How to Choose a Marketing Automation Vendor

How to Choose a Marketing Automation VendorMaking an informed decision regarding your marketing automation vendor can be the turning point of lead management and execution for your small business. Many marketing automation platforms offer a host of similar features that move towards a common goal: capturing leads and creatively persuading them in your direction. With so many cloud-based solutions available, selecting one marketing automation tool over the others can certainly be a daunting task. There are many things to carefully consider when looking at how to choose a marketing automation vendor that will meet your needs best.

To start off, we’ll take a look at the top ten marketing automation platforms according to Capterra, a business software search-and-compare site:

  1. Eloqua
  2. Infusionsoft
  3. HubSpot
  4. Teradata
  5. Unica
  6. Marketo
  7. SimplyCast
  8. Silverpop
  9. Pardot
  10. Act-On

Capterra rated the above list on the premise of popularity, with metrics including number of customers, number of social media followers, and Google searches. But we know it’s not always just about the numbers—how do you choose a marketing automation vendor that is the best solution for your needs? This list only touches on much greater list of solutions, each one with their own strengths and weaknesses. Lead Liaison is another marketing automation platform that caters to small to mid-sized businesses with an flexible business model that rivals its competitors and boasts personalized and intimate support. Although they may not have 22K Twitter followers, their solutions might actually be a better fit, with all of the automation features the bigger platforms offer but with a more personalized feel. Getting used to a new system is never easy, and it’s important to consider the amount of time you’ll spend learning how to use the platform—does it seem intuitive from the beginning? Everyone interacts with interfaces in their own unique way. Don’t set yourself up for frustration. Make sure whichever platform you go with has a solid customer support reputation.

Each with their own unique solutions (such as the Streamer), the various marketing automation platforms are meant to cater to your business. All of the options must be weighed according to the purpose you want it to serve.

Outline your goals

When determining how to choose a marketing automation vendor, the first task is to outline your goals. Each company will have vastly different needs and an equally diverse set of prospects. The end goal is ultimately the same for companies big and small—to drive your prospects’ interactions with your brand. What numbers do you expect to hit after implementing the new system after six months, nine months, or one year? How many team members will you be able to allocate to managing this process? How much time per week will be spent gathering analytics or scheduling emails?

Select the most effective marketing tools

Each platform offers a variety of marketing tools that can draw prospects in. How you choose which marketing automation vendor will be best for your company depends on how your audience prefers to gather knowledge. Each industry is different—social media may be where many of your leads come from, or maybe the warmest leads are a result of diligent visitor tracking and lead nurturing. Determining the preferred route of communication is a crucial stepping stone to selecting the right marketing automation platform for your needs. Consider the following: email marketing, visitor tracking, lead nurturing, database segmentation, lead scoring, lead generation, analytics, social media, and content creation.

Find a solution that fits your budget

Finding a good fit can be like hiring another employee (who actually does the work of an entire team), and it’s important to choose a marketing automation vendor that you have carefully vetted. Pricing schemes may not be readily available to simply do all the research on your own. This is due to the endless possibilities and a la carte options you can select from to create a plan that matches the needs of your business. Select a few marketing automation platforms that highlight the marketing tools your audience responds to, then read reviews and references to gauge their customer service and overall quality of product. Last step: request a demo. It’s free and you’ve got nothing to lose.