B2B Marketing Automation: Basics & Applications in Practice

We'll explain to you what B2B Marketing Automations are and how you can apply them.

Table of contents
  1. What is B2B Marketing Automation?
  2. What does B2B Marketing Automation include?
  3. Benefits of Marketing Automation in B2B
  4. Marketing Automation in B2B: 3 Use Cases
  5. These Marketing Automation Tools can Support B2B Companies
  6. Conclusion

The use of marketing automation software is indispensable in B2B marketing. But what is actually behind this term and what does marketing automation look like in the practice of B2B companies? Our guest author Isabella Seggert explains this in the following article.

What is B2B Marketing Automation?

B2B marketing automation describes the digitization and automation of various tasks and processes in marketing departments of B2B companies. Marketing automation is implemented using appropriate software and supports marketing and sales departments in generating leads more efficiently, automatically addressing these with personalized content and ultimately converting them into customers.

What does B2B Marketing Automation include?

B2B marketing automation consists of various marketing measures aimed at making the entire sales process, from initial contact to contract conclusion to after-sales customer care, more efficient.

Typical fields of application of marketing automation in B2B

Marketing Automation in Account-based Marketing

Account-based marketing describes the use of individual marketing measures for specific companies or target accounts. Instead of focusing on broad target groups, account-based marketing targets only a small number of specific companies and uses marketing automation to create targeted and personalized content for these accounts and manage them. Examples of this are the automated sending of personalized emails and the Lead Scoring Tools. The aim of marketing automation in account-based marketing is to build or optimize relations with important target accounts and thus increase the chances of success in the B2B sales process.

Marketing Automation in Inbound Marketing

The combination of marketing automation and inbound marketing allows the process of lead acquisition to be optimized. By recording the activities of leads, targeted sending of emails, and automating tasks, the lead acquisition process is made more efficient. By providing target group-relevant content on various channels, not only are potential customers directed to your own website and leads generated, but the expert status is also strengthened.

Marketing Automation in the Customer Journey

Customer Journey Marketing Automation refers to the use of automated processes to control and optimize the interactions and experiences of potential customers and customers over various phases. From the first awareness phase through the consideration and purchase phases to retention and advocacy, automated marketing measures are used to send relevant and personalized content, emails, and offers. Examples of marketing automation measures in the B2B customer journey are automated email delivery, the tracking of social media engagement, or personalized content on landing pages.

By specifically addressing and providing relevant content at the right touchpoints of the customer journey, companies can interact more effectively with potential customers and customers and build long-term relationships. Marketing automation in the customer journey thus enables more targeted marketing campaigns that adapt to the individual stages of the customer journey.

Marketing Automation in Lead Management

Especially in the area of lead generation and lead nurturing, marketing automation can significantly increase efficiency in B2B companies. By using appropriate software, all marketing-relevant interactions between individuals and one's own company are recorded. These can be website visits, clicks on CTA buttons in newsletters or on landing pages, event registrations, or whitepaper downloads, for example.

For lead generation, forms from the marketing automation software are used in addition to placing ads on external platforms. These forms are integrated into your own website. If potential customers fill out the respective form (e.g., when downloading a whitepaper), the data is transferred to the tool within seconds. What information should be queried and which fields should be mandatory can be individually stored in the individual forms.

Marketing Automation Tools also exchange data automatically and at regular intervals with the respective CRM system, so that they are consistent in terms of quality and the sales department can consider the respective information in the sales process.

As part of the Lead Nurturing, a marketing automation software also supports companies in providing potential customers with the information that is relevant to them at the right time. This approach is often supported by the so-called lead scoring. The leads stored in the tool are scored based on certain criteria such as the industry, position but also the respective conversion such as an event registration. These factors are evaluated differently according to their importance in order to obtain a comprehensive picture of the quality of the lead.

