While marketing automation technology can increase the effectiveness and efficiency of marketing, sales and customer experience initiatives, it’s important to note that not all solutions are created equal. So how should an organization go about selecting the marketing automation solution that best suits their needs? And once that system is selected, how can an organization ensure implementation success?
1. Does it include the features you need?
Marketing automation solutions are capable of much more than email marketing and include a wide variety of features such as campaign automation, web intelligence, forms and landing pages, surveys, social marketing and more. Take the time to think about whether the solution you’re considering includes the tools you need for your current marketing, sales and customer service initiatives, but also keep an eye on the future too. While you may not use SMS messaging, for example, in your marketing efforts now, if it’s something that you’re considering for the future, make sure you choose a marketing automation solution that can grow with your company.
2. Is it easy to use?
While it’s imperative that a marketing automation solution have a robust feature set that makes it powerful and versatile, the system can’t sacrifice simplicity for functionality. If the daily users of a marketing automation system find it difficult to use, they won’t use it to its full potential or will try to work around using it altogether. A system that’s not user-friendly also defeats one of the main purposes and benefits of marketing automation – saving time.
3. Does it integrate well with your CRM?
While some marketing automation platforms can be used without being connected to a CRM system, integration between the two solutions maximizes the power, effectiveness and value of each throughout an organization. There are a number of marketing automation systems on the market today that integrate with Microsoft 365, but their level of integration varies. The level of integration can impact the cost and timeline for implementation, as well as the overall functionality
4. What are the options for training and support?
Even the most user-friendly marketing automation system will require training for new users to get up and running, so take a look at the training offered by the vendors you’re considering. Since different users have different ways of learning and different schedules, look for a marketing automation vendor that offers a variety of training options such as live webinars, recorded courses, help articles and blog posts. Similarly, support should be offered in different ways to suit your company’s needs and operating hours.
5. How often is the system updated?
Consumer behaviors and preferences change, and to be successful, marketers must adapt to those changes. A marketing automation platform should evolve with the changing needs of marketers. Be sure to look at how often each system you’re considering is updated, and not just with fixes for problems that arise – although those are important too. Vendors should regularly add new features and improve upon existing ones.
6. What is the total cost?
When properly implemented and utilized, a marketing automation platform should pay for itself over time, so price shouldn’t be the most important consideration when evaluating solutions. Instead, look at the overall value. What do you get for the price you are paying? Be sure to look at overall costs including if there are fees for set up, training, CRM integration, additional users and other miscellaneous items. With these extras, sometimes what appears to be the most affordable solution can actually be among the most expensive.
7. Does the provider have a good reputation?
When investing in a marketing automation solution, a company isn’t just purchasing a piece of technology. The nature of the system requires that you have an ongoing relationship with the vendor, so you want to make sure it’s a provider worth having a relationship with. Be sure to seek out customer testimonials, online reviews and ratings.
Tips for Successful Marketing Automation Implementation
1. Identify and align key stakeholders.
For optimal results, marketing automation implementation shouldn’t happen in a vacuum. From marketing to sales to IT to operations and beyond, identify the individuals within your organization who have a stake in the process. Be sure to include those who will be involved for the actual set up process and those who will be using and benefitting from the product down the line. The size of your implementation team will depend upon the size and structure of your organization, as well as what’s required to get your chosen marketing automation system up and running and whether you are migrating from another solution. Once your team is in place, create a high-level plan that documents each team member’s responsibilities and the timing of those actions so everyone is on the same page and can work towards the same goals.
2. Utilize resources.
Don’t go it alone when implementing a marketing automation system.
The company whose solution you choose should provide a wide variety of resources to help get you started – and keep you going! – including training and support. Make sure that the users of your marketing automation system are aware of these resources and that they take advantage of them in order to have a smooth implementation and ongoing usage of the solution. And remember, your marketing automation solution provider should be invested in your progress and outcomes. They have been through implementations like yours before and can help you identify common challenges and questions, and lead you down the path to success.
3. Start small.
With so many valuable marketing tools suddenly at your fingertips, it may be tempting to start using all of them all at once. However, this can easily lead those using the system to feel overwhelmed right out of the gate. It can also often mean that users aren’t getting the most out of each feature because they haven’t taken the time to learn how to use it to its full potential. Instead, marketers and other key stakeholders should discuss and map out their priorities, and begin using marketing automation features from there accordingly. For example, we find that email marketing is the most common place to start for ClickDimensions customers, with many opting to connect their email campaigns to landing pages and forms shortly thereafter.
Want to learn more? Request a Demo of ClickDimensions