How to Evaluate Marketing Automation Systems

Today, there are a number of CRM solutions with marketing automation capabilities, but, finding the one that works best for your company requires some key information and sound decision making. Finding the right marketing automation solution that will assist you in creating a superior marketing mix to drive your company’s sales depends on many factors. Marketing mixture differs from one company to another; you will find that B2B businesses as opposed to B2C will have a much longer sales cycle.

With so many marketing automation software products available, it is hard to understand the potential and benefits associated with each product. These tolls are essential in developing, executing and tracking the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. Using these solutions, one can automate lead generation, work flows, collaterals etc. to assist the sales team. Because many of the new products have advance capabilities for data mining, cross sell and up-sell opportunity generation, based on industry size, geographic location based on behavioural sales patterns, the sales division is assured they are receiving only quality leads that will most likely close with a sale.

Many marketing automation solutions have built in lead nurturing features like email marketing, campaign management, sms marketing etc. that allow “stay in touch” relationships, which ensures purchases down the line. For most companies, large databases of consumer information are the norm. Marketing software can segment the database into various categories. Once segmented, targeted campaigns can be designed that require a direct response from the purchaser, while others can be targeted as a call list of prospective clients that are directed to a telesales call center.

Marketing automation solutions also need to have good analytic and reporting functions. Measuring each campaign’s performance can be tracked by managers who can then study which campaigns have fostered the best leads, as well as tracking the costs and revenues associated with each individual campaign. By tracking these initiatives, the company can better allocate its resources.

Today due to rapid adoption of social media powerful CRM software should provide extended built-in collaboration tools, supporting large number of users and allowing the use of various third-party platforms like twitter, facebook, linkedin etc. to be used within the CRM solution. Ability to capture conversations about your brand, products and competition from social media has become critical. Also the marketing automation system should have the capability to organise these conversations, route them to the correct personnel who can act on it. Sales leads and customer service requests are the most important elements generated from social media. Also social video platforms like youtube, vimeo etc. can be used to create viral campaigns. The best part is everything can be easily measured and actionable information can be derived.

Surprising to some companies, sms and email marketing solutions have become the driving force in many automated marketing campaigns. These segmented marketing campaigns need to reach prospective clients and track actual responses, before determining if they are, indeed, qualified leads that will generate sales. If the leads are found to comply with the company’s goals, the software needs to forward the leads to the sales division so that direct action may be taken.

An effective marketing automation system as a part of a CRM solution will not only need to develop and track marketing, sales, and support activities, but also do so in a user-friendly manner that is cost effective and reliable. The software needs integrate with other core systems and databases also the company website to provide an end to end solution.

Selecting the right marketing automation software that will support and implement your business strategy, while integrating with third party applications will provide a competitive advantage to your organisation. A high impact marketing automation software integrated with the CRM solution can prove to be critical in planning, implementing, reporting, and tracking how well individual marketing campaigns are performing and its ROI.