header image of the blog title "9 Best and Worst Questions To Ask In A Marketing Automation RFP" with a background of a hand holding an open notebook with writings on it and a desktop behind it
header image of the blog title "9 Best and Worst Questions To Ask In A Marketing Automation RFP" with a background of a hand holding an open notebook with writings on it and a desktop behind it

Marketing Automation RFP: 9 BEST and WORST QUESTIONS to Ask

September 15, 2017 CRM Data Management, CRM Software, Marketing, Marketing Automation Platforms, Marketing Tips 0 Comments

A VentureBeat study revealed that 70% of marketers who use some kind of marketing automation software are either dissatisfied or unhappy with the software. Even if those marketers are dissatisfied with their purchases, they are still spending a ton of cash into the industry of marketing automation. It was forecasted to grow to a $1.9 billion niche by the year 2020.

If your business follows the trend of the industry and you plan to invest resources and time into marketing automation, then how will you ascertain you will not be a part of the 70% of unhappy marketers?

The answer lies in asking proper questions in selecting marketing automation software. RFPs or request for proposals require you to ask up to a hundred questions but do not help online marketers select the best software for their company. Here are some cases of the worst and best concerns you can raise during a marketing automation selection process. He has compiled these from all of our previous clients.

Marketing Automation RFP – Let’s start with the worst things to ask:

1. Can your platform make this?

There’s a lot of variations for this question. One common question, which happens to be my favorite is: “Do you have a feature like a drag and drop campaign builder?”.

Obviously, you do want a software that is as user-friendly as possible, and you would want the user interface does have a big effect on the user-friendliness of a tool. But when examining RFPs, a lot of people commonly ask if the automation software is capable of doing a task in a specific way. Getting yourself into a feature war with different marketing automation providers will not result in picking the best marketing automation platform for your business.

So instead, why not ask about how the marketing automation will make you achieve your marketing objectives — like converting leads into customers and driving leads. It’s much better to schedule a product demonstration so you will see how the tool works.

2. How much budget do you allocate to developing your product?

This question is not appropriate to ask when picking the right software at all. A marketing automation company may allocate all of their income in product research and development and roll-out new product features every year.  They might be product features that you don’t want or need. Getting a subjective percentage of marketing automation providers is just not an appropriate thing to ask in an RFP meeting.

Instead of asking that question, what you should ask is how the marketing automation company decides to make brand features in their products, and if they are frank about their vision and it is aligned with your objectives then that is a good sign to do business with them.

Knowing how customers are engaged will reveal a lot about the company. This is because getting great customer support is crucial. Imagine that you are testing out the software and the company says that they have implemented changes based on customer feedback over the past year — and they have given you specific examples of those features. This is a sign that the company listens to customer suggestions, which is a very good thing. If a lot of people request for a particular feature, you will not likely wait for long to get it.

3. Is there a limit to how many reports can I generate?

We all read or heard the saying “it’s not about the quantity, not the quality.” This holds true for a marketing automation’s reporting feature. In some of the software, you can easily create a ton of reports which measure important data which will influence your marketing decisions in the future. However, most marketers don’t have many resources and do not have a lot of available time to waste studying endless reports. And besides, it is how you act on the analytics data that actually matter.

Why not instead of asking about the number of reports you can generate with the marketing automation software, focus on finding a platform which gives you necessary information so can make informed choices for the success of your campaigns? A decent marketing automation tool should have great analytics data in order to aid you in understanding where you should invest more of your company’s resources, the return of investment of your marketing campaigns, and the effect of your marketing campaigns have on revenue.

One good way to test this is to determine your biggest problem when it comes to reporting data and ask the marketing automation sales rep to do a demonstration which you can use as an example of a report from their software. You can later use this report to deliver actionable ideas to address issues you may have while running your campaign.

4. Can you do personalization in real-time?

Is personalization crucial, right? Yes. A Hubspot study revealed in an experiment of more than 90,000 calls-to-action, they found out that calls-to-action that were personalized had 42% better click-thru rates than the standard, generic CTAs. A study by Janrain revealed that nearly about 75% of customers online get very frustrated with ads that lead them to websites with content which has nothing to do with what they are interested in.

However, personalization in real-time is just a buzzword in the industry. This question does not give you the data you need. Now if you want to personalize a call to action, let me give you this example; obviously, you want the software to be capable of ‘real-time’ automation in the sense which you would want the content that is personalized to be displayed on the page when the visitor browses that page. Is there an alternative?

A great idea is that you should ask instead if the software offers capabilities for personalization. You will also need to find out how user friendly it is and how easy it is to put in place (Do you to write code to get it running? Or perhaps ask help from IT?), which of the attributes that you can customize on, and what type of content can also be tailored. For example, can landing pages, emails, and calls to action be customized? Can the software make your website tailored for visitors coming for the first-time?

