How to Use B2B Marketing Automation More Effectively
When used the right way, marketing automation can help to make the work of B2B marketing teams more efficient. However, it also requires an understanding of how the use of automation will impact the customer experience.
On this week’s episode, we talk to marketing expert Esteban Sánchez Botero (Senior Marketing Strategist, Céntrico Digital) about the importance of developing a strategy for marketing automation, what mistakes to avoid, and some of his recommended tools. He also provides some actionable steps that B2B marketers can take to improve their marketing automation.
Topics discussed in this episode:
Christian Klepp, Esteban Sanchez Botero
Christian Klepp 00:00
Welcome to B2B Marketers on a Mission, a podcast for B2B marketers that helps you to question the conventional, think differently, disrupt your industry, and take your marketing to new heights. Each week, we talk to B2B marketing experts who share inspirational stories, discussed our thoughts and trending topics, and provide useful marketing tips and recommendations. And now, here’s your host and co-founder of EINBLICK Consulting, Christian Klepp. Okay, welcome everyone to this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast where you get your weekly dose of B2B marketing insights. So this is your host, Christian Klepp. And today, I am joined by someone who is on a mission to help B2B companies to plan, strategize and implement marketing automation effectively. So coming to us from Quito in the beautiful country of Ecuador, is Señor Esteban Sanchez Botero. Buenas tardes y bienvenidos, welcome to the show.
Esteban Sanchez Botero 00:55
Thank you, Christian, muchas gracias, and welcome for this invitation.
Christian Klepp 00:59
All right. First of all, thank you for having me on your podcast, Let’s Get SaaSy. I really love that name. And I love the artwork even more. (laugh) So I’m really looking forward to this conversation, Estaban, because this is on such a relevant topic, or I should say a topic that is so relevant to B2B marketers. And that’s around the topic of marketing automation. Right? So you’re the senior marketing strategist at Centrico Digital. And one of these areas of expertise that I think our audience can benefit from is rather the topic of marketing automation, for B2B. So why do you think there’s so many heated discussions everywhere you look right? So whether it’s LinkedIn, or Facebook, and so forth, why do you think there’s so many discussions around marketing automation, and also please if you can cite an example where you think marketing automation is useful, and another one where it is harmful.
Esteban Sanchez Botero 01:57
Okay, okay, those are great questions. Christian, I would say, marketing automation is just, it’s just a tool, it’s just out there, it’s just like a hammer, let’s put it that way. And the way in which you use the hammer, obviously, is going to affect the end results, right. So you can use a hammer in a good way. Or you could be terrible at using a hammer. And with marketing automation, the same thing applies. So you just have these wonderful tools and software that you can use for marketing automation. So you have for example, HubSpot, Marketo, Salesforce, MailChimp, a lot of tools out there. But if you don’t know how to use them, then you’re going to be, you’re going to be definitely in big trouble. And they’re going to be more of a problem than a solution. So the way I think the discussion there is not just about marketing automation, per se. But it’s more about the way in which it’s being used, because marketing automation, from my point of view is great. And I’m going to tell you in, in a little bit an example of how marketing automation can really enrich a B2B strategy. But if you don’t, I’m not gonna say follow. But if you don’t establish yourself best practices to implement it, then it can definitely backfire. So I think the big debate there is that there has there have been a lot of companies that have had terrible experiences with marketing automation. And that’s why people tend to say, okay, marketing automation is definitely not for me, it’s not a good solution. I think it’s a waste of time, I prefer to put myself, agents or my marketing team to communicate directly or to send emails directly, for example, instead of automating things, but more than talking about automation, per se, they’re talking about the way in which they manage processes.
So to give you an example, something you could… something magical that you can do with marketing automation is send, for example, sales reminders to your SDRs or to your representatives. So for example, each time a lead visits your website or interacts with an email, you can notify your sales agents, and we do these with a lot of clients. So they know when they’re pinged. And they get an alert of what’s going on with that lead, so they can do a follow up. And this could go really well or this could go really wrong. So we’ve seen cases just to answer the second part of your question, where salespeople know what kind of notifications they’re going to get, for example, from their CRM, and they say, Okay, I need to respond in X or Y way, or I’m going to send this automated sales email because I know that this lead is highly interested in my product, or service. So that’s a particular example of how marketing automation works really well. When people know what’s going on. And I think this is a very important point to stay in. So your team needs to know what’s going on, what’s going to happen, for example, after somebody opens this email, so if I’m a sales rep, then if I know that I’m going to get a notification and that I have some actions required, then that’s going to be easier for me because I know what to do and what’s happening. And the other end of the spectrum when marketing automation is harmful is when people or the team doesn’t know what’s going on. So the sales rep ends up with a bunch of unread emails from HubSpot or Salesforce, notifying things but he doesn’t even know what’s going on. So I would say something really important when you use marketing automation, or when you start with marketing automation is you need to know how to use the hammer, right? And how to use it right.
