With 50% growth annually, Marketing Automation is becoming a billion-dollar industry with record speed. Yet it has been reported that only about 3% of companies in non-technology industries are using Marketing Automation technology. If you are reading this blog post, chances are high you are considering implementing Marketing Automation in your own business. If you are, this blog post will arm you with a few critical questions to think about before you sign a long term contract with any Marketing Automation vendor.
If you are still a little unsure about some of the terminology you’ve heard while researching, take a second to read a few of our Marketing Automation terms you should know.
As you evaluate which Marketing Automation platform will be the best fit for your team, keep track on what is included in each price plan, and what features and tools are most important for your team. Here are a few simple questions about Marketing Automation costs to ask yourself (or the MA vendor) before signing a contract.
- What are your setup and implementation fees?
Many Marketing Automation vendors have an “implementation” fee or something similar. This is often a one-time charge (up to $2,000) for setting up your marketing automation account.
- Do I have to pay for you to teach me to use this tool?
While Marketing Automation technology can help streamline your company’s marketing efforts, to be successful requires a team that can confidently navigate a (sometime overwhelming) set of features. Making sure your team is fully trained on the tool is critical to the long term success of your business. Many MA providers only provide very basic introductory training session with your new subscription, then they charge you additional fees for any advanced training sessions your team requires. Other MA vendors have a mandatory “training fee,” forcing you to pay a large price to simply learn how their tool works.
- Does this price include all the features you offer?
Most Marketing Automation providers have different pricing tiers based on the features included in the plan. Some provide all features for one simple price. Less expensive price plans are often missing important features that can drastically change your usage of the tool. If you chose a provider that does this, find out what features you absolutely need, and make sure they are included.
- Will I have to pay an additional fee for each of my team members?
It is likely you will have several different team members using your marketing automation platform. Your marketing team will be using the tool the most – building campaigns, creating emails, forms and landing pages. If you don’t use a CRM, your sales team will log into the platform to see their prospect’s contact information, lead score and website visit history before jumping on a sales call. Some MA providers will only allow a certain number of users in their less expensive price plans which can seriously frustrate your team as they try to use the tool. Other MA providers allow you to add additional users, but for an additional fee, sometime up to $150 per user, per month.
- What if I go over the number of contacts included with my subscription?
Marketing Automation vendors have different pricing models, but most are based on either the number of emails your company can send per month or the number of contacts in your database/CRM. When shopping, look for marketing automation vendors having flexible pricing models that fit the needs of business not just today, but look for vendors with pricing models that support the growth of your business. Make sure you understand how overages work within your contract.
- If I need help, can I speak to a real person?
Many Marketing Automation providers attempt to automate how support inquires are handled, and many make it difficult (and expensive) to speak with a real person if you run into a jam. Be sure to ask what support resources they provide to their clients. What should you team do if they have a question? Can they call a real person and have a live conversation, or are they only allowed to contact support via email or web chat? Do they have a library of written documentation about the tool and its features? Do you have a dedicated support team member who’s assigned to your account? How much will any extra training cost?
- If I use a CRM, will I have to pay to integrate it with my Marketing Automation
If you use a popular CRM, for example, SugarCRM or Salesforce, it is essential you integrate the information you have in your CRM database with your marketing automation platform. Combining this data will give your sales team a wealth of information about a prospect’s activity on your website, engagement with your email campaigns, and past discussions with your sales team. Some MA providers will charge you large additional fees to integrate with two tools as well as monthly costs to maintain the integration.