Is Marketing Automation Working in B2B?
If you’ve spent time with me in the last couple of years, you’ve probably heard me talk about demand generation and marketing automation. Implementation is hard; getting results requires dedication and resources. We’ve seen customers rate their programs across the board: effective; ambiguous; indifferent; or “where are the sales?” This led me to seek some stats to get a sense for how things are actually going out there.
B2B Marketing Automation Stats — The Good and Bad (but hey, no ugly!)
Here are a few tidbits on the state of marketing automation from 2015 and 2016:
- More than half (55%) of B2B companies are adopting the technology (State of Digital Marketing, Ascend2)
- B2B marketers who implement marketing automation software increase their sales pipeline contribution by an average of 10% (Forrester)
- 63% of companies that are outgrowing their competitors use marketing automation (Lenskold and Pedowitz)
- Only 32% of companies consider marketing automation “very successful” (Three Deep and Ascend2 )
- 85% of B2B marketers felt they were not using their marketing automation software to their full potential (SiriusDecisions)
People, Process and Content
There are a lot of obstacles to success, mostly related to a lack of a defined strategy and aligned resources and sub-par processes. Not to mention the required investment for generating the high-value content needed to make these programs work. Thus, you see a mixed bag of results like those highlighted above. But CMOs continue to see the promise and are investing in platforms and resources vigorously. Results will get better, but it’s a journey: effective programs require trials and iterations to fine-tune programs.
As a B2B marketing agency, we’ve been working with customers on this demand generation journey and have bumped into all of the above obstacles on our way to a better understanding of what makes these programs successful. We’ve seen some good results that have a real impact on our clients’ businesses.
But don’t expect perfection.
My advice? Just do it. Run a pilot and scrape your knees a bit while you try to figure it out. Perfecting personas, buyer journeys and workflow diagrams is for the consultants. Dive in and make something happen and you’ll learn 10 times more. Shoot me a note if you’d like to talk about our experiences here.