Christian Klepp 05:34
Well, that’s absolutely right. And those are really some great examples there. I would almost say to, you know, to your last point, it’s almost like, sometimes where marketing automation goes wrong is because people are trying to look for a shortcut. And automation is supposed to provide that type of shortcut. But if you’re trying to look for a shortcut of the shortcut, right, and it’s going back to something that you said, like if there’s lack of communication, there’s no, there’s also no management of expectations. Right? And you brought it up just now, if this, the sales team doesn’t know what’s going to happen, right? If, if they receive this notification if they receive this email, if there’s no clear, or there’s no transparency in that process of that system.
Esteban Sanchez Botero 06:21
Exactly, exactly. So when you implement marketing automation, I think information is key. And I think everybody needs to know or at least have a grasp of what’s going on. So if we just launched a new email campaign for a promotion, then maybe your service team wants to know, what happens if somebody actually clicks the Service Request button on that campaign, for example. So if, if everything is connected, and people know what’s going on, the process is going to be way much, much easier.
Christian Klepp 06:53
Yeah, that’s absolutely right. And, you know, I’m glad you’re talking about this, because this is a nice segue into the next question, which is about like, common mistakes, and misconceptions. And you mentioned some of them. But what are some of the other mistakes and misconceptions you’ve seen out there when it comes to marketing automation for B2B?
Esteban Sanchez Botero 07:12
Okay, that’s a good one. Because there’s, there’s a lot of things that can go wrong with marketing automation. Marketing automation is great, by the way, and if you use it correctly, it’s a it’s a great tool or a great way to reach your audience. But there are a couple of pain points or things that you should keep in mind before implementing marketing automation. And during the whole process, because one of the biggest mistakes, for example, is that people tend to think that they just launched a journey, or the launch a flow, and they just let it run, they just say, okay, there are my emails, that this is my customer list, I’m just going to send this email to these customers, and I’m not going to do anything else. But then they forget a very important part of the process. And that is pretty much optimizing the campaigns and analyzing results. And that’s something that software might not do for you as good as you think it could. Because there should be somebody always behind the screen, analyzing what’s going on. So if I just launch a flow of emails, then perhaps I just want to wait one week, see what’s going on, optimize my campaigns. See, for example, that email one, email one didn’t get any open rates at all, or that these SMS that I just sent, didn’t have a good response rate. Nobody clicked on the SMS. Nobody’s clicking on my ad campaigns that I just launched from marketing cloud or from HubSpot. So one of the biggest mistakes would be that just to launch something to sit back and do nothing, and thinking that the software is going to actually optimize things itself. Because to some extent, it can it can happen, for example, you can do A|B testing with marketing automation. And then the software is going to tell you what’s the best subject line or what’s the best copy for an SMS message, and it’s going to send that to the rest of your audience. That’s possible. But then when you have more complex workflows, and where you’re, when you’re talking about the customers journey, you and your team need to go into the software, see what’s working, see where you’re losing most of your customers on the flow, and take decisions. So I will say that that’s a very big mistake, not optimizing what you’ve already launched.
Another really interesting mistake would be to automate only external processes, and leave all of the internal process to be made manually. And what do I mean by this? Some companies and some people tend to think that marketing automation is just about sending SMS sending emails, ad campaigns, and that’s it. But then they forget what happens after your customers interact with those campaigns, like who should be notified? When should I create a task for one of my company members when something happen? So you, you probably would benefit more if you use automation, also for your internal processes. And if the people in your company can also, I don’t know, follow up on email campaigns where people clicked, where people interacted, and they can respond to that. So one big mistake would be just to use marketing automation tool as an external way of reaching your customers, and not taking advantage of what you can do internally as well to notify your team of what’s happening, when new deals have been created. And who should do what internally. So that’s, that’s another big one.
And to give you a third example, I would say, with these, these mistakes can go either way. So one could be analysis paralysis. So you have some teams, that they just spend so much time on planning. And then you see them brainstorming, and they say who the journey should go like this or like that, or we should do X or Y. And they stay there the whole time. And they never implement anything. So that’s a huge, huge mistake, because you should do planning. But then at some point, you have to launch something. And then for that, my tip would be to start small. If you have already brainstormed a particular workflow that you think could satisfy your customer journey and could take your customers to the desired action, then launch the workflow and optimize later but don’t stay in the planning stages the whole time, because that’s, that’s not useful. And then the other side of the spectrum as well is people that just launch, launch, launch, and then they don’t sit down to think, to brainstorm, to optimize their journeys before doing stuff. So either because you’re not doing anything, or because you’re doing a lot too fast, you might be making mistakes there. So you want to be on a sweet spot where you sit down with your team, you do a little bit of planning, you brainstorm you gather around your service, sales and marketing representatives and say, okay, what how’s our customer journey? How much time do we take to close a lead? And what how many touch points do we need to close a lead, and then you start mapping out, but then you implement something, and then as you go, you try to make it better. But you don’t want to stay either on the doing nothing side, or on the doing too much, but not knowing what’s going on side as well.
