Which Marketing Automation Platform Should I Use?
Before you can answer this question, you need to have a marketing system or program in place, otherwise you will not know what features you need.
Think of a small enterprise starting up a baking business.
They would not go out and buy the latest state of the art automated baking equipment at the start.
It is more likely that they would start off by baking small batches in a domestic kitchen and selling them into a localised market.
As the demand grows the business may decide to move into premises with a commercial-grade kitchen. If the demand grows further the business would then look to see which of their processes could be automated, so that they could scale production to a cost-effective industrial level.
This analogy works for marketing.
You need to have a marketing system or program in place
You need to be at a point where you are regularly carrying out marketing tasks and are seeking to automate some or all the process, so that you can achieve more with your resources.
A marketing automation platform will usually include some if not all the features below:
- List management and segmentation
- Mail scheduling
- Intuitive email template design tools
- Personalisation tools
- Social media content management
- Activity reporting
- Website tracking
- CRM integration
- Account based marketing
- Landing page builder
- Form builder
- Automated workflows
Many marketing automation platforms are available as a free version, which allows you to test the platform before you commit to spending any money.
However, do not expect to have access to all the platform’s features if you have opted to use a free version as your first step.
Free Marketing Automation Platforms
Different platforms will give you access to different features if you are using a free version. For example, the free version of HubSpot will allow you to schedule messages, whereas anyone newly opening a MailChimp account will find this feature is not available, although it is available to customers who signed up some time ago.
It could be worth road testing a few of the free versions to see which suits you best in terms of features and the usability of the interface.
Not all marketing automation platforms offer a free version. This will certainly be the case if you are looking to integrate marketing automation with your CRM.
CRM integration offers benefits such as:
- Advanced list segmentation based on data held in your CRM
- Advanced email personalisation based on data held in your CRM
- Providing insights for your sales team so that they can tailor their conversations with customers
- Account based marketing campaigns
If you are looking to integrate your marketing platform with an existing CRM, create a shortlist of the marketing automation platforms that can be linked to the CRM you use. Then make a list of the tasks that you would like the marketing automation to do.
The next step is to refine the list so that you have a list of compatible automation platforms that can do all the tasks you require. From here you can start looking into the cost of the platform and requesting demos to ensure the platform is right for your business.
ADM uses Act-On, which is integrated with our NetSuite ERP/CRM.
If you have any questions about ADM’s experience of integrating marketing automation with a CRM, then please do not hesitate to contact our Marketing Manager, Stephen Lilley