You’re finally ready to get into the marketing automation game, or take your current automated solution to the next level. And you have good reason: Seventy-six percent of companies that implement marketing automation realize ROI within a year, and 44 percent do so in less than six months, according to a Focus Research Study.
But which vendor will you choose? Virtually all MA vendors claim that their technology will help increase sales, drive more revenue, and boost customer loyalty and retention. But while there are dozens of companies offering the same services, not all of them can deliver the results your company seeks.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind as you shop for a marketing automation vendor:
1) Don’t judge a book by its cover. Even systems with “sexy” interfaces that look intuitive and simple will require some amount of training, and they may not have the comprehensive functionality of seemingly more complicated tools. Don’t be fooled — a solution with the best capabilities is what you’re looking for.
2) Do look for a one-stop shop. Marketing automation isn't a solution in itself. Make sure your MA tool has a broad ecosystem that includes an integrated email platform and keeps all your data in one place, rather than outsourcing certain functions to third-party companies. You also want a solution that supports your other marketing efforts — meaning it includes, or can easily sync with, your Web analytics and tracking software, social media platforms, etc.
3) Don’t take the vendor’s word for it. Vendors promise a lot. To see if they live up to their promises, search online for customer success stories from companies similar to yours. Preferably, look for testimonials that are backed up by some hard numbers. (For example, Paper Style started an automated campaign that gave it a 330 percent lift in revenue per email.)
4) Do choose a highly experienced vendor. In many instances, the boundaries between best practices for B2C and B2B are converging, so look for a vendor that has substantial experience servicing both sectors. That way, you can tap into what they’ve learned from a variety of clients, and bring that know-how to your campaigns.
5) Don’t assume every solution is fully automated. No system is completely automated when salespeople control part of the process. Too many vendors promise closed-loop reporting and the ability to measure pure ROI, but accuracy can be extremely hard to achieve when there’s a human factor in the equation. Don't get sucked into a great story without digging into what is truly automated.
Selecting the best automated option for your company isn’t an easy task, but the time and effort spent are worth it to get the right vendor in your corner. So, what do you look for in a marketing automation solution?
1) Blog: “Website, Meet Marketing Automation”
2) Ebook: “Print Money Today: 7 Emails Marketers Should Automate to Drive Massive ROI”
3) Video: “The Evolution of Marketing Automation”