Choosing a marketing automation solution for your organization can be a daunting task. There are many different types of providers, software packages, and price options to consider. No two solutions are exactly alike, and it’s easy to get lost in a sea of feature descriptions and marketing copy. Below, we list 10 questions that your organization should consider when choosing a marketing automation solution.
What are the specific business needs I’m looking to address?
Marketing automation vendors differ from vendor to vendor, so this is an important question to ask yourself when beginning your search. Some teams are looking for an all-encompassing data collection and segmentation tool, while others might just want to automate aspects of their email campaigns. Clearly defining your marketing goals will better prepare you for speaking with a vendor and will help you make your final decision.
How does my budget coincide with my marketing goals?
Since marketing automation is a specialized component within a larger marketing plan, it’s vital to understand what other tools or features you may need to smoothly run your business. For example, vendors offer templates for email campaign or landing page creation, but you might need deeper customization than what is offered. Would it be within your budget to purchase additional features or choose a more expensive solution? These types of costs should be factored into your initial budget.
Will I need any managed or creative services?
Some vendors offer services to help clients with software or creative projects, such as providing custom email or newsletter designs. Beyond those tasks, other vendors offer creative consultancy and help with campaign building and execution. If your campaigns haven’t been working as intended, managed and creative services will help determine where you can improve your marketing strategy.
Do I need the solution to connect with my CRM?
Most marketing automation solutions will easily integrate with existing CRM environments, but certain vendors have more integration options than others. If you need to connect your automation to your CRM, start by creating a list of tools that provide appropriate integration options. If you have yet to utilize a CRM, many marketing automation providers have their own CRM software. Feel free to consult with your chosen vendor on what would work best for you.
How much data will I need to migrate?
One of the most notable benefits of marketing automation solutions is its data capabilities. Data can be utilized to improve campaign strategies, and allows for customer journey segmentation. Feeding your marketing automation an abundance of data will immediately increase its value and efficacy. Depending on the features available, your marketers will be able to recognize unique customer categories, demographics, and other trends.
What kind of support is offered?
Using a marketing automation tool for the first time can be overwhelming. In addition to the initial deployment, your employees need time to understand and work with this new tool. Features like segmentation, customer journeys, and workflows aren’t always easy to understand. Be sure to ask what kind of assistance you can receive during the initial learning curve, as well as any ongoing support for potential bugs or unexpected future issues.
What happens if I change CRM?
Organizations are always looking to utilize the best tools available. Sometimes, this includes changing CRM platforms. This can be a daunting task, as users must know if their solutions and data can be migrated. Since some marketing automation tools are specialized for certain CRMs, make sure your vendor explains what would happen during a migration. Furthermore, if the vendor you work with is available on both CRMs, ask them what the migration process will look like.
How easy is it to connect my data with other teams?
Data collected by marketing automation solutions is useful for other teams besides marketers, such as sales or customer support. Providers typically make it easy to combine data from different sources, but it isn’t always a guarantee. If your chosen solution doesn’t offer data sharing, be sure to ask what kind of support can be provided. If data sharing is vitally important to your organization, consider choosing a solution that emphasizes such a feature.
Is it difficult to use outside tools for site and email design?
Not all marketing automation vendors provide the same creative freedom for website and email design. Most vendors offer various customizable templates, but often these aren’t enough. This issue can be alleviated by integrating third party tools that provide additional design options. Depending on integration capability, this can greatly affect solution choice for organizations that place heavy emphasis on design and customization.
If you want to learn more about marketing automation vendors and choosing a marketing automation solution, check out our 2019 Marketing Automation Buyer’s Guide. We explore the top vendors in the field and their key capabilities.
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