Top Questions to Ask When Selecting a Marketing Automation Vendor

Marketing automation is the latest trend for businesses who want to get the best marketing solutions for their business. Businesses are only as strong as the marketing strategy used to grow and succeed.

There are many different agencies out there that offer marketing automation, but which one will be the right one for your needs?

Your business is unique, which means that you need a solution that works specifically for your needs. To figure out which marketing vendor is the right choice for your business, you need to know which questions are the best to help you select the right marketing vendor for your needs. This will help you see some of the top questions to ask, as well as other considerations for choosing the right vendor.

Questions to Ask a Marketing Vendor When Choosing One for Your Business

This section will cover some of the most important questions that you need to ask before you select a marketing automation vendor for your business. Do your research to compile a list of potential vendors, then be sure to ask them all of these questions. This will help you narrow down your choices so that you can pick the perfect vendor for your needs.

These are some of the most important questions to ask a marketing vendor.

 

Do You Offer CRM Integration and Does the Information Flow in Both Directions?
In an ideal world, your marketing automation platforms will be able to integrate with your CRM platform of choice. Salesforce may be the most popular of these platforms, but some smaller businesses go with another choice for their CRM needs because they don’t necessarily need all of the features that Salesforce offers.

When you talk to a marketing automation vendor, you should ask them if they offer integration with the CRM platform that you use. This is important because you will better benefit from seamless integration between your sales team and the CRM platform that you use as well as integration with your marketing automation solution. With proper integration, you can get a solution that will grow with your business. If you don’t get an integration solution that can scale with your business, you can find that communication with your teams and customers becomes more challenging.

Do You Offer Additional Integration?

CRM tools are just one tool that your business utilizes for increased efficiency and productivity in your business. While finding out if their marketing automation tool can be integrated with your CRM platform, you should also see what other integrations are available with this platform. Most important, you need to see if the marketing automation can integrate with the tools that your business relies on to operate.

You should have a list of the tools that you need for your business available when talking to the marketing automation vendor. This way when you are speaking to the vendor about the various integrations that they offer, you are able to see if they have the capabilities to integrate with your essential tools.

How Does the Data Flow Work with Your Marketing Automation Solution?

Understanding how the data flows in and out of the marketing automation solution is important, especially when you consider that you will likely need to combine the data with the other systems that your business needs to operate. Your ultimate goal should be to get a holistic picture that can help you improve your decision-making capabilities.

The data in your marketing automation solution needs to work well with your CRM, CMS (content management system), SEO, and ERP. The data that is compiled from all of your different tools should be easily accessed in a central location, which gives you a better picture of your overall operations and gives you the information that you need for making the best decisions for your business.

Is Your Solution Flexible? Are You Able to Export Your Custom Reports?

A lack of flexibility and weak reporting are red flags about any platform that you should be wary of. An otherwise amazing platform can crumble with weak reporting and no flexibility. What this means is that it’s absolutely important for you to ask this question to the marketing automation vendor. The reporting features should be a major focus when you are looking for a marketing automation solution.

What Should I Know About How Your Platform Measures Success?

Whenever you get a new tool for your business, you want to make sure that you are selecting one that can help you measure success. You want to make sure that your marketing automation solution and strategy are working in the way that you want it to. You want your marketing automation platform to track, report, and offer insight on your ROI using that tool.

Measuring success with your marketing tool is very important for your business. By getting the right data, you are able to see the strengths and weaknesses of your marketing strategy so that you can adjust it. This will help your next marketing campaign be even more successful.

The best marketing automation tools offer customizable and flexible reports and dashboards for your business. Ask the marketing automation vendor to see how they measure success and be sure that these measurements have metrics that you find important for your business.

How Do You Go About Migrating from My Old System to the New One?

If you have a marketing automation platform already, this is an important question that you need to ask the vendor. Understanding their migration plan to the new system can be crucial. You should listen very closely to see if they have any references for the type of migration services that you need, from the vendor you currently use to the new vendor. This is especially important because you want examples of a successful migration from your platform to the new one, giving you peace of mind that you get a smooth transition.

A major part of this is to look at the resources that are required to update and/or migrate your system. This is important because you want to know what to expect from the process, especially if these resources require you to pay for additional services or if you need to pause your own resources to use them for this migration process. It can be a good idea for you to bring in people from your marketing team, sales team, and IT department during this meeting so that you can get their input on whether or not these services align with their goals.

 

What’s the Actual Cost of Your System?

This question is asking about their transparency when it comes to costs associated with using their platforms. Some companies have hidden fees and costs that are lost in the fine print. These hidden costs and fees are usually associated with training, implementation, and overages. What’s even more important is that these hidden costs can tend to really add up, surprising you with a much higher cost than you were expecting with your bill.

These costs can not only add up, but they can negatively impact your operations. If your bills come up much higher than you anticipated, this can interfere with your business. That’s why it’s so important for you to take the time to ask about this when selecting a marketing automation vendor. You want to have a clear understanding of any fees and costs associated with the marketing automation solution, allowing you to better budget for your business.

What Kind of Marketing Automation Support Do You Offer?

