B2B marketing is significantly more complex than the B2C variety due to the fact that B2B transactions typically require a much larger investment. As a result, you have to set aside time regularly to strategize: How can you best educate your prospects about your goods or services? How can you ensure they’re getting all of their questions answered? What are their apprehensions?
The entire process is like a courtship. You have to woo them, and slowly but surely establish long-term relationships with them. And the most effective way to do so is with effective B2B marketing automation software. At the end of the day, you still have a business to run. So how can you keep all those plates in the air? Let’s take a look at two of the most popular SaaS providers to help you do it: Pardot and HubSpot.
Pardot is a B2B marketing automation platform that offers a wide range of tools to help you run your campaigns more efficiently. Some of its most useful features include:
- Contacts segmentation (when used with a CRM)
- Email marketing
- Landing page creation
- Lead scoring
- Dynamic content
Pardot also tracks user engagement, so that you can send them more targeted communications and generate higher quality leads.
HubSpot is an all-in-one SaaS solution that offers a free CRM, a marketing hub, sales hub, and a service hub. It’s designed to enable collaboration among all three teams, so that they can work cohesively and have access to a contact’s full file from one centralized location. Some of its most useful features include:
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
- Contacts segmentation
- Content management system (CMS) with SEO recommendations
- Email Marketing with drag-and-drop capabilities
- Landing page creation
- Lead scoring
- Dynamic content
As with Pardot, you can also track user engagement, as well as set up preset behaviors that would launch follow up communications.
Both platforms are cloud-based, making them more practical for forward-thinking companies. And while they do share some similar features, they also have several functionalities that make them stand out — or be considered as drawbacks.
At Bluleadz, we’re a HubSpot Elite Partner agency, so we love to wax poetic about its benefits, including:
HubSpot was designed so that you could have every single tool you’d need for marketing, sales, and customer service. So if you choose to use all of them, you’ll notice that they’re much easier to use together — due to their user interface, consistency, and how they work well together.
Even if you’re already using other SaaS platforms in your tech stack, HubSpot’s App Marketplace is extensive enough that you would likely find everything you need within it. No need for duplicative work or entering data manually from app to app.
While HubSpot does come with a learning curve, once your team goes through the onboarding process and gets the hang of how things work, they’ll realize how intuitive the platform is.
It Aligns Marketing and Sales
Marketing has to work well with the sales department in order for both teams to function as efficiently as possible. Marketing needs to be fully aware of the pain points and apprehensions sales hears about constantly so that they can better craft their messaging; and HubSpot enables team members from each department to tag each other so that everyone approaches each communication within context.
Lead nurturing through email marketing is absolutely essential to fully develop relationships with contacts. However, HubSpot sets the stage for people to find you organically through their CMS tools so that you can create blogs, eBooks, white papers, infographics, and other types of lead magnets.
Now, let’s go over some of the not so exciting parts about the platform:
The CRM is free, so that’s good news for any business regardless of budget. However, the marketing hub could get pricey, depending on the features you want to use. For example, while the starter plan costs only $45 a month, the tools are limited (forms, email marketing, landing pages, and live chat). On the other side of the spectrum, there’s the enterprise plan, which offers tools like custom objects, adaptive testing, sandboxes, behavioral event triggers, and predictive lead scoring, to name a few — with a starting cost of $3,200 a month, billed at $38,400 annually.
Yes, HubSpot is intuitive and once you learn how to use it well, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. But it can take a while to get there, since there are so many features. The silver lining is their extensive knowledge base, as well as their myriad of free courses through HubSpot Academy, after which you can take a quiz to obtain industry-recognized certifications.
Ok. Now it’s time to go down a list of items that Pardot is doing really well:
Pardot makes it possible to add endless customizations to your marketing automation, which is ideal for larger organizations or enterprises with more complex processes. Do keep in mind that some of these may require additional admin support.
Alerts in Real Time
When it comes to sales, time is of the essence. Make a prospect wait too long, and you’ll likely lose them to a competitor. Pardot eliminates this risk by providing your team with real-time alerts of significant prospect activities — so they can reach out and follow up at the most ideal times.
And since nothing is ever perfect, let’s review some of the cons of using the software:
It’s Harder to Use
Pardot often requires highly trained administrators who understand how to use the platform. If this isn’t you, you may need to spend additional time training your existing administrators, or you may need to have at least a coder within our team to design marketing communications the way you want them to look.
Pardot was originally designed to work as a standalone platform. Although it was subsequently purchased by Salesforce and you can use the latter’s functionalities for creating workflows, customer service tools, and analytics, if you’re not already using Salesforce, you’ll have to look for other service providers that integrate with it. This also means looking at how to provide maintenance for each of them individually.
The reality is that both platforms offer effective tools to create and automate B2B marketing campaigns. However, we’re confident that HubSpot is more complete and designed to work collaboratively with other features that are crucial for a well-oiled customer experience — from the moment a visitor first enters your site, through their buyer’s journey, and beyond. Let us show you a demo, so that you can see for yourself. You’ll be happy you did.