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IN THIS BLOGWe share our collective wisdom - based on many years of experience and insight - about marketing automation, sales processes, and lead management. A few weeks ago, Marketing Land covered the release of an update to the Digital Marketing Depot 2013 B2B Marketing Automation Tools Buyer’s Guide. This column takes an in-depth look at topics discussed in this guide, as well as perspective and recommendations for B2B SEO professionals.
The reason for growth is twofold: first, there is an ever growing pressure for B2B marketers to not just generate leads, but tie leads to sales and revenue.
As more B2B marketers invest in marketing automation solutions, it is imperative that SEO professionals understand key features and functionality, as well as leverage the information collected and made accessible.
According to IBM’s The State of Marketing 2012 survey, keeping pace with the growth of channels and device choices is the most significant challenge facing marketing organizations. B2B marketing automation vendors view this as an opportunity and have been committed to building out and expanding functionality designed to overcome these challenges.
One of the most significant assets found in this buyers guide is a concise overview of marketing automation vendor capabilities, broken out by marketing channel capability (email, search, social media, etc). As search marketing continues to become more tightly integrated with broader B2B marketing strategy, marketing automation is a logical next step in closing the loop between tactical execution and ROI analysis. There are several individual B2B SEO initiatives to consider, unique to specific circumstance and vendor selection. Joby Blume of BrightCarbon wrote an excellent post detailing how the misconception that a marketing automation solution would solve deeper B2B marketing issues ultimately was a major factor in a smaller organization’s demise. While perceived ease of use and low cost entry points are attractive, there is still a lot of work that needs to be executed in unlocking value. Does the marketing automation solution augment our most critical digital marketing channels (do we even know what those are)? How will we justify cost in investment (direct and potentially indirect, such as training, time investment, etc.)? These are important questions to internalize before beginning the vendor selection process. Reporting aside, there are tremendous opportunities for B2B SEO professionals to use marketing automation information to demonstrate greater ROI and improved execution of SEO programs. Integrated with CRM, marketing automation reports provide direct connection with keyword (or general referral) sources and revenue quotes and wins. More specific referral sources from prospects and customers should help guide B2B SEO link building initiatives and social media network development.
Prospect and customer page view patterns and content consumption help B2B search engine marketers better define content marketing initiatives.
B2B SEOs need to acclimate themselves to each vendor’s offering in an effort to tie functionality to day-to-day SEO initiatives. The buyers guide provides a concise set of steps for evaluating marketing automation vendors, from discovery and research to direct interview analysis. We have seen our clients experience varying degrees of success with the implementation of marketing automation solutions. Regardless of solution (and we have worked with several defined in the B2B marketing automation guide), the opportunity to uncover key buyer information has been invaluable for specific SEO client initiatives we have been tasked with. If your B2B marketing organization is evaluating marketing automation platforms, the B2B marketing automation buyers guide should be one of the first places to start. Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.
Derek Edmond is a Managing Partner for KoMarketing, a B2B online marketing agency specializing in search, social media, and content marketing.
SMX Advanced, the only conference designed for experienced search marketers, returns to Seattle June 22-23.