Christian Klepp 12:19
Yeah, those are some really, really great points. And I’m sure you’ve experienced all of these at some stage, right? When you’re especially when you’re working with clients and what have you. It brings to mind something, an ex-boss of mine from many, many years ago, used to say, you know, to everybody in the marketing department, he said before, before you do anything, it’s think, think, think and then do. Not doo doo doo doo. Oh, and then think.
Esteban Sanchez Botero 12:50
Christian Klepp 12:51
It’s… and you touched on something, which we’re definitely going to talk about later on, which is, um, planning and strategy, but also how, like what you said, implementation is just as important. Right. Okay. On to the next question, which is about like, you know, tell us about a challenge that you and the team have managed to solve in the past 12 months?
Esteban Sanchez Botero 13:15
Wow. Okay. There have been a few challenges.
Christian Klepp 13:19
Esteban Sanchez Botero 13:21
Christian Klepp 13:22
Esteban Sanchez Botero 13:23
Just to let you know, marketing automation has a couple of technical challenges. For example, how do you get two different tools to talk together? So we’ve had clients that say, Hey, I need to integrate Salesforce with our own data lake platform, and we need to generate, I don’t know, custom API codes to make the two talk together. And that could be a technical challenge, but just not to get into technicality, because marketing automation is not always about technically. There’s just great software that it’s really easy to use, for examples, HubSpot, Marketo, where you don’t have to get into technical issues. But talking about more strategic issues. For example, one of the biggest challenges or some of the biggest challenges we’ve solved for clients is actually how to organize their material. And this might seem obvious, but sometimes what happens with marketing automation tools, is that a lot of companies when they purchase HubSpot, Salesforce, I don’t know Microsoft Dynamics, whatever CRM they’re using, they just tend to pop things in there without thinking how they’re going to organize their stuff and how they’re going to manage their folders. Just so they know what’s where and how to use their tool more effectively. So something we’ve struggled with a lot and this has been a challenge that we obviously like to address because we want to keep things in order to… for clients. But something that we’ve done is we sit down with the client, and we say, guys, we need to think of a strategy on how to organize all of our assets even if we’re going to use like, dates naming convention or naming convention by campaign by type of assets, however we want to do it, and this is where we see them brainstorm with the client a lot, just to make sure we have our assets organized, because when you have your asset, once you have your assets organized and you know where to find your your material, it’s going to be way easier to launch all of your campaigns to even recall or view metrics on some of the campaigns that you’ve already launched. Because we see a lot of clients that for example, say like, I want to see the results of this particular campaign that we launched on March 2020. But then this is completely lost in your folders. We don’t we don’t recall how we named the campaign, so we cannot find it in the CRM. And then I was like, that’s where we have to start giving them some consulting on how to organize things. So they know how the CRM is built. So that’s definitely a strategic challenge. Obviously, marketing automation has some other challenges as well. For example, if we talk about, let’s say, chatbots, then the challenge of chatbots that we face a lot on, that we work a lot with is how to make a chatbot seem as human as possible. But keep that automation part of the Chatbot in place. So that’s always a hard challenge that we tackle with our clients, and it’s making automation look human, I would say that’s, that’s something that we’ve accomplished as well. Really well, I hope.
Christian Klepp 16:35
Yeah, and those are some really great examples. And it’s interesting, you know, like, back to your point, it seems like such a simple thing, you know, like to organize your assets into respective folders, but it’s amazing how many people don’t do it. And in the beginning, and a lot of people fall into this trap in the beginning, they’ll say, Ah, there’s not too much going on. We’ll do it later. Right. So there’s this procrastination stage. And then that’s okay, if you have one or two campaigns, but then when you start running 20 campaigns over one to two years, then it gets complicated, right. Especially if they want to go back and review what you know, like you said, the performance of a campaign they ran like last year. And to the second point, I guess that’s the fine line, right? Like, trying to humanize that technology, especially with chatbots. I think that was a perfect example, like, you know, not to make it sound too templated. But, you know, you don’t have these like common responses, like, okay, what can I do for you today? Right? Like, where it’s very obvious that it’s technology, right? It’s AI talking.
