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b2b marketing automation

B2B Marketing Automation

B2B Marketing Automation & GDPR

A wave of growing anxiety is spreading throughout the industry. A deadline is looming on the horizon for all marketing actions, always too soon and always inconvenient: the new Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force on 25 May 2018. Exactly what the GDPR entails and the actions that need to be rolled out to comply will be the subject of another post and, for further information, please see this infograph compiled by Interxion, a Salesforce client, which gives a good overview of the key points.

The purpose of this post is first to show the benefits of deploying marketing automation strategies, which at first glance seem to work against the spirit of this change, and those in which a consultancy firm such as S4G can add value. In addition, we are going to explain that this overhaul is a big opportunity to enhance the quality of communications, their degree of personalisation and even the rates reached through campaigns.

It is true that industry professionals are most concerned about loss of information and the fall in database records. As a rough figure, if you consider that an average email campaign is opened by around 20%; after opening around 40% click, if we are optimistic; of this percentage, they are directed to a landing with a form, perhaps 50% are completed, which means that starting from a database of 100k:

[(0.2 ⁎ 100,000) ⁎ 0.4] ⁎ 0.5 = 4,000

In other words, it is completely true that there is a real risk of loss of information during the process of conversion and approval of new policies. To deny it would be counter-productive, to say the least.

Faced with this risk, what is the best way to act and what tools do we have in Salesforce to mitigate it? The answer lies in Marketing Automation.

Marketing Automation and GDPR

It seems at first that automation goes against the user protection policies to be implemented. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Marketing Automation, defined as an application of automated processes to manage interactions between a company and its stakeholders, offers the possibility of devising advanced communications strategies to serve the purpose of conversion we are seeking to achieve better than any other.

So this automation process shouldn’t be seen as a process of “robotisation” of communications, in which communications are scheduled in drip campaign format. On the contrary, in Marketing Automation we are going to find three big advantages to achieve the goal of this campaign:

  • A greater degree of personalisation;
  • A forecast of the user’s possible actions and our response;
  • Savings in production time and greater control over campaigns.

Interxion: a success story

Interxion is a provider specialising in hosting services in independent data centres, operating in 11 European countries, with clients as renowned as Salesforce. It is one of our clients with a Madrid office that we have found to be most concerned about the new regulation: how to adapt to its requisites while not losing thousands of records in the forthcoming change.

We were faced with a major challenge: How do we explain the necessity of the change to clients? How to we get them to interact with our communications? And, above all, how do we achieve the highest number of conversions in an action that at first glance seems so complicated?

A good approach to start with. Challenge accepted.

From the time the campaign was devised, in early November 2017, until the dreaded deadline of 25 May 2018, we had 6-7 months to gain the highest number of records. By striking a balance between marketing pressure and the need to gain a high number of conversions, the campaign was designed around three waves and independent journeys:

  •       First wave in November, in order to announce the change to users and attempt to convert the most active ones.
  •       A second wave at the beginning of the year, stepping up the intensity of communications and taking the opportunity to use the new year to renew policies.
  •       The third and final wave is the month before the deadline, in which the tone of urgency will be increased to explain its importance to users.

For this case, a journey similar to the one in the first wave is going to be analysed. For obvious reasons this post cannot include all of the details and actions involved in the process, but we can say that this type of campaign is always surrounded by other elements to attempt to maximise the impact achieved.

Marketing Automation Tools

Pardot, the star tool in Marketing Automation for Salesforce B2B, has all the tools to configure this automation, reaching the highest level of traceability and control over the actions performed by the user. S4G Consulting, certified in Pardot, is experienced in the implementation of this solution for clients across a variety of industries including higher education, logistics, services, and research centres.

This experience with Pardot has led us to make the most of all of its possibilities, enabling us to devise campaigns like the one explained in this success story, in which control over all of the user’s actions is possible. From triggers according to the user’s website browsing, how they interact with digital creative elements, to behaviour regarding documents, infographs and reports that are hosted and shared through Pardot.

For this particular case, a flow in Engagement Studio fairly similar to the one below was designed:

B2B Marketing Automation 1


The key feature in this flow design lies in the adaptation of the message depending on how the user interacts and their degree of engagement with the campaign, the dynamic management of the allocation of users to lists and correction of scoring.

Besides the journey itself, the initial creative element is designed not just to meet the goal of encouraging conversion, but to add value to the clients who receive it. This is the email that was sent:

B2B Marketing Automation 2 GDPR

The first section focuses on explaining the change that is going to happen and the need for the user to perform an action. The text aims to be clear and simple. The second section is where, in addition to encouraging them to make the change, value is added to the email by including content generated internally. We must not forget that, as this concerns a B2B business with its particular features, many of its clients are going to find themselves with the same internal issues.

This tiny action is one of the ones that helps switch the focus of the campaign. It isn’t just about the requirement of the change. It is about seizing the opportunity offered from a business perspective and to enhance the relationship with clients.

Preference Centre

Lastly, tied in with this email campaign, a preference centre was set up to manage the acceptance of these cancellations, synchronised with Salesforce, so the data will always be entered in the CRM:

B2B Marketing Automation 3

The campaign circle is completed with the creation of this landing page, in such a way that it creates a new channel for communication between Interxion and its clients and opens up a world of possibilities when it comes to managing their communications.

Results & Optimization

With the materials prepared, the flow is executed across the entire database and the results were promising. The next step is to keep working to increase the conversion rate from now until 25 May, and we have the best tools in place to do this.

Few tools offer the options that Pardot has to maximise the use of the benefits offered by Marketing Automation. As shown in this post, automation can and should play a key role in the process of accepting the policies established by the GDPR. Even though they appear to be enemies, conceptually speaking, it should always be remembered that a good Marketing Automation strategy is going to result in more personal and accurate communication that is far better adapted to our clients’ preferences.

In short, if you have any queries regarding how to roll out a strategy to convert the maximum number of users possible in the GDPR compliance process, do not hesitate to contact us. Whether in Spain or the UK, where we have an office, or in any other part of the world, we look forward to delivering the best solution adapted to the needs of your business.

Jose María Esteban Marketing Consultant