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Marketing Automation Software Selection


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This How-To Guide outlines Raab Associates’ methodology for selecting a marketing automation vendor and it provides a set of tools that you can use to ensure that the vendor selection process goes smoothly. To learn morem visit

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Marketing Automation Software Selection

  1. 1. How-To GuideMarketing Automation SoftwareExecutive SummaryMarketing automation refers to software platforms that replace high-touch, repetitivemanual processes like email marketing with automated solutions.According to the 2012 Lead Generation Marketing Effectiveness Study, marketers report anincrease in the following key outcomes as a result of implementing marketing automation:  Total Marketing Revenue Contribution  Lead to Closed Sale Conversion %  Quality of Leads Passed to Sales  Revenue Per Sale  % of Leads Accepted by Sales  Quantity of Leads GeneratedWith revenues for business-to-business (B2B) marketing automation systems closing in on$525 million this year, selecting the best vendor for your business in this growing market isa critical task. Lack of attention to detail during the selection process can waste time andresources during implementation and produce a sub-optimal outcome. Therefore, adisciplined selection process is essential to ensure that your marketing automation projectstarts off on the right foot.This How-To Guide outlines Raab Associates’ methodology for selecting a marketingautomation vendor and it provides a set of tools that you can use to ensure that thevendor selection process goes smoothly.1 © 2012 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
  2. 2. How-To GuideBenefits of Marketing AutomationFully developed marketing automation systems provide information across all phases of themarketing process, including:  Demand Generation  Lead Management  Lead Scoring  Lead Nurturing  Lead Generation  Campaign Analysis  Lead Qualification  Sales EffectivenessImplementing an integrated Marketing Automation infrastructure composed of skilledpeople, automated processes, and integrated technology provides numerous benefits,including:  Alignment of Sales & Marketing: alignment occurs when sales and marketing can agree on the definition of a qualified lead; systems are integrated to provide visibility into activities and results; and the loop is closed between lead source and revenue generated.  Increased Win Rates: leads that are scored and nurtured before being handed off to sales close at higher win rates as purchasing & sales cycles are more aligned.  Reduced Cost per Lead: when key marketing processes such as lead scoring, lead nurturing, and lead assignment are automated, fewer resources are required to manage new opportunities. Additionally, the use of a web/email-based approach can drastically reduce acquisition costs for new prospects and opportunities.  Improved Accountability & Credibility: marketing leaders can provide accountability for their spending once they are able to quantify the impact of their investments. When deployed properly, Marketing Automation solutions increase credibility by2 © 2012 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
  3. 3. How-To Guide providing a system of record that tracks and measures marketing activities and associated business results.  Better Allocation of Resources: having detailed analytics on prospect behaviors and campaign ROI provides marketers with the insight needed to optimize spending on the most profitable marketing programs.Marketing automation systems make marketers more effective. For B2B marketers, thesystems support the primary marketing department activities of generating leads, nurturingthem, and transferring qualified leads to sales.Action Plan 1. Define Requirements - Create a list of your goals in buying the system. Relate these to financial values when possible. Then define how you’ll use the system to meet these goals, being as specific as you can about the actual processes involved. Be sure to include processes beyond what you do already: one of the reasons you should consider marketing automation is to expand what your department can accomplish. Your requirements are based on the tasks you must perform to meet your goals. Use Demand Metric’s Marketing Automation Business Case document to get approval for your marketing automation project and share your goals & objectives with the rest of your team. If you want to measure the overall financial impact that Marketing Automation can have on your business use our Marketing Automation ROI Calculator. 2. Research your options – Demand Metric’s Marketing Automation Vendors Matrix provides a good starting point for matching possible vendors to your requirements. For a more detailed analysis use the Raab Associates’ Vendor Selection Tool to match the scale and sophistication of your marketing operations to the different buyer segments used in the report. Keep in mind that company size alone doesn’t3 © 2012 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
  4. 4. How-To Guide necessarily predict the depth of your requirements: small companies can run complex marketing programs, and large company programs may be simple. 3. Test vendors against scenarios - Develop scenarios that describe actual marketing projects you expect to run through the system, and have the most promising vendors demonstrate how they would execute them. Scenarios based on your own needs are critical for understanding how well each system will function in your environment. Be sure that some scenarios describe your more complicated processes, since these are most likely to highlight differences among systems. If vendor staff executes the scenarios for you, make sure to understand how much the vendor built in advance. This ensures that you get an accurate sense of the total work effort involved. 4. Talk to references - This is an often overlooked source of insight. The question isn’t whether the references are happy, but whether your situations are similar enough that you’re likely to be happy as well. Find out whether the reference is using the system functions you care about, how long they took to get started, the amount of training and process change required, what problems they had, and how the vendor responded. 5. Consider a trial - Nearly all marketing automation vendors will let you try their system for a limited period. Trials are a great way to learn what it’s really like to use a system, but only if they are managed effectively. This means you need to invest in training and then set up and execute actual projects. As with scenario demonstrations, you may still rely on the vendor to handle some of the more demanding aspects of the project, but, again, make sure you know how hard it will eventually be to do it yourself. 6. Make a Decision - Don’t let the selection process drag on. Selection is a means to an end, not a goal in itself. Unless you have very specialized needs, there are4 © 2012 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
  5. 5. How-To Guide probably several marketing automation systems that will meet your requirements. Once you’ve found one that you are confident with, go ahead and buy it. Then you can start on what’s really important: better marketing results. Use Demand Metric’s Marketing Automation Vendor Evaluation Tool to show due diligence by conducting an apples-to-apples comparison of your top three vendors. 7. Invest in deployment - Invest in deployment. Marketing automation systems allow major improvements in marketing results, but those improvements require more than just a new system. If you don’t already have a formal description of the stages that prospects move through to become buyers, use Demand Metric’s Buying Process Stage Template and Buyer Persona Template to document buying stages and seller actions for each of your fictional buyer personas pain points. Invest in the staff training and content to execute those programs successfully. 8. Document and improve internal marketing processes - Document and improve internal marketing processes. Work closely with sales to define lead scoring rules, handoff mechanisms and service levels, and ways to capture results. Use Demand Metric’s Qualified Lead Definition Template to achieve alignment on the definition of a qualified lead and the Service Level Agreement Template to define the level of service that you will provide. Build measurement systems and use them to hold marketers at every level of the department responsible for results they control. Bring in outside resources, such as agencies and consultants, when you lack the internal expertise or time to do the work in-house.5 © 2012 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
  6. 6. How-To GuideBottom LineIf you’re serious about marketing automation, Demand Metric encourages you to use the2012 B2B Marketing Automation Vendor Selection Tool (VEST) during the vendorselection process for the following reasons:  It provides detailed information on individual vendors, including scores that measure each product’s sustainability for different kinds of buyers.  It is combined with background information on how marketing automation systems are used; industry size, history and trends, related systems that compete with or complement marketing automation products; and tips for system selection and successful deployment.  It draws on nearly 200 data points for 22 B2B marketing automation vendors that show which vendors are most suitable for small, mid-size and large organizations.  Results of the assessment are displayed on easy-to-understand charts that make it simple to see which products are best suited to the different situations.Once you’ve identified the leaders in your category, you can dig deeper by reading vendorprofiles that describe each product’s strengths, weaknesses and special features. This letsyou move beyond generic rankings to find systems with the precise features you need. Theprofiles also offer basic information on pricing, company size, and installation count byclient type.If you have any question about the 2012 B2B Marketing Automation Vendor SelectionTool (VEST) or about marketing automation in general, feel free to click here and book acall with an Analyst.6 © 2012 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved.