Tips for choosing the right marketing automation toolBy David Stout, Director of Digital Marketing

The phrase may be overused, but it’s hard to deny that marketing automation has evolved from being an agency buzzword to being a legitimate “game-changer” for thousands of business development teams in nearly every industry imaginable. Almost every case study seems to trend the same impressive characteristics:

  • Improved lead quality
  • Efficiencies in the sales conversion process
  • Access to lead scoring systems
  • Better cross-channel measurement tools
  • The ability to deploy complex campaigns without the added cost of a deeper company payroll

Given all of the business transformation stories, making the case for implementing marketing automation has become much easier; but the process of selecting the right platform has become more challenging as the options of platforms have grown.  Don’t let the complexity of making an important decision keep you from selecting one that can dramatically improve your business performance.

Technology development and digital integration is part of our DNA at Bayshore Solutions. We’ve been deploying inbound marketing principles for our clients for years, but our process of identifying and selecting our own marketing automation partner was no less challenging. Ultimately, our process lead to the selection of HubSpot as both an in-house platform and strategic partner. This selection has been one that not only helped deepen our performance and resources, but is one that benefits our customers as well.

Follow these steps in your own decision making process and you can achieve game-changing marketing automation excellence.

Step 1: Establish the objectives for your purchase

  • Are you looking to establish better alignment between sales and marketing?
  • Do you need to improve the quality of leads you’re currently getting?
  • Are you looking to improve conversions and shorten your active sales cycle?
  • Does your company need to improve or create lead nurture and follow up processes?

Step 2: Determine your platform requirements

  • Develop both a technical and non-technical check list of requirements to compare the different marketing platforms you research for consideration (i.e. How do the platforms compare for training and support?)
  • Read third party reports about the platforms you’re considering
  • Narrow your list to a manageable selection based on your requirements
  • Develop a shortlist and put together a scorecard for each
  • Collaborate as a team to determine your “must haves,”  for example:
    • Can the platform schedule outgoing campaigns and automate deployment?
    • Can it accommodate multiple schedules for multiple users?
    • How does the platform integrate with your other programs already in use – and do these integrate “out-of-the-box,” or require additional development expense?

Step 3: Test the platforms against a real-world marketing scenario

  • Have each vendor give you a presentation and most definitely get a live demo of the product
  • Develop one or two marketing test-initiatives from your playbook and execute them on each platform
  • Evaluate strengths and weaknesses – are they easy to set up but difficult to measure?
  • Ask about the onboarding process to gauge what ongoing support will be like

Step 4: Get your team in sync with your process

  • New tools and strategies can be exciting and overwhelming
  • Keep your team engaged in your decision process to facilitate buy-in and adoption of your selected platform

There is no one-size-fits-all marketing automation platform. You must look to your own strategy, your own team, and evaluate vendors for a tool that creates cohesion. Many of today’s marketing automation success stories are often the result of basic programs executed very well and supported by a commitment to leverage effective content. Try not to over-complicate your tactics right away. Sometimes adding layers of complexity can result in higher campaign cost than is returned and slow the adoption rate of the platform throughout your company.

The best choice is usually the platform that fits comfortably inside your organization’s culture, works with your existing playbook, and helps you fulfill your current objectives while being scalable to meet the needs of your growing company.

To learn more about how Bayshore Solutions can help you select and implement the right marketing automation for your business needs, contact us today.

 

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