12 Marketing Automation Questions to Ask BEFORE You Buy
If you work in marketing, chances are you’re already familiar with automation tools that help you and your team streamline repetitive tasks. But given the influx of martech options available, it’s also likely you have lingering questions.
We’ve compiled a list of handy inquiries to make before you commit to a platform. Because savvy marketers plan ahead.
#1 How Do We Know If/When We Need Marketing Automation?
This question is arguably the most important to start with. As your company grows, having and tracking one-on-one interactions with prospects will get trickier. And since most businesses can’t afford to meet that demand with more marketing and sales professionals, marketing automation makes the most sense.
Hint: If you can implement automation software before business booms to the point of chaos, you’ll be in a better position to take your time and find the best options.
#2 What Basic Features Should We Look For?
Contrary to popular belief, marketing automation does more than serve email marketing campaigns. This tech can streamline:
- Direct mail drip and nurture campaigns
- Social media management
- Lead tracking, management, and scoring
- Content marketing
And much more.
So, before you look for the right platform and vendor, you should understand your business and marketing goals. Unless you know what tasks you want automated, you can easily get caught in the trap of too many options.
That said, you might want to pass on any system that isn’t GDPR-compliant.
#3 What’s the Tech’s True Cost?
Hidden fees associated with training, implementation, and overages can rapidly turn an affordable-looking platform into a luxury buy. Before you make a decision, try and understand every potential cost, so you can effectively weigh your options.
#4 What Integrations are Offered?
Any marketing automation worth its salt will integrate with your CRM platform. Beyond that, you should have a list of heavily-used marketing tools handy before talking integrations with providers. If your team uses WordPress daily, but the automation software doesn’t integrate with it, you could create more hazards than you fix.
To make the process simple, you can create a list hierarchy, with must-haves on top and great-but-not-necessary ones on bottom. If the platform doesn’t have an integration, you can always ask if it’s on the to-do list.
#5 How Does the Platform Measure Success?
Long gone are the days of running radio and billboard ads, then hoping end-of-the-year numbers justify the cost. Today, built-in tracking and reporting mean everyone from beginning marketers to company leadership can analyze the efficacy of your marketing tactics.
With that, quality marketing automation systems have customizable dashboards to help measure campaign achievement at different levels. Ask which success metrics the software comes with to ensure they align with yours.
#6 What Support Do We Get After Setup?
Like any service, the extras provided after purchase can make or break the deal. Here are a few pointed questions that might help:
- Will we get a generic email address for questions or issues, or will we have a dedicated Account Manager?
- Do you only offer email support, or do you also have phone and/or real-time chat options? Is real-time chat bot or human?
- What hours/time zones are you available for customer service?
- Do you offer onboarding/ training after implementation? How long does it last? Does it cost extra?
#7 How Long Will Implementation Take?
Various factors can affect implementation time—the size of your organization (and theirs), condition of your data, number of data sources, team engagement, sophistication level of your systems and workflows. So, it’s possible you won’t know the final timeline until you and the vendor have a lengthy chat.
While it might take weeks or months for you and your team to fully understand and maximize the platform, if it takes longer than a few weeks for implementation, that could be a red flag.
#8 Does the Platform Support Mobile?
It’s 2022, folks. Marketers rely on mobile technology more than ever. That means finding a marketing automation platform that’s mobile-optimized shouldn’t be a big ask.
#9 Can We Customize It?
The market changes, and so will your business. Thus, having the ability to customize your marketing automation software is a long-term necessity. You’ll likely want to change certain settings, add/delete sections, and tweak features to meet your needs at a given time.
#10 Does the System Provide API Support?
It’s essential that any automation suite you pursue offers complete API support. This technical backing will add a layer of safety down the road when your marketing activity requires increased speed, new apps, and extra integrations.
#11 What If We Want to Switch Systems?
This question will be necessary if you currently use automation but want a new platform. For such a process to go smoothly, you’ll want assurance that the vendor has experience migrating from one system to another. Seasoned providers will ask questions about your setup to ensure a smooth transition.
#12 Can We Add New Users?
A solid platform will let you freely add or remove users, as needed. You’ll also want to make sure the tool you choose makes multi-user collaboration easy. In most cases, great marketing requires a team effort, and if your automation software inhibits this, your campaigns could get time-consuming and costly.
Your business has unique needs and expectations, so choosing the right marketing automation tool will depend on what you want to achieve short and long term.
Need more help understanding how technology, especially automation, can help grow your business AND ease your marketing burden? Xpressdocs can help. With more than 20 years of experience providing top-tier marketing software to large and small companies, we understand what it takes to make an impact in today’s dynamic market.