How to select the best marketing automation tool as a B2B company

on March 10, 2014

marketing automationWe have a saying around here that we use often which is “Automate The Important.” What is it in your business that you know is important but you just don’t have time to get to? Is it following up with old customers? Tracking down data on new opportunities? Building a list of target prospects?

Marketing Automation software isn’t a new concept but it is rapidly coming to the doorstep of many mid-sized B2B organizations. If you are one of those organizations, here is a few tips on how to select the best solution for your needs.

Step 1
Set up demos with your short list of vendors within a relatively short timeframe after receiving the RFP responses, to help make relevant comparisons. Make sure that all potential internal users are on the demo call, and pay attention to the following:

How easy is the platform to use?
Does the vendor seem to understand our business and our marketing needs?
Are they showing us our “must-have” features?

Step 2
Send over or set up a second meeting to ask each vendor these questions:

How easy is it to integrate this software into my unique company?
How long and complex is the on-boarding process?
What kind of support and training are included?
How do I make sure my team adopts this tool set?
How long does implementation take usually?
Can we do a test run for a few days on our own (i.e., a free trial)?

Step 3
Begin negotiating a contract with them. Don’t hesitate to ask for a demo of the specific capabilities that you have identified.

Although not all vendors require an annual contract, many do. Once you’ve selected a vendor, be sure to get in writing a list of what technology and support are covered in the contract. Ask about what kinds of additional fees might come up. This can be a huge hidden cost. Also see how this integrates with your CRM tools specifically and ask if they have any examples they could show you of that arrangement.

Step 4
Find an implementation partner if you don’t have a full time staff person available to help you. The cost of implementation can be very high if handled by a part time person…not to mention the loss of excitement around this endeavor due to a seemingly endless timeline.

Hope you found that helpful!