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School of Business | Department of Information and Service Economy | Information Systems Science | 2014
Thesis number: 13822
Marketing automation as a catalyst for business transformation in the B2B sector - A qualitative study
Author: Putkinen, Lauri
Title: Marketing automation as a catalyst for business transformation in the B2B sector - A qualitative study
Year: 2014  Language: eng
Department: Department of Information and Service Economy
Academic subject: Information Systems Science
Index terms: tietojärjestelmät; information systems; markkinointi; marketing; automaatio; automation; suhdemarkkinointi; relationship marketing; asiakkaat; customers; kokemus; experience; organisaatiomuutos; organizational change
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_13822.pdf pdf  size:3 MB (2356972)
Key terms: marketing automation; lead management; customer experience management; organizational change; CRM
Research Problem, Objective & Methods

The digital era has revolutionized B2B sales and shifted the power from the seller to the buyer. Marketing automation is a technological solution that positions itself in a vacuum generated by the paradigm shift by claiming to manage the inbound -driven sales process. However, the technology's requirements and effects both on organizational structures as well as the sales process itself remains unclear due to a shortage of research on the subject.

The purpose of this paper is thusly to explore the degree of organizational change required by the technology as well as to map out the effects from a business perspective. Due to the exploratory nature of the research qualitative methods are used to gain a preliminary but holistic understanding of the issue. The data is analyzed following a theory-bound model and the results are finally reflected against a theoretical framework.

Findings and conclusions

Marketing automation should be viewed as an opportunity within the changed paradigm to respond to the needs of the marketplace and to re-shape the whole marketing and sales function of a modern B2B organization. Inside the company the technology elevates the marketing department from a support function to a measurable and critical part of the company's revenue creation process, truly integrates marketing and sales together and shifts the sales -departments focus to the bottom of the sales funnel. Externally it enables personated and targeted communications to be had with customers at an earlier stage of the buying cycle as well as at the after sales phase allowing for a stronger utilization of the customer-centered, CRM-driven, business model.

The technology also relates strongly to the imperatives for the competitive modern organization mentioned in the relevant academia such as closing the lead gap (Oliva, 2006), building customer centric and market driven organizations with cross functional processes (Vargo and Lusch, 2004), engaging customers as early as possible in their buying process (Adamson et al., 2013), changing the traditional roles between marketing and sales (Storbacka et al., 2009) and catering to the increased customer expectations (Sheth and Sharma, 2008).
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