Benefits of Marketing Automation in B2B

The use of marketing automation in B2B companies has many advantages, which represent a decisive competitive factor in the digital world. These range from saving time and resources to improving customer loyalty.

Central benefits of using marketing automation in B2B companies

  • Time and resource saving
  • Targeted personalization and segmentation
  • Improved lead generation and nurturing
  • Better data analysis and utilization
  • Improved collaboration between marketing and sales

Time and Resource Saving

The use of marketing automation helps B2B companies save time and resources by automating recurring and manual tasks. Examples are the automated sending of emails or the scheduling of social media posts. This leads to optimized workflows and allows companies to carry out routine tasks more efficiently and with higher quality. Above all, marketing departments have more time to focus on creative tasks and strategies.

Targeted Personalization and Segmentation

Marketing Automation allows B2B companies to precisely segment their respective target groups and create personalized content. By analyzing marketing-relevant interactions using a special marketing automation software, B2B companies can address selected leads or target groups with relevant information, thereby increasing the engagement of the target group and the success of the marketing campaigns.

Improved Lead Generation and Nurturing

Another advantage of marketing automation in B2B companies is that the entire lead lifecycle, from the generation of qualified leads to nurturing and conversion, can be depicted. Via automated lead scoring models, targeted email nurturing campaigns, and automated follow-up processes, companies can more efficiently address potential customers, qualify them, and win over customers.

Better Data Analysis and Usage

By using marketing automation tools, companies gain detailed insights into the effectiveness of the marketing measures used. This data enables them to optimize their own marketing strategies and make more informed decisions for future activities.

Improved Collaboration between Marketing and Sales

By integrating a special marketing automation software with CRM systems, marketing and sales teams can work together seamlessly and communicate more effectively. Through a common database and the exchange of information about leads, interactions, and sales opportunities, lead qualification is improved and therefore conversion rates are increased.

Marketing Automation in B2B: 3 Use Cases

Automated Lead Scoring Models

A widespread marketing automation measure in B2B is the use of so-called automated lead scoring models. The use of lead scoring enables the sales department to hand over relevant leads at the right time.

The scoring points assigned make particularly interesting ("hot") and less interesting ("cold") leads clearly visible and enable adapted communication. The goal of lead scoring models is to hand over only relevant or purchase-ready leads to sales, thus relieving sales and at the same time increasing the conversion rate from lead to customer.

How Lead Scoring Models are Implemented in Practice

  1. Definition of evaluation criteria: Companies define specific criteria and characteristics which are rated with different points. These include demographic data (e.g. company size, industry, location), behavioral data (e.g. interactions with the website, download of resources, opening of emails), and firmographic data (e.g. budget, purchase cycle, role in the purchase decision process).
  2. Point assignment: Points are awarded for each of these criteria, reflecting the potential value of the lead to the company. For example, demographic criteria such as company size or industry may receive higher scores than a download of a white paper.
  3. Evaluation and prioritization: Based on the sum of the points collected, each lead is classified into a sort of ranking. Leads with higher scores are considered "hot" leads and are handed over to sales once a certain point value is reached, while leads with lower scores are considered "cold" or less qualified leads.
  4. Automated forwarding to sales: As soon as a lead reaches a certain threshold, it is automatically forwarded to the sales team. This ensures that sales focus their time and resources on the leads most likely to become customers.
  5. Further development of leads by marketing: The leads that have not yet reached the threshold are played with further marketing measures until they can be handed over to sales. Automated email campaigns are often set up for this.

lead-scoring-1 (1).webp

Source: https://www.hubspot.com/products/lead-scoring

Multi-stage Email Campaigns

Another classic measure in the field of marketing automation is a multi-stage email campaign. This is a strategic sequence of automated emails sent to a defined target group over a certain period of time to guide them through lead scoring and build a relationship.

With the help of a marketing automation software, B2B companies can effectively plan, create, and execute multi-stage email campaigns.

