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Choosing a Marketing Automation Platform for Your Inbound Needs

By: Matt Engelson

“To have a truly robust marketing program, it’s necessary to integrate all the pieces using a marketing automation platform or “MAP.” Your email campaigns, landing pages, calls-to-action, blogs and workflows are all under the same roof and will work together seamlessly to make your job easier and ensure your marketing goals are met.” – Rachel Gatlin, Web Development Manager at Sagefrog

Are you ready to move your marketing into the age of automation? If you’re thinking about investing in a marketing automation platform (MAP), then you face a tough decision. There are many options that will allow you to ditch manual marketing efforts for the simple, streamlined execution of tasks, but your final selection should rest on a number of factors. To get the most out of your new platform, you’ll need to consider your specific needs, preferences and price range. Here’s what you should be thinking about when you start the search for a MAP best suited for inbound marketing automation.

User Experience

Not everyone is a website developer, expert email marketer or project manager. So don’t use an automation platform that expects you to be one. Start a free trial of a few prospective platforms to ensure they provide the customizable options you need in an easy-to-view and use format.

If you’re able to get the hang of things in a day or two and you feel ready to try setting up a workflow, creating a landing page or working on an email template, then the platform is right for you. A MAP that overwhelms users and requires more experience will weigh you and your team down; marketing automation should be easily accomplished by people of all skill levels.

Always-On Support

Even when operating an easy-to-use MAP, you’re still likely to encounter issues that you can’t solve on your own. Turning to a friendly, knowledgeable support team who can empathize with you when you’re having technical difficulties is an extremely valuable feature.

But in addition to everyday support, customer service representatives should be able to supply you with unique recommendations for improving lackluster campaigns or making use of tools your team might overlook. Solving immediate issues is a must, but reps who identify flaws in workflows and other critical automation systems are lifesavers. The best support team will walk through challenging maneuvers with you and won’t stuff your problems into a limited phone timeframe.

Templates and Tools

While great customer service is vital to every MAP, sometimes you’ll want to work through certain automation efforts in the platform on your own. That’s when templates and how-to documentation come in handy. Quickly compile a blog, create a landing page or send an email with templates as your starting point and access a knowledge or resource center for more detailed guides.

These tools are extremely useful for those who lack technical knowledge and just need to get something out as soon as possible. Automation platform providers that offer easily accessible instructions can empower new users and may even help seasoned marketing experts discover new capabilities or hacks that make using the MAP even easier. A quick Google search can reveal how much independent help they provide users.

Industry Reputation

Have other marketers heard of the automation platform you intend to purchase? Word of mouth is a good way to discover new products and services, but it can really help you narrow down your options. Do your research and survey current and past users so you end up investing in something that makes processes more efficient rather than adding more frustrations to your current marketing efforts.

Search for unbiased opinions about prospective MAP’s before investing. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • Does the provider have a history of frequently updating their product according to new marketing trends and technologies?
  • Does the provider’s team listen to customer complaints and suggestions and take action to address them?
  • Are users satisfied with the platform’s range of capabilities and what additions do they ask for?
  • How many current customers does the provider serve and how many positive reviews do they have online?

If you’re looking for an all-in-one automation tool…

We recommend you check out HubSpot. As big advocates of integrated marketing (in fact – it’s our specialty!), we regularly encourage our B2B clients to invest in a platform that brings together multiple marketing strategies and allows for setup and execution in a single hub. HubSpot is ideal for inbound marketing automation because the methodology is behind everything they do; they regularly share thought leadership on the topic and their platform is specifically suited to inbound sales and lead generation campaigns. For additional information on email verification and validation, check out this article that compares the top 10 services.

Let Sagefrog’s team of experts help you integrate a new MAP into your marketing and sales department using proven inbound and outbound strategies. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your biggest marketing and business goals and get a marketing plan summary to take away with you.

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Are you interested in B2B marketing services? Contact Sagefrog Marketing Group today.