These days it seems that every major software company is staking their claim and proclaiming their leadership position in Marketing Automation. Unfortunately for the marketers tasked with finding the right solution, there appears to be widespread confusion on which vendors lead the pack — even industry analyst firms (e.g. Forrester, Gartner, etc.) show drastically different data on what they consider “the best” marketing automation platform.
We’ll save you the time of reading through all of the analyst reports and just give you the highlights:
*Note, the Analysts at TrustRadius took a slightly different tack and identified leaders based on the size of the company. Act-On, HubSpot, and Infusionsoft lead the way for small businesses (1-50 employees). For mid-sized business (51-500 employees), the leaders are Marketo and Pardot. For enterprises with more than 500 employees, TrustRadius selected Oracle/Eloqua as the standout leader.
Regardless of how analyst firms rank marketing automation solutions, it’s imperative to find a solution that fits your brand’s unique needs and requirements. Too often, after a marketing automation solution has been selected and implementation has begun, organizations face problems that are predictable and could have been prevented. In a recent article, we identified the 19 most common stress points associated with Marketing Automation projects and developed a diagnostic to help you reveal and remediate risks.
10 Critical Considerations for Selecting the Right Marketing Automation Platform
- Ensure you receive phone support – you will need it. Find out what other forms of support are available and the hours of operation.
- Find out if training on the software is included with your purchase. If not, how much does it cost?
- Be sure the software integrates with your current CRM solution and data can flow freely between the two platforms. See if it integrates with other platforms you use-a single view of all contact information is valuable.
- If you are changing MA vendors, make sure the vendor has successfully migrated data from your current platform to their software. Find out how difficult this is and what it entails. Is technical expertise needed?
- Find out how pricing scales, especially regarding database size. Are there add-on features available or do you have to upgrade for more features or additional contacts? You need to know the true cost of the platform before purchasing. Are there hidden fees? Limits of messages sent a month? Charges to add users?
- Find out if the software is designed for use by both sales and marketing. How it will better align sales and marketing teams? Ask for examples of how each team can use it.
- Does the platform manage full customer life cycles, or only leads and prospects? You want to be able to engage and nurture contacts throughout the entire life cycle. After all, the best customer you can get is the one you already have.
- Ask about email deliverability, specifically the vendor’s inbox and deliverability rate. This is an oft-overlooked but incredibly important aspect to a successful marketing automation platform.
- Metrics and reporting vary greatly between vendors. What metrics are available to track campaign performance? Also be sure to find out how the software measures/defines success. What metrics does the dashboard emphasize? Are reports customizable?
- Ensure the software offers mobile optimized landing pages and forms, as well as responsive email templates. Do you have additional mobile technology needs? It is essential that the software can meet your mobile requirements.
Like many things in business, success does not rest on technology alone. In order to be successful with marketing automation (and long before you select a vendor tool), you have to create your demand generation strategy and empower the people who will actually own the success of not just the marketing automation tool, but also the entire demand generation process. At TopRight, we call these the Marketing Automation Conditions for Success. If you are in the early stages of your marketing automation journey or are about to begin an integration, it’s imperative you have these conditions for success in place.
Does your brand have the marketing automation conditions for success?
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