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Given the plethora of choices out there for various forms of marketing automation, it is no wonder many businesses are overwhelmed.

What are 4 key factors to consider when making a purchase decision?

Here’s a quick checklist that may help:

1) What are you trying to accomplish with your marketing automation system?

When looking for lead generation or marketing automation system, sales professionals often overpay for specific features they don’t need and don’t ever use. Further, many of the “big shiny” branded CRMs/marketing automation have so many capabilities that it can be paralyzing, and could ultimately lead to little or no ROI.

2) What does someone actually need to do for the system to translate to ROI?

Who will be in charge of making sure that your new automation system gets results? If it is you – is the system a “set and forget” type system that runs itself, or will you need to put additional effort into activities each week for the platform to generate results?

If there are additional touch points that need to be created, will you or staff have the structure, expertise, and accountability in place to ensure that these tasks get completed? Or will you have to incur additional expenses by delegating these tasks to existing staff or a marketing specialist?

Either way, why would you take on more work if you don’t have to? A “Set it and forget it” platform is going to be much better than doing something each week, and it’s always nice to have less to do rather than more! In the end, you have to ask yourself whether you will do the work and use the system. Too often, the answer is no. If the answer is no, you will have to ascertain whether you can easily delegate the tasks to staff if that is how your organization is set up.

3) Can the system “play nice” and integrate with existing business systems?funnel

Depending on your business, there are likely regulatory and compliance considerations with any form of marketing automation.  The next question that needs to be addressed is whether or not you can use the system? For example, you will want to make sure that emails are easily archived per any company requirements, and any advertising is easily approved. In addition, the better a system integrates with existing systems the more likely it is that you will use it.

4) Is the system designed to generate new relationships, leverage existing relationships, or both?

Identifying this aspect of your automation strategy is very important. If you are new to an area or business and starting from scratch, clearly you would want a system that generates new relationships. If you are established, you may gravitate to a system that strategically focuses on leveraging existing relationships. The ideal platform is one that can do both.

Notice I didn’t bring up cost as one of the four questions. Why is that? The simple truth is that cost is a function of value and ROI.  Based on the questions above, if a system accomplishes your objectives, you use it, and if it generates revenue, then it may make sense. You will just have to factor in your hard and soft costs of purchasing and operating the system against the revenue you hope to generate.

Here are my personal observations based on 30 years in the marketing and training field as an advisor, senior leader and business owner:

  1. Too many choose the “rocket ship” to go across the street. They purchase big brands with lots of complexity and soon learn they don’t need it all, get paralyzed and fail to generate ROI.
  2. The best systems are super easy to use, generate direct quality leads and appointments that can immediately produce revenue, and leverage new and existing relationships.
  3. No matter what system is used – it should be integrated as part of a comprehensive marketing plan and given enough time to work.

A few tools to get you started:

  1. Don’t have a great marketing plan? Download this one for free
  2. Don’t know if your system is generating measurable activity and ROI? Download this free activity tracker
  3. If you are looking for a platform that’s easy to set up and runs itself, generates high-quality referral leads requesting appointments, provides branding in the marketplace, and aligns well with business systems – click here to learn more.

Good luck with your marketing decisions and execution!

 referral 30 day free

Post author: Peter Velardi, CFP®