Three Considerations for Selecting the Right Marketing Automation Technology
How do you choose the right marketing automation technology for your organisation? This article runs through three considerations for marketers when selecting a platform.
Marketing automation helps businesses of all sizes deliver tailored, relevant content at the right time, while also giving them the opportunity to establish themselves as thought leaders while nurturing leads. The technology also helps companies personalise the content they send to their customers based on their previous activity on the site, browsing behaviour or preferences.
The success of companies that supply subscription-based consumer goods, like shaving products or pet food, have demonstrated the power of marketing automation platforms for smaller businesses.
But how do you choose the right marketing automation technology for your organisation? It’s a decision made more challenging by the fact that different vendors will emphasise different marketing functions or aspects of their software, and that the platform needs to integrate seamlessly with existing processes and systems.
This article runs through three considerations for marketers when selecting a platform.
#1 Does the technology’s capabilities align with your goals?
Before considering any new platform, it is imperative to work out what goals the business is looking to achieve, and how marketing automation software will help reach those goals. Work with any team in the business that will be using the software to determine what exactly you need marketing automation to do, and how that will contribute to business objectives.
For example, is the goal to get more high-quality leads? Achieve greater order value? Retain more customers? Think about what the software must do to support these objectives by scrutinising its capabilities. Can it personalise messaging? How easy is it to optimise campaigns that are ongoing? How does it measure campaign performance?
After the goals of the business and the capabilities of the platform are determined, you must think about how these marketing automation processes will be woven into your teams’ workflows, and what roles individuals will play to deliver on those goals. In order to get the most benefit from marketing automation, the sales and marketing teams must be aligned in this process.
#2 How easily does it integrate with what you already have?
Marketing technology of any kind can’t help a business on its own. Success will depend largely on how well marketing automation integrates with existing workflows and how well its functions are understood by the members of your team.
Before choosing a platform, ensure that it will integrate with the organisation’s current systems. What sources of customer data do you already have? Presumably you have a CRM and CMS, but have you considered how social media platforms might integrate with the system, and what that might look like?
Keep an eye on the future during the selection process, asking yourself how the platform might cope with the integration of further systems as the business becomes more digitally mature.
Work with the vendor to ensure you and your teams understand how the integrations work, and how they contribute to building a single view of the customer. If you’re working with partners or agencies, it’s also worth consulting with them to see if the platform under consideration will work with their systems as well.
#3 Will the partner sit down with you to show you how it works?
To get the most out of your marketing automation platform and ensure the one you choose will help your organisation achieve its goals and ambitions, it is imperative to take some time to work with the vendor to explore its capabilities.
A survey carried out by Econsultancy and Act-On found that although almost all respondents agreed that effective marketing automation was critical to long term business success, only two-fifths (41%) felt their business was using it to its full capacity.
Maintain this relationship with the vendor so you’re always aware of developments, and are made aware of any planned updates to the technology.
Is the vendor available to train your teams on how to use the platform? Different people in your business, with a range of different competencies and skillsets, will be using the platform, so it is important that it is straightforward enough for everyone to operate the software.
When things go wrong, what level of support can the supplier provide at short notice? Consider the testimonials of other users to gauge the vendor’s commitment to customer service.
Finally, bear in mind that the integration of any marketing automation platform into an organisation’s existing systems is a complex process, that making the most of the platform is an ongoing learning experience, and there will be a period of transition. With the right strategy and supplier, however, you should start to reap the rewards of marketing automation.
For more information about selecting the right marketing automation software for your business, including a list of questions to ask potential suppliers, download Act-On’s eBook Making Marketing Automation a Reality