Converting a lead to a customer requires over 11 touch points—on a good day. While this may be just an average, do you have the time or resources to reach all of your leads 11 times to inch them closer to becoming a buying customer?

The answer is probably not.

This is why marketing automation is a crucial element of all digital marketing activities. 

When set up and monitored properly, automation does the work for you to deliver the right message at the right time—even to existing customers, because we can’t forget about them! Automating your marketing generates value to leads, customers and your company. 

Let’s dive into the basics of marketing automation. 

B2B Marketing Automation Basics

B2B Marketing automation are the processes and practices a company adopts to improve the efficiency of their teams and marketing efforts by automating essential yet repetitive tasks. 

Fundamentally, marketing automation gives you the platform to manage and nurture leads until you are ready to pass them on to sales.

To automate your marketing efforts effectively, you need to use the right combination of software and web-based services.


A large number of B2B tech companies are either not using marketing automation, or they are not getting it right. According to David Raab, an expert in the industry, more than 55% of marketers are not happy with the automation software they use because they are not getting the expected results. In spite of marketing automation’s benefits, many companies are experiencing a high level of dissatisfaction and fragmentation.

One of the important secrets to marketing, especially in automation, is effective timing. Usually, leads follow a non-linear and often lengthy journey before converting into customers. Make sure that you do not aggressively approach them too early lest you scare, annoy or overwhelm them

At the same time, do not take too long to reach out as there are competitors in the market who can snatch them away at any time. Take time to study the behaviors of your prospects and approach them based on their actions and interests.

An automated workflow can do wonders here. 

Creating the Marketing Automation Plan

The first and most important step in marketing is creating a plan that aligns with your company’s goals. Once you understand how your marketing and sales goals fit in with the overall company goals, you will be better equipped to succeed in any marketing activity. 

In 1898, E. St. Elmo Lewis created the sales funnel to depict a buyer’s journey. The funnel is well over 100 years old and needed an upgrade, especially since it does not address retaining customers. The flywheel presents a better representation of today’s business efforts.

The flywheel puts the growth at the center of every company activity. When growth is at the core of your sales, support, and marketing efforts, everybody has a singular focus.

marketing automation funnel


With a well-planned marketing automation strategy aligned with your marketing goals, you can significantly reduce time spent on manual tasks and data analysis.

Take automating your emails as an example. You can effectively target potential clients at various stages of their buyer's journey. This approach ensures that your audience receives relevant content, while also enabling accurate data analysis. 

As a result, you'll witness improved conversion rates, leading to greater value and success for your company. Consequently, marketing automation has evolved into an indispensable component of digital marketing activities for modern businesses.

Automation can add value to your marketing in the following ways:

Nurturing leads

Nurturing leads

On average, it takes around 11 touchpoints for a lead to transition into a customer. An astute company recognizes the importance of aligning its marketing approach with its customers' buying process. 

While achieving this balance might seem challenging and costly, leveraging the right automation platform allows you to effortlessly generate, track, and nurture leads. With automation, you can implement drip campaigns that effectively guide your leads through their journey, while also keeping your company consistently top-of-mind.

Increase sales conversion through lead scoring

Increase sales conversion through lead scoring

If you adopt the ideal automation software, you will have a better insight into your prospects’ behaviors and interests so that you can align your marketing and sales strategy. For example, you are able to score prospects ‘high’ if they view the pricing page or even the terms and conditions section. Such information makes it possible to narrow your marketing and sales focus based on the right information. 

Pro Tip: Separate your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) and the engagement scores. Your competitors will probably look at your pricing page. Do you want to give a competitor a high score? 

This blog teaches some advanced lead scoring tips

Ease of creating campaigns

Ease of creating campaigns

Most automation platforms come with built-in templates that make it easy to customize and personalize. This ensures that you do not need to hire a designer to help you in creating new campaigns every other time. This means you can reduce the amount of time and money spent on creating and executing campaigns.

Customer retention

Customer retention

Most companies tend to overlook the role of automation after the sale. In fact, automation is necessary for customer retention and cross and up-selling. The rationale for this assertion is the fact that every customer needs additional information about your products and services even after making the first sale.

Control over the marketing expenditure

Control over the marketing expenditure

Marketing automation is necessary for monitoring performance. The ideal platform should offer you key performance indicators to assist you in managing your expenditure in various marketing channels based on the expected ROI. Often, this is done through a simple and clear funnel that outlines the costs and returns based on real-time data.


There is no denying the fact that marketing automation is something that every company needs, especially in B2B Tech. Over the past two years, the average marketing automation ROI is $5.44 per dollar spent. As such, it cannot be a surprise that you will find new automation software or new features in some of the already existing software. 

While such advancement makes choosing the appropriate automation software a daunting task, with careful consideration, you can implement a software that will help you automate your marketing activities greatly. The diagram below shows a comparison of various MA tools by market share.  

