Marketing automation is all the hype right now and rightfully so. The idea of having a tool that automates, measures, and streamlines your entire lead management process is the answer to every marketers’ prayers.
Now that you’ve decided that marketing automation is right for your organization, it’s time to choose a tool. Easy, right?
The reality: choosing the right marketing automation tool ain’t easy.
Before making a commitment to one platform, carefully examine the unique needs of your organization. Because there are myriads of marketing automation solutions available in a wide range of capabilities, manageability, and costs, it’s important to understand your organization’s needs upfront.
Consider these four topics when selecting a marketing automation solution:
- Evaluate your organization
Before making an exhaustive list of features you’d like to have within your new marketing automation tool, make an honest assessment of your business. Are you looking for a simple email-marketing tool, or are you looking for a more robust application? Does your company have the right team to administer your new marketing automation strategy? Is your company technically sophisticated, or is technology a pain point? Assessing your current situation will help you when narrowing the field of potential solutions.
- Understand the complexities
Although marketing automation can be a difficult to implement and manage, it’s not impossible. If you’re new to marketing automation, it may be challenging to get a grasp of how intuitive the different platforms are, even if you’ve observed endless demos and trials. Do your research on third-party sites, and ask the marketing automation providers to send you references.
- Focus on reporting
Determine which reporting metrics are important to your organization, and which metrics you need to deliver to different people throughout your organization – all the way from the CEO to a marketing manager. Challenge yourself to look beyond the “cute” metrics like open rates and click-through rates, and look for more meaningful metrics like lead velocity, pipeline attribution, and forecasting.
- Evaluate the community
One of the features that often times puts marketing automation providers ahead of others is a strong user community. A strong community allows newcomers and pros alike to gain knowledge and insights into best practices, all while pushing to build a better tool.
A lot of effort and know-how goes into making the promises of marketing automation come true, but the trick to any tool is to remember that it’s just a tool. It’s up to you to squeeze your marketing automation tool for all its worth, all while keeping your marketing and sales strategies aligned.