Making the Switch: Things to Consider When Evaluating a New Email Service Provider


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  • Susan to intro
  • Skip
  • Mostly Skip
  • Both Skip and Grant Possible commentary points Your in-house email list has grown. With over 100 ESPs to choose from, you’re going to find that capabilities differ among them. This includes scaling to meet your needs as your volume of email grows. You’re ready to automate. Triggered, event-based email marketing is the way to achieve the most targeted, relevant messages possible. If you’re ready to go that route and your ESP isn’t, it’s time to move on…not get left behind. You’re ready to integrate. Web analytics, CRM systems, social media, SMS…there are so many sources of customer insight and possible contact points that all need to be working in tandem for maximum results. Email marketing best practices alone will only get you so far. Integrating with other marketing channels is imperative. If your ESP is limited in integration capabilities, it might be time to shop for a new one. You need some strategy. In today’s economy especially, marketing budgets can be tight and staffs small. If you’re resources are enough to get the job done but not enough to add a strategic element to your email marketing program, you might need an ESP with consulting services available.
  • Skip with commentary from Grant, when desired/relevant.
  • Grant with commentary from Skip if relevant/desired. Explain that if you do decide it’s time to switch, the next decision is how to go about finding an new partner—two most common routes are to send out a RFP to a large number of ESPs which, over the course of many months gets whittled down to a shortlist, or to forgo the RFP process and look at a shortlist sooner. Complicated/questionable value--RFP responses are full of distracting features – which ones do you really need? Costly--Money spent in the RFP process might be better spent in implementation or training Can't measure service --the top reason marketers switch ESPs
  • Grant with commentary from Skip if relevant/desired. Targeted--focuses on your critical business needs. 80/20 rule: Most ESP’s have similar features. More efficient—allows you to focus on key differentiators. Determine organizations and companies that are similar to you – who do they use? Better gauge on service—The RFP process deliberately limits direct engagement with vendors, but this direct engagement can be the best indicator of how well the provider lives up to their service ethic.
  • Skip with commentary from Grant if relevant/desired. Segue in: Assuming you do decide that going to RFP is the right approach for your needs, it is important to recognize that the information you provide vendors about your current program and needs can have a direct effect on the relevance of the information you get back from the vendor.
  • Grant with commentary from Skip if relevant/desired. Segue in: And of course you need to know certain things about each vendor that you do invite to participate in your RFP.
  • Mostly Grant Segue in: One of the best ways to optimize the RFP process is to do plenty of preparation up front. Just what ‘thorough preparation’ means.  For example, “do you integrate with Salesforce?” (every ESP will say ‘yes’) is not the same as “are you in the AppExchange?”, which then is not the same as “is there any part of your integration with Salesforce that requires manual imports or exports of data?” Do your research.  Contact colleagues and industry associations.  Who are competitors using?  What about companies with email programs you admire? Knowing what you DON’T know is critical Consider carefully before you reveal which requirements are the most critical to you to the potential vendors.
  • Mostly Grant This may be integration, deliverability, strategy, through-put or service In your due-diligence, call their support desk – after midnight or on a weekend! They know how to sell to you better than you know how to buy. Don’t let them set the agenda or take you down the road that makes them look good.
  • Mostly Grant This may be integration, deliverability, strategy, through-put or service In your due-diligence, call their support desk – after midnight or on a weekend! They know how to sell to you better than you know how to buy. Don’t let them set the agenda or take you down the road that makes them look good.
  • Grant with commentary from Skip if relevant/desired. Consider working with an email marketing consultant. An expert may greatly increase your chance of long-term success with a digital messaging platform. Or leverage tools to help, like the espinator.
  • Mostly Skip – With change, comes some risk. Will the new ESP deliver on what they were pitching me during the sales process? To mitigate that risk, ask to talk to a few of their clients that are listed on their website, not standard references, but ones they say are clients. You could look at social media (Twitter) hashtags to see what is being said about them. Once the decision is made, make sure there is a detailed kick-off process whereby the account team understands the business problems and the goals of the organization.
  • Skip
  • Skip. If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time. (Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.) Make that the objective for your new ESP partner—to make sure that you and they are rowing together.
  • Skip, with input from Grant as relevant/desired.
