There’s a lot of things to consider when (potentially) purchasing marketing automation.

The first thing you do is put together a business case. That will provide you (and your management) with a clear reasoning of why you need marketing automation right now – from a business perspective.

Once that’s clear, you should look at the specific user stories and problems that the platform is going to help solve. Finally, you can list out your requirements.

Build a business case

In our Marketing Automation Buyer’s Guide I write about building a business case in detail. Before you ask your management to invest in anything, you should provide them with a solid reasoning as to why marketing automation is going to solve a real problem in your organization.

Here’s some of the considerations that you’ll find in that guide:

  1. What is the problem we’re trying to solve? If you can’t answer this question succinctly, do you really need to make this purchase right now?
  2. What is this problem costing our organization right now? If you can be specific, great. If not, make an estimation. Take man-hours and “non-tangible” things like “stifled creativity” or “unhappy marketers” into account, as well. Not every real cost can be measured.
  3. How will the solving of this problem help your organization? Now flip the situation around and describe what life will look like with this particular problem fixed. Again, try to be specific in terms of numbers if you can, but don’t overlook “soft” factors.
  4. What it will take to get this problem fixed with this particular solution? Provide an estimation, as specific as you can, to the amount of time, money and personnel involvement you expect to need to get this problem sorted.

The Marketing Automation Buyer’s Guide actually contains a real-life business case example that you can use to build your own one.

Determine the concrete problems that need solving

With a solid business case in place, it’s time to figure out what you actually need from the software. Which processes are you looking to improve with marketing automation?

  1. What’s your ideal situation? Before diving into the actual processes you’d like to improve, sketch out your ideal situation. How would you like your work to be at the end of this project?
  2. Which processes are standing in your way? List out the tasks and processes that you have to execute right now that are standing in your way.
  3. Which processes are ready to be changed? Determine which processes should be changed and how. Also determine your priority for changes.

List your requirements

Requirements lists are like shopping lists. If you don’t have one, you’re going to end up with all kinds of stuff that “looked yummy”. In marketing automation software land, if you’re not sure what you’re buying, you’ll end up paying for a lot of things you don’t really need.

Distinguish between “needs” and “nice-to-haves”. You will inevitably end up having to make choices when buying your marketing automation platform – this is how you know where you can make compromises.

If you’d like to read more (and/or get more practical examples) I’ll once again point you towards the Marketing Automation Buyer’s Guide.

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Henrik Becker

I'm Director of Revenue @NetResults, the 1st choice of people buying marketing automation for the 2nd time