If 2020 taught us anything, it's that businesses have to capitalize on digital transformation now. The world and your customers won't wait for you; and, if you're not careful, you could be left behind.

In 2021, that capitalizing might mean pivoting strategies and adopting automated solutions to serve your customers better in the long term.

The pandemic has accelerated digital technology adoption by several years as businesses increasingly digitize customer interactions to stay competitive in a volatile economy.

In that vein, the use of SMS marketing within B2B strategies grew 197% from 2015 to 2017 and remains an expansive channel that can help you gain an edge over competitors.

By nature, text messages are personal and feel human—when done right. SMS is not merely a communication channel; it's also a highly strategic tool you can implement within business, especially when SMS is combined with automation.

SMS automation can transform businesses by increasing efficiency via tailored communication processes and workflows.

The B2B customer journey is all about nurturing relationships, since it can be a complicated and longwinded process. That's precisely why you need to adopt strategies to engage those in the buying process quickly, efficiently, and conveniently on the channels they are most familiar with.

Digital Communication in a COVID Economy

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses became even more dependent on the power of digital solutions. The technology that allowed us to stay in touch with friends and family is also the tech that enabled us to maintain strong business relationships and connect with customers.

Digital transformation isn't just about the short-term benefit, however; it's also about future-proofing your business and building a sustainable, long-term strategy. Beyond COVID, businesses must keep the momentum going to support their own digital acceleration in a bid to stay relevant.

Even four years ago, fully 80% of B2B buyers used their mobile at work, 60% said they would continue to increase mobile usage, and 60% reported that mobile had played a significant role in recent purchases.

Scalable Technology That Grows With Your Business

If your buyers incorporate mobile technology into their everyday work processes, it makes sense that you should too.

To provide a seamless digital experience for your clients and customers, you need to communicate and engage with them on the platforms they use most. Customers want answers in real-time over direct channels, and SMS provides the immediacy and access they want.

Integrating scalable digital solutions has been paramount for business success. As businesses have relied more and more on digital communication, SMS has become one of the most dynamic ways to build business relationships.

Fortunately, there are options for all kinds of budgets and technological abilities, from flexible SMS APIs for developers to no-code applications like Zapier and HubSpot that can be integrated in minutes.

It's all about taking a personalized and conversational approach to your communications--whether in marketing, sales, or support channels. By using SMS automation for various touchpoints, you can streamline communication processes and nurture clients along the buying journey.

How Businesses Can Start Rolling Out SMS Automation Successfully

Introducing new tools can be a daunting process for businesses of any size. But in my experience, it becomes easier once you get the ball rolling: After you've successfully implemented SMS functionality and automation within one communication process, it's effortless to extend it to other parts of the business.

Here are four points to consider when adding SMS automation to your broader communication strategy.

1. SMS and customer experience

Texting is an interactive experience that can bridge the gap between your sales team and your customers. What better way to build a relationship than communicating through a channel that mimics human dialogue?

Delivered straight to a client's handset, text messages give you a direct line to prospects at any stage of the sales funnel. By facilitating a nuanced one-on-one conversation, you'll ensure your leads feel valued as individuals, and you'll better your chances at nurturing the business relationship.

2. Automating Communication Processes

Nurturing leads can be a challenging process. Often, there are too many leads and too many touchpoints to keep on top of. That's where automation truly shines, especially no-code integrations that work based on actions and triggers.

By automating communication processes, businesses can consistently engage recipients at the perfect time while reinvesting resources back into critical tasks.

SMS automation empowers businesses to send messages based on their clients' behavior, sending them the right message at the right time. Even if a company is time-poor or under-resourced, messaging automation enables them to send relevant and helpful responses, such as these:

  • Form submission follow-ups
  • Appointment reminders
  • Invoice notifications
  • Order confirmations
  • Personalized marketing messages
  • Resources to assist with signup

3. Segmenting and Personalizing SMS Content

As with any marketing channel, segmenting your communications effectively is essential when sending SMS campaigns. Keeping your messages as personalized and relevant as possible ensures that your clickthrough rates and conversions remain high; plus, you don't bother potential clients with content that is irrelevant to them.

In the current competitive environment, it's not enough to personalize content with a customer's name. For best results, you have to target your SMS campaigns—whether by industry niche, role within a company, specific pain points, or behavior-based segments.

There are many ways to segment your SMS messages to ensure every campaign or notification has a particular purpose and drives results.

4. Providing Value to Your Customers With SMS Automation

Once you've nailed your segmentation, you can begin to build out your SMS communication strategy with intention.

When a client or lead signs up to your SMS database, you must provide valuable and relevant information to their specific business needs.

At just 160 characters, an SMS can convey your message and engage the recipient concisely. That's easily done when each campaign, individual message, or two-way conversation has a goal in mind. Ask yourself, "What actions do you want leads to take after reading your text message? Is this message valuable to the end recipient?"

Here is a handful of informative and valuable messages you can send:

  • New product updates
  • Personalized discounts and offers
  • Answers to common questions
  • Links to new blog posts, webinars, and other content
  • Customer satisfaction surveys
  • Market research polls
  • PR announcements

Building Strong Business Relationships

The core pillars of a successful B2B sales strategy are relationships and people. Fostering strong relationships is an effective way to grow your business, and communication plays a significant role in relationship-building.

Throughout the buying process, keep the decision-makers as your main focus and communicate in a way that feels natural, human, and engaging. SMS connects you in real-time conversations and ensures the end recipient feels spoken to as an individual person. There's no other communication channel that can replicate that level of familiarity and immediacy.

You're not just trying to win business or close a sale; you're winning over people. By speaking to their pain points, connecting with them on their level, and where they spend the most time, you'll position your business and your team as a trusted and reliable partnership opportunity.

More Resources on SMS Automation

The Do's and Don’ts of SMS Marketing [Infographic]

Seven SMS Best-Practices and Tips for Marketers

What Is Marketing Automation Anyway, and What Can It Do for You? Bruce Swann of Adobe on Marketing Smarts [Podcast]

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How SMS Automation Bridges the Gap Between Your Sales Team and Customers and Supports Digital Transformation

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image of Andre Alexopoulos

Andre Alexopoulos is the COO of SMSGlobal, a leading CPaaS provider. Through enterprise SMS solutions, SMSGlobal helps brands maximize productivity, improve engagement, and drive sales.

LinkedIn: Andre Alexopoulos