Now for Great Questions to Ask:

1. How will you help us grow our database?

Of all the email lists which marketers use, 23% of those lists expire every year. So even if you start with a large list., it is important to continuously grow that email list. So now how do you accomplish that?

You can do it through the creation of content, SEO, blogging, and social media marketing tools which help broadcast your message across the internet. You should know if these tools are already built-in with your candidate marketing automation software. You should find out about how the software will help you increase the size of your email list, and not just the market to the existing database.

2. How easy is it to make assets for marketing programs and make changes to them (landing pages, emails, etc.)? Do I need to know CSS or HTML? What about for mobile-responsiveness optimization?

This topic is very crucial. The more squeeze pages that you have on your site,  all the more leads you can expect to be generated. However, if it takes a lot of to create one landing page, or you need the coding skills in order to have it responsive or aesthetic, you will not have the opportunity and time to work on your objectives. Or, you will just not use marketing automation to its full operating capacity because it is too difficult to use. One Infusionsoft user shared his experience about waiting until the end of the day to log into his marketing automation software because he hated using it.

If you are creating email templates and landing pages that are not mobile responsive, you are missing the opportunity to convert your leads into customers, and this could hurt you a lot in SEO. A lot of rumors say that Google is planning be include your site’s mobile user experience into its ranking criteria. A study by Google revealed that more than half of consumers are less likely to interact with a business if they give a bad mobile experience on their website.

Will the software you select to give you tools to create email templates and landing pages that are optimized for mobile or responsiveness? Are you able to preview content across many types of devices? A system which is built mobile responsive can save you money and time, and aid you in increasing conversions.

3. What is the CRM integration process like?

The picture shows two(2) men are shaking hands, with a background of a working table that has a laptop,and paper works, this is an example of a process Customer Relationship Management integration.

Customer Relationship Management integration is very important for sales and marketing alignment and also to support the entire sales funnel. You would want a two-way synchronization between CRM and marketing automation. Also, you should ask what it requires to make your CRM work with your marketing automation. Does it require coding skills to implement marketing automation? And more importantly how much technical support does your marketing automation provider give? This is a very important deciding factor because you need to ascertain that you will be fully supported all the way.

4. How easy is to determine the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and immediately act on it?

Having a good understanding the software’s capabilities when it comes to reporting is the key to ensure that you are able to make analytics-driven choices. Decisions about your marketing spend is important and should also be able to show your team these actionable results.

Doing that may get very complicated due to with the sheer volume of data made available to you in this software, you may potentially lose a lot of time with just analyzing the data. This doesn’t really help you decide right away.  Now instead of fixating on each piece of information, you could possibly ever want to generate, you need to stay on target with your most important objectives to find out how easily and quickly you can break the news of success to your team.

Here are examples of capabilities a good marketing automation software should have:

  • You are marketing across different channels — social media, paid advertising, events, email marketing, etc. You must be able to easily know which of the channels are generating the most customers and leads.
  • If you are running campaigns, it should be easy to make use of those assets to a marketing campaign and report on those assets individually, and the overall campaign. — both while the campaign is running and at the end of the campaign.
  • You should focus your efforts on deals and opportunities which generates the most for the company

This is why ‘real-time’ support is crucial. You should only wait the least amount of time possible until the end of the entire campaign to build Excel formulas, export data, figure out what happened, and then take action on to your next campaign. You must be able to see which of the initiatives/channels are working just fine (and which ones are not). You must be able to address these issues while the campaign is still running.

5. When you run into problems, how easy is it for you to fix it or get technical support?

I cannot stress enough about the significance of getting decent technical support. Does the marketing automation provider give free and unlimited access to phone, email or live chat support? Does contacting support cost you extra? And how many members of the team may communicate with tech support, does it have a limit? And how long do you usually have to wait to be on hold if you should call to address a problem? Are you only given one channel to be able to talk to tech support for the entire time that you are a customer? If you hire more team members, do you need to pay extra fees for training? Does the marketing automation provider offer training that’s personalized for the software?

In the picture a man is wearing a suit holding his open laptop resting on the table,a smartphone to his right side, behind the laptop there is a tablet. He is facing a woman wearing a business attire, this is an example of getting a decent technical support.

Marketing automation software is very potent as long as you actually make use of it. And having high-quality technical support is critical. Oftentimes, this will cost you a lot more money or it will take you too long to get an answer to get issues fixed. You are integrating marketing automation in order to generate better results very quickly. Never settle for a company with poor technical support.

Always be reminded to stay on target to what your objectives are – they are probably generating more leads, visitors, customers, and income – and on how will the automation you are implementing will aid you to accomplish those objectives. Have you heard about CRM Singapore software? Contact us or email us at info@scaleupmarketing.asia for better information about CRM System.

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