What to consider when setting up a multi-stage email campaign

Goal definition and segmentation: In the first step, it is important to clearly define the goals of the campaign. This can be lead generation, lead nurturing, or customer retention, for example. In the second step, the target group of the multi-step email campaign is segmented based on certain criteria, such as demographic data or scoring.

Content creation: For the success of a multi-step email campaign, it is important that relevant and target group-specific content is created for each phase of the campaign. This could be informational content about the product, white papers, case studies, invitations to events, or special offers. It is important that the created contents address the interests and needs of the target group defined in step 1.

Creation of automated workflows: Using marketing automation tools, automated workflows are then created, which define the email sequence, the timing of the shipment, and the conditions for transitioning from one email step to the next. These workflows contain the various content elements that were created in advance.

Personalization and timing of email delivery: Common marketing automation software offers the ability to personalize emails and optimize the timing of delivery based on your target audience's behavior and preferences. Triggers are set up for this, which trigger the sending of emails automatically based on certain behaviors (e.g. in case of event registration).

Controlling and optimization: It is important to regularly analyze the multi-step email campaigns using the reporting functions of the marketing marketing automation software. Relevant KPIs such as the opening rate, click rate, and conversion rate are viewed to assess the effectiveness of the campaign and make optimizations.

Automated Marketing Controlling without Excel and Co.

A major advantage of using a special marketing automation software is the simplified and automated marketing controlling. Manual recording of costs, conversions, and behavioral data in various tools and Excel spreadsheets are replaced by automated reports and dashboards.

This is what marketing controlling in B2B could look like with marketing automation:

  1. Define Goals and KPIs: In the first step, clear goals should be defined and KPIs for marketing controlling should be derived from these. Examples are the number of generated leads, conversion rates, or email opening rates.
  2. Integration of external data sources: To create comprehensive data collection and meaningful controlling, it is important that the marketing automation software is connected to other external systems (e.g. CRM systems, social media platforms, Google Analytics, etc.).
  3. Create Custom Dashboards: Marketing automation tools offer various functions to create custom dashboards. The predefined KPIs are displayed in clear and user-friendly dashboards.
  4. Configure Automated Reports: To increase efficiency, automated reporting functions should be created to create and send regular and ad-hoc reports. The report parameters, timeframe, and data sources can be adjusted at any time so that they are useful and meaningful for the respective stakeholders.
  5. Regular Monitoring and Optimization: After all defined KPIs are displayed in dashboards, a regular controlling appointment should be set. By analyzing the data, the marketing strategy of B2B companies can be improved continuously.

Marketng-Automation-Dashboard (1).webp

Source: https://www.hubspot.com/products/reporting-dashboards

These Marketing Automation Tools can Support B2B Companies

Marketing Automation Tools for Lead Management:

Marketing Automation Tools for Email Marketing:

Marketing Automation Tools for Social Media Marketing:


Marketing automation in B2B companies represents a decisive competitive advantage. The use of marketing automation tools enables detailed analysis of marketing campaigns and offers insights into the effectiveness of the respective measures. This data can be used to optimize marketing strategies and make informed decisions for the future.

The integration of marketing automation measures into account-based marketing, inbound marketing, the customer journey, and lead management also allows B2B companies to segment and personalize marketing measures precisely.

The use of marketing automation enables B2B companies to build a strong digital presence, generate relevant leads, and build long-term relationships with customers.

Isabella Seggert
Isabella Seggert

Isabella Seggert arbeitet als Online-Marketing-Managerin bei der collaboration Factory und verantwortet dort unter anderem den Bereich „Marketing-Automation“. Sie hat eine große Leidenschaft für das Thema B2B-Marketing, Marketing-Automation sowie Lead-Generierung. Außerdem ist sie eines von 50 Talenten im Batch 3 des Programms „BayFiD – Bayerns Frauen in Digitalberufen“, welches von Judith Gerlach, der Bayerische Staatsministerin für Digitales initiiert wurde.

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