by Hannah Huck Article18 Feb
Marketing automation is a core element of marketing operations. But how do you determine which marketing automation system fits your business needs best? To simplify your search for the right marketing tool, we have compiled a list of the essential features of automation software.
Enterprise marketing involves the management and coordination of end-to-end internal processes in an enterprise. Enterprise marketing automation software helps integrate and streamline business activities across sales, marketing, operations, partners, and IT.
There are multiple automation software out there that offer a rich set of features to enhance your marketing strategy. We zero in on some of the top features to consider when investing in an enterprise marketing automation system.
The key to getting started is open communication during process mapping – Get different members of the sales, marketing and event organizations together and locked away in one room with a huge white wall and start mapping out the ideal marketing automation flows for the different target personas. This is always an eye-opening exercise because of the diversity in personas and the unique processes each takes based on the unique buyer profile.
– Peter Gillett, CEO of Zuant
10 Must-Have Features of Enterprise Marketing Automation Platforms
Marketing teams deal with enormous data sets that help them:
- Understand the customer journey
- Identify customer requirements based on their behavior and interactions
- Provide a steady stream of marketing-qualified leads to the sales team
- Help curate the right kind of content for customers
- Provide feedback to the operations team regarding product quality
An automation software that can pull data from your existing tools such as the Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Customer Data Platform (CDP), Content Management System (CMS), analytics suite, etc. will help streamline your effort and improve the organization’s ability to collaborate.
Integration capabilities should be simple and require minimal staff training. API access to integrate with existing tools, third-party applications, or features that you may need in the future is a bonus.
2. Lead Management:
Lead management is a fundamental feature of any marketing automation platform. With this feature you should be able to:
- Identify prospects and capture leads
- Map their movement across the sales funnel
- Monitor and track potential buyers
- Personalize content and sales outreach
3. Email Marketing:
Email marketing is a tried and tested method for customer outreach, and enterprises seek to automate their email campaigns to scale their marketing efforts. The automation platform you choose should have email capabilities such as:
- Triggered emails — based on events, time, occasions, etc.
- Personalized emails to create engagement and promote customer retention
- Scheduled messages
- Prioritizing email groups — to sort, categorize, etc.
- Tracking email campaigns to validate and help reduce the bounce rate
- Recording communication and customer behavior by the number of opens, clicks, etc.
4. Social Media Automation:
Social media automation is a handy way to seem to be available 24/7 and schedule posts in advance, thereby optimizing the effectiveness of your social campaigns. You can use social media automation to:
- Keep your social accounts active, fresh, and updated
- Respond to customer queries promptly
- Track the performance of your social campaigns
- Keep a tab on various social platforms from a single console
- Schedule and push timed posts
- Gather feedback and track mentions through social listening
- Build targeted advertisements
An enterprise automation software feeds on customer data and should be able to manage, maintain, and filter customer information. Being able to select your target audience based on specific criteria is segmentation. Marketing automation systems help segment databases by any combination of device, behavior, referral source, location, and demographic.
6. Analytics and Reporting:
The ability to comb through insights from rich datasets and help marketers make informed decisions is by far the essential feature of any marketing tool. This includes:
- Comprehensive data collection and analysis
- Customized reporting for different stakeholders
- Facilitating data-driven decisions
- Monitoring campaigns, measuring performance and ROI to adjust campaigns
Some premium marketing automation platforms let you test your decisions and the effectiveness of your campaigns. This may include A/B testing or multivariate testing of different versions of an asset.
8. Usability and Set-Up:
An intuitive, easy to use software is every user’s delight. While choosing an automation tool for your team, you should evaluate:
- Is the software user-friendly?
- How much training time and cost would be incurred to train your staff?
- How much value add would it be (in terms of productivity and efficiency)?
- How complicated is it to set-up?
- Is any customization required?
Customer information and corporate data are both sensitive and need protection from malicious access and use. Most marketing platforms are cloud-based and provide easy access to your staff. An assessment of security measures to protect your assets is essential before deploying an automation software. You should ask:
- Is the data being encrypted and how?
- Are there authentication processes integrated, such as two-factor or multi-factor authentication?
- Does it provide role-based access?
An enterprise marketing software is a complex system and will need continuous support from your vendor. Even a short downtime can cause heavy business losses — consider a vendor who provides dedicated support and a troubleshooting team around the clock.
While investing in an enterprise marketing automation platform evaluate your needs first, instead of falling into the trap of ‘the latest’ or ‘trending’ features. Test the suitability of the product if a vendor offers trials, conduct surveys and gather reviews before taking the final call.
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