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1. Does it include the features you need? Marketing automation solutions contain a wide variety of features including email marketing, web intelligence, lead scoring, campaign automation, event management, web forms, surveys and more. Take the time to think about whether the solution you’re considering includes the tools you need for your current marketing, sales and customer service initiatives, but also keep an eye on the future too. While you may not use SMS messaging, for example, in your marketing efforts now, if it’s something that you’re considering for the future, make sure you choose a marketing automation solution that can grow with your organization.
2. Is it easy to use? While it’s imperative that a marketing automation solution have a robust feature set that makes it powerful and versatile, the system can’t sacrifice simplicity for functionality. If the daily users of a marketing automation system find it difficult to use, they won’t use it to its full potential or will try to work around using it altogether. A system that’s not user-friendly also defeats one of the main purposes and benefits of marketing automation – saving time.
3. Does it integrate well with Microsoft Dynamics CRM? While some marketing automation platforms can be used without being connected to a CRM system, integration between the two solutions maximizes the power, effectiveness and value of each throughout an organization. There are a number of marketing automation systems on the market today that integrate with Dynamics CRM, but their level of integration varies. The level of integration can impact the cost and timeline for implementation, as well as the overall functionality.
ClickDimensions is the only marketing automation solution that is natively built within Microsoft Dynamics CRM. This unparalleled level of integration means that all of your sales and marketing data is in one place and can be viewed in real time, no syncing required. It also allows for quicker onboarding and user adoption, as your team already knows how to use Dynamics CRM.
4. Are there plenty of training and support options? Even the most user-friendly marketing automation system will require training for new users to get up and running, so take a look at the training offered by the vendors you’re considering. Since different users have different ways of learning and different schedules, look for a marketing automation vendor that offers a variety of training options such as live webinars, recorded courses, help articles and blog posts. Similarly, support should be offered in different ways to suit your company’s needs and operating hours.
5. How often is the system updated? Consumer behaviors and preferences change, and in order to be successful, marketers have to adapt to those changes. A marketing automation platform should evolve with the changing needs of marketers. Be sure to look at how often each system you’re considering is updated, and not just with fixes for problems that arise – although those are important too. Vendors should regularly add new features and improve upon existing ones.
6. What is the total cost? When properly implemented and utilized, a marketing automation platform should pay for itself over time, so price shouldn’t be the most important consideration when evaluating solutions. Instead, focus on the overall value. What do you get for the price you are paying? Be sure to look at overall costs including if there are fees for set up, training, CRM integration, additional users and other miscellaneous items. With these extras, sometimes what appears to be the most affordable solution can actually be among the most expensive.
7. Does the provider have a solid reputation? When a company invests in a marketing automation solution, you aren’t just purchasing a piece of technology. The nature of the system requires that you have an ongoing relationship with the vendor, so you want to make sure it’s a provider worth having a relationship with. Be sure to seek out customer testimonials, online reviews and ratings. For Microsoft CRM users, the
This post is an excerpt from the ClickDimensions eBook “The Marketing Automation Field Guide: Getting Started with Marketing Automation for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.” Download your complimentary copy
By Click Dimensions