Every organization has its own set of needs, goals and requirements which are completely unique from that of other organizations. Unique needs require unique solutions. This is especially true in the case of B2C and B2B companies, which are strategically different. As a B2B company, your unique, specific needs define the marketing automation vendor that will complete your requirements. Here are 5 steps that will help you in selecting a B2B marketing automation platform:
1. Clearly define your requirements – The first step in selecting a B2B marketing automation platform is to have a clear definition and understanding of what you and your company require. The marketing automation vendor that you select should have the ability to effectively fulfil your requirements. The best way to define your requirements to the marketing automation vendors is by clearly outlining your current situation as well as the desired situation you want your organization to reach. Your goals can be myriad – converting leads into revenue, sales and marketing alignment, boosting profits etc. By defining your requirements, you can shortlist the B2B marketing automation platforms that can be perfectly synced with your goals.
2. Evaluate your options – Different marketing automation vendors have different features that they can offer. Too many alternatives can easily confuse you. In order to avoid any kind of confusion, you must first categorize your required features into 3 categories – essentials, key features and desirables. Essentials refer to features, the absence of which will be a deal breaker for you. Key features, as the name suggests, refers to certain activities that the marketing automation software should be able to perform. Desirables refer to features which are not essential but will be an added advantage. Before approaching any marketing automation vendor, make a list of your required features based on the above 3 categories. This will make the entire B2B marketing automation platform selection process easy.
3. Ask for a demo – Now that you have shortlisted a few vendors, the next step is to ask for a demo by executing some real-life scenarios. A comprehensive demo can help you recognize both the strengths and weaknesses of the marketing automation vendors. Design 2-3 case studies which effectively reflect your business structure as well as situations that you may face. The marketing automation vendors should then solve these case studies and if possible, run a test campaign. This will go a long way in selecting a B2B marketing automation platform that can meet your present as well as future requirements.
4. Ask questions – By asking comprehensive questions, you can understand if the marketing automation vendor that you have selected is the right fit for your organization. A set of in-depth questions can help you in identifying B2B marketing automation platforms that include features which can help you in gaining a competitive edge in the market. You can ask questions like how many channels will the marketing automation software work, what are the critical features, how scalable is the software etc. Preparing a list of thorough questions and getting them answered by the sales representative of the marketing automation company is the best way to narrow down your prospective choices.
5. Make the final selection – Now that you have narrowed down your list of choices to 2 or 3, it is time to make the final selection. However, before you take a decision, pay attention to the services being offered by the marketing automation vendor. Services are as important as the B2B marketing automation platform itself. The implementation, set-up and training facilities provided by the marketing automation vendor should be highly effective in order to ensure the smooth transitioning from a traditional system to marketing automation. You can also ask for customer references from your industry who faced similar challenges as you and implemented the same marketing automation software. Finally, once you select the B2B marketing automation platform, ask them to develop and implement a constructive plan that is easy to execute and will yield high results.
Finalizing on a B2B marketing automation platform can be a daunting task. By following the above 5 steps, you can easily select a marketing automation software that is synced with your strategic goals and objectives. Read on to know how marketing automation can help align your sales and marketing departments