Esteban Sanchez Botero 17:40
Exactly, exactly. And yet, you have a very fair point when it comes to like organizing your materials. Because some companies, I know, it’s very tempting just to say, like, oh, we’re starting small, we’re just gonna put everything out there, whatever, then we’ll fix it. But there’s software, for example, such as marketing cloud from Salesforce, where if you don’t think strategically from the beginning, you could be making a big mistake. And why? Marketing cloud, for example, it has a unique identifier that is called subscriber key. And you can and you might be very well tempted to link the customer’s email address as a subscriber key. So my identifier in marketing cloud would be the subscriber key. But what happens when you expand to other channels, so when you start using advertising studio in marketing cloud, or the mobile SMS functionality of marketing clouds, then that’s not going to be sustainable, because you cannot use that email address as a subscriber key in all cases, and you’re going to end up getting a lot of duplicate contacts. So it’s tempting just to say, as a starting point, like I’m just going to be sending emails, let’s use the email addresses as subscriber key, but then if you don’t see the bigger picture, you might be in trouble in a couple of months.
Christian Klepp 18:54
Yeah, no, exactly. Exactly.
Hey, it’s Christian Klepp here. We’ll get back to the episode in a second. But first, is your brand struggling to cut through the noise? Are you trying to find more effective ways to reach your target audience and boost sales? Are you trying to pivot your business? If so, book a call with EINBLICK Consulting, our experienced consultants will work with you to help your B2B business to succeed and scale. Go to www.einblick.co for more information.
So um, you know, Esteban, we can’t really talk about marketing automation, and not talk about the tools. So let’s go and unpack your toolbox and talk to us about some of your go-to marketing automation tools or software.
Esteban Sanchez Botero 19:40
Wow, that’s a big question. Yeah.
Christian Klepp 19:43
I know. (laugh)
Esteban Sanchez Botero 19:46
Well, for starters, we love to use a lot of marketing automation tools. So for example, we’re HubSpot partners. We’re Salesforce partners as well because there are great CRMs and great marketing software. So I would say choosing a tool such as HubSpot, Soho, CRM, even Marketo, or Active Campaign for your particular marketing campaigns. It’s always good. So keep those names in mind. And then the good thing about those tools is that you have different pricing categories. So obviously Salesforce, it’s a great tool, some people it’s complex. But once you get the hold of it, it’s a really, really useful software. And it’s pretty much a 360 company management software hosted in the cloud or well in Salesforce servers somewhere. But then if you want cheaper alternatives, you can always turn into HubSpot, you can always use Zoho CRM, software such as Marketo for your marketing campaigns or even MailChimp. So I would say those should be in your toolbox, definitely. Another one, or let’s say to two more companies that I would like to highlight there is… so you have Zapier and Integromat. And what those tools do is that they allow you to do API integrations without the complex hassle of doing an actual API integration. So you could connect two apps together. For example, HubSpot, and even HubSpot on a spreadsheet, you can update things in a spreadsheet from HubSpot, and vice versa. You can connect different types of apps and things HubSpot and Zoom. You can connect several things with a simple flow or layout that it’s going to allow you to do an API integration with no coding. So I would definitely say, definitely recommend to check out Zapier and Integromat which are great tools to avoid, or to kind of simplify API integrations. That’s always great. And then I would say, it’s always a good idea to check on chatbot tools, because you know, chatbots are out there. They’re kind of the new boom in marketing automation, as well. So you have tools such as Drift, even HubSpot has has a chatbot itself, that are very useful, very user friendly, where you can build a chat, really, really simply, and you can implement that chat in your website straight away. So definitely, that would be kind of my my basic toolbox.
Christian Klepp 22:22
Well, that’s already a pretty good list. And I think you brought up a point that I felt was really important, because if we’re going to be very honest, not everybody has the same technical skill set that you do, right? There’s probably like smaller marketing teams out there, or marketing team of one. So it’s really important also to be able to implement or use these automation platforms without requiring knowledge of like, you pointed out coding, for example. Right? So it’s something that is also something that will integrate seamlessly with whatever platforms that companies are currently using.
Esteban Sanchez Botero 23:00
Exactly, exactly. And then, you know, then you talk about technicalities. Yeah, no, I don’t want to scare people here, you don’t need to be too technical to get into marketing automation. Because fortunately, fortunately, there, there are a lot of tools, for example, such as Zapier, where you don’t need to be a technical expert to link two platforms together. Or even, you have Marketo or MailChimp, where it’s really simple to launch your campaigns without knowing to code or without even knowing how to use this software perfectly. Because let’s be honest, nobody’s going to read the whole User’s Manual of Salesforce marketing cloud, that would be crazy. It’s very long. And I don’t think even a Salesforce developer do that. But there are a lot of resources there as well, that you can keep in mind. So for example, for me, YouTube is also a great tool, because all of the marketing automation problems that you can imagine, probably somebody else already had them. So if you go into Youtube…
Christian Klepp 24:00
Esteban Sanchez Botero 24:01
Yeah, a Google search, I think it will fix most of your of your technical issues that you’re having with your marketing automation software.
