The market for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Software grew by 63.1% in 2018, Gartner reports. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is regarded as one of the fastest emerging technologies and there is a good reason why.
- Typical ROI on RPA products is within 3-6 months. And this is only that long for large,enterprise-level projects. If RPA products are applied to a small part of the process in a business function, the return is almost instant. For example, if RPA is used for collecting invoice information from an external portal and updating it in SAP, the savings in the time taken to process an invoice are instant.
- RPA products are less of a burden on IT staff in your business. It is a non-intrusive technology and doesn’t require you to rip-off your existing back-end systems or pay expensive development costs on top of it. RPA products work on the presentation layer and replicate what a human can do. That means IT does not need to custom code API’s to enable end–to–end automation of a process.
- It is your virtual workforce that works 24×7, 365 days in a year. No sick holidays, no breaks. RPA products are the best choice to automate large volume, highly mature, manual and repetitive workflows.
RPA products are being used heavily to automate compliance reporting for financial processes. However, that is not the only case of RPA products being used for automation in the UK.
Some other use cases include
- Matching of invoices
- Gathering information to enable recruiters to find the right candidate for their job
- Doing Competitive analysis by collecting information from different online portals
- Conducting KYC (Know your customer) validation by connecting information from various systems
There are RPA product specialists in the UK, who have developed products/solutions/services around specific use cases whereas others operate on a broader spectrum of business problems. How to take RPA products to the market remains a challenge.
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What is the most effective Go-to-Market for RPA products?
What is the most-effective marketing channel for selling RPA products in the UK – Social, website inbound leads, events, micro-events, PR, email, telemarketing, demo events or webinars? Where do you get the best return? Most product vendors also provide support to the resellers given they have marketing and sales resources that can win new business. Talk to us at Predictable Marketing and find out how we have helped several RPA product resellers in the UK to develop and implement an inbound go-to-market strategy.
Having already felt the direct impact of the coronavirus outbreak, businesses are having to make big decisions quickly. There are many concerns, mainly around the capital/ or the lack of it, falling sales, decisions put on hold and what could be done to maintain business as usual.
One of the significant concerns business leaders are facing is the re-allocation of budgets for the current and upcoming quarters. No doubt, the biggest chunks of marketing budgets are set aside for trade shows and events. With the realisation that all major trade events will now be cancelled/postponed for at least the next couple of months, shifting gears and marketing tactics is at the forefront of many minds. As we move towards lockdown, sales and marketing efforts will move to the virtual world, wherever possible.
Especially for the B2B sectors, digital marketing strategies will be at the forefront of demand generation. We strongly believe coronavirus will inevitably pass, and businesses will return to normal working before too long. However, utilising some simple marketing methods during this period of turmoil will only benefit your business in the long term.
So, what should businesses do next?
Review the current marketing strategy.
During these unexpected periods of doubt, it is wise for business owners to take a step back and assess how the business is functioning. Revisit sales targets taking into account changing customer situations, and align how marketing can support these goals. By assessing the current strategies in place, businesses can spend this time making improvements that may have previously been overlooked. For example, keeping your brand up to date with regular content and marketing material is essential to maintaining that sales pipeline as the focus can understandably drift from your brand when working for paying clients. Also, if your marketing investment is heavy on events and exhibitions, it is time to rethink and reallocate budgets to online marketing initiatives.
Consider the immediate needs of your customer .. and let them know you are there to help.
We always advocate putting needs of your customers first. Especially in these exceptional circumstances, we recommend engaging with existing customers, understanding their situations and needs and provide services that would help them through this crisis. Communicate clearly via digital media. How you can help – relook at your website messaging, email campaigns and especially social channels. There is a lot on everyone’s mind if you can give them one thing less to worry about, let them know how you can help.
Power up your Digital Marketing Channels.
Digital marketing becomes crucial as it’s the only way you can reach out to your customers. Do you have an inbound digital marketing program? If yes, it’s time to power it up, if not it’s not too late to start. Admittedly some of these methods do take time to bed in, hence why it is sensible to set these up now while your business has the chance. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the clearest example of this. Building up SEO content over time ensures your customer can find you when they are looking for a solution. Being prominent in your target market search areas is key to building a strong inbound sales pipeline.
In B2B marketing 80% of sales decisions are already made before the first sales touch via online research and review. Social media, online PR, webinars, google ads and email campaigns all channels have their place in a digital marketing strategy. We recommend choosing which channels you would get the best returns from wisely.
Further your marketing presence.
