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Marketing automation for B2B tech companies is about much more than just a software platform.

It encompasses a wide variety of marketing activities and often makes up the backbone of a company’s marketing strategy.

A marketing automation platform enables companies to design, execute, track, and measure complex marketing campaigns across multiple marketing channels. Often referred to as multi-channel marketing, this form of marketing and technology brings email, website, social media, and digital advertising onto one platform for enhanced visibility, control, and outcomes. 

One of the greatest strengths offered by marketing automation technology? The ability to automate repetitive marketing tasks. Email campaigns can be turned into multi-touch campaigns involving auto-responders, landing pages, blog posts, follow-up emails -- all of which can be built using advanced marketing workflows. Chatbots offer a new way to engage with website visitors well before they may be ready to talk to a sales representative. 

Marketing automation for B2B tech companies is also a powerful enabler of search engine optimization (SEO). Indeed, blogging and content creation make up a key pillar of SEO strategy.  

Below we go into much more detail about marketing automation. At the end of the page, we even review three of the top marketing automation platforms (HubSpot, Pardot, and Marketo) for B2B tech companies considering a purchase in the near future. 

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is meant to be an all encompassing tool for marketers of all kinds - B2B, B2C, B2B2B, B2C2B, you name it. 

Used correctly, marketing automation helps companies increase efficiency and save time for both marketing and sales teams.

For many B2B tech companies, a marketing automation tool is an important piece of an inbound marketing strategy. Inbound marketing, in a nutshell, is the process of attracting and converting leads to your website through a series of original and personalized content pieces. This differs from traditional marketing of the past, like cold-calls and direct mail, which tended to be more disruptive and bothersome for the prospect. 

Instead, a successful inbound strategy pinpoints a target audience -  your ideal buyer - and then develops tailored content to that audience in order to attract them to your website. Content that is developed should be shared across multiple marketing channels including social media, your blog, guest blogs, news media outlets. What’s more, it should always be search engine friendly. 

Inbound doesn’t stop with just developing content, however. Once a visitor lands on your website, the goal is to get them to convert into a lead by either downloading a piece of content or signing up for your email list. After they’ve given you their email address, it’s time to nurture the leads into sales ready leads (often referred to as sales qualified leads). 

The nurturing piece of inbound is undoubtedly one of the most common uses for marketing automation. By utilizing a marketing automation solution, your B2B tech company can stay top-of-mind with prospects through a series of automated emails that help establish trust with your company and move them down the sales funnel (see Setting up Automated Workflows below).

With a robust marketing automation tool, B2B sales and marketing teams not only will save time and become more efficient with their lead generation efforts but they will also gain insight into rich analytics and data. 

b2b-tech-marketing-automation

Best Practices and Use Cases

As we’ve mentioned, marketing automation is a powerhouse of a tool combining content marketing, lead generation and lead management, email marketing, social media, SEO, and paid ads into one single system.

It is an incredible tool but B2B tech companies must fully understand it’s capabilities and develop a strategy for how best to use it before diving in. 

 

Develop Buyer Personas

The bread-and-butter of an inbound marketing strategy is defining who your target audience is so you know what content resonates with them. Otherwise, your marketing efforts are the equivalent to shooting at moving targets in the dark. In the world of marketing, defining a target audience is commonly known as developing buyer personas

To get started, we recommend you look to your current customers (you can even interview them), consult your CRM for any notes (e.g., what they bought), marketing materials they downloaded, webinars they’ve attended, or special notes a salesperson may have taken. 

A typical buyer persona should include, at the very least, these demographics:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Job Title
  • Education level
  • The industry they work within
  • Key pain points or issues faced
  • Other pertinent information like behavioral patterns and where they catch up on industry trends

Once you’ve identified 2-3 buyer personas, you should be well equipped to identify how your product or service can address their challenges. Knowing their challenges, or pain points, will help you develop a thorough content marketing strategy. 