Christian Klepp 24:09
Okay, fantastic. Fantastic. You touched on it a little bit earlier, but I just wanted to come back to it again. So talk to us about the importance of having a strategy when it comes to marketing automation. So basically, to the point you brought up earlier in the conversation, instead of jumping right in and using all these tools and implementing everything right away. Why is it important to have a strategy?
Esteban Sanchez Botero 24:32
Yeah, I think you have to, you have to start to have a strategy always, not only in marketing automation, but even for your for your marketing efforts. If you’re going to PPC advertising as well, you should kind of have a roadmap of where you’re going. Because if you don’t, then first you don’t… you’re not going to be knowing what you’re doing for starters. Second, you don’t know how to measure your results because you didn’t probably establish some KPIs or some or any type of indicator that lets you know, where are you at and where are you going. So that those are very important points about having a strategy because you need to know where you’re at as a starting point, and where are you going in order to be able to progress and to actually achieve something. So if you just start… I don’t know you just implement a chatbot. But you never check on the metrics of that chatbot. If you don’t know, what kind of responses are, or what kind of outcome are you trying to get from that chatbot, then you’re just going to have it there. And yet, it’s going to be a nice to have. But it’s not bringing any value to the company. And we’ve seen some companies that actually do that. Like they say, we’re running this campaign. We’re doing Google ads, but we don’t know why or we don’t know how, but they’re just there. Because everybody tells us that we should be running Google ads. And that’s it. But then, another different story would be to say, Okay, we’re running Google ads, because we know that targeting these keywords, and then putting people into an automated flow on Salesforce has generated a 10% increase in revenue. And then if you know that you can for the next year, perhaps say, Okay, how do we increase that number a little bit more, and you can start monitoring your growing process. So as everything in life, I guess, if you don’t have a particular strategy, you might run the risk of just fishing in open water, but without a way of knowing what you’re going to catch or what you’re going to actually get. And that’s a point where you probably want to be I don’t know, in your personal life, sometimes it’s good just to go out there, experiment and just throw yourself into the action and see what happens. But when you’re running a business, things change a lot, because you want, you obviously want to innovate, you want to take your business farther, but you want to make sure that you’re getting results, right. So it’s not just a matter of let’s implement this chatbot and see what happens. But you need to know what impact is that going to have in your business strategy.
So I would say, having a strategy beforehand, is going to save you a lot of time, a lot of money as well, because obviously, marketing automation costs money, we’re not going to say something for free, you have to pay for tools, you have to pay for a partner agency that it’s helping you implement those tools. Or even if you have a full time employee working on marketing automation, then you want to have those people kind of accountable for what’s going on. And it’s not it’s not a matter of blaming somebody, no, because marketing automation, it’s a lot about testing as well. And things can go right or wrong. But you are at least need to know what are you testing? Why are you testing what do you test? And what expected results? Are you are you looking forward to having? Another very important point of having a strategy is that it allows you to know where to look for your potential customers, for example. So we have seen a lot of clients that say, Okay, we’re going to implement a really strong email marketing strategy. And then you realize that all of their clients pretty much they don’t open their emails, they interact more with SMS communications. Or they like to see more Facebook ads retargeting campaigns launched from the marketing automation software directly into Facebook ads. So if you don’t have a strategy and a plan where you know your customers, and you know what they like, then you might be as well losing a lot of time sending emails when your desired audience prefers SMS, for example. So that’s why it’s very useful to plan because otherwise, you’re just going to blindly go out there, you’re going to try a lot of tools, you’re going to spend a lot of money. And you’re not going to know what you’re doing. And when when I say strategy, I also refer to the marketing automation software that you’re going to use. This is very important, because before you purchase a marketing automation software, it is always good to know like, what are you trying to achieve? Like, do I need a very robust email marketing software platform? Or do I need something that allows me to reach my customer better via SMS or even via push notifications with my app, so if you know that if you know those points of connections beforehand, and if you know your strategy, then you’re going to buy a better marketing automation software. Because we’ve seen cases of clients that they just buy, they say, like, oh, they told us that Salesforce is the new big thing. And then they just buy that software, and they realize that maybe they would have been better off with HubSpot. But that’s because they didn’t think of strategy before paying a lot of money for a software. So I would say strategy starts from the moment that point zero, where you’re going to buy your marketing automation tools, and it continues so you can never stop doing strategy. It continues up to the point where you optimize your journeys day by day.
