B2B Marketing Automation: Three excellent use cases you didn’t think of yet

B2B engagement tactics gallery

Chances are, if you are reading this, you are either using or intending to use marketing automation software. You might be interested in improving your marketing, getting more inbound leads or perhaps tracking and scoring your web visitors and nurturing them towards the day they’ll want to buy your product.  Chances are also, that you aren’t getting all of the benefits from your marketing automation investment, which, if you are serious about is should be a substantial share of your yearly marketing budget.

 

So, here are some great ideas for use cases that could help you improve your customer experience, increase customer engagement (and therefore customer insight through web tracking and scoring). We’ve taken the perspective that is the nearest to us – industrial, global companies with limited experience in digital marketing. Many of these might seem familiar from your personal experience buying things online – now it is time to bring the customer experience of the Amazons, the Zappos’ and the Alibaba’s to your company.

 

1. The ”Abandoned cart”

 

It’s not only for consumer eCommerce, although you might be familiar with this trigger from using Amazon, Zappos or any other proper eCommerce website. When more and more of your customer processes are done in an online environment, you are able to know when your customer is close to doing whatever you want them to do. These can be for example it service inquiries, ordering of spare parts, contact requests, sourcing, payments, claims etc. With an immediate friendly follow-up email you can make sure that you are being attentive to your customers’ needs, and that you’ll come off as a customer centric company.

 

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Trigger variations:

  • Insurance: Abandonment of claims process
  • Customer shows interest in new services – starts to fill form
  • Extranets: Customer abandons a long session without finishing order
  • Contact us: Important customer starts to fill out online contact request form
  • Customer clicks ”Order now” but never finishes

2. The post-sales ”Thank you”

If your company is like most companies, you’ll have a customer portfolio that consists of a couple of big ones, some medium sized customers with potential to grow, and a whole bunch of small customers that no-one ones to care for, let alone serve well. Typically, these customers are small service customers that bring in only nominal business – and there are hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of them depending on your business. And mostly, the only service they get is the right to place orders, and pay the bills. To these customers your promises of valuing the customer experience and customer relationships sounds hollow and far from customer centricity.

 

 

Alas, the easiest customer experience trigger of them all: the thank you. Of course this could be any kind of simple trigger, but the thank you is the most powerful. It could be triggered for someone deciding to continue his service contract, ordering a set of spare parts, participating in a customer survey or simply – yes – being a customer for e.g. more than 24 months. Using simple personalizations (e.g. the dedicated account owner as a sender, the first name of the customer, the equipment the customer is using or the area where he is located) will do the trick. We’re not naive enough to claim that this will create a whole lot of new business for you – but it sure is 100% better than doing nothing. If nothing else, this will let you implement your values/mission/strategy statements of caring for your customers in a way that becomes visible for each and every of your customer.

 

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Trigger variations:

  • Customer orders new equipment
  • Customer renews contract
  • Customer gives good/bad feedback with satisfaction survey
  • Customer has been your customer for X years
  • Customer has managed to decrease / increase e.g. CO2 emissions by XX% so far by using your product (or any other benefit that you are promising)

 

3. The ”Contract renewals and churn prevention”

 

A growing share of the Finnish B2B economy is so called service business. The number is growing not only in Finland, but everywhere. This means that KPI’s such as customer churn and ARPU/customer lifetime value are becoming the standard metrics also for companies used to focus on orders, inventory and new business creation. How do you manage churn? And how do you do it at scale (and again, especially for that long tail of customers no one has time to call on).

 

Well, below is a simple churn management example program, where the customers, depending on their probability to churn (and or the value of the business) are receiving different kinds of automated contract renewal programs. One can make the renewal as easy as a click of a button in an email [RENEW HERE]. Another option is to  have a longer nurturing program highlighting the benefits of renewing, leading up to the meeting with a sales representative who will sign the deal. The behaviour of the customer during the nurturing program might then tell the sales rep something about the propensity to churn – accumulating more data over time and even enabling predictions for which customers might need that ’little extra’ to stay with you.

 

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Trigger variations:

  • Win-back program for customers that are in risk of churning, or who’s annual purchase are declining
  • Easy renewal: ”Click here to automatically renew”
  • Automatically suggest additional benefits for renewals within end of month / quarter
  • Automatically ”next best offer” together with renewal (upgrades, extensions, service level changes)
  • Product lifetime triggers: Your equipment XX is in it’s 6th month, time for bi-annual maintenance

 

 

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In all of the aforementioned use cases, the basic premises of marketing automation software is what enables the automated processes: web activity tracking, CRM-data integration and automation of workflows and programs / campaigns. Perhaps not what industrial marketers are used to having in their scorecards – but certainly processes that will be everyday tasks for the marketer in 3-5 years. Why not give it a simply try right away, and learn from the process?

 

PS) All of the trigger descriptions ( and some 15 more) can be downloaded as a PDF in the ”Engagement tactics gallery – B2B edition”.