 

Creating and Distributing Content

Now that you have a good grasp on who your buyer persona is, it’s time to develop content to attract these people to your website. A content marketing strategy often involves many different content pieces: blog posts, whitepapers, eBooks, interactive quizzes, infographics, webinars, pillar pages, etc. 

content-creation-b2b-tech

The type of format you choose depends in large part on who your buyer personas are and what will resonate most with them. At the end of the day, a content marketing strategy should lean on the formats most suitable to your buyer personas, and they should be tailored to meet the informational needs of those personas at each stage of the buyer's journey. We also recommend considering content for customer retention as well -- the buyer’s journey doesn’t stop with the sale!

Once you’ve developed content, you’ll want to use your marketing automation platform to distribute it. Where and how you distribute your content can vary widely based on your buyer persona. For most B2B tech companies it will take a digital form and be comprised of a mix of email and social media platforms. Other distribution options include contributed content networks on news outlets like Forbes and IDG, and possibly even Youtube videos showing the benefits of your product. 

Whatever the case, you must put your content in places where your prospects and customers frequent in order to stay top-of-mind and drive more qualified visitors to your owned content. Content distribution is integral to deploying a successful inbound marketing strategy; without it, your inbound strategy will struggle to find sufficient traffic to drive leads into the sales funnel.

Sharing content is a fairly straight-forward process. What is less obvious, however, is coming up with the right call-to-action (CTA) and lead capture strategy. If you are a SaaS company offering a service with a fairly low monthly price-point, considering a free 30-day subscription offer in your CTA is a no-brainer. A tech services company with longer buyer journeys and custom pricing will want to use something of value as a CTA, like a well-researched eBook or some kind of free initial assessment. 

How you create your call-to-action, both in email and in any social media messaging, as well as set up a landing page in a way that optimizes contact form fills, comes down to creative elements like copy, layout, and design elements. The standard approach is to distribute your CTA and take the resulting web traffic to a dedicated landing page where you can use your creative elements to increase the likelihood a visitor will take the desired action. Fortunately, marketing automation platforms make the creation of landing pages far easier than in the past, with easy drag-and-drop features and A/B testing capabilities that help you figure out which design elements work the best.

 

Setting up Automated Workflows

Where the marketing automation fun really begins is in the ability to set up and create workflows based on a user's trigger action. Without having an automated workflow in place your lead nurturing efforts can, and likely will, fall flat. 

Workflows are the secret sauce behind any lead nurturing campaign. Without the use of workflows, sales and marketing teams find themselves wasting a lot of time manually following up with leads. Or, even worse, they could let leads slip through the cracks due to lack of bandwidth or visibility. 

There are a few essential workflows any B2B tech marketer should have set up in their marketing automation platform. Those consist of:

  • Welcome/New Subscriber: Truthfully, this might be the easiest workflow you can set up. When a visitor lands on your site and subscribes to your blog or newsletter, they should immediately receive a follow-up email that welcomes and thanks them for signing up. This email should also provide them with an idea of how often they’ll hear from your company and the ability to manage their subscription. 
  • Content Download: If your B2B tech marketing team has created a content offer in the form of a whitepaper or eBook and gated it behind a landing page, you need to have a workflow in place to keep them engaged with the topic. We recommend setting up a string of relevant content emails over the course of a few weeks.
  • Re-engagement: Some of the most engaged leads can go cold over time. Your job as a marketer is to re-engage them and get them interested in your brand again. You can do this by sending company updates, product announcements, special offers, or new content. Be sure that the workflow criteria is set to go live when enough time has passed for the lead to be truly cold. 

As you undoubtedly know very well, marketing and sales teams need to close the gap in order to work efficiently together. A marketing automation platform can play a huge role in smoothing out processes and bridging these teams together. A large part of this can be accomplished through the use of workflows. Consider setting up these workflows to help your sales and marketing team work better together in some of the following ways: 