Christian Klepp 30:09
That was some pretty solid advice I have to say. And please continue to keep that level of energy and momentum because you’re going to need it for the next question. (laugh) On this point, because you know, you talked about a lot of like, you know, that they were all relevant to people that are using marketing automation or planning to use marketing automation, you know about strategy, planning, measuring results and iterating accordingly as they move along in the journey. Now, what’s the advice that you would give people out there when it comes to like steps that they can take right now to improve their B2B marketing automation?
Esteban Sanchez Botero 30:53
Okay, I would take step one, audit what you already have. So take the time to think retrospectively, see what you’ve done so far. Try to find the weak links on what you’re doing. And try to identify what’s working and what’s not working in your current strategy. So this is something that we love to do a lot with new clients and is a… before we start helping you with HubSpot, managing your workflows, your emails, etc. Let’s audit what you already have what you’ve already done, to see where we can fix a couple of things. Because sometimes you get like really interesting surprises, for example, you have broken links in your in your communications, your push notifications are not rendering properly. Your emails are not rendering properly in Outlook, for example, or your users, all of your users have super admin permissions in your tool, when they should have maybe specialized permissions, so they don’t see and they don’t get overwhelmed with a lot of things and tabs that they shouldn’t be seeing.
So I would say you have to audit what you’re doing so far. And once you start from there, you can at least improve and build from what you’ve done. That would be step one. I would say, step two, is try to talk to your customers as well. This is a good one. And this is something that not a lot of agencies do. And it’s… if you have a couple of good customers that you can talk to reach out to them and perhaps do a couple of focus groups and say, Hey, we’ve sent you a couple of emails, what type of communications have you liked so far, obviously, do not try to bias your, your research or anything, but try to find some insights on what your audience like and what your potential customers might like. And this is really useful for B2B. Because, as we know, B2B sometimes has the problem, that it’s a very niche market. And sometimes you for example, don’t know the… I don’t know the particular keywords that somebody might be aiming for in a chatbot when they’re looking for help. Or sometimes you don’t know, the kind of technicalities that they want to know about your your business or service. So if you talk to your actual customers and plan from there, that’s a good kickstart, or a good point to know your customers and to know your customers in terms of automation. So what do they like? How do they like to be contacted? What channels do they prefer, and you can do these by talking to them. And by also analyzing the emails that you use that you sent, for example, or the notifications. So if you see that every Monday that you send a newsletter, people are not opening anything, but then if you send that same email on Wednesday, people are responding better, then keep that in mind. And there will be a third advice, it’s very important, keep track of all your learnings and processes. Because something we see a lot is that a lot of companies start implementing automation, and they learn a lot of things, but they don’t document the process. So they forgot all of what they learned in the in the past campaign. So you probably want to make sure to document everything and to know what worked and what didn’t. So if you did an A|B test, make sure that you know where the results of that A|B test are, and how to view them quickly. Perhaps it could be in a dashboard in your CRM, or it could be on the email campaign that you just launched. So you just need to know where to look for those results, to make sure that you can use those learnings for the future. So that would be another advice.
Definitely, you have to read and make sure you stay up to date with new trends. And not just because… you don’t have to be in a platform just because it’s cool. Like we were facing the issue with TicTok that a lot of companies are saying like, Hey, I think everybody’s on TicTok, even B2B companies are starting with TicTok now we should start doing TicTok. But then we ask them like, okay, but what’s the reason behind it? What are we going to do with TicTok because we can be there and we could start posting funny videos of cats running through the office and that’s it, but there should be something else behind it. Like are we going to show the human part of the company why are you using TicTok for, so you should try to be aware always of the trends and keep on reading and in terms of automation, but then you should be critical about them. So if you read that, for example, I don’t know, hyper segmented ABM campaigns or Account Based Marketing. It’s super booming right now, and that it’s working really well for other companies, then you need to kind of internalize a trend into your own company and try to figure out how that strategy is going to fit your company. Or maybe you can determine that it’s not a good fit for you. So you have to, I would say, stay up to date with automation trends, but think critically. And I think that you don’t have to implement everything that it’s out there. I mean, not because everybody has chatbot, you have to have it or not, because everybody’s sending push notifications through their new app, you have to do the same. But you always have to be critical about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
Christian Klepp 36:23
Yeah, no, that’s some pretty sound advice. And you know, a lot of that I think it also resonates with me, I mean, like, you know, all the steps that you had mentioned about like auditing the current, let’s call it the current inventory. Right, so what the companies currently have in terms of software and tools, and then the other one, which I thought was such an important point, because not a lot of companies are doing this regularly enough, I’m gonna say, talking to the customers, getting that market validation, because sometimes, because it’s very dangerous to like launch something based on an assumption. And then once it’s out there in the market, and you’ve probably seen that, like the results are not very positive. And then it can become a very costly exercise.
