4 considerations when choosing a marketing automation implementation partner

When it comes to getting the most from marketing automation, most marketers aren’t making the grade. A recent survey designed to gauge the maturity of marketing automation deployments within the B2B community found that most users scored a “C” – indicating that most marketing automation clients are underutilizing their systems, preventing companies from generating a maximum return on investment.

There are lots of companies out there that can press the ‘on’ button and have your system ready to send out an email, but are they really customizing it for your specific needs and working with you to make sure it seamlessly integrates with your website and CRM?

If you’re looking for an implementation partner, here are four suggestions for taking your marketing automation to the next level:

Deliverables. The first step to a successful launch is to understand the scope of the project and what’s required to execute. Whether it’s an overview and timeline or ‘how-to’ instructions on creating new prospect records, you’ll want a partner who can set benchmarks, outline processes and provide tangible materials designed to get you up and running. Deliverables are a kind of roadmap to success. They show that the vendor has implemented enough systems to know how to explain the process and they provide lasting touch points, which continue to offer value long after implementation.

Implementing a new software platform is a tremendous investment. Taking time to get your questions addressed on the front end will help pave the way to a successful deployment.

Technical know-how. Before you introduce new technology, it’s a good idea to make sure you and your vendor understand the tools your company is already using and how they might interact with your marketing automation platform. A vendor should be able implement and administrate your marketing automation system in a way that best fits your needs and seamlessly integrates with your website and CRM system. To get the system up, place tracking codes, add SPF statements and domain keys, and set up the CNAME requires deep technical know-how. You need a partner who is comfortable implementing these items or who can coordinate with your IT team to troubleshoot and ensure proper set up.

Keep in mind that, in addition to selecting the right marketing automation tool, you’re also choosing a partner whose expertise you rely on to help you succeed. It’s a good idea to make sure the vendor checks out, that they have certified marketing automation consultants on staff. Doing so will ensure you benefit from a solid mix of strategy, tactics and technical prowess to take your business to the next level.

Shared strategic vision. The saying “just because you can doesn’t mean you should” definitely applies to marketing automation. Lead capture, for example, isn’t as simple as just placing forms on the website,  and automated email flows are no substitution for understanding where a customer is in the buying cycle. Sound marketing automation is steeped in good, clear, logical and customer-centric thinking. It uses the information known about a person (needs, wants and context) to deliver right information that will push them toward a purchase.

Talk to your implementation partner about what kinds of campaigns they recommend for your short-term and long-term goals. Your vendor should provide strategies that fit your business, scale and evolve with your customer, and span all marketing channels—not just email.

Design capabilities. It’s a drag-and-drop world, so there’s nothing to worry about, right? Wrong.

Nothing is ever as simple as it seems. For example, when dropping in HTML from old email templates into a marketing automation system, code can break and elements move from their original places. So while marketing automation and design are often seen as separate disciplines and processes, taking an integrated approach is far more effective in securing functionality and emotional impact. A partner who has experience in designing and building templates for your marketing automation platform can ensure that your templates not only look great but also align with your brand, are reusable — and can be edited in the WYSWYG editor.

You can see there’s a lot to consider before choosing a marketing automation partner. From implementation to execution, Dodge has the marketing automation expertise enables you to meet and exceed your business objectives, boosting sales and adding to top-line revenue growth. 

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