The best option to start this process is to extend and enhance your digital marketing arm. There are clear reasons why it is a sensible option in this climate. Firstly, digital marketing never stops. Whether working in an office or working from home, marketeers can deliver results continuously. The lack of need for face-to-face interaction means operations can be put into motion very quickly. The pressure on businesses to keep things moving during these unsettled periods means decisions must be made promptly. Digital marketing campaigns can be spelt out and put into immediate action, supporting sales teams in keeping communication channels open with existing and new customers.
Additionally, digital marketing is measurable. You can quickly obtain and provide clear breakdowns of statistics, see how your marketing is performing and optimise tactics for good ROI. Having this metric to validate businesses costs during such crises can boost support from investors and prove that the business is still moving forward.
We will all get through this
The bottom line is that this is an unprecedented event that has no timescale. Despite this uncertainty, it is not the time to retreat and back away from these challenges. It is time to reflect on your business and make changes to areas that have been neglected in the past. It is time to focus on keeping communication channels open with existing customers and prospects.
Marketing never stops and is key to keeping the business wheels turning. Adding or extending your businesses marketing arm now is essential to show your visibility in the industry you operate in and reassure your investors that you are reacting rather than retracting. We wish you the best and we hope you get through these tough times and come out at the other end with a bang!
There is enough awareness today about the factors that affect website search rankings. In addition, tools like SEMRush, MOZ that are helpful in identifying technical issues such as page load speed, broken links and missing titles that might be negatively affecting your website ranking. B2B technology marketing has technical skills available within the organization to fix these issues. Also, technology marketing managers understand these factors enough to get external help to get these issues resolved.
Why SEO should be your A Game?
Search Engine Optimization is not a one-off task. Fixing technical SEO issues gives marketing managers a solid stage and then build upon and create content for their target audience. All technical SEO efforts ensure that your content and marketing assets are not wasted because of poor searchability and are visible to the intended audience. For all gym goers, the analogy is easy. You must put in extra effort initially to get your body in shape, but a regular exercise regime is important to sustain fitness.
Add value to your business by regularly maintaining Search Engine Ranking!
In the context of websites, this means creating valuable content. Regurgitating content with corporate wordage doesn’t count. You can manage to stuff keywords into a piece of content inspired by some other article or blog, and it might even pass the Google test, but it will fail miserably when your intended customer reads it. On the other hand, content written simply to provide insight into a common problem that your customers face will lead to dialogue between you and your prospects.
Know your Customers’ Search Patterns (Keyword Research)
It’s important to do your keyword research before you start spending time, effort and money on content. How does your intended audience search for? Ask your customers, search for questions they ask in meetings and see if the search results are relevant. Use keyword tools such as Google Keyword Planner or paid tools such as WordStream to get insights into search terms that are most relevant for your business. Incorporate these keywords into your content strategy. This will ensure that the content you create is searchable.
Businesses often mistake keyword research as a onetime exercise. I would be recommending verifying your search terms every three months for B2B/technology marketing and even quicker for local businesses. Some trades are specific and may not need to revisit keywords for a year such as “locally certified electrician”. A very few chances we will search that differently. On the other hand “business process automation use cases” was replaced by “intelligent process automation examples” in a short space of time.
Create valuable & effective content regularly (Create a content calendar)
It is easier said than done. I often get asked questions like how much content should I write, how many words should be in the blog, what should we write about? I have answered these questions below. However, the length and frequency of content might vary by industry. For example, for technology marketing, one insightful article a month, marketing new technology solution, could be effective whereas for a beauty therapist business or any impulse purchase category a post a day with latest offers would be a minimum requirement.
There is no escape – Content Writing!
I know content creation is not easy. You wouldn’t have time to write blogs and content writers might not necessarily understand your customer base to understand the problems they are facing and create valuable content. I have come around this problem by providing my customers a “scribble template” which they use when they are on a train or when an idea strikes on the golf course or a kid’s football practice session. It takes a couple of minutes for them to register their thought and share it with me. I receive all sorts of notes – a conversation they had with their customer, an idea discussed in a meeting, something they have read, something that they saw. Inspiration is all around us! This makes it possible for a content writer to create valuable content for prospects.
How much content should you write?
Google gives very high weightage to websites being updated regularly. So, the more content you create, the better. The cost and time to create is often a consideration but try out the model I have described above. Your content writer is like a therapist/counselor, essential for your business success. They keep the spirits high! Therefore, the length varies. Google measures the intent of the content and its effectiveness in answering your prospects search query. If you can answer that in 500 words that’s good but usually, explained content pieces like this one easily exceed 1500 words. Please don’t take this as a prescription. It is the quality that wins over quantity here!
What should be your content publishing platform?
Your own website and blog are the first place to start. But don’t stop there. Use your social media platforms to syndicate this content and identify all media channels your customers will be active on. You want to get your thought leadership in front of your prospective customers.
