How to choose the best marketing automation tool for your company? 715

Are you on the verge of choosing a marketing automation tool for your company? In this overview, we will address the most common pitfalls, the budget scopes and the questions you should ask yourself -and your team- in order to make a well informed decision.

Define clear business goals
What are your targets?

First, you have to map out your business goals. This is extremely important for choosing the right tool for your company

  • Lead nurturing: Lead nurturing is all about developing relationships with your potential buyers at every stage of the sales funnel, and through every step of the buyer’s journey. It focuses marketing and communication efforts on listening to the needs of prospects, and providing the information and answers they need, when they need it. You already have a big database with cold leads and you want to transform them into hot leads. This strategy is especially effective if you are selling products with a longer buying cycle and/or B2B products.
  • Inbound lead generation: you want to generate targeted leads by creating a blog and lead magnets. You want to created gated content that will lure your visitors in.
  • Automated customer journey: You probably have a lot of touch points, like your website, your blog, your social channels, an app, an e-commerce platform and maybe also offline channels. By knowing how your customer or potential customer moves across these platforms, you can give them a segmented experience.And by addressing them in a more personal way, you increase your conversion rate. A one-message-fits-all marketing approach does not work anymore today. Marketing automation helps you keep track of the journey across all touch points, so all you have to do is segment and provide the right content.
  • Aligning sales & marketing: You want a transparent communication between marketing and sales. On top of that, you want to help your sales team by providing them qualified leads, with a lead scoring assigned to each one of them.
  • Central hub for marketing: You want to have a central management tool to manage all of your marketing channels and oversee the big picture. This is especially useful if you manage marketing in different countries or with a remote team.

Understand the functionalities marketing automation tools offer
Basic functionalities in marketing automation tools

  • Drag & drop mailing tool
  • Landing page builder
  • Lead scoring & nurturing
  • Advanced segmentation
  • Tracking & dashboarding
  • Basic CRM functionalities or connection with CRM system
  • Automation flow builder

More advanced marketing automation functionalities

  • Social media management: automatic posting & analytics
  • IP detection: especially relevant with CRM connection
  • Social listening: analyze social conversations
  • Mobile marketing: push notifications, geo-fencing, sms messages
  • Dynamic content: show particular types of content to dedicated database segments

How to define the cost of marketing automation?
Price of the license

The pricing of marketing automation tools is depending on the following criteria:

  • Desired functionalities
  • Amount of users in your database
  • Amount of internal licenses needed
  • Amount of messages that will be sent

Price of the implementation

The implementation cost is sometimes overlooked when considering a marketing automation tool. This price depends on:

  • Time: How much time can be spent internally on the marketing automation setup. Is there a dedicated project manager?
  • Integrations: Which tools need to be integrated on the platform? Do they have an open API or does there need to be built a connection?
  • Customisation: Will the standard features be used or do there need to be custom built features?

Basic pricing options for a database with 5.000 contacts

  • Active Campaign: € 1.200 per year
  • Autopilot: € 1.920 per year
  • Sharpspring: € 6.000 per year
  • Hubspot: € 8.880-20K per year (possible add-ons taken into account)
  • Salesforce: € 10.000-50.000 per year (possible add-ons taken into account)

And for a database with 500.000 contacts

  • Activecampaign: enterprise pricing on request
  • Autopilot: € 43.200 per year
  • Sharpspring: € 16.000per year
  • Hubspot: € 79,320-278.340 per year (possible add-ons taken into account)
  • Salesforce: starting from € 70.000  per year (depending on functionalities and number of emails you want to send)

How can marketing automation help you reach your business goals?

When your company chooses to have a marketing automation tool implemented, it is useful to understand the quick wins and the long term wins you will get. The long term wins are usually only noticed after the whole marketing and sales team has adopted the new tool, while the quick wins will be applicable from the start.

Quick wins marketing automation

  • Warm up of cold leads & lost leads in CRM with email nurturing flows
  • Give sales a notification when a cold lead visits the website
  • Setup nurturing flows for 3rd party databases
  • Have a total overview of all the marketing efforts
  • Build an easy to replicate marketing flow in a dedicated tool

Long term wins marketing automation

  • Have a holistic view of your whole funnel from visitor to clients & see which marketing channels bring in the most revenue
  • Have a better view of the whole sales pipeline and know when to push marketing efforts on which customers
  • For sales: have an overview of the content the potential lead has consumed as a preparation for a sales call or mail
  • Helps you maintain a consistent online presence. By scheduling and automating your posts on e.g. social media, your communication becomes consistent. This way, your pages stay up-to-date and gives your (potential) clients a good impression. Because if you won’t keep your online presence up-to-date, why should your (potential) customers trust that you will communicate with them when they need you?
  • Your workflow becomes more efficient. This means your staff can execute on  big campaigns, post content and maintain relationships with a ton of customers — this amount of work would take many more people if handled manually.

Sidenote: know the difference between email automation and marketing automation

There is a big difference between email automation tools and marketing automation tools. Historically, marketing automation started with automating emails and flows. For instance: send an invitation to your contacts for an event, resend the invitation to the ones that haven’t bought tickets,send a reminder mail with practical details before the event and send a follow up mail after the event. Today, full blown marketing automation tools cover much more than only sending automated emails. You can automate your whole lead generation process and connect your marketing and sales departments with them. For companies with a small marketing team or companies that are just taking their first steps towards automation, an email automation tool can be enough to get them running for a the first few years. But for companies with advanced needs, only a full blown automation tool will be able to cover all their journeys. In this comparison, we will not only address the complete marketing automation tools, but also email automation tools.

Want to know more about marketing automation? We are an independent agency who helps companies choose the best tool for their business and structure the implementation process. We’re happy to help!

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