This results in:
- Lost opportunity cost for your company
- Jeopardizing your current and future employment opportunities because you are missing out on providing your organization a basic necessity
- Giving your competition a bigger head start in marketing
- Failing to support your sales staff (and we’ve never met a sales manager that said “let’s not sell anything for the next few months… while we get our ducks in a row.”)
Now, let’s look at some of the reasons that you might delay your decision (and why you are wrong if you do):
1. You don’t want to be “tied down” to a technology until you are sure that you have found the right one.
The reality: Most commitments are only one year in length. If you look at three marketing automation providers and choose one within a month, you might be questioning your abilities as a marketer.
2. You want to make sure you have all of the features that you need.
The reality: While this is a very justifiable goal, the reality is that this is a moving target. It’s far more important to do something today, than to worry about not being able to execute an advanced functionality 8 months from now. Why? Well, first of all, 8 months from now you won’t be in a position to use that functionality because you are so far behind already. Secondly, if you lack that functionality at that time, you can make plans to upgrade vendors as you learn from doing. You will still be 8 months ahead of schedule!
3. You are “too busy.”
The reality: If you are telling your management team that you are too busy to maximize the success of your sales and marketing team because you can’t automate, you clearly are not looking to end your struggles anytime soon.
There is a HUGE cost in going through too many rounds of reviews (or looking at too many vendors). Consider one company who went through at least 5 rounds of reviews as they whittled their list from 20 to 3 vendors! Each review had 3-6 employees involved. A conservative estimate is that they spent 450 person hours thinking about which software they would buy. To put another way, they spent $30,000 to make sure that they didn’t overpay for a $15,000 software decision. This doesn’t even factor in the $100,000+ that they lost in missed sales opportunities during that time.
So, what are our recommendations?
- Look for products that are highly rated on vendor review sites. Pay particular attention to reviewers that are in your line of business. G2 Crowd & Capterra are perhaps two of the best sources of legitimate reviews for software products.
- Be prepared with 2-3 core strategies that you would like to execute in the first 30-60 days. Insist that the prospective vendors are able to meet those needs.
- Once you know you can accomplish your central needs, focus on the marketing automation vendor’s reputation for execution and support. Software is only 40% of the equation. The other 60% lies in how the well that vendor actually performs and supports their clients. We’d much prefer a vendor that has excellent support and onboarding over someone with an esoteric plug-in!
Here are a few tips for success:
- Have a plan before you speak with any vendors.
- Know what your budget is.
- Know what you want to do.
- Know who will have the final decision on the project.
That information will give you much more leverage to negotiate the best deal for your company and your potential marketing automation partner.
Most of all: Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger. Regardless of who you chose to work with; you are going to learn more (and experience more success) by doing. Don’t fall victim to paralysis by analysis in your marketing automation decision-making process.
Interested in seeing what a great demonstration should look like?