Marketing Automation: Picking the Software that is Right For You, by Jennifer Michelle
Marketing automation can be expensive – or an expensive mistake.
- Your decision can cost the company tens of thousands of dollats
- You have to be able to justify your choice to the executives and the board
You need to know the right questions to ask.
Step 1: How do you know what you need?
- Plot out your lead funnels
- What channels are you using?
- What triggers the movement through stages of the funnel?
- What changes someone into a qualified lead?
- Decide on sales notifications
- When and how do you want the sales team to be notified and get involved?
Step 2: Based on that, what features are most important?
Here are a few options:
- Email automation
- Lead scoring
- Marketing cost & revenue tracking
- Reports (by channel? by funnel stage?)
- CRM (or integration with a CRM)
- Landing pages, web pages, blog posts
Step 3: Then get some demos
- Keep in mind there are a lot more newcomers
- Hubspot, Marketo, Pardot (well known)
- Drip, Active Campaign, SharpSpring (newbies)
- Include IT and sales at the demos
- In the demo, make sure they show you the things they say they can do
- Look up online reviews, and ask for customer references
You want someone who will be there when you need them
- a user community
- an online knowledgebase
- Phone, email, or chat support
- What’s the average turnaround time on support tickets?
- Do you get a dedicated account manager?
- What kind of support do they provide if you are flagged for spam or blacklisted?
- What do their support packages cost?
What’s the deal with implementation?
- Do you get built in templates?
- Landing pages?
- What’s the branding situation? Can you brand it – easily?
- Will they work with you 1-on-1 while you learn?
- Do they offer group calls?
- What are the implementation package costs?
- What is their system uptime rate?
- What are their email deliverability rates?
- What technical requirements are needed to run their software and integrate it with your website?
Step 4: Get a good price
- A free trial
- Money-back guarantee
- Number of users (and the cost of adding more)
- Training cost
- Implementation, launch, or kickstarter fees
- Support cost
- Are technical questions billed differently from questions about best practices?
- Consider mixing-and-matching with less expensive apps/vendors
- Time the contract decision for end of the quarter
- Tell them if you are switching from a competing vendor
- Add a clause to the contract to protect you from a big price increase when the first contract expires