MarTech: The Marketing Tech Conference is for marketers responsible for selecting marketing technologies and developing marketing technologists. This is the second half of a blog series on questions to ask when considering a B2B marketing automation platform.
However, it is important to know that not all marketing automation platforms are equal when it comes to social media. Obviously, price is going to be a factor in any companies’ marketing automation selection process.
When it comes to selecting the right tool, there are about as many different pricing structures as there are marketing automation platforms.
Having a marketing automation platform is one thing, learning how to use it effectively for both sales and marketing is another. This data shows that when it comes to marketing automation implementation, there is generally a long learning curve. If you’re curious to learn more about B2B marketing automation, you can read 3 Tips for Success from an Outsourced Marketing Automation Provider. 53% of B2B Fortune 500 companies use marketing automation technology, which is around 5 times the adoption rate of companies overall. The main reason being that, despite B2C marketers possessing larger budgets and greater advertising tools, they were held back by an inability to capture detailed customer profiles at scale. Advances in technology have opened the door for B2C brands and helped unify the marketing community around a shared vision of one-to-one communication. Many of the world’s largest consumer facing brands are leading the charge towards B2C marketing automation. In 2013, Microsoft began using automated nurturing campaigns to sell their software products. B2C brands have a different set of requirements than their B2B counterparts since conversions are done without sales assistance. If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic.It’s December, which means it’s time to speculate about what the forthcoming year will bring in the world of marketing, social media and demand generation. The three major social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) will aggressively promote paid campaigns to businesses at the expense of display advertising in general, and Google in particular.
WordPress will continue to increase its popularity and make further inroads into the enterprise, SMB, and start-up segments. Fights between marketing and sales will become more intense as these organizations struggle over ownership of the sales funnel. Versions of websites and cloud applications for mobile platforms (tablets, phones, etc.) will become mandatory, if only for competitive parity. The revised SiriusDecisions Demand Waterfall model forced the demand generation community to reconsider the need for marketing automation features designed for inside sales teams. According to Techopedia, “Marketing automation is the use of software and Web-based services to execute, manage and automate marketing tasks and processes. Adobe’s 600 million dollar acquisition of Neolane puts an exclamation point on twelve major mergers and acquisitions and one $79 million IPO in just over two and half years.
Marketing automation solutions should help the B2B marketer understand where focus truly needs to be assigned. For example, analysis of keyword referral data associated with lead-specific content consumption provides the opportunity to develop more effective content assets over the long run. Search is a critical component of digital marketing tactics, representing as much as 16% of customer acquisition in 2012, according to a recent report from Custora, as highlighted by Marketing Land. More importantly, over half of the guide is dedicated to vendor profiles and individual solution overview. The guide is free after completion of a quick form that provides access to the download link.

With over 10 years experience, Derek has worked with a range of organizations from the Fortune 500 to venture-backed startups and small businesses.
For example, Act-On, HubSpot and Marketo offer social media profiling, but Oracle Eloqua does not. In addition to looking at the overall cost for the value provided, B2B companies should also consider what payment plans are available and what is going to work best from a business perspective. Some platforms have tiers based on database size; others have different prices for the amount of features or services used. A report from earlier this year found that it took 64% of users at least six months to see results from their platform. If you do not have marketing automation expertise internally, you can end up having to devote a ton of resources to get everything up and running smoothly.
Feel free to contact us with any questions or visit our services page to learn more about the marketing automation consulting we offer. This was an important milestone for B2C marketing automation, because it proved that the platform was valuable for even the world’s largest consumer brands. In fact, most large tech companies are using marketing automation (approximately 76% of SaaS brands in 2013). For us this is more than just a fun-filled exercise: The success of our business depends on a reasonably accurate forecast of trends. The idea is to use both inbound and outbound campaigns to reach prospects and customers in consistent and continuing manner through a variety of channels. Marketing will increase its control by using increasingly sophisticated marketing automation platforms purchased with larger budgets. What had been viewed as a corner case will receive due consideration from platform vendors during the next year.
According to David Raab Associates, marketing automation systems revenue grew to $525 million in 2012 — over 60% year-over-year and 160% since 2011 (see chart below). The report states that B2B prospects manage more of the process independently, researching brand websites and social channels – without ever speaking to a sales person.
Marketing automation is becoming more accessible, in terms of cost and ease of use, for B2B marketing groups of all sizes and capability. The post is particularly relevant to smaller organizations with limited resources making the jump into B2B marketing automation. Additionally, some platforms allow you to pay on a month-to-month basis while others require an annual agreement upfront. The users listed lack of expertise to use the data and intelligence offered by the software (55%) and complexity of marketing automation software (34%) as two of their top obstacles.
We obviously have some bias here, but this is one place where hiring marketing automation consultants or an outsourced sales and marketing team can be greatly beneficial. The additional high-quality leads that are generated will make the conflict essentially meaningless. The ability to add a small bit or a large chunk of functionality via a button click is truly a disruptive advance in business computing. And once enough content is available, managing it across multiple social media platforms becomes a headache.
By leveraging external resources, you can streamline your implementation process and quickly get up to speed on best practices as well as what to avoid. Content Management Systems (CMSs) for social media exist, but the need for them will come to the forefront.

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