You are likely going to go through a demo of each of the marketing automation platforms you are considering. During that demo, you’re going to want to make sure you get these questions answers. You may have more than these, but make sure you ask these X questions during your marketing automation demos:
- What features are included in the platform?
- What can I expect for ongoing training and support?
- What do reports look like?
- Is it easy to create campaigns, emails, landing pages, etc.?
- How robust is your segmentation?
- What do I get for the price?
- What 3rd party software do you integrate with, e.g. your respective CRM?
- Do you have an API?
- Do you have customers that are related to my line of business?
Some marketing automation platforms have different tiers/product groupings so make sure you are getting all the features you require. Selecting a platform that includes all of its features for a single price is ideal.
Don’t get caught blind-sided by extra expenses for additional training or phone support. Make sure solid training and ongoing support are included in the price. You may end of needing an outside agency to help you with your program, but make sure that’s 1) not required and 2) you can get sufficient training and support on your own.
Having the right data to make sure your marketing automation program is yielding positive reports is imperative. Without it, you’ll have no idea if what you are doing is working or not. Get a glimpse at reports and dashboards to make sure you like what you say from a data presentation perspective.
Find out the level of simplicity/complexity involved in creating the different essential pieces of marketing automation. A good user experience can make all the difference between becoming proficient and confident with your marketing automation platform vs. swearing it off as a PITA.
As an experienced marketing automation practitioner, an essential requirement of mine is having deep segmentation abilities. Make sure that the platform you select can slice and dice your database as you desire, especially dynamically within campaign workflows. Moving contacts in and out of campaigns with dynamic segmentation is a key to your success. You need more than just checking if someone opened or clicked to trigger a decision tree.
Some items you want to check as part of the price is # of users, # of contacts in database, email sends and what features are included.
Any decent marketing automation platform integrates with the top CRMs (Salesforce, Sugar, Microsoft Dynamics) so make sure the ones you are considering have at least that requirement met. You may have some other technologies you want to integrate. Check to see if they are currently integrated or on the company’s product roadmap.
Alternatively, if a marketing automation platform you are considering doesn’t natively integrate with another technology currently, having an API may be the solution. Also, having an one is a clear sign that you’ll be able to do even more in the future by selecting a marketing automation platform with an existing API.
Check that the marketing automation platforms you are considering have served business similar to yours, whether you are service-based, local-focused, a software or physical product business. The platform you select should have some experience with a business of your nature.
Go into marketing automation demos prepared with the right questions to ask. It makes the experience better and improves your decision making process. You may end up having other questions than this as well questions that come up during the demo itself. Ask away – this is an important decision and investment into your business, get it right the first time.