Support is always an important thing to look at when you are looking for any digital solution for your business. If something goes wrong with your marketing automation solution, you want to make sure that you have a professional from the company to help you through your problems. If you need help and the customer support team isn’t there when you need it, this can negatively impact your business.

Specifically, ask about any telephone support that they may offer. When are they available? Does it cost extra? What other ways can I get ahold of your support team? You will inevitably need to use the support services at some point, so you want to make sure that there’s someone there when you need them.

Can You Easily Add New Users to the System?

It’s crucial for businesses to be able to easily add and remove users in your marketing automation system. You want the ability to do this freely, whenever you need to. There are some systems that are stricter about this than others. For instance, in some cases, you are only able to remove users when they’re up for a renewal of their contract. Sometimes businesses need to adjust on the fly, so it’s important to have any tools for their business have this same ability to adjust quickly and easily. 

 

How Long Will It Take to Implement Our New System?
The answer to this question will depend on the size of your organization and the quality/condition of your current data. On average, you should expect that it will take up to a month for implementation to take place. If it will take any longer or significantly less than this time to implement the new system, you should be wary about working with that company.

Some factors that can impact the implementation of the new system include the sophistication of your current systems and workflows, the number of data sources or silos, and team engagement. Be sure to get a clear picture of how long the implementation will take for your business and why they estimate that time.

 

Is the System Capable of Managing Full Customer Lifecycles? Or Does it Only Handle Leads and Prospects?
The marketing professionals for your company are responsible for managing and determining the entire customer journey or lifecycle. This task includes not only managing your current customers but any potential prospects for your business. It’s important that you get a marketing automation solution that fits your specific needs. Some are capable of managing the entire customer life cycle, while others only work for handling leads and prospects. Think about what you need from your marketing automation solution, then use this to help you select the best vendor for your needs.  

 

Does the Solution Support the Mobile Needs of Your Company?
Mobile technology is becoming increasingly essential with marketing professionals these days. This is why it’s crucial for you to choose the right solution for your needs. You may find that half of your responses from customers come from mobile devices. This means that you have a mobile responsive template for your landing pages, email templates, and other forms are supported by the marketing automation system.

What Are Some of Your Biggest Strengths When Compared to Your Competition?
What makes one vendor stand out from the other? Knowing the answer to this can be really helpful when you are trying to decide on which vendor will be the best option for you. Knowing the strengths of the individual vendors can help you understand what makes them stand out and you can determine if their strengths meet your needs.

What Are Your Weaknesses as a Platform? 

This question is important for a few reasons. One, it shows you whether or not they can acknowledge any weaknesses that their business has. If they understand what their weaknesses are, this means that they can work to grow better. This also shows that they are self-aware as a brand, which can be a major positive. You want to work with a team that you trust, and this honesty and self-awareness can mean they are a great company to work with. Lastly, this answer can help you determine if this is the company you want to work with. If they are weak in an area that you prioritize, then you may not want to work with that vendor. 

Do You Require a Contract? If So, What Are the Terms?
This goes back to making sure that you know what to expect with the costs associated with the marketing automation system. You especially want to know when it comes to contracts. Are you going to be locked into a year-long contract? This can be a bad thing, especially if you find out that the system doesn’t work as well as you would want it to. Some places required yearly contracts, monthly contracts, or no contract at all. This is something that you should find out about before you select a marketing automation vendor.  

How Secure is Your Marketing Automation System? What Steps Do You Take to Secure Customer Data?
In this digital era, security is important. This is why one of the most important questions that you should ask is how secure the system is and how safe your customer data is. You want to protect your business and your customers from any potential security breaches. These can not only negatively impact your business, but they can make customers hesitant to work with you if they fear their data isn’t safe with you. 

 

Do You Have a Free Trial?
A final essential question that you should ask is whether or not there is a free trial that you can use to make your final determination whether or not this is the right product for you. Sometimes you just need to try the product out to see if it’s the right choice for your needs. Ask about the terms of the free trial as well. Are you able to access the full program or only some features? How long does the trial last? These are important questions to ask.

Other Things to Consider When Selecting a Marketing Automation Vendor

Now that you know some of the top questions to ask potential marketing automation vendors, this section will take a brief look at other considerations you need to have in mind when making your decision.
 

UI (User Interface) 

You don’t want a UI that is poorly designed. It’s better to stick with something that’s simpler than dealing with an overwhelming UI. You can expect some learning curve with a new marketing automation system, but if the learning curve is too much, it might not be the best option for you.

Features and Integrations

Look for a program that has the features and integrations that you need for your business. Your business has its own individual needs, and you want to make sure that your program meets those needs.
 

Learning Resources 

If you need help to learn how to use your new marketing automation system more effectively, you want to be sure that you have the resources that you need to learn about it. These resources can make a huge difference in how successful the program will work for you. 

Conclusion

Marketing automation tools can be essential to your business. That’s why you really need to select the perfect one for your specific needs. By asking the right questions and understanding important considerations to make this decision, you can find the perfect system for your needs.

Contact us now: info@SRpro.marketing.