Based on the diagram above, it is evident that HubSpot has the largest market share (28.2%) in comparison to Salesforce Pardot (13%), Marketo (19.5%), and the other MA tools. On the other hand, Marketo and Pardot are stiffly competing with only a difference of 6.5% between their market shares.



What are HubSpot’s unique selling points?


Seamless working environment:The HubSpot platform provides a user-friendly and intuitive experience for individuals venturing into marketing automation for the first time. Its hassle-free interface eliminates the need for coding or extensive IT knowledge when designing a website. Moreover, HubSpot simplifies creating workflows, preparing content, formatting, and publishing, all implementing personalization strategies for improved engagement.


Compact marketing funnel: HubSpot allows effective customization and personalization of almost everything along the marketing process. All that you need to do is create an account and set your lifecycle stages


Impactful reporting: HubSpot's robust CRM, coupled with seamless integration with Salesforce, empowers users with valuable statistics and traffic data. These comprehensive systems instill confidence in the accuracy of lead reports, enabling you to establish effective strategies for enhancing sales performance.


Delighted users: Every marketer focuses on improving ROI and achieving customer satisfaction. Delighting users is a specialty of HubSpot.


New features: HubSpot updates and improves their interface and capabilities on a daily basis. When users share ideas in the HubSpot Community, others can upvote to get those ideas assessed by the HubSpot team.

What are HubSpot’s Weaknesses?

HubSpot focuses on personas, not ideal customer profiles (ICPs), resulting in lackluster lead scoring. HubSpot also offers fewer customization options for advanced developers.

Marketo - Adobe Experience Cloud

Marketo fits the description of the best system of its kind in marketing automation. This might be attributed to its diversity in terms of lead generation approaches. One of its outstanding characteristics is the fact that the platform meets the needs of any aspect of digital marketing. The Customer Marketing module of the platform aligns well with the software’s lead management and email marketing features and offers room for real-time customization.

Together with this is a visual drag-and-drop interface that is not only easy to use but also requires no advanced IT skills.

Marketo stands out with its exceptional advanced analytics and email workflows. If you possess a solid IT background, you will relish the opportunity to delve into the software and explore its extensive range of advanced features.

For large enterprises seeking intricate email campaigns targeted at diverse customer segments, Marketo offers the flexibility to customize their email marketing efforts with meticulous precision. It offers four different packages based on your needs starting from $900 per month – billed annually.

What are Marketo’s unique selling points?


Ease of social media components’ installation on your emails: Marketo allows the inclusion of social media components in emails, as well as the “Forward to a Friend” function.


Creating outstanding landing pages: Marketo's interface allows you to create landing pages featuring data capture forms. The platform eliminates the need for starting from scratch by providing customizable landing page templates that you can easily personalize. Furthermore, you have the flexibility to transform these landing pages into Facebook pages and seamlessly incorporate data capture forms, enabling aggressive client profiling and optimizing lead conversion.


Seamless integration with most CRMs: Marketo is compatible with most of the leading CRMs and other productivity service providers in the market. You can integrate it with Riva, Unbounce, Zoho CRM, Sugar CRM, Microsoft Dynamics, and Salesforce, among others.

analysis_analytics_benchmark_ranking_seo_icon (1)

All standard reporting and analytics: Though Marketo does not offer new approaches to data analytics and reporting, it is great in giving you essential summaries, which add to all the data you collect. Additionally, it has several customizable metrics such as lead performance, landing page, campaign and email performance, etc.


Marketo does not have a highly intuitive system. The platform’s system lacks a drag-and-drop interface you can use for organizing offer campaigns. It also calls for some knowledge in coding and programming to take advantage of its full potential. In addition, it does not have CMS, blogging, and social posting features, so companies have to use an additional system for those.

Eloqua (now Oracle)

Eloqua passes for the oldest marketing automation tool—it was launched in 1999 before Oracle acquired it in 2012 for a value of $871m. Apart from its age, Eloqua stands out and developers refer to it as the marketing execution tool known for driving dynamic conversions.

It is most popular among B2B companies for its personalization features. It comes in 20 different languages and is accessible in many parts of the world. It can help you come up with effective strategies and has a modern approach to marketing automation that can enhance whatever systems you currently have acting as the handover to  your sales department. Its drag-and-drop canvas interface is a killer feature that allows the transformation, normalization, and arrangement of data across different channels (earned, owned, and paid).

Eloqua is ideal for companies that have a large marketing department. It has a package for $2,000 a month and it is billed monthly.

What are Eloqua's unique selling points?