  • Lead Notifications: Workflows aren’t only meant to be used for external communication. Many marketing automation platforms have the ability to send internal notifications to members of your marketing and sales team based on actions a lead takes. Outside of the initial notification of a new lead entering the database, you can set up a workflow to identify “hot leads”. For instance, if a lead views the pricing page you can set up a notification to a sales rep to alert them to follow up.  
  • Upsell/Cross Sell: Just because a lead has become a customer doesn’t mean selling opportunities should stop. Outside of regular touchpoints, we suggest segmenting leads based on the product they have already purchased and sending automated emails recommending an upgrade or a product that complements the one they’ve purchased. This type of workflow will keep your company top-of-mind and even helps with customer retention. 
  • Closed Lost: Not every sales opportunity is a home run. It’s just the nature of the game. Instead of letting these leads sit around in your database, put them into a list for future lead nurturing. If they said ‘no’ for monetary reasons, offer a discount or deal periodically in hopes they will change their mind. Or, if your B2B tech company didn’t have the features they need, keep them in the loop on your product/service updates. We recommend making note of this in your CRM and aligning your closed lost nurturing campaign to whatever that reason may be. 

The more you get started with workflows, the more you’ll start to realize how much of a time saver they are for your marketing and sales team. It might take some trial and error to learn what workflows work best for your organization, but we’re sure you will find their true value in short order. 

 

Market Segmentation

Segmentation is an important part of marketing automation as it allows for pinpoint accuracy with respect to executing your marketing campaigns. Segmentation refers to understanding your customers and overall target audience in terms of their demographics (gender, age, race, geography, etc.), wants and needs, similar interests, and other psychographic attributes (e.g., shared values, hobbies, lifestyles, etc.). 

The goal of segmentation is to offer your products or services tailored to the needs of sub-segments of your total customer/prospect group in hopes of seeing an increase in revenue, brand loyalty, repeat purchases, and customer referrals. The process of determining segmentation is not unlike the process of defining buyer personas, although it happens at a more macro level in order to identify a larger population. In fact, it’s entirely possible to have multiple buyer personas for a given market segmentation. And it’s also possible to have multiple segments, or customer cohorts, for a specific brand or product. 

The goal, however, is to have a particular market segment feel that you have designed your product offering with them in mind. Trying to make a given product fit too many different market segments, on the other hand, will only dilute the appeal and effectiveness of your marketing automation activities. In other words, market segmentation is a blueprint for the development of a deep understanding of and tailored offering designed for a unique customer sub-group. 

Extending into too many segments will only serve to diminish the results. Mind you, it can be done, and even successfully, but it’s a far wiser use of resources to attack a single cohort and win a meaningful share of it before moving to the next. There are examples in the consumer space of brands winning the business and loyalty from different customer sup-groups. Take the car maker Subaru, which has built a loyal following for its Outback among both young families made up of Millennials and senior citizens made up of Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation. After 60 years of lackluster sales in the U.S., Subaru decided to start targeting niche consumers and their related lifestyles. Then, after a decades-long focus on safety and reliability, in 2007 it launched the “Love” campaign, which tied its previous branding with its lifestyle marketing approach. The company even became an official sponsor of Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl after it realized that 60% of its car owners have dogs. Coincidence, or smart market segmentation? In our view, it was a happy coincidence brought about by astute customer research.

One of the easier ways to clearly understand how to approach market segmentation has already been put into a nice graphic provided by Qualtrics:

 

Demographic

(B2C)

Firmographic

(B2B)

Psychographic

(B2B/B2C)

Behavioral

(B2B/B2C)

Definition

Classification based on individual attributes 

Classification based on company or organization attributes 

Classification based on attitudes, aspirations, values, and other criteria

Classification based on behaviors like product usage, technology laggards, etc. 

Examples

Geography Gender Education Level Income Level

Industry Location Number of Employees Revenue 

Lifestyle Personality Traits Values Opinions 

Usage Rate Benefit Types Occasion Purchase Decision 

Decision Criteria 

You are a smaller business or you are running your first project 

You are a smaller business or you are running your first project 

You want to target customers based on values or lifestyle

You want to target customers based on purchase behaviors

Difficulty

Simpler

Simpler

More advanced 

More advanced

Most marketing automation platforms should allow you to set up segmentation based on the attributes of your choosing. Once you’ve defined your segments, create dynamic lists that will pull in contacts who match those attributes. After you’ve done that, you can go about creating more personalized campaigns. 

