PJA Advertising + Marketing, Cambridge, Mass. recently invested in a marketing automation platform. Greg Straface, VP-business development, in a post on Ad Age's Digital Next, lays out some guidelines for reviewing marketing automation platforms.
Step 1: Establish your goals or objectives for the purchase.
- Are you looking to drive better alignment between sales and marketing?
- Do you need to improve the quality of leads you're currently getting?
- Are you looking to drive better conversions and revenue?
Step 2: Measure your platform requirements.
- Develop both a technical and non-technical check sheet of requirements to compare the different marketing platforms.
- Do your homework -- read what the analysts, experts and industry influencers have to say about the platforms you're considering.
- Narrow your list to a manageable selection based on your requirements and industry feedback.
- Have each vendor give you a presentation and most definitely get a demo.
Step 3: Test the platforms against a real-world marketing scenario.
- Develop one or two marketing plays that you execute on each platform. The sales teams of each vendor will highlight all of their platform's strengths, but will underplay their weaknesses. Executing the test plays will quickly allow you to see where each platform has strengths and weaknesses.
- If there are areas where the platforms are underperforming, or lack a specific capability, establish if that capability will be available in the future.
Step 4: Develop a short list and ask broader questions.
- Once you've completed your real-world scenario and tabulated the results, narrow the choice to a handful of platforms.
- Put together a pros and cons sheet for each platform.
- Establish your must-haves from the pros and cons list.
Step 5: Make your final selection.
- Narrow your choice to two or three platforms.
- Ask your final questions regarding your requirements.
Don't be afraid to ask for features that are only available in a higher-priced tier. You'll be surprised what you'll get once a vendor knows they are in the final round and are close to a sale.
- Begin the larger question around financials and how their platform can fit your budget.
- Make your final purchase.
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