The 5 Features Modern Businesses Look for in Marketing Automation Software
As a business, you have to think long and hard about which software platforms you align yourself with. If you aren’t careful, you can end up making things more confusing – rather than improving the very processes you’re looking to streamline. And when it comes to marketing automation software, you have to be extra careful. There are lots of solutions on the market, yet only a few are worth your time.
The 5 Features You Need to Study
“Do you know what your marketing department actually needs out of a marketing automation tool? Marketing automation technology isn’t always tailored specifically to each business or business category, so the wrong choice could actually make your marketing department less productive,” says Michael Shearer of SelectHub, a service for enterprise software product evaluation.
The key is to identify your department’s specific needs and then examine these against the following important features and aspects of leading marketing automation platforms.
1. Lead Scoring
One of the top aspects of marketing automation is being able to find out who your best prospects are. Lead scoring is the best way to do this. While your software won’t automate the entire process – you’ll still have to perform some legwork and input the right profile attributes and behaviors – it certainly simplifies and streamlines it for the future.
Be on the lookout for a solution that has intuitive lead scoring features and enables your sales team to make educated decisions regarding which leads to pursue. This is one of the more valuable aspects of marketing automation – so make it one of your defining factors.
2. Lead Nurturing
While often confused with lead scoring, lead nurturing is altogether different. Lead scoring enables sales teams, while lead nurturing involves actively pushing leads through the sales funnel.
Once again, it will take a lot of manual work on the frontend to develop an effective lead nurturing campaign. However, once in place, it will help you create more opportunities and reduce the volume of missed leads. Spend some time comparing the lead nurturing features of different solutions in order to ensure you choose the best fit for your department.
Few things matter as much as integration. Your marketing automation software will need to coexist with other solutions you already have in place. This includes CRM, social media, and other marketing and advertising tools. If there’s any friction between these different solutions, you’ll end up spending your time correcting flaws rather than growing sales.
4. Ease of Use
How intuitive is the marketing automation software? This is something that’s largely subjective, but is nonetheless important. Before selecting a particular tool, let your department work with a demo. Most providers will offer free no-obligation demos, so take advantage of these. It’s better to learn what your team likes sooner rather than later.
5. Reporting and Analytics
“Your marketing automation system should provide robust reporting capabilities that can effectively integrate with business intelligence tools to deliver rich, actionable information,” says Andrew Mahler, CEO of The Mx Group. “It should also be capable of tracking behaviors across both online and offline channels.”
The importance of detailed reporting has grown over the years and it’s now considered a vital feature. While most modern platforms have some sort of analytics tool built in, make sure you’re getting one that will actually help you better understand your audience.
Think Before Purchasing
While purchasing marketing automation software may not be the most important thing you do all year, it’s certainly not something you want to forget. Your marketing automation software will directly impact a number of different tasks your company conducts and you should ensure it’s a platform that you’re comfortable using.
Consider the features referenced in this article and do your due diligence before making a final decision.
Anna is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant from Olympia, WA. A columnist for Entrepreneur.com, iMediaConnection.com and more, Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends. Follow her on Twitter and...