Questions to Ask During a Marketing Automation Demo
During a marketing automation demo you shouldn’t sit there quietly and let the salesperson talk your ear off. You need to ask questions!
According to a study done by VentureBeat, 70% of marketers who purchase a system are unhappy with their software. So if your company is planning to invest time and resources in marketing automation, how can you make sure you’re not going to be part of that unsatisfied 70%?
Part of the answer is to ask the right questions during the software selection process. Here’s a few questions that will help you get the most out of your next product demo:
1. What features are included in the platform?
Know what you want to achieve with a platform and which features are essential before you go to the demo. Some marketing automation platforms have different tiers/product groupings so make sure you are getting all the features you require.
2. What kind of support will I get?
Technology makes our lives easier, but it also has a way of going wrong at the worst possible time.
There are varying levels of support depending on how much your package costs. Does the vendor provide unlimited and free access to web, phone, email, and Twitter support? Or does that cost extra? How many people on your team can engage with support? Is it limited? How long can you expect to wait on hold if you call in with an issue? Are you given a single point of contact for your entire customer lifetime?
Ask about the different support options at each pricing level during your demo, and decide which one best fits your technical abilities.
3. Is training included with my purchase?
You’ve probably never used marketing automation before, and if you have, a new system will be different.
You’ll want to make sure that the vendor offers some type of training, whether it’s recorded webinars or one-on-one help from a support staff. If it’s not included in the package you’re purchasing, ask how much it costs and consider if it’s worth it.
4. What CRMs does it integrate with?
If you want to have a fully integrated sales and marketing strategy, both your CRM and marketing automation need to work together.
You’ll want to make sure the solution you’re demoing has your CRM listed as a system it can connect to. If not, and there’s a compelling reason to choose this particular platform, then you should ask if there’s a way to connect the two with an API.
Also, ask about what it takes to integrate your CRM. Do you need technical knowledge to do so? How much help does the vendor provide?
5. How can both the sales and marketing teams use this software?
Integrating CRM and marketing automation streamlines the sales and marketing process and improves the sales funnel for both the buyer and the seller.
You’ll want to know which features of the marketing automation solution can be used by the sales team and how it will improve their work. Work with Sales to figure out what they need from marketing automation. Then, bring up their needs and questions during the demo.
6. Are there limits on how many contacts I can have in my database?
For many marketing automation systems, the price depends on the number of contacts in your database. So know how many contacts you have in your database and how much you expect this to grow – and make sure the system can handle it. The worst possible thing you can do is purchase a system and realise a few months in that you’re about to run out of room for new contacts!
7. How will you help us grow our database?
8. How do I personalise my emails, landing pages and forms dynamically?
9. What are the automated campaign capabilities?
10. How can I measure and report on the performance of my campaigns?
What’s the point of sending emails and nurturing leads if you have no idea how your efforts are performing? Ask about the reporting capabilities of the marketing automation software you’re demoing. Can you track opens and clicks of emails? How do you find form submissions from different landing pages? Is it possible to track a prospect through their entire lifecycle?
Most demos will go over reporting functionality, but don’t be afraid to ask them to show you exactly how to pull different reports or show you how an important part of your revenue can be attributed to marketing automation campaigns.
11. What are the lead scoring capabilities?
A hot lead for one salesperson isn’t necessarily so hot for the next. This is especially true for businesses with multiple product lines, sales teams and geographic regions. So ask if you can score leads differently for multiple product lines or vertical markets. Can a prospect be scored by an individual campaign and across all campaigns?
You should also as how you assign different lead scoring values to different pages on your website or different types of content.
12. Is customisation possible?
The emails and landing pages you create with marketing automation software should easily be recognized by your customers as your brand. Therefore, ask the salesperson about customization capabilities and how to incorporate your brand image into these materials. The type of customization will vary by each marketing automation system, but it can range from a simple drag-and-drop to extensive HTML coding. During the demo, ask about this capability, so you’ll know if you can handle it, or if you’ll need someone from Tech to help you out.
13. How does this product ensure I’m spam compliant while actually delivering my messages to the intended target?
14. Does the system let me easily organise content in folders for reuse later?
15. Can I add more features to my basic package?
You’re a year into your contract and realize you need more landing pages or extra custom fields. Ask if adding on more features to your package is possible, and, most importantly, how much it will cost.
16. Who uses your software in an industry or business similar to mine?
If the vendor serves a lot of companies in your industry, that’s a good sign that it works for your business model. But to be sure, it’s always better to get first-hand feedback from a vendor’s current customers who will tell you both the good and bad things about the marketing automation solution. Most vendors will be happy to refer you to customers, so don’t be afraid to ask! If they aren’t willing to refer you to anyone, that’s a red flag since it could mean they don’t have any happy customers at all!
17. Why should we go with you over your competitor?
Challenge them, show them that you know there are other options out there, and test their knowledge of their own industry. You want the marketing automation system that works best for your business. Even if it’s not the most popular solution out there, if it’s the best one for you, it’s the right solution to buy.