5 Prerequisites for Buying Marketing Automation Software

So you just decided to buy marketing automation software to crank up sales leads, track the ROI of your campaigns, and prove just what exactly marketing has been doing to drive the bottom line. Wise choice. Whether you’re an SMB, a regional division of a large enterprise or a multi-national marketing organization, lots of vendors would be happy to sell you that license. But we’re here to say:

“Wait a second. Before you buy marketing automation, there are a few things you need to do first to make sure it is a huge success.” Here are five things you ought to ensure you have in place before you even begin to roll out a new marketing automation software solution.

1. Buyer Personas

Lots of companies say, “We target the CIO or VP of Finance.” But that doesn’t help create quality conversations for your sales team. You need to go far beyond the demographic question and look at the Why? And the What? Why did the CIO or VP of Finance buy? What was it about their critical problem and your solution that created a perfect match? What is it about the personality of the finance person that made it possible for you to create a campaign that spoke directly to their needs, and help put you on the short list? What problems do they need to solve? What’s the impact of the problem? What’s critical to them in selecting a vendor to help them solve those problems? Do they want a long-term relationship or do they just want you to fix their issues and then leave?  The bottom line is that the more you know, the better you’ll market and the better you’ll be able to prep the sales team to sell. Know who you need to deal with, know what makes them tick, and know how to accompany them on their journey so you create success.

2. Agreed Lead Definition

What makes a good lead? The problem most companies have is if you talk to four different people, you’ll get five different definitions. Both marketing and sales must identify and agree on the criteria for qualified opportunities that merit direct follow-up from sales. We suggest getting every stakeholder in a room, agree on expectations and hammer out definitions that everyone can live with. This includes: what is a qualified marketing lead, what is a sales ready lead, or a sales qualified lead. When sales and marketing share a common definition of the criteria for opportunities ready for handoff, each group supports the common goal of closing more business and helping drive more revenue.

3. Value Proposition

Regardless of the size of your business or the type of industry you are in, your company should have a value proposition. A strong value proposition does the following:

  • Creates interest, so that your prospects are intrigued and wish to learn more.
  • Differentiates your offer from your competitors’ offers and creates a strong comparison between you and your competitors.
  • Increases the quantity and quality of your sales leads and makes conversions to a win that much easier.
  • Aligns your business more closely to your customers’ needs.
  • Focuses on the customers’ needs and point of view.
  • Includes fact-based statements that will capture the attention of decision-makers: increased revenues, decreased costs, & improved efficiency.

A strong value proposition speaks directly to your target audience and is a clear statement of the concrete results they will get from purchasing and using your products and/or services. A weak value proposition, on the other hand, is a sales and marketing killer. Your value proposition should distill all the complexity of the value you provide into an easy-to-remember phrase that is not only easy to grasp and retain, but identifies and remedies an unmet need that your customers face. It should relieve their pain.

4. Trigger Events

Trigger events are things that happen on the buyer side that trigger a search for a solution. Trigger events might be something like a divestiture, acquisition, or the promotion of an executive. A good technique is to go back to your existing customers for a Won Sales Analysis. They will likely share the trigger event that drove their decision.

5. Very Tight Target Market

One of the most common mistakes in B2B marketing is to assume that lots and lots of companies are prospective customers. The more tightly you define your market, the more effective you will be. Look at customers. Look at prospects. What do they have in common? They may be from a similar industry, similar titles, similar geography, etc. A tight market will undoubtedly emerge. Targeting a smaller universe lowers costs and improves win rates.

Making the Final Decision to Buy Marketing Automation Software

We believe Act-On Software has great software, but our real focus is on your success. Use these five priorities to ensure you are buying marketing automation software that will meet your needs, no matter who you choose.

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