About a few years ago, we could not even have comprehended how much change and advancement the world of marketing will undergo. There was a time when businesses were blindly shelling out their money on marketing without even knowing which channels are working out for them and how much a marketing technique could be accounted for. But today the landscape of marketing has been changed forever with the advent of Marketing Automation. One could never look at deploying a marketing campaign without considering how marketing automation could make everything better right from gaining an insight into your performances, user behavior, gathering intelligence, etc.
There is so much that marketing automation tools bring to the table; it can be overwhelming. As appealing as the options might seem, you will need to put in quite some thought to make the choice for the marketing automation tool that is most appropriate for your business. Here is a list of things that you need to do before you sign that cheque.
Develop a Plan and Set Goals
Try to list out your requirements first – what is it that your business needs, what are your upcoming plans, how many people will use this tool, what are your channels, how long is your sales cycle? Sit back and brainstorm first. Before you try to understand the platform, you need to understand your business requirements; else it is easy to get carried away by the jazz of the tool. Put a team in place and create tangible goals. Understand where you are today, what resources do you have at your disposal, what you would like your future to be, and map out a marketing funnel.
Determine your budget
Simply put, when you go shopping, you need to take a look at your wallet – how much liquid cash do you have, how much credit can you get? The next question you need to be asking is – is this a worthy investment. What kind of marketing automation tool you choose depends largely on your business size and where you intend to take it. However, it is also important that you don’t get too carried away with low pricing. An evaluation of cost vs substance is also essential. Weigh out the price that is being offered against the features that the marketing automation tool comes with. Make sure it is your money’s worth. You might as well compare different quotations and get a bulk discount on a package deal.
Test it against a real-time scenario
Most of the marketing automation tools offer a live demo or a free trial. Sit your marketing team down and take advantage of this. Give them the technology so that take it for a test ride before you seal the deal. Get your team to test the platform against real-time marketing scenarios and develop a list of pros and cons. Ask as many questions as you can before you make your final purchase. Get reviews and references from dear cousin internet. Make sure your slightest concerns are addressed before you arrive at a final decision.
Is it Customizable
Let’s get this straight – if the marketing automation tool isn’t customizable, it’s not your money’s worth. Choose a tool that will come in handy to multiple departments. When multiple departments are able to use it, there will be better collaboration which makes it easier to achieve the organizational goals. It should also be easy to integrate with your current CRM tools so that the marketing team will have steady access to marketing qualified leads. It is also important that the marketing team that you have in place finds it easy to use. If your in-house team isn’t up for it, you can still outsource but then ease of use is actually a crucial factor.
Features That can come in Handy
Some important features that you need to look at when reviewing a marketing automation tool that is appropriate for your business are its reporting abilities, the analytics it offers and how well they can be shared, it’s segmentation ability so that you can select your target audience, user tracking tools, and lead scoring capabilities. These are a few must-have features that can prove very useful for your business. Additionally, you can also look for features like mail automation and SEO automation depending on the demands and needs of your business.
What you need to avoid
Avoid systems that are based on single channels like user actions. More importantly, a marketing automation tool should not lack top-of-funnel ability. It should be able to generate leads from both organic and paid searches.
While it always looks like a marketing automation tool can change the entire playground for your business (and most of the time it does), it is necessary to keep it real. Review the software license agreement and have legal sign it off. Keep in mind that, just because you can afford a lot of those sparkly features, it might not be needed for your business, so try not to overcomplicate. Create a road map before you go shopping so that you can find the tool that best fits your business.