I have lost count how many times I have reviewed the different marketing automation systems in the marketplace. You would think I would have a favorite by now, but my personal favorite does not mean it is right for the business I am working with. I have reviewed these systems from all angles for a variety of clients, and each time I am surprised at the outcome. As many times as I have tried to lay out the pros and cons of each solution side-by-side, the truth is they all go about doing things in such a different manner, it makes it nearly impossible to compare apples to apples. Couple that with the different needs and capabilities of the organization, and it is nearly impossible to come up with a clear favorite. Lastly, they are always changing and improving, so what was once a con of one is now a selling feature.
In fact, I now do a full review each and every time I have a client that needs marketing automation, because I am always looking at it from the client’s short-term and long-term needs.
Here are the first steps I take to begin to narrow the field:
Of course, there are specific requirements all companies have when looking at marketing automation, but selecting the right system is not always just about functionality. I have heard time and time again about companies who select a vendor and a year later say they use less than 20% of the features. This is because they didn’t have a clear plan for how they wanted to adapt their automation system, making it impossible to select their vendor accordingly. So if you are looking at Marketo, Pardot, Act-on, Infusionsoft, Hubspot… and we all know the list goes on, start by mapping out your company's goals, technology readiness, data condition and content capabilities. For some it is hard to resist diving right into the pool with one of the market leaders - but they may not be the right solution for you, right now!
Written by: KC Cox
With Contribution from Kate Athmer
My name is KC DeKorte-Cox and I am a demand generation marketing expert with over 15 years of experience focused primarily on helping businesses with marketing and sales alignment strategies aimed at driving growth. I help design marketing and sales programs that scale by leveraging the power of technology, specifically CRM and Marketing Automation.