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7 Marketing Automation Trends

By:Alexandre Sagala

Marketing automation is one of the fastest growing segments in the CRM market, especially in the B2B space. Features such as lead generation and nurturing are critical in helping B2B companies with longer sales cycles. However, it wasn’t that long ago that people weren’t even sure what marketing automation was. Now,marketing teams are aggresively seeking out these systems. Clearly, the marketing automation industry has a strong tailwind at its back.

The B2B sales environment has changed drastically with the introduction of the Internet to the personal and business space. Companies are finding that it is increasingly challenging to reach potential prospects, and they are changing their sales and marketing tactics in order to cope. There are several specific trends that are driving the adoption of marketing automation, making it an integral asset to any organization.

Software Advice, a free online resource for software buyers, outlines seven macro trends that they believe are pushing the growth of marketing automation. You can view them below or read about them in more detail on the Software Advice blog.

  1. Buyers want valuable content.The traditional marketing speak needs to be replaced with original content that provides value and education to the buyer.
  2. Buyers are hesitant to engage over the phone.Sales professionals are constantly facing the issue of decreased sales engagement. Software Advice deals with this issue on a daily basis when trying to communicating with software buyers.
  3. Buyers require marketing accountability.Traditionally, marketing ROI was difficult to measure on positioning, collateral and brand building. Organizations require a better view of marketing efforts so they can quantifiably measure them against total ROI.
  4. A down economy results in longer sales cycles.When money is tight, people are less inclined to buy, period. Sales professionals are faced with more and more prospects that are more risk-averse than ever.
  5. Consumerization of B2B sales processes.B2B buyers want their sales process to mirror that of their B2C exchanges. They demand clear and concise pitches, simplified pricing, quick implementation and ease of use. Also, they prefer as little interaction with sales as possible.
  6. Marketing channels have transformed.With the advent of the Internet, the way we communicate has drastically changed. Companies have to find a way to contact prospects through the various channels they access.
  7. SaaS is the preferred deployment method.Due to the high number of relatively new entrants to the marketing automation space, many of these vendors are built on a modern, software-as-a-service (SaaS) architecture. This deployment method enables users to get up and running faster than with traditional on-premise models. Also, with subscription pricing, the marketing team can easily add a digestible line item to their budget, as opposed to seeking approval for a big capital expenditure.

Marketing automation has hit the ground running. It will be interesting to watch as it develops over the next couple of years, helping companies adjust to and embrace the new B2B sales environment.

Lauren Carlson writes about various topics related to CRM software, with particular interest in sales force automation, marketing automation, and customer service. She has a background in the music industry, and when she isn’t writing about software, you can find her running at Town Lake and singing at local venues. She is a graduate of the University of Texas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

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