 

Social Media Marketing

Social media platforms act like veritable marketplaces for some B2C industries. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest excel at helping products get found through a mix of paid, organic and influencer marketing. They help accelerate the purchase decision by making it easy to like and save products and then navigate to a brand website to make a purchase. 

social-media-marketing-b2b-tech

Social media also helps B2B tech companies achieve important goals such as expanding brand awareness, demographic/firmographic targeting, and delivery of promotional offers. While not all social media platforms are a good fit for B2B tech communications, a few notable ones are:

  • LinkedIn: Excels at hiring, networking, thought leadership, and brand awareness building. 
  • Twitter: Excels at establishing thought leadership, networking, and some brand awareness.
  • Facebook: The weakest option of the Big 3 social networks, it still excels at brand awareness given that an average of 1.5 billion people spend time on the app daily. 

The effectiveness of social media has not gone unnoticed. All major marketing automation platforms feature robust social media functionality that allows for scheduling, trend monitoring social listening, and even customer-level engagement reporting. 

Defining Success - Metrics

Fortunately, determining the success of a marketing automation platform and a B2B tech company’s inbound and digital marketing strategy is fairly easy to measure.

Ultimately, the question comes down to answering the question: does marketing automation improve your overall marketing process? 

That can include efficiency as measured in labor required to run a robust marketing program, not to mention the degree of difficulty involved in installing and running a marketing automation platform for your organization. 

It can also come down to actual operational metrics like the ratio of lead conversions to MQLs (marketing qualified leads) or AdWord campaign performance. The key is to choose those metrics that are most meaningful to your company from not just a revenue perspective but also a team performance perspective. 

Here are some of the more commonly referenced success metrics found within your marketing automation tool: 

 

Open Rate

Open rate refers to the rate at which recipients of your email marketing campaigns open your various emails. Open rates can be deceptive, however, in that what counts as an open may simply be a recipient clicking on -- but not actually opening -- the email for a quick scan before hitting the delete key. It’s somewhat akin to ‘views’ of online ads in media outlets. 

B2B tech marketers are correct in asking whether a view or open really means anything. Are they not inflated numbers that rarely measure buyer interest or buyer intent? Absolutely! But they do measure how effective your email subject lines are at least in driving a desired action. And they can be measured against industry averages so you can determine how well your campaigns are performing versus the competition. Ultimately, however, the higher your open rates the higher your other key metrics (click-through and conversion rates) will be downstream.

 

Click-through Rate

Click-through rate is perhaps the best measure of how effective your email marketing campaigns (and paid advertising campaigns for that matter) are at driving interest in your offering. The click-through rate is measured, as its name implies, when a recipient of your email campaign actually clicks on a link inside the email (e.g., a call-to-action box offering a limited-time discount or a free demo) and is taken to a campaign landing page or your website’s homepage.

Campaign success can and should be measured by more metrics, but click-throughs are a powerful indicator of how effective your marketing is all the way from product marketing and branding to copywriting to marketing automation technology. Measuring click-through rates is the only way you can continue to improve the results of your email marketing program over time. With A/B testing both in email subject lines and on landing pages, you can use click-through rates to radically boost the outcomes of your campaigns. 

roi-marketing-b2b-tech

Conversion Rate

With all the talk of click-through rates being important, at the end of the day it comes down to conversions. Raw leads or visitors arrive on your website but do they leave their name and contact information behind so that you can add them to your sales funnel? 

Conversion rates are the ultimate barometer of how well your product or service offering is formulated and communicated. Without a solid product offering, all the potential prospects in the world may stop by your website but actual conversions will lag competitors with better products. Similarly, without a well-articulated offering in the form of emails and other digital content assets, even a great product will fail to spark interest in the form of conversions and sales. Indeed, there are plenty of examples of average products winning sizable market share simply because they have a powerful marketing engine.

 

ROI (Return on Investment)

ROI, or return on investment, is perhaps the most important measurement on a macro level that a company can make as it will impact decisions on what products to sell at what price point, what markets to enter, and what operations to fund (or cut). 