Esteban Sanchez Botero 37:05
Exactly, exactly. And there’s nothing wrong with testing. But it’s always good to test with a with some grounds, like with some knowledge of what’s going on, and that’s going to optimize your time and your budget for sure.
Christian Klepp 37:17
Yeah, yeah, no, exactly, exactly. So I’d like to get your thoughts on this next one. So there was an article that was written by a platform called factoreal.com or factoreal.com if you’re in Latin America, so some of the booming marketing automation trends of 2021. And I’d like your opinion on this being the expert in the field. So four points. One is personalization and data privacy joining forces, right. Number two, and you touched on this earlier, human-like automation that’s going to replace humans. So just thinking about chatbots, for example. Point number three, marketing efficiency at scale. So helping your business to effectively craft campaigns that will appeal to different buyer personas in a more time efficient way. And then the rise of predictive marketing, which I think is a really good one. Alright, so it’s automating your analysis of customer data, keeping the customers engaged with the content and creating a more relevant user experience, which we’re all trying to strive for. So what are your thoughts on the above? Anything you’d like to add?
Esteban Sanchez Botero 38:30
Okay, those are interesting trends. I would say for the first one, personalization and data privacy join forces, I would say definitely, that’s happening. And we’ve seen that boom of GDPR compliance, cookie tracking thing going on in Europe, in the States everywhere. So I would say, if you tend to respect those compliance issues, and you try to, make sure that your customers, for example, they actually opt in for your communications, if you follow those protocols, I think the customers are valuing that a lot, especially because now a lot of companies, big companies are implementing those policies. So Facebook is saying like, I’m not going to let you target everything like free for all in Facebook ads, as we did before, or optimize your conversions as we did before. But there’s going to be some compliance there, probably triggered by Apple as well. But since those big, big companies are, are setting a trend in terms of data privacy, I would say that staying in line with data privacy is going to help you a lot. So for the first one, I would say definitely you have to gain the trust of your customers now that the issue of trusts is everybody’s talking about it, and everybody’s looking forward to be respected and trusted. That’s something you need to keep in mind.
Trend number two, I would say that there’s a thin line there between human and bot interaction. And there’s still things that are unresolved. I don’t know if this has happened to you, but it has happened to me several times that I get into help chatbot and a website and then I just get into these weird loops where they say like what are you looking for? Help service etc, etc. And then you just click and click in through the options into the options, but you never find what you’re actually looking for. And then you say like I would love to speak to a real human being, even if it’s through chat or something, but somebody that can, I don’t know, point me towards the right direction. So I would say there’s a lot of things to explore there. And I think things are getting better and better now that, for example, you have voice search with Google, there’s a lot of technology. And there’s a lot of things you can do with chatbots. You, for example, can input into your chatbot, a lot of trigger words, that could be for example, help support, etc. And then the Chatbot knows what to reply to those, but still not the same thing as the as the human touch. And something that I have to point out here is that, for some B2B businesses, even if we’re talking about business to business, the people factor always remains to be the most important thing. So even though we’re talking about a B2B business that could be automated, or whatever, the person that is going to actually buy your product or service, because somebody or a board of people are going to make that decision, would probably like to talk to a real person before making that decision. So even if you are, I don’t know, a company looking forward to purchase a new app service or something like that, you want to I don’t know, perhaps talk to the CEO, or to the sales representative of that app, to make sure that you’re buying the right thing, because sometimes you follow these chatbots or the software that takes you to the pricing page. And then you say like, I want to make sure that I’m buying the right thing. So talking to a person, I think that doesn’t have a 100% replacement yet, I think bots can help. But I would say the best alternative would be to go into a sort of hybrid environment, where you always give the give the option to the customer. And you always say like, hey, do you want to talk to somebody like to a sales rep, sure, click here, and then you will be contacted by a sales agent or something, I wouldn’t leave still all of my money on bots, because people still needs like, person to person interaction. And I am sure that person to person interaction is key to close a lot of B2B businesses. So I would go into a hybrid mix of both things. So that would be B, I think B It’s a bit controversial there.
