Marketing automation has won many accolades, and rightly so, for its vast capabilities. It fences in every imaginable marketing technique, but in a more efficient and automated way. That's why most businesses are looking for a good Martech (Marketing Technology) platform that can ease their workload and skyrocket their business.
Investing in solid automation tools is investing in customer relationships—they always pay off. But how do you choose the best marketing automation tool for your business? With legions of platforms emerging every day, it might be baffling to try and zero in on the one that meets all your requirements and doesn't burn a hole through your wallet. If you've resolved to spend on marketing automation software but don't know how and where to begin, this article is for you.
To put your doubts to rest and ease you into making a decision, here is a list of eight questions you should ask while evaluating marketing automation software.
What's the scoop?
Start by finding out what other users have to say about the platform you're considering buying. Talk to other marketers about their experience working with the software solution to learn the pain points it solved for them or even the new ones it created. Ask your in-house experts about their expectations and gather their suggestions.
There are also many independent review sites like G2 Crowd, Capettera, and Trust Radius where you can find user reviews and professional punditry on the software solution you're contemplating purchasing. Once you've gathered the word on the street, you partially come to know where to begin.
What features does it offer?
Marketing automation's scope goes beyond email marketing. It encompasses all possible marketing processes, from lead generation and nurturing to conversion and retention. Does the automation software solution have basic features that bridge the gap between sales and marketing, which in the future can be scaled when your business grows? Make a list of features you require and check if your potential solution covers all the bases.
Ascertain if the platform helps you adhere to your country or region's regulations. Mainly look if it is GDPR- and HIPPA-compliant. Letting your customers know that their data is in safe hands elicits trust and is just as important.
What integrations does it support?
Sales and marketing teams work in tandem. As your company grows and communication between teams becomes challenging, seamless data migration becomes rudimentary. Does the platform integrate with CRM software you're using, or does it come with its own CRM ecosystem where you can transfer data hassle-free?
Apart from CRM, there are hosts of SaaS platforms you would want your marketing automation software to integrate with. Check how these integrations work natively. If they don't, ensure they provide integrations through third-party sites like Zapier. You might want to get a handle on which tools you absolutely want to integrate and which you can forgo before coming to a conclusion.
Will the vendor provide quality support?
Erecting an automation system from the ground up demands some spadework. Most vendors understand this and provide easy onboarding. Apart from comprehensive onboarding, look for quality ongoing support. You might never know when you'll require technical assistance. Get to know how quickly and precisely they might resolve your issues.
An email or chat that goes unread will be of no assistance to you. It's wise to pick a platform that provides easily accessible phone support. Also be aware of their working hours and the languages they provide support in.
How can we forget documentation? A business needs to provide adequate help guides and release notes to help users navigate their application. Churning out enough thought-leadership content to educate users adds an extra edge.
Can all of my team members use it?
Team collaboration increases innovation and improves communication. The software you purchase must be collaboratively used by all in your marketing team. Check how many users can be added into an account and how many accounts can fit at an organization level. A standalone account with only one user fails its purpose of fraternization and does not reap your money's worth. Some vendors might even add extra users as per your request. Finding reasonably accommodating vendors can help you in the long haul.
How scalable is the software?
The marketing landscape changes periodically, and trends flit through time. Businesses need to adapt to these for consistent growth. It's paramount that as your business grows, your automation platform should also grow to meet the incoming demands. Ask the vendor how scalable their software is. Will they rollout new features following the shifting trends in the marketing automation space? With improvements in AI, newer programs and software are persistently being developed. Every pioneering company aspires to embrace the new to digitally transform their business.
What is the overall cost?
The software's price shouldn't turn you blue in the face. This doesn't mean you can choose software that fuels your company's whole marketing efforts based only on a low cost. Cast your net for software that meets both your functional and pricing demands. Neither penny-pinching nor over-spending merits the cause.
Beware of hidden charges and overages the company throws in. Pay attention to how the vendor splits up its pricing. Do they charge for the number of subscribers or the host of features? How does their billing help your business? Also, you shouldn't be tied to an under-serving product for years. Be sure to understand their contract, if they have one. It's always recommended to choose vendors who don't bind you by any contract. Vetting overall potential cost saves you lest you jump the gun.
How does it measure performance?
As the famous quote goes, "What gets measured, gets improved."- Your marketing automation software should track, measure, and manage your campaigns and ROI. Gone are the days when only the increase and decrease in the overall revenue mattered. You should know what causes a surge or dip in your returns. Ensure your software has flexible, customizable, and quality dashboards to measure your campaign's success. With granular reporting on how each marketing item performs, you get to know new trends and insights that surface periodically. With the availability of this information, you can make data-driven decisions that propel more conversions over time. Plainly speaking, you will know if your marketing benefits you or not.
Over to you...
Now that you've learned the ropes of vetting marketing automation software, ask these questions before throwing your hat in the ring. The bottom line is not to be carried away by the bells and whistles of empty software and to choose the one that offers what it promises. For marketing automation software that can power your entire organization's marketing effort is all the rage!