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The middle of the funnel has never been more important for B2B marketers. In an era in which nine out of ten business buyers say they don’t want to talk until they are ready to come to you, marketing must now go beyond simply gathering responses to actually managing prospect relationships over time.

The trouble, however, is that prospects at this stage of funnel are invariably the hardest to reach. In order to nurture effectively, businesses must distribute content that is of genuine interest to the recipient and presented in a way that makes this immediately obvious.

It’s not easy – but by avoiding these common mistakes, the chances of success are greatly increased.

Leaving data to rot

Successful middle of the funnel marketing is driven by good data; the companies that allow data to decay will be the ones who fall behind. Regular cleansing of your data is as important to a successful campaign as the production of the content itself – and regular means regular. Read more in our guide to data maintenance.

Failing to invest significant time in the drawing up of buyer personas

It seems ironic that maximising the benefit of game-changing technology like marketing automation actually requires thorough completion of one of the oldest marketing techniques out there. However, given the virtually limitless segmentation options now available, laser focused buyer personas can now help your content engage in a way that would not have been possible before automation. Marketing and Sales must work together to not only identify who the buyers are, but the issues that are keeping them awake at night. This should take significant time and planning – the results in the end will be worth it.

Knowing it works – so not testing

We advise all our clients to draw up a testing schedule for all email campaigns. This could involve proof reading, checking spam filter performance, analysing the MA platform to ensure tracking and scoring rules are working, or checking performance across a variety of email platforms; all are critical for successful performance. The power of automation should increase personalisation, but nothing dents this potential more than a clearly automated email. MA makes testing easy – so make sure you do it!

It’s my new toy – and I want to use it all

Marketing automation is powerful – and that’s good. But what was your main reason for purchasing? If it was to engage more prospects than ever with engaging content about what your company can offer then chances are you do not need a working knowledge of all the bells and whistles to start with. We advise all our clients to adopt a “crawl before you run” mentality – start with the fundamental tools you need and only introduce new features when you are confident that you know how to use them. It’s far more beneficial to invest time and effort in the early days drawing up comprehensive buyer profiles for your first campaigns than it is spending this time learning features that you may never use.

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