Monitor Website Performance monthly
You cannot improve what you cannot measure. Monitor the performance of your website using google analytics or any other tool you prefer. Understand where the traffic is coming from and which content is bringing them to your website. Your marketing strategy should be guided by the numbers you see here. For example – if you are creating campaigns around “Intelligence Process Automation” but your customer is searching for “how to automate claims processing using robotics” you might need to change the marketing message that appeals to your audience. As I said at the beginning of this blog, search engine optimization cannot be a one-off effort. Use insights like the above to create more relevant marketing content. You need to keep testing and changing course in line with customer behavior.
Publicize your Credentials (PR is important)
Link building is a dirty word in marketing. I believe in genuinely promoting the good work you have done in platforms where your intended audience is present. That will give your website the much talked about link juice without adopting any black hat activities. I have always stayed away from agencies who claim they can create twenty authority back links and improve your search ranks in a month and for technology marketing, even three months is a stretch.
Having said that any opportunity to promote your thought leadership, technical expertise, the good work you have done should not be missed.
Google ADS: a necessary evil
If you have recently noticed, the Google search results page has changed. Above the fold space (premium web real estate) is occupies by sponsored content. If this is going to continue, unfortunately, Google ads will become a necessary evil for monetizing your online presence. Especially for technology marketing, it is recommended that some percentage of your marketing budget is set aside for paid ads.
Local SEO for local businesses
If you are a local business, optimizing your local searchability might be all you need. Optimizing local search is topic for another discussion but in short, your local business page should be a mini reflection of your website with reviews from your customers and links to other local directories. I have also seen local search optimization work beautifully for technology marketing as well. If a technology company can offer localized offers it is easy to maintain a global presence and local appeal at the same time.
Generating leads for B2B businesses is not easy. It’s even more difficult converting those leads into paying clients. Some common issues I have come across are – you do not receive any inbound leads, or they are not relevant. More often than not, its competition spying on your work!
To generate leads and convert them into sales, you need to have B2B demand generation strategies in place. A word of warning – Effective marketing strategies require time, effort, focus and investment initially, but they also offer a high rate of return.
What are some of the most effective B2B demand generation strategies?
1. Creating a unique brand
Before you spend on lead generation, you must create a strong and unique brand identity. It needs to be compelling enough to attract customers and non-generic enough to be able to stand out from the rest of your competitors.
Keep in mind how and where you will use your branding. For example, create a logo that stands out in a social media stream of posts.
2. Having the right technology and infrastructure
To effectively implement, monitor, and course-correct your B2B demand generation strategies, you need to have the right marketing tools and technology.
A sound marketing automation system can help tremendously in sales growth. HubSpot offers some excellent features and is a perfect tool to manage all marketing activities in one platform. Its advanced versions are expensive, but it will save your marketing team a lot of time and help create an integrated marketing campaign.
A sound CRM system helps improve customer relationships and allow you to interact with each customer in a personal way. A CRM enables maintaining 360 records for a customer, which can help you determine which course of action to take when dealing with each client.
It also helps you better address the problems they’re facing. You can customise marketing messages to better align with their problems.
Another essential piece of technology that is a must-have for successful implementation B2B marketing strategies is a Content Management System (CMS).
Most small to medium businesses use WordPress or Joomla. These are open source and usually sufficient for features and functionalities required for a B2B website.
3.Targeting the right audience (Identifying your ideal client)
As a result of extensive research and review of your previous sales, you can determine what your typical buyer’s persona is. Marketing strategies are hugely successful if precisely targeted.
Knowing your ideal customers, their pain points, needs and buying habits can help you design a personalised approach to each of your prospective clients.
Email marketing has been cited as one of the most effective online marketing strategies by over 67% of businesses. But email strategy should walk your customer through their buyer’s journey and not be mistaken as “sending a one-off email to a purchased list of contacts”. That’s just a recipe for disaster.
CRM and marketing automation tools help design and implement a thought through email marketing program. They have overlapping features in identifying promising prospects and sending them highly targeted emails.
4. Creating content for your buyer personas (Content marketing)
Content is still king!
Once you have a good idea of what your buyer’s needs are, what questions they might need answering, and what challenges they might be facing, you can move on to creating a good content management strategy that helps satisfy their queries and provides solutions to the problems they may be facing.
As the next step, make sure content reaches your audience. Blog posts, ghost blogging, social engagement, paid search and advertising campaigns on social media are some ways to ensure that your content is visible and read.
