If you’re considering a new marketing automation platform, your business is at a point where it needs to scale while raising demand and maintaining high-quality customer relationships. Yet, your business is also unique, which is why I put together this list of nine basic questions you have to answer before you even start speaking with technology vendors.
Get in the driver’s seat: Prepared with answers to these questions you’ll be able to build a strong business case with your CFO and CTO, and get technology vendors to deliver a tailored solution rather than a standard sales pitch.
1) Budget: How much are you willing to spend on a marketing automation platform per year? (the technology acquisition cost, not including consulting or people costs)
2) Campaigns: On average, how many e-mail campaigns will you send out per month?
3) Database Size: What’s the number of database contacts you have right now? Based on your marketing plan and business objectives for the year, what do you estimate the contact size to be by the end of the year? How about within three years?
4) Strategic Vision: Who will be the business leader setting marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) strategy? (this is the person that would be setting strategic objectives and making executive decisions critical to the marketing automation rollout)
5) Users: Who will be managing the marketing automation platform on a day-to-day basis, creating campaigns, uploading contacts, and running reports? How many staff will be utilizing the platform, and what are their expected roles (i.e. adminstrator, campaign manager, copywriter, email designer, etc.)?
6) Web Design: Will you have a web development/design resource in-house or will this work be contracted out?
7) Automated Engagement Programs: What are your objectives for automating rule and condition-based digital marketing activities? (i.e. lead nurturing, referral programs, sales follow-ups, seasonal promotions, etc.)
8) Lead Scoring: Do you have a lead scoring methodology in place? (whether informal or formal)
9) CRM Integration: Which CRM system (i.e. Salesforce) will you be using? Will salespeople be able to trigger campaigns and nurture activities?
Plan before you buy: Marketing automation will open new doors to growth for your business – you’ll collect a wealth of new user data, build stronger 1-to-1 relationships, and be able to truly measure sales and marketing performance. Yet, without a long-term business strategy and execution plan in place I have seen many marketing automation and CRM deployments fall flat on their face. Before reaching out to a software company, work out your business requirements and set a timeline to ensure things get done.