20 questions to ask marketing automation vendors during a demo
Marketing automation platforms often play a central role in marketing technology stacks, especially given the importance of email as a marketing channel. But since these systems often come with hefty price tags, it’s important to cover all of your bases when navigating the purchase or upgrade process.
To start, set up demos with your shortlist of vendors within a relatively short timeframe after receiving the RFP responses to help make relevant comparisons. Make sure that all potential internal users are on the demo call, and pay attention to the following:
- How easy is the platform to use?
- Does the vendor seem to understand our business and our marketing needs?
- Are they showing us our “must-have” features?
- If we ask a specific question, can they demonstrate the answer on the call?
Explore marketing automation solutions from vendors like Marketo, HubSpot, Salesforce and more in the full MarTech Intelligence Report on marketing automation platforms.
Once you get to demo day, it’s important to have your list of questions prepared. Use the following list to help you.
- How easy is it to integrate this software into my organization?
- What is the onboarding process?
- How long does implementation take?
- What kind of support and training are included in the base price?
- What does your partner and developer community look like?
- How do I maximize adoption in my organization?
- Will we have a dedicated account rep available to us?
- Do current customers utilize the full functionality?
- What new features are you focusing on for the coming year?
- Can we do a test run for a few days on our own (i.e., a free trial)?
- How do you protect and secure customer data? Do you have a roadmap for what you would do in the event of a hack?
Don’t hesitate to ask for a demonstration of the specific capabilities that you have identified in your RFI/RFP. Consider requesting product demos showing basic tasks and demonstrating core reports such as:
- Create and edit a new email from scratch.
- Import and segment data.
- Base data management, cleansing and enrichment options.
- Create and edit a new landing page from scratch.
- Execute a simple campaign with an email, mailing list and landing page.
- See a report showing email opens, clickthroughs and landing page conversions.
- See a report showing web traffic and/or specific leads from an email campaign.
- ROI dashboards and reports at the organization and campaign levels.
- Campaign attribution options and capabilities.
This is an ongoing relationship; it’s important to feel that your questions are being answered.
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Snapshot: Marketing automation
For today’s marketers, automation platforms are often the center of the marketing stack. They aren’t shiny new technologies, but rather dependable stalwarts that marketers can rely upon to help them stand out in a crowded inbox and on the web amidst a deluge of content.
HubSpot noted late last year that marketing email volume had increased by as much as 52% compared to pre-COVID levels. And, thankfully, response rates have also risen to between 10% and 20% over their benchmark.
To help marketers win the attention battle, marketing automation vendors have expanded from dependence on static email campaigns to offering dynamic content deployment for email, landing pages, mobile and social. They’ve also incorporated features that rely on machine learning and artificial intelligence for functions such as lead scoring, in addition to investing in the user interface and scalability.
The growing popularity of account-based marketing has also been a force influencing vendors’ roadmaps, as marketers seek to serve the buying group in a holistic manner — speaking to all of its members and their different priorities. And, ideally, these tools let marketers send buyer information through their tight integrations with CRMs, giving the sales team a leg up when it comes to closing the deal. Learn more here.
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