Last month Jon Miller wrote a detailed blog post on why you need a marketing automation platform, especially if you already have a CRM system. I’m assuming that you all have gone out, selected a platform, and you’re on your way to better marketing with marketing automation!

But for those of you still in the search phase, there are a few things you should consider in addition to the software platform itself.

1. Comprehensive On-Boarding and Enablement

Let’s face it, with all new software there will be a learning curve. The real question is how quickly can you be up and running and really productive? When looking for a vendor, you should make sure that they provide a methodical approach that has been successful over many different customer implementations. There should be one-to-one support to get you from configuration, to sending your first email, to building your first event and beyond.

2. Access to Expert Services and Support

As you become familiar with the platform you’re probably doing some targeting, you’re using email effectively as a channel, and the quality of the leads you’re sending to sales is much better than before. But you want to take your marketing to the next level by exploring areas such as social marketing, segmentation with dynamic content, or improving the way you work with sales to get the highest returns on your marketing efforts. Ask yourself the following questions?

  • Does the vendor provide access to experts in their organization or with partners to provide you with experienced guidance, coaching, and best practices?
  • Are there options to get proactive support services to drive initiatives based on your defined KPIs?
  • Do you need help defining what those KPIs should be?

3. Services Delivery Framework

Marketing automation requires a process just like software development or resource management. The process makes your efforts repeatable and scalable with high quality and efficiency. It’s important that in addition to giving you access to experts, the vendor provides services based on a proven delivery framework. That helps you ensure the same methodologies and best practices applied to your organization have been successful in other organizations.

4. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

If the vendor has a large and broad customer base, it’s likely that others have done what you’re doing–at least from a process perspective. Every organization will need to develop custom email campaigns, lead scoring processes, or lead nurturing modules based on your business needs. But why start from scratch when you don’t have to? The vendor should provide you with the ability to leverage the best practices of those who have come before you through capabilities such as reference libraries with pre-built and verified modules.

Remember that it’s not just about the software or the platform that will make you successful as a modern marketer. Look for capabilities and offerings that will drive you further up the maturity curve to adopt coordinated multi-channel marketing, deeply integrated sales and marketing processes,and achieve disciplined measurement of your impact on revenue.

Marketo just released some great new client services capabilities to help you succeed with marketing automation.

Check out Marketo’s Customer Testimonial video here to find out how our client services capabilities have helped our customers!