Next-gen marketing analytics: Eloqua offers a great platform for measuring success through the examination of the effects any campaign has on the bottom line, and ensuring that no revenue is lost or missed. Therefore, it is ideal for reporting closed loops and their impact on the ROI, comparing the rate of conversions based on engagement, as well as analyzing the performance of your website using the Oracle Business Intelligence.

announcement_customer_management_public_relations_icon (1)

Marketing and sales alignment: Eloqua enables you to monitor contact behaviors, identify potential prospects, and activate profiles all with the aim of enhancing handoffs to your sales team. Additionally, you can implement lead scoring models to evaluate contacts and prioritize them based on their likelihood of making a purchase.

marketing_startup_strategy_target_vision_icon (2)

Sophisticated lead management: Eloqua offers multiple methods to gain leads, streamlining the measurement of top-quality leads can yield and facilitate the collection of buyers' behavioral data for effective contact segmentation. With Eloqua, you can effortlessly run multiple scoring models on a single lead, simplifying the process and enabling more targeted and successful deals.

click_pay_per_buy_cost_icon (2)

High probability of more conversions:The platform offers personalized experiences that guarantee more conversions. For instance, it makes it easy to set up complex campaigns. You will find this possible by using its drag-and-drop functionality in mapping audience flows for every channel that you have and does not require complex IT knowledge to handle the system.


Ease of customer segmentation: The platform has outstanding profiles, which combine different and disparate data from diverse sources in one place for segmentation purposes. As such, Eloqua is ideal for identifying audiences, which drive revenue for a business.


Eloqua does not come bundled with its own CRM, but it offers seamless integration with various CRM tools such as Oracle's CRM, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and others. By connecting a CRM with your Eloqua marketing automation, you can effectively nurture your leads and convert them into paying customers. It's important to note that the Oracle CRM is not included with Eloqua and requires a separate payment.


Pardot’s popularity comes from its Salesforce foundation. However, other features make Pardot a great MA tool for every B2B tech company.

To start with, Pardo features an end-to-end lead generation and management ability, a seamless email marketing, an effortless sales alignment, as well as several ‌detailed return on investment reports. In addition, Pardot is highly compatible with most of the software that numerous tech companies use, especially if you are using Salesforce. Its ability to blend seamlessly, while at the same time inquiring little to no IT changes makes Pardot a great marketing automation tool.

Pardot is great for enterprises that have a team of markers who have high technical skills. Its subscription packages include the professional edition, the enterprise edition, and the ultimate edition, which start from $1,000, $2000 and $3,000 monthly although at times it has a free period for Salesforce users.

What are its unique selling points?


Salesforce powers it: As a Salesforce flagship MA tool, Pardot stands out for its usability and uptime. The implication of these features is that they can integrate well with any other Salesforce products you may have in your company, to adopt a unified mobile usability approach.

algorithm_calculate_gear_problem_solving_icon (1)

B2B marketing automation: You need this software if you are a B2B Tech company since it works alongside Salesforce to enhance the orientation of marketing efforts toward the appropriate direction. For instance, Pardot enhances the efficiency of CRM and marketing tools leading to a great customer experience and diversification of marketing approaches.


It gives ROI reporting insights: Pardot outshines most other MA tools in terms of offering insightful and reliable ROI reporting used in measuring and tracking the performance of any campaigns in the company and tying up indicators of marketing and sales comprehensively. It also offers room for pulling out email reports, as well as connecting them to any BI tools you may have for advanced analysis.


Ease of aligning sales: The tool allows for seamless sales alignment making it easy for your sales agents to uniquely distribute campaigns among customers, as well as make real-time sales. Pardot drops leads directly into your CRM nurturing tracks and allows for instant alerts on any Gmail interactions.


Helps B2B companies generate high-quality leads: The software has features that enhance the customization and sending of targeted emails, which make it possible for companies to gain high-quality leads. In addition, the tool has features for boosting your sales pipeline, calculating the marketing return on investment and tracking your customer’s behavior.


It does not have a free program and it is billed annually, which makes it hard to cancel should you decide to. Only ‌Pro subscribers have access to ‌A/B testing, a vital feature for landing and email campaigns. In addition, its social media support is considerably weak, which forces companies to look for a separate social media management tool.

So which software is best for your company?

That is the question that every company out there is looking to answer, but it is important to note that the term best is relative in the marketing automation software arena. The software that works best for your company may not work the same for the next-door company. As such, it is important to establish your company’s marketing automation pains and create a wish list of requirements, components, and features. Until then, it can be hard to choose and profile a tool as best for your marketing automation.


We work with each client from strategy storyboarding to campaign implementation to streamline your marketing and nurture efforts. Adopting marketing automation is a costly venture and should be properly mapped to support your business processes. The end result is more focused and concentrated engagement with your audience, driving traffic an accelerating a leads journey through the sales funnel.

Meet your new inbound marketing team. We’re delighted to make your acquaintance!

Liked what you read? Sign up for a free Inbound Marketing Assessment with an Inbound Marketing Specialist today!