The best B2B marketing automation platforms

By Stellan Björnesjö

The best B2B marketing automation platforms

Not that long ago, it was difficult to find a platform that did what you wanted to do. Now, the problem isn't finding a platform that does what you want it to do – it's choosing which one. This is true for almost any area, so also for marketing automation. In this article, we'll note a few things to consider when selecting a platform and a brief list of the most highly rated by users in B2B.

The starting point

In our Guide to what, why, when and how to use marketing automation we argue that as marketing automation as a topic has been growing in popularity, more and more software vendors have ventured into this field of opportunity. Hence, it's more important now than before to look at where the tool came from, since its origin is traditionally its core strength.

Also, the tool you choose shall fit into your existing software stack. Rarely - preferably never - choose to add new software that doesn't offer an integration with your current software stack in some way. Today, many middlewares like Zapier, Tray or PieSync (recently acquired by HubSpot) simplify what used to be complex coding into a no code or low code process.

The list

This list of marketing automation platforms are the tools that we have come across the most, in no particular order. We cover what they do, who they are closest to, possibilities to integrate, and their starting prices.

ActiveCampaign

What it does:

ActiveCampaign calls themselves "the #1 automation platform", and for B2B specifically, they focus on sales automation; scoring leads, creating deals, assigning a salesperson and tasks, and automating outreach and important internal notifications within the team. However, the platform itself also offers many "marketing" features such as newsletters, landing pages etc. In G2's list of best marketing automation software they are ranked number two by users after HubSpot.

Closest competitor:

SharpSpring

Integrations:

850+ integrations highlighted in their app store.

Pricing from:

9 USD per month for 500 contacts (Lite plan).

 

HubSpot

What it does:

HubSpot has pivoted from a tool focused on enabling inbound marketing that also happens to have a contact database to a platform and ecosystem for managing the entire customer experience with their CRM at the core. Built-in tools and integrations cover marketing, sales, content management, and customer service. These are the four so-called "hubs" on top of the CRM. For marketing automation, strictly speaking, you only need the Marketing Hub with a Professional license.

Each product in the platform is powerful yet not best of breed on a tool by tool comparison. But the real magic comes from the fact that everything is more than enough for most needs, and – most importantly of all – integrated into one platform from the get-go. Its ease of use is why it tops G2's list of best marketing automation software

Closest competitor:

Marketo and Pardot

Integrations:

650+ apps listed in their app marketplace.

Pricing from:

800 USD per month for 2000 contacts (Marketing Professional).

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Marketo Engage (Adobe)

What it does:

Marketo Engage is similar to HubSpot in that it started out focusing on supporting lead generation through online marketing activities. It's often used by medium-sized businesses and bundles tools for lead management, email marketing and marketing automation. Considered powerful but more difficult to use, user satisfaction is lower and among the midfield in G2's list of best marketing automation software. However, if you're already heavily into the Adobe ecosystem, going with Marketo Engage is a natural choice to at least evaluate.

Closest competitor:

HubSpot and Pardot

Integrations:

550+ integrations of which a few are highlighted here.

Pricing from:

Marketo offers no official pricing online, you're prompted to contact sales. According to other sources like this one, prices start at 895 USD per month for 10 000 contacts/records.

 

SharpSpring

What it does:

SharpSpring is a sales and marketing automation platform, or as they say a "revenue growth platform". The platform covers some of the most common needed marketing and sales tools such as email, landing pages & blogs, forms, social, CRM, bots, meetings and analytics. Like its modern peers, it's also built for easy integrations with other tools and platforms.

Closest competitor:

ActiveCampaign

Integrations:

150+ integrations listed in their app marketplace.

Pricing from:

Like Marketo SharpSpring offers no official pricing online, you're prompted to contact sales. According to G2, prices start at 399 USD per month for 1 000 contacts/records.

 

Pardot (Salesforce)

What it does:

Pardot was acquired by Salesforce in 2012 and is since offered as a "B2B Marketing Automation"-module within Salesforce. It's primarily focused on nurturing leads by automating email flows and includes a landing page and forms tool to collect necessary data and create starting points. Its strength however, lies in the sales tools for those who are already familiar with Salesforce CRM.

Closest competitor:

HubSpot and Marketo

Integrations:

300+ apps listed in Salesforce's AppExchange for the Marketing category.

Pricing from:

1250 USD per month for 10 000 contacts

 

Mailchimp

What it does:

Mailchimp started just as the name suggests, as an email marketing tool. From that, they've gradually extended the platform's features to marketing automation with – naturally – a focus on email, specifically transactional emails in e-commerce.

Closest competitor:

Mailchimp has carved out a niche slightly different to the tools above. If you're main channel is e-commerce and you'd like to add valuable automation features, particularly if you use WooCommerce or Magento, it should be on your shortlist.

Integrations:

250+ apps currently listed in integrations.

Pricing from:

Free for up to 2 000 contacts and then limited to 1-step automation.

 

MobileMonkey

What it does:

MobileMonkey makes the bold claim of being "the world's best sales automation text messaging platform". It allows you to create chatbots that visitors, prospects and customers can use via SMS, webchat, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. All your chat inboxes from these different platforms are gathered in one place, and by integrating the platform with your other tools, the chatbots can be used to automatically drive conversions, meeting bookings and signups. Few B2B companies have really explored the possibilities that on-site and social media chatbots can provide, so if your company wants to be one of the first, it may be worth testing.

Closest competitor:

Wider-ranging tools like HubSpot and Zendesk also have automated chat tools. But MobileMonkey's range of integrations and close focus on the chat medium makes it a little more powerful. 

Integrations:

MobileMonkey relies on Zapier for its integrations with other platforms. This gives users the possibility to straightforwardly connect with a very wide range of platforms across sales, marketing and support - like HubSpot, for example.

Pricing from:

MobileMonkey has three products, Agencio, aimed at agencies, FunnelPro, for in-house marketers at larger companies, and InstaChamp, for small-to-medium-sized businesses, creators and brands. FunnelPro starts at 119 USD a month, paid annually.

If you found this article useful, you're probably considering starting with marketing automation in your business - if that's the case, make sure to take a look at our in-depth marketing automation guide. It covers how you should use it as a B2B company, what the benefits could be, and some examples of automation that you can set up. 

The guide is also available in a downloadable PDF format - click below to get access to it.

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Download our marketing automation guide

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Stellan Björnesjö
Online Strategist at Zooma since 2012. 15+ years of experience as a manager, business developer and specialist within online and e-commerce. He has a perpetual drive for knowledge and knows what to do with it.
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