

The “automation” aspect of marketing automation extends further than setting scoring and grading thresholds that automatically assign leads to sales reps. (For a more in-depth explanation on scoring and grading, check out this article.) You can also automate lead nurturing campaigns to deploy emails based on time intervals or prospect actions — so that you’re always reaching out with the right content at the right time.

Build a single source of truth.

Modern B2B marketing trends urge us to stop looking at sales, marketing, and engagement funnels as separate entities. Instead, the companies that are seeing the most success are the ones building a “single source of truth” for their organizations.

Billy Cripe, CMO at Field Nation, agrees. “It makes very little sense to spend time and energy trying to orchestrate a bunch of different, independent systems. Synchronization is a productivity drain unless it’s done behind the scenes.”

By integrating marketing automation with a CRM, you’re creating a complete engagement system that encompasses the full lifecycle of the customer. While sales reps can continue to use their CRM as their system of choice, marketers can run lead generation and nurturing campaigns using marketing automation. Data is continually synced between the two systems so that everyone is always acting from the most relevant information available — no jumping between apps required.

Use data to make decisions with confidence.

Let’s keep talking about data here for a moment. One of the most powerful capabilities of an automation tool is its ability to track and aggregate data about your buyers. Both behavioral and demographic data are gathered using a mixture of activity tracking, forms, and landing pages. With so much data available to you (we’re talking job titles, pageviews, locations, and more), it would be a shame not to use it!

For many small businesses, this data is critical to making business decisions around content distribution, marketing channel prioritization, budgeting, and forecasting. Having access to so much data makes it possible to build complete 360-degree profiles of your buyers, which gives you the insight you need to segment your database based on commonalities like location, industry, and more.

At Xcentric, data is key to getting their content into the right hands. “We had so much content, but not having a tool to send it out to the people that it would resonate with meant that people were missing it. It was sent to them at the wrong time,” comments Roy Keely, VP of Market Strategy at Xcentric. “We needed intelligence to help us send the right content to the right people at the right time.”

Marketing automation provides this intelligence in more ways than one. With additional insight into the success of marketing programs (ROI, opportunities generated, and more), it’s much easier for marketers to make critical business decisions that are backed by hard data.

“Our leadership team can get real-time insights into our pipeline, closed business, stale opportunities, and more, which gives everyone confidence around decision-making,” finishes Keely.

Want to hear more about the stories of companies like Vidyard, Field Nation, and Xcentric? Take a look at the full Customer Spotlight eBook by clicking on the banner below.

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