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5 Questions To Ask A Marketing Automation Company

Posted by Doug Kirk  Feb 9, 2015 10:30:00 AM

Sales of marketing automation software have exploded over the last several years.  In addition, there are many new players in the market – almost 20 different providers.  Yet, if you’re looking to purchase marketing automation, knowing how they differ is important.  To help you, we’ve created the Marketing Automation Comparison Chart.  If you have narrowed your choices to just a few, you may be asking how can I evaluate each of these to determine which is best?


Source: Marketing Tech Report

We’ve also created a Marketing Automation RFP as well to assist your evaluation.

Here’s 5 important areas to consider when making a marketing software investment:

1) Technical Understanding

Now, each marketing automation platform will tell you anybody can learn their software.  But the reality is far from the truth.  For practically all providers, it’s good to know at least some HTML.  One way to figure out what you need to know from a technical standpoint is look at the WYZWIGs (what you see is what you get) for landing page and email creation.  Another important consideration is the support services offered.  Is there 24/7 support? Limited to specific times or user levels?  A good end user support service is well staffed, knowledgeable and available 24/4.  Definitely Google “support & {name of marketing automation software}” and see what others have to say.

2) Time Required

Perhaps the greatest misnomer is that the marketing automation software is a do-it-all service that requires little input from you.  Nothing could be further from the truth (we've written extensively about the shortcomings of marketing automation software and why).  Do you have someone dedicated on your staff that will be responsible for the implementation and maintenance?  If not, are you prepared to take on these responsibilities?  For example, if you are looking to create more leads from inbound marketing, you need to be prepared to blog and create premium content (downloads) beyond just software management.  The estimates of 4-5 hours per week couldn’t be further from the truth.  A more realistic estimate is 10-15 hours per week. 

3) Training

What does each software platform offer in terms of training? Learning how to use the software is another significant time investment. You need to incorporate that into your time allocation.  Be sure to check if they have website tutorials and webinars.  Beyond training, do the providers offer any kind of strategy?  For example, is there an inbound marketing guide?

4) Goals & Objectives

Not every website has the same needs.  Suppose you have lots of site traffic but no leads.  Or, no traffic and no leads.  These differences may lead you to choose different one service over another.  Suppose you rely heavily on PPC for traffic, but your stated goal is to convert and nurture this traffic.  In this circumstance, you may consider software that has landing pages and lead nurturing.  However, if you don’t have any traffic, you may want to consider a service that has SEO tools and a blog platform; features that allow you to generate more site visits. 

5) Price

It’s safe to assume you will spend a range of $600-$1,000 per month for software.  They are all fairly competitive on price.  I’ll use this space here to describe some ways to get a better price.  First, always buy the software at the end of the month.  This is when the salesperson is desperate to hit their numbers.  Negotiate.  Ask for discounts.  Inquire what the policies are if you pay in advance.  Most marketing software locks you in for a year.  Ask what discounts you can get if you pay six or even twelve months in advance.  If you’re flexible on timing, find out when the company’s fiscal year ends.  Pursue aggressive discounts right before they close their books for the year.

Learn more about Hubspot Pricing here.

Download the Marketing Automation RFP Chart

marketing automation rfp

Topics: Inbound Marketing Software, Hubspot Competitors