Choosing the Right Marketing Automation Vendor for your Agency

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1 Choosing the Right Marketing Automation Vendor for your Agency

2 Marketing Automation CHOOSING THE RIGHT MARKETING AUTOMATION VENDOR FOR YOUR AGENCY 7 questions to ask while researching your options to ensure you find the right fit. The adoption of marketing automation technology is expected to increase by 50% by Source: Sirius Decisions This entire document centers on one thing: your clients needs. As an agency, it s important to be constantly considering the business needs of your customer ecosystem. Think about your top 5 clients. What are they doing today and what should they be doing to become more successful? Are your clients businesses growing at the rate they should be? Most importantly, how are they measuring you as a trusted partner? How can you help them reach the next level? Marketing automation technology represents an incredible opportunity for growth. It has created a paradigm shift in the field of marketing, transitioning it from Mad-Men-esque thinking to a highly advanced technical field that ties marketing directly to ROI. Organizations are waking up to this shift but they need help to implement demand generation strategies and marketing automation software. That s where agencies come in. Page 2

3 TABLE OF CONTENTS PART ONE PART TWO PART THREE PART FOUR PART FIVE PART SIX PART SEVEN GOALS FEATURES SUPPORT INTEGRATIONS FUTURE NEEDS HIDDEN COSTS METRICS

4 Where Agencies Come In As more and more organizations adopt marketing automation as part of an overall demand generation strategy, agencies are providing the skills and expertise to enable optimal utilization. There are many options out there to choose from, so it can be difficult for agencies to narrow down which vendor is the right fit for their clients needs. We ve created this guide to help agencies determine which marketing automation vendor to partner with. It focuses on helping agencies identify and prioritize the software needs of their clients so they can confidently choose their best software partner with an educated mindset. It does not name the top vendors for each need (because we re a little biased), but it should give you a good foundation for making a decision. Page 4

5 QUESTION ONE: What goals do your clients want to achieve and what business problems are you trying to solve for them with marketing automation? The first step in choosing a marketing automation platform is all about understanding goals for the software. Think about why your customer wants and needs marketing automation and how it can help them grow their business. We ve listed some common reasons below: Do you have a client with a specific need that requested it? Is your client interested in using marketing automation software to improve their own lead flow and/or quality? Is your agency looking for a new vendor at a different price point or with different software features to cater to a specific target vertical s needs? Page 5

6 QUESTION TWO: Which core MAP features are the most critical for your clients needs? Social Media Form Builder Web Analytics Lead Form Capture Landing Page Builder Progressive Profiling Lead Scoring Lead Nurturing Marketing List Management Campaign Builder Reports & Dashboards Database Segmentation Lead Alerts CRM Integration Sales Enablement Analytics Integration Blogging Integration Conferencing Integration Lead Generation Lead Management Sales Management Marketing Automation Page 6

7 Understanding what your clients want from the software makes the second step easier. Next it s important to think about features. Decide which core features are the most critical for your clients needs. Keep this in mind: 50% of respondents to a 2011 Focus survey stated they have not realized the full value of their marketing automation investment, and less than 25% use their platforms to their full potential. Source: Focus While marketing automation platforms are becoming quite robust with their feature sets, not every client will want or need every feature. Think about what is important for their business and how you can package your demand generation services to address their business priorities. 77% of CMOs at top performing companies indicate that their most compelling reason for implementing marketing automation is to increase revenue Source: Gleanster Keep things like this in mind. Make sure the vendor you choose to partner with makes it easy to see reports that demonstrate the impact marketing efforts have on revenue. Agencies will also want to consider the ROI for their demand generation services. Will your agency be able to set their own pricing or is that controlled by the software vendor? This will affect your agency s bottom line. Page 7

8 QUESTION THREE: How much will support cost? WIll you be able to reach the support team when you need help? Many marketing automation vendors charge for different levels of support. Will you have a dedicated support manager? Is there a live chat feature? Do you need to call in and will you be put on hold for a long time when you do? Always plan for mistakes. Murphy s law might be making us a bit pessimistic, but it s always best to think about realistic problem scenarios ahead of time and plan how they can be handled. If your marketing team often works late on Friday nights to finish campaigns for various accounts, will anyone be able to reach the support team on Saturday morning if there s a problem with the campaigns? should never be a backburner aspect for a technology company. Make sure the support is top-notch and you and your clients will be much happier in the long run. Page 8

9 QUESTION FOUR: What integrations do you offer? What software are your clients already using that they would need the marketing automation software to integrate with? Common software integrations include: CRM systems such as Salesforce or SugarCRM Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Analytics platforms such as Google Analytics Conferencing software such as GotoMeeting or Webex Blogging platforms such as WordPress or Joomla Only 33% of companies who use both CRM and marketing automation said the two integrated well. Source: The Experts Bench Keep in mind that not all integrations are created equal. When you demo your final contenders make sure you get a good look at the strength of the integrations. Your goal isn t to create more work for your team or your client, it s to make it easier by combining multiple tools together. Page 9

10 QUESTION FIVE: What will my client s future needs be? Whether you re signing an annual contract or a month-to-month agreement, you should definitely consider your client s future needs when purchasing marketing automation software. Each platform is constantly evolving, and some have a more robust feature set than others. For example, many platforms have weak social integrations. This isn t the end of the world because there are so many social media management tools available, but if you would need one of those tools in addition to the marketing automation software you should factor that into your decision. We often speak with companies switching from their current marketing automation platform because they ve grown beyond its capabilities. Sure, at first your client may just want to send s, do some basic lead scoring and focus on better SEO, but down the line you don t want them to have to switch platforms if they don t have to. Make sure you get a good demo of all the available features and how robust they are before committing to a vendor your client will have to leave at some point in the future. Switching vendors can be a huge hassle, especially when it comes to transferring lead data so it is best avoided. Page 10

11 QUESTION SIX: Are there any hidden costs? Don t forget to factor in hidden costs. Here are some common hidden costs: Set-up Training Mandatory software intro sessions Future additional features Some vendors charge extra for these things, some don t. Those six questions should help you narrow down exactly what you need from your ideal marketing automation platform. Demos and Free Trials (if available) will help you narrow down which platform is truly the best fit for your agency s clients. Don t forget your client s needs and you won t get caught up in shiny bells and whistles. Page 11

12 QUESTION SEVEN: What metrics matter? It always comes back to metrics. At the end of the day, you need to think about what metrics your client cares about. Why did they hire you to help with their marketing? Below are some examples of common customer goals: Increase the number of qualified leads Increase website traffic Grow revenue Rank higher in Google As an agency you should care about the same metrics your clients care about because that s how you earn your bread. If the client s goal is to double the average amount of traffic to their site on a daily basis, then you ll need to prove that you re accomplishing that for them. Make sure that whatever software you choose, it enables you to quantify the metrics that matter to your client. In reality, those are the metrics that really matter to you too by default because they are what allow you to remain engaged with and employed by your client. Page 12

13 NetResultsMarketingAutomation

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