It’s no secret that marketing automation is a gamechanger in inbound marketing. The benefits of increased qualified leads, improved lead nurturing, quicker and higher conversions, and just overall productivity are just too good to pass up. A recent survey showed that, on average, 51% of companies are currently using marketing automation, with more than half of B2B companies (58%) planning to adopt the technology. Invespcro reports that 65% of companies plan to increase their marketing automation budget. So it’s clear that businesses are spending a chunk of their budget on marketing technology, and this trend doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
Great marketing starts with the right mindset and marketing automation is certainly a weapon that you want in your marketing arsenal. However, it is a huge line item for businesses and one that needs to be evaluated and measured. Think about it, when was the last time you took a step back and assessed how your marketing tools were performing and what ROI were they giving?
Never? Let me explain to you why this is necessary.
View your marketing automation platform just like it were an employee that has a fixed and recurring cost. We evaluate our employee’s performance to make sure everything is working well, identify room for improvement, etc. on an annual or even bi-annual basis. The same needs to be done for your marketing automation. Stepping back and evaluating your software will enable you to address the following questions.
Are you getting your money’s worth with this investment?
Are you leveraging all the right capabilities and features of your marketing automation system?
Is this software adding value and helping you achieve your goals?
Not only will this evaluation answer these unaddressed questions, but it will also aid in prioritising your next step. You might even reach the conclusion that you need to switch your software!
You might be a boat where you know the importance of technology evolution, but are just scared of committing to the re-evaluation of your marketing automation software because it is time-consuming and daunting task. Or, are you a complete newbie and unsure of where to even begin. How does one figure out if they are making the best use of the software’s capabilities?
Don’t worry! We have developed a comprehensive checklist that can help you evaluate your marketing automation software.
Alignment with Goals - Start by asking yourself, “What are you really trying to achieve with marketing automation?” Are your goals to increase leads or to run multi-channel marketing campaigns? Jot down your top three short term and long-term goals and use this as the starting point of your evaluation. These goals will highlight which features are an absolute “must-have” and what would be “nice to have.” Your marketing automation system should add value and make it easier for you to meet your target goals.
Scalability - The question to ask here is whether your marketing automation software can handle the current workload. Furthermore, is the tool allowing you to scale? Businesses seek to expand rapidly and your marketing automation software should support this growth. Have you maxed out the number of campaigns your tech can support? A system that was once easy to use, can quickly max out its capacity and become an obstacle for growth, so do consider the scalability of your automation tool in the evaluation process.
Ease of Use - One of the most important attributes of any software is how easy it is to use. Imagine trying to run a marketing campaign on a software that is tricky and cumbersome to use. If you are spending more time just figuring out the technology instead of designing, executing, and evaluating campaigns, then you should seriously consider exploring other options. A key question to consider is, “Are you working with a rigid workflow tool that limits flexibility?”
Functionality - List out what features you are currently using on your tool and then identify which features would you like to use. Some features to evaluate, based on your needs, would be profiling and segmenting of leads, email marketing, landing page and form creation, SEO optimisation, and ability to run personalised multi-touch campaigns. If you are performing tasks inefficiently or constantly having to find additional plugins and work around the platform so you can complete your work, you are simply not being efficient. No software tool is a perfect tool but prioritise which features are most important and don’t settle till you are satisfied.
Analytics- One of the biggest highs for marketers is the ability to prove the ROI of their efforts and campaigns. Your marketing automation software should be able to tie your revenue with the appropriate campaigns responsible for them. Check if your platform supports the following features.
Program ROI: Do you run campaigns across multiple channels, with multiple vendors, and several paid campaigns? If yes, it must be important to you to identify which channels to renew investment in. Program ROI offers you the chance to dig deep and analyze program performance across channels and vendors. Program ROI identifies your top-performing programs, which you should run again, and your poor-performing programs that should be discontinued.
Multi-Touch Reporting: Today, it takes between 5-10 touchpoints before a deal closes. If your business has multiple touchpoints and your system only tracks the single-touch reporting, then credit is not being given accordingly. Multi-touch reporting goes beyond tracking just the first and last touchpoints and assigns credit to every campaign, whether that is email or call, that contributed to a closed deal. HubSpot supports multi-touch reporting and it can be found under the Attribution Report option in the reports dashboard.
Ideally, you should continue using your marketing automation platform only if it accomplishes what it is supposed to do, i.e. your top 3 goals. Making “do” with software just because you don’t want to invest additional time and resources that are required to overhaul the system is a flawed approach, and one where you end up committing to a sunk cost fallacy. The marketing automation tool that you should be using needs to be user-friendly, delivers returns, and be flexible enough to grow with your business.
Businesses are and will continue to change at the speed of light. These changes, in turn, will impact what you need from your marketing automation software. Going back and evaluating your marketing technology will allow you to identify if you are really getting the maximum ROI out of your investment. Using a marketing automation checklist also identifies opportunities for improvement and might even highlight a need for an overhaul.
Experienced digital marketing experts can help you evaluate your current technology stack and even transition to a new tool.
If you need help in understanding how your current automation tool it aligns to your goals, and how you can increase your investment ROI, feel free to contact us for a FREE marketing automation tool audit by the Only Diamond Partner of HubSpot in India.