SLMA Note: This is one of the best articles I have read on the subject of choosing a marketing automation system. The author is Lauren Carlson of Software Advice. I have added some thoughts (encouraged by the author Lauren Carlson) and I have printed the majority of article.
The orginal appears here. In more depth.
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by Lauren Carlson, CRM Market Analyst, Software Advice
They say hindsight is 20/20. If you’d only known A, B, C, you might have done X, Y, Z a bit differently, right?
Given that we can’t accurately see into the future, as consumers, we often seek out the advice and opinions of our peers. With the Internet and social media, it’s easier than ever to find out what Tina paid for this or why Joe chose that. Logging on to Twitter, Facebook, Yelp and other third-party review sites gives us instant access to what other like-minded consumers are saying about the products we are interested in.
We were curious about what marketing automation users would do differently with 20/20 hindsight. In other words, if they could go back and buy their software all over again, what would they have changed? So we polled some software users and asked them: “What questions do you wish you had asked your marketing automation vendor before purchasing?” We outline the questions users wished they’d asked.
The Four Categories of Questions
While we polled many users, we simplified their responses and singled out the top 10 most popular questions they wished they had asked. Then, we separated those responses into four categories: integration, support/training, road map and maintenance. Below you’ll also find several actual responses from our participants that better illustrate what they learned through the purchasing process. (Note: All individual participants and companies are anonymous.)
Clarifying Communication around Integration
Arguably one of the biggest pain points in any software implementation is integration. Most companies purchasing a new system will have one or more existing systems that the new solution must integrate with. All marketing automation systems will offer some level of integration but the depth varies and is often unclear. This lack of clarity seemed to be a big issue among respondents. Many took integration at face value without inquiring further into the level of integration offered.