By Kevin Bobowski, CMO, Act-On
1. Will you outgrow the product you’re considering today? There are some products that are great for getting started, but they tend to be more of a closed ecosystem where you buy into their marketing automation, CRM and other capabilities, and over time you run into scalability challenges. Make sure the product can grow with you. Make sure it gives you some kind of time horizon in terms of years, not months or quarters.
2. Do you have a dedicated resource that you can commit to this? More often than not, for companies running with tight budgets and tight head counts, it’s really difficult to commit a full-time resource just to marketing automation. It’s important to look for a solution that is simple enough to use so that you don’t need a dedicated full-time IT resource to support the initiative.
3. How long is implementation going to take? CMOs are always under pressure to perform. Sales is evaluated on a quarterly basis; they’re running their business by a day. You can’t go to a Chief Revenue Officer or VP of Sales and say you have a 12-month implementation timeframe – that just doesn’t work. You really want to consider how long it’s going to take you to get up to speed and see actual results from your marketing automation platform.
4. Do you have enough content to use? Once you have a marketing automation platform, you will need some content to promote. I see a lot of companies who are new to marketing automation run into this problem. You don’t have to overdo it, but it’s something you should put on your roadmap, as it will help reduce the time-to-value and help you get up and running very quickly.
5. Does your marketing automation provide capabilities beyond acquisition and demand gen? When selecting a marketing automation platform, ensure the platform can not only support brand building but can also be used for customer marketing, customer retention and managing the overall customer experience.