Marketing automation consultant David Raab has compiled a nice set of advisory tips and gotcha’s for selecting a marketing automation system.
The current state of the art in vendor selection, Raab says, is abysmal, with 50% of organizations considering only one vendor, and 66% relying primarily on internal meetings. Only 19% perform a formal needs assessment and only 25% set up a pilot test.
In a nutshell, Raab’s “Seven Deadly Sins of Marketing System Selection” are:
- Ignoring users
- Lack of purpose
- Not defining requirements
- Only considering industry leaders
- Letting the vendor drive the discussion
- Focusing on functions
- Working without experts
Raab warns against buying without concrete objectives; choosing systems based on who has the most, best, or coolest features; not using scenarios to test systems against your needs; ignoring the information you can gather from references; and not investing in training, planning, program design, content, and other resources for successful deployment.
Defining your organization’s needs and setting goals is critical and is worth the effort, says Raab. Most vendors will give you a trial license if they believe you are seriously considering their product, and this gives you a chance to test the system thoroughly against all the demands you have defined. “If that sounds like too much work,” says Raab, “bear in mind that you’ll need those programs after deployment anyway.”
Raab also warns against relying on social media queries as a replacement for checking references. Why is social media product research unreliable? “Apart from dedicated grudge-holders,” he says, “few businesspeople will volunteer negative feedback in social media: they can only get in trouble and there’s nothing in it for them.”
If you do rely on the social media, Raab advises, “contact the people who respond and have an in-depth conversation asking the same questions you would ask the vendor’s own references.”
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