The ROI of marketing automation is not always easy to discern. Fortunately, there’s a fairly easy way to calculate the ROI of your marketing spend once you understand how to calculate the key inputs. [Side note: Swyft wrote an article about how to measure marketing ROI once before, so if you would like a concrete example on how to do just that then click this link to go to the article.]

The easiest way to understand the ROI of your marketing campaigns is to figure out how much revenue is generated by a particular campaign, subtract the costs of running that campaign, then divide the resulting sum by the cost. Sounds so easy, right?

Measuring revenue, though, can be deceptively challenging. In many cases, thanks to the ability of digital marketing and marketing automation technology to track leads throughout the sales funnel, it’s fairly easy to assign revenue (a.k.a., lead attribution) to individual marketing campaigns. Not every lead, however, is easy to attribute to a specific campaign. For instance, if a lead first became aware of your company’s offering after having read an article in a trade publication or through a friend’s endorsement, and then, later, that person dropped by your trade show booth to learn more, should the trade show campaign get credit? In other words, there will always be a margin of error when calculating revenue.

Measuring revenue also becomes tricky if you compare the value of a customer as measured by an initial purchase versus the total potential lifetime value of a customer. The ROI calculation we provided in our blog article referenced above is based on customer lifetime value, or CLV. It’s up to your team to determine if it’s better to use initial customer revenue from the sale or CLV. Calculating CLV requires a fairly good understanding of customer value over a longer period of time, which is not something many B2B tech startups have had time to study.

The costs of running a campaign are fairly straightforward. Figure out what your hard dollars are: 3rd party agency support, advertising spend, printed material, stock artwork, etc. Then calculate what your soft dollars are: the fractional cost of marketing automation technology and internal staff come to mind.

Once you have a fully-burdened marketing automation cost and a solid revenue number, you can then calculate your ROI for individual marketing campaigns. Ideally, your ROI ends up 3x or higher given that your company has other costs it needs to cover in its pursuit of profitability.

Marketing Automation Platforms

Make no mistake, finding the best marketing automation software for a B2B tech company is a complex process.

Many considerations will come into play as you seek to not only satisfy your current marketing automation needs but also anticipate ones that may be needed in the future.

A marketing automation software purchase has a relatively low price point and comes with fewer implementation challenges compared to CRM software. For a comparatively small investment, it can have a huge impact on the bottom-line. 

Despite that fact, it’s been our experience that B2B tech companies rarely invest much up-front time properly scoping out the needs of their company and thoroughly vetting marketing automation solutions against those needs. Oftentimes they will make a purchase based on the referral of a colleague or respond to an aggressive sales overture from an existing software vendor (Salesforce is famous for pushing Pardot, its marketing automation solution, into its CRM customer base).

Swyt put together some considerations to keep in mind as you look for the right marketing automation software: 

  • Ownership: One key executive should own the process and outcome of buying, implementing, and optimizing a marketing automation software platform. 
  • Selection committee: Even if it’s a committee of two, make sure there is a team-based approach to ensure a complete and thorough job is done. Include team members from cross functional departments like marketing, sales, and even IT.
  • Identifying key stakeholders: Related to selection committee, make sure you poll your organization to discover who will need either direct or indirect access to the marketing automation software. Don’t forget to include your internal ‘customers’ who will depend upon content or results from the software. 
  • Project scope document: Define and document the needs, wants and wishes of each stakeholder. This includes what they need today, what they need tomorrow, and what they wish they could have in a perfect world. The document should be shared with key stakeholders to ensure its completeness and accuracy. 
  • Budget: Seems obvious, but creating a realistic budget will ensure you don’t purchase a Cadillac when all you need is a Kia. 
  • Third parties: Be sure to account for any 3rd parties that may need to assist with your implementation and customization of a marketing automation software platform. Part of your search may need to include discovering a partner with the experience needed to implement the marketing automation software you choose.
  • Software search: Once done with the project scope document, create a checklist you can use to drive the software search process. Seek out websites that list, review, and rank all types of marketing automation software platforms. Indeed, visit as many as possible in order to get a balanced view of each solution and avoid potential bias. If your needs are more sophisticated and lean toward more robust enterprise functionality, then your options will be far fewer. There are a variety of review sites you can check out, though one we found particularly helpful came from PCMAG (link); frankly, Swyft found this article far more helpful and objective-leaning than the many for-profit review sites that purport to be objective reviews of business software.
  • Third party selection: Once you know which marketing automation platform your company needs, find the best marketing automation software provider available to assist you with the implementation and customization process. Budget comes into play here (are they reasonably priced or too expensive?), as does a company’s past experience working with the marketing automation software you chose.