Some commonly talked about examples of successful content strategy include – accounting firm Crowe Horwath who generated up to £25000 in revenue thanks to its effective content marketing strategies. Content marketing tactics used involved social media content such as infographic videos, blogs, articles, etc.
DemandBase, a marketing tech provider, has claimed to have generated over £1 million in revenue solely with content marketing.
Targeted content sharing is an excellent B2B demand generation strategy that can help incite interest in your product instantly.
While creating content, you should focus on making it easily accessible and understandable. Don’t load your blog posts with technical jargon and acronyms to make it sound smart. Break down concepts and structure your content in a simple, easy to understand and reader-friendly format. We at Predictable Marketing always try and pour our thoughts and learnings into blogs.
Webinars could be a great way for you to introduce your product to a diverse crowd and demonstrate its various unique features and advantages. It’s also a cost-effective way of getting face to face with your target audience.
If you haven’t run a webinar before, you could team up with another company or a social media influencer to co-host a webinar. You need to make sure that your audiences have shared interests. Not only will this be learning from your experience, but also each other. Interaction with their peers and sharing similar experiences is precious for them.
Team up with partners to present. A conversational webinar is much more interesting than a monologue!
6.Use social media platforms effectively
Sharing your content on social media is one of the best ways to create a buzz about your product or services. Content shared on social media builds brand awareness and gets people talking about your services. It is also used to collect feedback and design strategies based on the feedback.
7. Ensuring you have a strong online presence
Your website is incredibly crucial for maximising visibility and helping potential clients get to know more about your product or services.
The first step in increasing web presence is making it easier for your target audience to find you. For that to happen, your website needs to be search engine optimised (SEO optimised). Search rankings can be improved by including targeted keywords related to your services that allow your audience to find you in their relevant search results.
Off-site SEO strategies such as – links to your website from other sources and guest articles are great ways for you to build a reputation and increase brand awareness.
8. Consider your customers “Value-in-use.”
While you could blag about how good your product is and you have done this work
For 20 years, it still may not be enough to convince your customers of your worthiness.
To get your prospect interested in what you have to offer, you need to show them why they need it in the first place. The emphasis here should be on a particular problem that the client is facing due to the lack of said product/service.
Explain how the absence of the product can impact their business performance. By focusing on what the client is missing out on, you could proceed by explaining how exactly your product can solve this particular problem.
What makes a demand generation strategy successful?
The most crucial factor in making any marketing strategy work is to know your prospect. You can save yourself a lot of time and money by understanding who your ideal customer and what is their “value-in-use”.
You can win an instant vote of confidence by showing that you understand your customers’ problems. If you have followed the problem, there are chances you can resolve it.
A successful demand generation strategy is equal to the sum of knowing your customer+ right messaging + right timing. Marketing automation platforms help augment it.
The start of a new year is a chance to reset, re-think and implement some new marketing techniques to help your business increase sales. With “Digital ad spend expected to account for 50% of all advertising budgets worldwide by the end of 2020” your businesses campaigns must be of the highest level to fend off the competition. This is also supported by the fact that “91% of B2B marketers use content marketing to reach customers.”
With figures such as these, it is clear that the amount of content and marketing material pumped out to consumers each day is enormous. With such density in the market, how do you make your content stand out? Are your marketing campaigns attracting and engaging the right consumers? Did your campaigns in 2019 struggle to get the results you wanted? Here are some tips to improve your marketing campaigns to increase your businesses sales.
1. Value-based selling
The first step in the process is to understand how you should market and ultimately sell your product to consumers. We now live in an era where the levels of data and information being produced is at an all-time high. This is shown by the fact that “90% of the world’s data has been produced in the last two years.”. With this amount of data, it is only reasonable that a lot of content created will be missed by the consumer because it does not entice them in. This brings us on to our first technique of value-based selling.
Due to the vast amount of content now available, there is currently no need for consumers to spend hours searching for the right product. They hold power in being able to choose from a wide range of options. For marketers, it is, therefore, essential that the content aimed at the specific consumer is tailored to their particular needs.
Your content should focus on the consumer’s problems and how your business can help eliminate those problems. In doing so, your content must also be evident in explaining what costs the consumer will face and how your product is providing an ‘opportunity’ to help. A recent study found that “77% of B2B buyers still feel that making a purchase is time-consuming and even painful.”. Being transparent and honest as well as tailoring to the consumer’s direct needs will immediately reduce the time buyers will have to use hence creating a better customer experience.
2. Create your buyer personas
The second step involves creating your ideal buyer persona. A buyer persona helps build content that would interest your target audience. The persona will have the same interests, problems and challenges that your ideal customer would have – a twin of your ideal customer.