  • Susan—Thanks Grant and Skip. As we move into our Q&A, I’d like to remind those of you joining us live to submit any questions via the chat box in our webinar user interface. While you do so, I’d like to let you all know about BlueHornet’s online resource center, available at Along with additional information you can use to guide your ESP switch, we’re offering you free access to a Forrester Research report on How to Craft an Email Marketing RFP. This report sells for about $500, so please visit for free access while it is available.
  • I’d also like to invite you to join us tonight on Twitter to continue this conversation. Starting at 6pm Pacific, we’ll be answering questions and taking a deeper dive on the email RFP creation process. To join us, simply follow hasthag emailchat and include hashtag emailchat in your tweets.
  • Now let’s get to your questions.
  • All
  • Making the Switch: Things to Consider When Evaluating a New Email Service Provider

    1. 1. #BHWeb
    2. 2. TODAY’S • Introductions • Should You Switch ESPs?AGENDA • Managing the RFP Process • Mitigating Transition Risks • Starting Your New Partnership • Live Q & A
    3. 3. SHOULD YOU SWITCH?Change is never easy•Stability•Good fit•Room to grow (together)
    4. 4. SHOULD YOU SWITCH?It Might Be Time to Switch ESPs if…•Your email list has grown—or it hasn’t grown!•You’re ready to automate.•You’re ready to integrate.•You need some strategy.•You’re learning about deliverability issues after they’veaffected program performance and revenue.
    5. 5. SHOULD YOU SWITCH?It Might Not Be Time to Switch ESPs if…•You haven’t tried out your ESPs new features.•Your account team tries to meet with you, but you’re notavailable.•Your ESP has recommended changes to your sendingpractices to improve deliverability, but you haven’timplemented them.
    6. 6. RFP VS VENDOR SHORTLIST The RFP Process Pros ConsMay help standardize Complicated; questionablecomparison across vendors valueIncrease visibility/buy-in Time consuming Costly Can’t measure service
    7. 7. RFP VS VENDOR SHORTLIST Vendor Shortlist Pros ConsTargeted Limited scopeMore efficient Comparison may be less standardizedCost-effectiveBetter gauge on service
    8. 8. OPTIMIZING THE RFP PROCESSRFP Participants Need to Know About You:•Current Program: What are you doing now with email?•Bandwidth/Capacity: What resources does it require?•Your Market(s): What audiences do you serve?•Success Metrics: What do you measure?•Pain Points: What do you need most and why?
    9. 9. OPTIMIZING THE RFP PROCESSYou Need to Know About RFP Participants:•Platform: Usability, Reliability, Security•Product Functionality: Data Intelligence/Integration, Automation, TransactionalEmail, Reporting, APIs•Deliverability: Services, Engagement, Support•Business Requirements: Training, Enterprise Needs, Legal, Trial Accounts,Customer Service/Support•Scalability & Vision: 3rd Party Integrations, Roadmap, Professional Services
    10. 10. OPTIMIZING THE RFP PROCESSBe Prepared•Weight high-level needs & critical successfactors on a 1-5 scale.•Create a scorecard against which you willevaluate the field of vendors.•Don’t include requirements that you won’t beready to use within the next 18 months or less
    11. 11. OPTIMIZING THE RFP PROCESSDon’t Rush•Allow at least two weeks to respond.•Build in time for vendor questions. Shareanswers with all participants.•DO spend time expanding your searchbeyond vendors you know. Ask ESPs their topcompetitors.•DON’T spend time on system demos untilyouve narrowed your list.
    12. 12. OPTIMIZING THE RFP PROCESSAsk the Right Questions•Ask open-ended questions, not yes/no ormultiple choice.•Differentiate on the factors that initiated yourdesire to switch.•Request a migration plan on how the newvendor will shift from old.•Ask: What else should we be doing with ourprogram/your platform?
    15. 15. TRANSITION & RISK MITIGATIONRisk Avoidance Tactics:•Look To Your New ESP Partner for Support•Know Your New IP Address•Tech Support AND Account Management•Don’t Forget Your Data!
    17. 17. STARTING THE NEW PARTNERSHIPDo These Three Things to Start & Stay Strong:1. Invest time in the relationship.2. Stay current on your new platform’s features.3. Leverage strategic services more effectively bymapping out short, mid, and long-term programgoals.
    18. 18. CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION#EMAILCHATHosted by BlueHornetTonight, 6pm PST/9pm ESTTopic: Creating an Email RFP
    19. 19. LIVE Q&AQUESTIONS?
    20. 20. THANK clickmail.com866.586.3755 @ClickMail