Five Tips in Selecting Your Marketing Automation Platform

In this podcast episode, we review a recent success story with Convena Distribution and why they chose Act-On . What are the factors you’d consider in selecting a marketing automation platform?

Convena Distribution, a global IT supplier, is one of the leading international IT distributors in Europe with over 15 years of experience in the industry. Although the company was using another marketing automation solution, it did not have all the features Convena needed to execute its marketing efforts and improve results.

Five Tips in Selecting Your Marketing Automation Platform

Convena’s marketing team knew they needed a platform that would allow them to elevate their marketing efforts and provide more personalized communications to current customers and leads. They chose Act-On for its ease of use and active contact pricing, among other factors. 

So, how did you select your current platform? Was it something you inherited? Did you choose it based on cost alone? Did you have buyer’s remorse once the ink was dry, and you’re now impatiently waiting for the contract to end?

Here are five tips for considering your marketing automation platform (or other major piece of marketing technology).

Picture of Kristine Steenberg Henriksen of Convena, which chose Act-On for its active contact pricing

Start with defining your business goals

The first step in selecting an adaptive marketing platform is to identify your goal.

Don’t try to solve just massive goals, such as increase revenue, because those are hard to measure. Your goals should be specific things tied to the types of marketing programs you hope to execute with the platform.

And your goal needs to be quantifiable. For example, you want to find a platform that will help you drive a 10 percent increase in retention. Or help you achieve a 10 percent improvement in your conversion rate. Or a 10 percent increase in leads that are qualified and sent on to sales.

Those are examples of specific and quantifiable goals.

Match your goals to requirements

Once you have the goals, you begin to define the processes you need to achieve those goals. And then once you’ve defined the processes, now you can begin to think about your technology requirements. The process is what drives your requirements.

You have to be very, very granular to translate those general goals into specific processes, and then the processes into the requirements.

Evaluate use-case scenarios with marketing automation vendors

Once you know your requirements, you can begin to think in terms of use cases and scenarios. The biggest mistake in this area, and one of the most common, is that marketers don’t develop specific scenarios based on those processes.

Go through a thorough evaluation process. Consider multiple vendors. Get expert help if you need it because people who’ve had experience doing this have got a much broader perspective and can give you help with best practices.

See how the proposed platform fits together with your existing stack. Is it seamless, or will you one or two other pieces of technology to make it work? Is it out of the box, or are you going to need a custom install? If there’s a bit of awkwardness, it comes here.

You also want to take a look at the underlying technology and scalability. Will the platform be able to grow with over the next few years. Is it positioned to take advantage of the latest innovations?

Go beyond just the system that’s in front of you, beyond the features and benefits, and look at what’s going to happen after the sale. What’s the support going to be like, what’s the training going to be like?

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Check out our additional related content:

Choosing Marketing Automation: 2 Must-Haves that Predict Successs

Ask for customer references

The best way to do this is to talk to other people who’ve used it. Talk to the references the vendor supplies, and use social media to get a better sense of what’s going on.

Is there a way for you to weed out fact from fiction? Ask lots of questions and seek referrals. Look for apples to apples comparisons so that you’re not getting examples that are B2C when you are a B2B company, or you’re getting Manufacturing referrals when you’re in the Higher Education space. These are great questions to ask when you’re trying to get the facts:

  • Is this platform built for B2B or B2C? Both? Tell me how?
  • Can you show me examples of how companies and industries like mine use your product?
  • Is your tool built for sales or marketers? Is it a sales productivity tool, or is it a demand generation/marketing automation tool?
  • Is it a closed or open system? Do I have to use all the products in your ecosystem, or can I choose the products that work best for me that can then integrate with your platform?
  • Does your product scale well across multiple product lines or geographies? Can you show me examples?
  • How quickly can I expect to get up-and-running and seeing ROI on my investment?
  • Can you talk about ease of use? How much reliance on tech support should I factor in to daily use of the platform?

Your long range planning with marketing automation

The nice thing about defining requirements in use cases in advance, is it also gives you a roadmap for what you’re going to do after you buy the system.

Then when you do buy the system, you have everything all laid out, you have your planning in place, so you know what to do. You’re not scratching your head saying, “Now what?”

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