This means the content created can be specific and personalised as you can be confident that you are targeting the correct consumer. In many ways, it gives you a direction and path to work towards as your marketing content adapts to the environment that your ideal persona works in. To begin creating your buyer persona, you must first do some market research. This is to really grasp what your personas want, and by doing some industry-relevant surveys, you will quickly receive relevant data to mould your first persona.
To get more in-depth knowledge about the struggles people may be facing in the industry, it is worth having a long conversation/call with someone in your target audience or a friendly existing customer. This doesn’t necessarily have to be the CEO, but someone knowledgeable in the industry can provide vital information that the surveys may have missed. Once you have gathered the information, try and narrow down the common details, e.g. demographics, skill level, interest etc.
All of this is adding in creating your path to your ideal buyer persona. With your ideal persona now nailed down, you can now tailor your content towards them with personalised messaging. Yes, having your ideal buyer is the aim, but realistically you have to watch where your business is most likely to make sales. So always create multiple personas so you can change up your approach to address the needs of each persona.
3. Create your web/search strategy
With your buyer personas and marketing direction sorted, the next step is to create your web/search strategy. In marketing, there are many ways to generate leads, including, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Pay per click (PPC) or via social media. Now there is nothing to say that you shouldn’t try all of these methods at the same time, but if you do, you will have to make sure there is a structured approach otherwise you may end up wasting some of your marketing budgets.
A study in late 2019 found that “64% of B2B organisations have a formal marketing plan” and there is a good reason for this. Without a plan, much of your marketing resource can be wasted, and your strategy will lose its sense of direction. For example, if you are looking to do a Google Ads campaign, you must allocate time each day to check the progress and success. Thousands of pounds of businesses marketing budget have been wasted on poorly managed Ad campaigns because the ads were not optimised correctly, leading to clicks that cost money without providing appropriate leads. Also, if your SEO strategy does not align with your ads strategy you might be doubling your effort and diminishing returns.
By picking one or two strategies, you and your team can consistently put out content that can be monitored and improved depending on the results you are seeing. If you were looking to do a LinkedIn lead generation campaign but see no results within the first couple of weeks, you can change your message. The point is, being on top of whichever strategy you choose is essential and is the critical component to getting a good return on marketing investment.
4. Publish quality content for different stages of the buyer journey (Awareness, Consideration, Buying)
With your strategy now in place, you can begin to publish the content you have prepared. As mentioned previously, with the vast amount of information that is posted each day, it can be challenging to make your business stand out. However, publishing content for different stages of the buyer journey is one way of keeping your consumer hooked to your content. Beginning by addressing their interests and problems, you can attract an initial number of clicks/impressions early on that can set up your next piece of content.
This technique only works if the content you produce is relevant to the time it’s posted and that there is consistency in the way it is published. For example, you could begin a blog series that is industry relevant to your ideal buyer persona and each week post a new blog. By creating a series or something similar, you are giving the consumers regular content while also leaving them asking what will be posted next week.
With potential leads now following your new ‘series’, the content can then progress onto how you will resolve these problems and how it has worked for others. By progressively painting a picture to your consumer, they are more likely to get in contact as they understand the product and can see how it works.
If your approach was to click-bait consumers with an eye-catching headline which then led to mountains of text, your consumers are more likely to close the page and switch off from your business’s potential offerings. With this drip-feeding method of explaining your product and how it can help them, a level of trust is already formed before any direct contact has been made between you and your consumers.
5. For B2B marketing, we suggest focusing on one key persona and messaging per quarter.
When looking to combine these strategies for a trial for your new marketing outlook in 2020, we advise focussing on just one of the key personas that you have generated.
Once selected, begin a LinkedIn campaign working on sales navigator to engage with your target audience. LinkedIn is so far the best social platform to drive b2b engagement. In addition, it builds up traffic to your website too. By driving traffic to your website, you can begin a blog campaign that has a weekly topic relating to the interests and problems your target persona may face. Try and have a focus for each quarter of the year. You don’t want your message to be distorted, so keeping a clear message throughout each block is essential. Depending on the industry you are targeting, make sure your content is relevant to any current affairs or changes that may affect the industry. If the content you have planned is now irrelevant because of legislation changes etc. don’t post it, it will only lead to your consumers losing trust in your business’s knowledge.
Using these steps to create a detailed and structured marketing plan will go a long way in seeing an increase in leads and ultimately, sales. With the amount of content and data being produced now at an all-time high, it is essential that the content your business creates stands out from the crowd. Define your direction and execute your plan and you will soon see brilliant results.
If you would like to know more about how Predictable Marketing has helped B2B companies develop and implement marketing campaigns for increasing sales, please follow us on LinkedIn or drop us an email.