Trend C, the third one that you mentioned, marketing efficiency at scale. I would say that that’s definitely happening. For example, you have tools such as marketing cloud, where you can send massive emails to millions of prospects, because you can import millions of records into marketing cloud, but then you can personalize each of them with particular things. So the simplest one would be the first name of the person. But then you can add some more stuff like if they already mentioned what their preferred product is, then you can put a picture on your push notification, for example, with their preferred product. And then you can send in one single message, you can send millions or 1000s of messages with different personalization, tags, and different content that will be more appealing to your customers. So that definitely, that’s definitely happening. And I think that connects really well with the other trend, which is trendy, predictive marketing. I would say we’re definitely in a boom of predictive marketing as well. You have tools, for example, such as Einstein, from Salesforce that allow you to sort of predict when’s your audience going to interact with your content. What content would be best suitable for X or Y target niche. But the issue that I see with predictive marketing is that it’s still for me, I guess, a very technical thing, something that it’s up there, like you just put the Einstein thing into the automation tool, and that’s going to do the job for you. But then, some companies and some clients have told us this is that they don’t know what’s going on. So they, they just perhaps think that they can trust the Einstein engagement tool. But there’s still a little bit more explanation to be done there. In terms of how does it work? Why is Einstein suggesting these instead of these are the things? How to analyze the metrics that are being thrown by Einstein or by any other AI or business intelligence tool, that that throws these suggestions? So I would say the predictive marketing is something that it’s going to happen definitely. But I don’t know if we’re ready to understand its full potential yet. But it’s definitely that’s something that it’s going to be growing more and more.
Christian Klepp 44:59
Yeah, no, absolutely. And thanks for sharing those insights. I mean, at least for point number two, I can definitely attest to that because a lot of companies across different industries here in Canada, they’re trying to automate that process with the customer in the interaction, but almost to the point where it becomes completely frustrating because the last thing that you will encounter on some of these platforms is an actual human being Right. So they’re using a lot of AI. And they’re sending you to a page because they want you to do all these transactions online. But it’s going back to your point, there are certain aspects of those particular journeys that require not just the human touch, but they do actually require interaction with a real person.
Esteban Sanchez Botero 45:49
Christian Klepp 45:50
Esteban Sanchez Botero 45:51
And as I was saying, I think you should use both. Like automation is great, but then you should know at some point, when should a sales agent, for example, jump in.
Christian Klepp 46:00
Yeah, yeah, no, that’s absolutely right. That’s absolutely right. Yeah, no, just that’s where, you know, this is this has been a really great conversation. And just, you know, in wrapping it up, I’d like to ask you a question that’s a little bit twofold. Right. So one is a status quo that you passionately disagree with, when it comes to marketing, automation? And why? And then the other question is one thing you would advise people to start and stop when it comes to marketing automation?
Esteban Sanchez Botero 46:30
Great. So I’ll answer those really quickly. I would say the most commonly held belief that I am definitely not… I don’t agree with is that marketing automation for B2B is just that company to company. Because in the end, what you’re reaching is somebody’s inbox. No, it’s you reaching a person. And people tend to think like, Oh, we’re doing B2B marketing, we have to be like more formal, more serious. And sometimes, sometimes that doesn’t work. So people tend to forget that B2B. In the end, it has a C in the end; it has a customer, it has a person that these companies communication is going to reach. So that’s something I definitely don’t agree that that line between B2B and B2C automation, because there’s always people involved in the end. And then I would say something that companies should start. They should start definitely monitoring and auditing what they’re doing so far. So as we talked before, you should keep track of your results, just knowing what’s working and what’s not working. And what should they stop doing, its perhaps trying to just because they’re following a trend to get in every channel or every tool out there. So as we were saying, just because everybody’s on TikTok, it doesn’t mean that I have to be there. So you have to stay up to date with the trends, but you have to be critical about it as well.
Christian Klepp 47:50
Fantastic fantastic. And Esteban, thank you so much again, you know, for your time and for sharing your experience and expertise with the listeners. So please do us the honor of introducing yourself and letting people out there know how they can get in touch with you.
Esteban Sanchez Botero 48:05
Sure. Well, for starters, thank you very much for the invitation, Christian. I’m Esteban Sanchez, senior strategist at Centrico Digital. And you can always reach me at Esteban.Sanchez@centricodigital.com. Or you can visit our website as well centricodigital.com. And I’ll be more than happy to talk about marketing automation, B2B strategy, PPC and marketing in general, because that’s the topic that we’re most passionate about. So yeah, looking forward to keeping those marketing automation conversations going.
Christian Klepp 48:39
Perfect. If you don’t already know this, check out their podcast, which is called Let’s get SaaSy. Yeah, great. Thanks again. Thank you so much again for your time. So please take care. Be safe and I’ll talk to you soon.
Esteban Sanchez Botero 48:53
Thank you, Christian. Talk to you soon.
Christian Klepp 48:54
Bye for now.
Thank you for joining us on this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast. To learn more about what we do here at EINBLICK, please visit our website at www.einblick.co and be sure to subscribe to the show on iTunes or your favorite podcast player.
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