Before evaluating marketing automation vendor, you have to make a certain decision regarding your internal resources. Don’t rely solely on the vendors, to let them become the expert of your business, people, business processes, system.

Once you are all set to acquire a marketing automation system, start to evaluate various processes to get the right vendor for your organization. And how you will do this? By answering these 7 questions.

So let get started.

Que1: Is there an internal team to manage the implementation of marketing automation system?

Getting a right people to involve in the discussion of marketing automation implementation is a key to smooth and successful implementation because if right people are not involved, an implementation might get halt due to internal issues.

An evaluation team might consist of:

  • Marketing and sales manager
  • CRM administrators
  • Experienced sales team members
  • Members of IT team, customer service or any other person whose working will get effect once the implementation is done.  

It is important for you to involve all the departments that could be impacted by marketing automation process.

Start by setting up one-on-one meetings with the top manager of each department, understand what processes and function they have and what they want to improve or develop. Work with them to develop a strategy to get the utmost benefit of marketing automation.

You must get an understanding of your IT and CRM departments as they will play a big role in the implementation.

Que2: What internal and third-party tools does company use?

You should take a look into internal and external inventory of your applications. These may be assisting with data storage, event/webinar registration, social behavior, analytic reporting, etc,.

Knowing what you have and how it works is helpful into your research with a vendor, as many vendors have a large variety of third-party tools that can be integrated with your tools and marketing automation platform to help streamline the processes.

From the owner or administrators of these tools ask them:

  • What function does tool perform, which department is benefitted from its use?
  • Is this an internally built or third party tool?
  • What makes this tool successful or unsuccessful?  
  • If unsuccessful, what change or improvement you would like to see?
  • Would you be able to replace it with another better tool? If not, why?

Based on all the information you have collected regarding the internal and third-party tool, decide on “whom to keep” or “whom to replace”.

Que3: How large is your contact database?

Database size is one of the vital factors that determine which plan to choose in marketing automation system, so it’s important for you to consider all data sources that are available to you and not just marketing or subscriber database, like:

  • Is marketing the only department that is collecting lead generation data, or other department have collection forms (sign-up form, contact us form)?
  • Is your sales team using a CRM disconnected to your current marketing systems or is it still using Excel to manage new and old client data?
  • Collecting all these data not only helps you to get a more accurate view but also helps you to design further strategy more appropriately.

Que4: How genuine your internal database is?

Now that you have taken into consideration all the data within your company, it’s important to evaluate both the quality and accuracy of these data. There is no use of inaccurate or unreliable data even if you are having a large amount of it because it may cause more harm than good.

Nobody wants to receive an email with wrong personalized first name, or a content they not at all interested in. This can lead to more email bouncing rate, emails landing in junk folders or reported a spam. Keep your internal database clean and accurate.

Que5: What is the budget?

Budget is one of the primary factors which impact your decision to choose marketing automation software. Setting a budget will surely help you to narrow down what marketing automation vendors you look at. But since from time to time the need of every organization change so the functions of the marketing automation product you purchase might also get change. Make sure you invest in such a marketing automation software that not only help you in present but also in future and integrated with a third-party tool that supports an additional feature.

Que6: Do you make a list of question to ask your automation vendor?

It is difficult to evaluate and choose most suited automation software as per your need among the plethora of marketing automation vendor. It is difficult because your inbox is overcrowded by numerous sales reps trying to get your attention, resultant these emails become misfiled, deleted or overlooked. This is why creating your own question ( answer given by vendor) can help you to evaluate vendor effectively and also you can compare two or more than two vendors by their answer or facilities they are providing.

Keep your questions organized by a category, such as an email, segmentation, integration, training, etc. This helps the vendors expedite the answers, ensuring that the right departments are fielding the right questions and helps you to compare the answer easily. (Few basic questions can be this). 

Que7: Do you have standardized fields and values for data collection?

If you have multiple departments and every department is collecting data then it is advisable to have a set of standardized fields and values for both segmenting and reporting.

Create a list of fields and values used throughout the company to gather and manage data, then organize them by their uniqueness to one another, as well as their usefulness to the company’s objectives.

Conclusion

These questions, as well as answer, is of great importance to analyze and understand your business processes, system and ultimate aim before spending too much time and money evaluating marketing automation software vendors. It’ll be easier to evaluate vendors when you’ve been able to answer these questions first.

If you have some more questions then share with us in the comment.

PlugTalent

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