Subtle Factors in Selecting a Marketing Automation Vendor

Okay, we’ve got WAY too many resources out there to help us evaluate features, price and capabilities of a marketing automation system. However, too often issues crop up beyond these factors when select marketing technology. Here are a few others to think about when considering an MA vendor:

  • Content Rulz – Inspired by the book Content Rules, a vendor should be educating and resonating with you.
    1. How many times have you been in the “well, we’ve got this and they don’t” discussions? Instead, the vendor needs to truly understand your issue beyond pigeonholing your problem in a checkbox.
    2. Look for solid (more than just a page) content on topics that matter to you. Also, what is the frequency of new content that’s produced on the problem? Too often, researchers are easily distracted by the hottest thing the product can do, when the focus on say core operational infrastructure issues.
    3. How often are their employees engaged in thought leadership by speaking, authoring or engaging in forum discussions? Not only are they getting their name out, but are likely listening to the marketplace to ensure their product is leading in advanced of your marketing needs.
  • Show me yours!- Hey, this is a PG blog! So, the folks your evalutating have great content and are giving a good sales demo…awesome, now ask them to show you how you funnel through the system. Ask for a realtime walkthrough on how you track in the system from advertising, web visits, landing page to lead. What does your digital footprint look like? And how do they follow-up through nurture or sales call?Doing this helps you: 1) Visualize actual workflow through the system and 2) uncover possible other discussion points on capabilites you might take for granted.
  • Community (& Service) – Sustainable vendors work to maintain an ecosystem revolved around thier product which facilitates thier clients. Ask around about peoples community experience such as partners, peer-to-peer events or opporunites and resources just for clients. Your goal is to get the best feel of where help might come when you need it.
  • Knights of the Roundtable – I’m really into investing and what I take into serious consideration is leadership, management and advisors. Found on the about us page, read up on the vedors top folks and influencers on the companies’ website. Look for talent, experience and advisement that points to a customer oriented and operational driven organization. Why? Well, Marketing tech evolves very quickly and sustaining those functional area is a paramount benefit for you. Ideally, you dont want to be re-evaluating MA vendors every year.

Even as we move toward greater automation and process driven sales and marketing, it always comes back to the people behind it all.

Any others helpful tidbits in evaluating beyond the usual? Please do share.