Bhavesh Koladiya
Bhavesh Koladiya 21 March 2017

How To Select A Marketing Automation Software

Marketing is not just about acquiring customers, but also about retention. As well as a revenue generating strategy it also calls for a lot of investment in time and money. This is where automated marketing tools can help manage and implement several tasks and processes automatically.

What is a Marketing Automation Software and how does it work?

Marketing automation tools are software or web-based services that bring automation to the several regular tasks of the marketing team like email marketing, lead generation, customer profiling, generating reports etc. A marketing automation system can interlink the various marketing channels performing repetitive tasks automatically allowing more time for the marketing team to focus on more strategic tasks. The term automation, however, doesn’t imply complete automation – for instance, a marketing tool cannot develop strategies; it is like a well-equipped car, but there still needs to a driver. That said, it does bring in a lot of ease in performing several tasks and benefit the organization by:

  • Saving Time and Money
  • Generating more revenue by increasing customer engagement
  • Making branding easier and consistent
  • Better lead generation

How to choose a Marketing Automation Software?

With the several advantages a marketing automation system brings, it can be quite tempting to get one for your business, but with so many vendors out there offering a myriad of features and capabilities, making a  choice can be overwhelming. Here is how you should go about choosing the best marketing tool for your business:

  • Budget: When it comes to the budget there are two factors that need to be considered. First – the most expensive tool isn’t necessarily the best. The best one is one which suits the needs of your business the most. Even if it comes loaded with features which your marketing team has no use for, it’s never a good idea to spend a fortune on something you cannot use. The second factor in terms of the budget is that, if you are on a budget, going for the cheapest option might not be a good idea either. Although a marketing automation tool might seem like an investment, it does bring in several returns. Choose one which can fulfill the basic marketing needs of your business.
  • Business Needs: Instead of trying to choose after looking at the several options offered by the vendor, you should work the other way round. Make a list of the marketing needs of your business – think about how an automation tool can solve problems, how it creates opportunities, how much your team can use it? These are the questions you need to answer and prepare a checklist based on this for the features the tool should have. It is always better to ask the vendor for a specific product, than letting the vendor confuse you with options.
  • How much can it deliver: Sending email blasts is a little more than pressing send. It should offer a secure email domain with authentications that are compliant with the Can-Spam Act or other legislations. The automation tool should be trustworthy and come with a good sender score of at least 70%. Since you will be using the tool to send out automatic email blasts some of which are meant for new contacts, it needs to have an email warm up dividing contacts into different segments and sending emails at different times so that the recipient doesn’t blacklist you.
  • Integration and Collaboration: The Marketing tool should be easy to integrate with your CRM tools. It should have automated abilities work in collaboration with the CRM system and to send qualified leads to the CRM system, alerting the sales team to make contact with the lead.
  • User-Friendly: Often after you purchase software that you thought would revolutionize processes for you, you end up feeling disappointed as you aren’t able to use and deploy most of the features. Make sure the tool you are buying is easy to use and doesn’t have complicated interfaces. The vendor should ideally provide training on using the tool. If he doesn’t, ask for it and check how much extra cost that is going to incur. However, you shouldn’t expect that the tool will do everything for you.
  • Think Broad: No tool is a one-size-fits-all system. Hence, there are so many options. Choose one which works best with your current systems and is suitable for your long-term marketing strategy. For example, if you want functionalities to drive more content or embed videos in the emails in future, it should be able to serve those needs. Also, it should be usable by all team and be able to bridge marketing and sales. Ask the vendor how each team can use it.
  • Ask Questions: Even after you have drawn a plan and are sure about the features you need in your tool, ask the vendor how the tool is able to fulfill your requirements. See if it manages full customer life cycles or only generates leads. How does it engage contacts? What is the deliverability rate? What kind of metrics does it offer for tracking campaign performance? How are the deliverables and success measured? Does it offer customizable reports? What kind of metrics does the dashboard emphasize? Is it mobile optimized (if that is your need)?

Bottom Line:

This sums up the basics that you need to straighten out before you go shopping for a marketing tool. When you choose the correct marketing automation tool, it can give your business a great boost and improve the performance and deliverables for marketing. Keep these points in mind and choose a reputable vendor. The information the vendors provide you can be overwhelming, hence, you should make it a point not to over-complicate and choose the one that caters to your needs.

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