May 13, 2019
How to choose Marketing Automation Software
There are dozens of marketing automation products on the market vying for your attention, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the choices. But taking the time to think strategically is crucial when deciding which marketing automation solution is the right fit for your business. Essentially, you want a tool that will not only save your business precious time and money but help you drive your business forward. Here’s a step-by-step workflow that will make it easy for you to identify the right marketing automation software for your business:
Consider the entire business
First things first, you need to think about how this solution will affect the entire business, not just the marketing department — yes, this means removing the silo mentality! In a traditional organizational set-up, different departments will develop their own solutions to their own problems, which can often result in confusing and disjointed customer journeys.
- Decide which department will own the result. This department will be accountable for driving technical implementation, campaign development, day-to-day marketing automation management, and reporting results. It is usually the marketing team, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be.
- Identify relevant stakeholders. Introducing marketing automation technology to your business will affect people working outside your department. Therefore, it’s vital that you seek the opinions of staff working in sales, product, customer support, business intelligence, IT, and creative. In addition to using surveys to collect basic responses from stakeholders, we also suggest conducting one-on-one interviews with these people to further identify and clarify needs, ideas, and biases for consideration. For businesses where marketing and sales work alongside each other, it is worth looking into a product that natively integrates with a CRM such as Pipedrive or Salesforce.
- Sift and sort your findings. Your survey and interview results will provide an excellent list of needs, wants, features, and benefits for you to think about. Your next step will involve prioritizing these findings and sorting them into the following categories: critical, must have, and nice to have.
Analyze all options
By this stage, you should have shortlisted a few marketing automation solutions — you should have no more than 5 on the list. Unfortunately, you’re only halfway there. Here’s what you should do next:
- Invite your shortlisted companies to pitch. Ask for a capabilities pitch from your final 5. Provide them with your ‘critical,’ ‘must have’ and ‘nice to have’ list, making it easier for them to address the core issues right from the start. It’s important to include key stakeholders in this process too — their unique perspectives will be useful in the final decision-making process.
- Assess each company fairly. After each pitch meeting, gather feedback and follow-up questions from stakeholders. You should be able to rank these 5 companies and eliminate the bottom 3.
- Ask for a final demonstration from the bottom 2. You’re almost there! We suggest requesting a final round of demos from your top 2 providers to address any further questions you may have and dive a bit deeper. This is also an excellent opportunity for the providers to showcase their unique selling points, whether it be an easy-to-use interface or useful tools to ensure their customers are set up for success. For example, a template library with customizable customer journeys like the one below, showing customers how they can activate and convert leads into customers during a 30-day trial period.
By now, you should have all the information required to determine which marketing automation solution is most suited for your business.
Make the final decision
You’ve identified the best marketing automation solution for your business — great stuff! However, there’s one more thing you should think about before signing the dotted line: it’s crucial that you select a business partner who will share your values.
Let’s say your business has a value statement centered on customer satisfaction; therefore, you’d want to partner with a company that’s just as passionate about their customers. Therefore, use the vetting process to see if your potential marketing automation partner’s values align with yours; be sure to also assess their response time, their degree of knowledge, and ultimately their overall core values. These factors will determine if this is a company you want to partner with in the long run.
At the end of the day, marketing automation is a critical tool for growing your business, so there’s no reason why selecting the right partner to facilitate this growth shouldn’t be given the attention it deserves.