Swyft is a certified HubSpot partner, but we actively support all kinds of marketing automation software solutions ranging from entry-level solutions like MailChimp and Constant Contact all the way to HubSport and Pardot. 

Since entry-level software is fairly straight-forward and easy to purchase in a SaaS format, we decided to take a closer look at HubSpot, Pardot, and Marketo given their higher price points, advanced user requirements, and prominence in the marketplace. 

 

HubSpot

Pros: 

HubSpot is fairly scalable marketing automation software that works well for B2B tech companies anticipating rapid revenue growth and a need for more advanced functionality at a comparably low price point (versus other advanced SMB marketing automation solutions). 

Cons: 

Workflows are limited compared to solutions like Pardot, and its built-in CRM is less robust and fairly under-developed compared to the rest of HubSpot. Nor is the SEO a core strength.

Swyft’s Take:

We like HubSpot because of how robust, intuitive, and scalable it is to meet the needs of our clients. HubSpot was one of the early marketing automation solutions for B2B tech companies and helped grow the space into what it is today. They helped invent and define the practice of inbound marketing, which relates to creating demand for a company’s offerings through generous amounts of content produced using HubSpot.

HubSpot has robust automation, workflow, and email capabilities. While less deeply customizable than Pardot (and less expensive), it offers a variety of templates, workflow design, integration to Salesforce (and its own CRM), chatbots, and more.

What’s more, HubSpot is not resting on its laurels as a category leader in marketing automation for B2B tech companies. They are continuously improving their product and adding new functionality to create a more comprehensive and seamless solution for growth-minded SMBs.

HubSpot campaigns are driven by contact lists created for highly-targeted campaigns. Contact records are updated as they engage with marketing content, whether in the form of emails, blog posts or document downloads. It’s possible to see contact interaction time-lines and where they fall in the marketing funnel. 

HubSpot integrates more capably with Facebook, allowing companies to run lead-gen campaigns in the popular social media platform. Other integrations include Slack, which allows HubSpot customers to receive tasks and notifications via Slack with a direct link back to HubSpot for immediate action. 

Sales functionality for sales teams has become a focus for HubSpot in recent years. Between a live chat feature and calendaring functionality, sales representatives can deepen their engagement and drive tangible results in the form of booked meetings and phone calls.

Speaking of sales, HubSpot recently released its own CRM, in part to compete with Salesforce, which owns Pardot. HubSpot’s CRM is much less robust and lacks customization features found in Salesforce. 

Conclusion: 

HubSpot is perfect for B2B tech companies with smaller marketing teams, fewer advanced marketing automation needs and a desire for user friendliness. Its rich features, functional add-ons, long-standing leadership in the space, and ongoing commitment to innovation, make HubSpot and great investment for any fast-growth B2B tech company. 

 

Pardot

Pros:

Feature rich and enterprise ready. Tightest integration to Salesforce CRM of all the marketing automation platforms.

Cons:

Price is on the high side for many smaller B2B tech companies, although Salesforce does its best to encourage its CRM customers to upgrade to Pardot with tempting offers. The email template builder is very limited and quickly requires HTML customization in order to do more than basic layout -- meaning you may need the additional help of a designer fluent in HTML.

Swyft’s Take:

Another category leader in marketing automation for B2B tech companies, Pardot is designed for larger companies with more advanced marketing requirements. Despite that, it has a surprisingly well-designed and intuitive user interface. It’s a capable product with the advantage of being part of the Salesforce family.

