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How to Vet Marketing Automation Companies — 9 Vital Tips

Estimated reading time: 4 mins

What is the one drawback when you have many options? It’s the risk of making the wrong decision. When it comes to your business your decisions determine your bottom line, so almost each choice can determine your success.

This can make business owners apprehensive about which marketing automation companies to support. You don’t want to make the wrong decision and limit yourself in one of the most important aspects of your business: advertising.

We can give you peace of mind: use the tips in this article as a guideline and you’ll identify the most appropriate vendor for your unique setup.

Will it Work with What You Already Have?

One of the most important lessons you can learn when working with modern technology is this: it should make your life easier, not more complicated.

When introducing a new company’s marketing automation software to your infrastructure it must seamlessly integrate with existing features. If you have to manage several separate systems, you’ll waste valuable time. You also run the risk of data becoming inaccurate as you’ll have to manually transfer it from one system to another.

If you use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system the new software must ideally be compatible with this and support your sales team in following up on leads.

What Features are You Paying for?

You don’t always have to pick the most impressive automation options. It’s more important to pick one with features relevant to your need. In most cases though the following features are the bare minimum to expect:

– Email features

– Social media management

– Alerts in real time to prompt sales personnel to take action with a lead

– Data analytics

– Data hygiene management

– SMS marketing

If you want ultimate results, also ask about landing page creation, eCommerce features, affiliate and referral management & digital advertising. 

Does the Company Care About You?

Even a company offering multiple impressive features won’t impress you in the long run if you can’t use those functions effectively. Chances are you’ll need expert assistance to really make them work for you. But you’re not an expert yet so you’ll have to contact the vendor. And what happens when there’s a problem with the software? Will the company provide support?

To make sure you’ll get excellent customer care when you need it, read the company’s reviews. Also check what your contract says about customer care availability. Having 24/7 support is ideal.

What Feedback Will It Give?

In marketing, as with many other aspects of business, you need feedback to monitor the situation. If you don’t know if your plans result in success you can’t fix problems or improve your impact. Your marketing automation software should help you via an analytics feature that tracks the success of your initiatives.

Personalisation is a Priority

There is so much marketing information people face each day that it can become overwhelming. You need to stand out in the crowd or your potential clients will never become loyal customers.

And effective tool is making your audience feel special. A personal touch goes a long way in proving you care about their needs instead of only their money.

One of the best ways your marketing automation company can help is providing a personalisation feature: each outgoing email should contain the recipient’s name. This must be easy to add with very little effort from your side, so you don’t waste time.

What Type is it?

As your company is unique you’ll have unique requirements from software you purchase. When it comes to marketing automation a company can provide one of the following types:

– Channel specific software: This is process specific and primarily provides one or two functions such as email management. 

– Middle/bottom funnel programs: These don’t support the entire sales funnel yet, but can usually assist with lead capturing apart from messaging. 

– Full funnel products: You can enjoy the benefits of wide reaching functionality, even incorporating SEO.

Does it Suit Your Business? Can You Customise?

You can see that companies cater for many different needs. To determine which one is for you, ask the vendor whether the product can be scaled to your current requirements. Will it work for your team’s size and the number of leads you want to manage?

Is it User Friendly?

As mentioned this product should make your life easy, not difficult. Ask for screenshots of the software so you can view layouts and menus. A demo version is ideal to determine whether your staff will find it user friendly. You don’t want a complicated program to slow them down. 

Consider Your Budget

Of course, you need to consider what it will cost. In addition to monthly fees many companies’ quotes will include implementation and even training costs. This will make the first year of using the product expensive.

Pick one that works for your budget, but also consider how the product will impact your sales. Remember: the ROI makes these programs worthwhile investments.

 

About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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