As clunky as the email application is in Pardot, the review feature that shows how a given email will look in different browsers, email clients, and devices is smart. This feature helps you avoid sending out poorly rendered communications that fail to drive desired results.

Pardot’s Engagement Studio automates your email marketing campaigns with a convenient mapping feature that helps you add various triggers, actions, and rules. This robust functionality means you can develop highly sophisticated email marketing campaigns capable of reacting to a wide variety of customer engagement scenarios. Especially valuable is the ability to pre-test a campaign to determine how it works and whether there are any duplicate emails or dead-ends.

Pardot also makes omni-channel marketing far easier than most any other marketing automation software platform. For example, companies can schedule social media campaigns and simultaneously send out posts across the big three platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter). Especially valuable is the ability to see how a particular prospect engaged with a social media post. Pardot’s native SEO feature set is impressive. It plugs into the major search engines so you can monitor key SEO metrics as well as results from paid search campaigns without leaving Pardot.

Given Pardot’s inclusion in the Salesforce app ecosystem, it should come as no surprise that Einstein Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is one of the more exciting new features. Running on Salesforce’s Einstein AI engine, this feature endeavors to bring sales and marketing activities into alignment by synching databases and automating campaigns that target key decision-makers in key accounts.

Conclusion: 

Pardot should be on the top of a list of three marketing automation software platforms for B2B tech companies seeking game-changing results. While it may not be as affordable as some solutions, it can deliver outsized results that may make the price tag worthwhile should a company want unlimited scale and customizable features. 

 

Marketo

Pros:

Advanced workflows that help automate lead qualifying process. Comprehensive dashboard that show your ongoing marketing campaigns for fast cross-platform visibility.

Cons:

Similar to Pardot, Marketo is priced for larger B2B tech companies and enterprises. User interface is less intuitive and processes are more complex to design and set up.

Swyft’s take:

Marketo is a proven, enterprise-ready marketing automation platform. It email marketing capabilities are impressive, with a visual editor and a good number of pre-existing templates. Marketo will trigger emails based on prospect or customer activity (or lack of activity) to ensure engagement doesn’t drop off. 

One particularly compelling feature in the email marketing solution is what Marketo calls Audience Hub, which lets you discover customer and prospect insights to dynamically send highly relevant messages out to recipients. Audience Hub will also dynamically update segments based on customer/prospect behaviors and any changes to their demographic profile.

Marketo is doing its best to work in AI technology to automate and improve marketing automation for B2B tech companies. Thanks to a 3rd party plug-in, Marketo allows you to build out a targeted account list based on 500+ million data points from across the web and advanced AI models. With AI-based lead scoring and fit indicators, companies receive data-driven recommendations for higher-potential sales opportunities.

ABM is also a sweet spot for Marketo, with integration to Salesforce and the ability to convert AI-based fit indicators into ABM filters. Intuitive workflows leverage automated AI features and enable personalized campaigns in one convenient location. For large enterprises that sell big-ticket items, Marketo’s ABM capabilities will prove invaluable.

Conclusion

Marketo is the priciest marketing automation solution of the three we reviewed. It’s also the most complex, requiring an advanced user to manage and optimize. That said, for larger enterprises with robust marketing resources and teams, Marketo is one of the top marketing automation software platforms on the market.

Final Thoughts & Considerations

Marketing automation is much more than a marketing technology platform. At Swyft, we approach marketing automation much as though it were an all-encompassing discipline combining best-practices in both digital marketing and the ever-evolving marketing technology stack. By mastering marketing automation you are mastering everything from your key niche market segments and buyer personas to how, where, what and when you communicate with customers and prospects.

Need help developing your company’s marketing automation strategy and execution? Why not ask Swyft for a free consultation? 

Need an agency to help you with marketing automation?

With years of expertise and B2B tech knowledge, Swyft is the right choice to help you with your marketing automation platform implementation and strategy. We’re ready to help you accomplish your goals. 

Get started with Swyft today!