Day to day marketing difficulties and necessities may make you acquire new marketing tools without much evaluation. Rushed decisions, program changes or updates, quick workarounds or not knowing exactly what you need at the moment or in the future may make your technology workflow a nightmare; make you frustrated, and spend extra time you don’t necessarily have.
A 2019 survey from automizy reports the top 3 marketing automation challenges being automation, integrations, and complexity; usually due to choosing the wrong tools, or failing to have the in-house resources and expertise needed to implement marketing automation effectively.
That’s why we suggest creating an in-depth evaluation of all your systems to understand what they currently do and what you would need them to do in the future.
Phase 1: Evaluation of your current status
Create a list of all the programs you use and how they’re connected to one another.
In this example, we’ll only use an email marketing sender.
Add all the frustrations you’re having with them or things you’d like the system to do.
“We wish the system had a friendlier drag-and-drop interface that would let us create better emails without needing to rely on HTML code to correct it."
Make an estimate of how that would help you save time and/or money
“We would not need help from a programmer, that would definitely help us save a few hours of design and coding; about 3 hours per email.”
Make a list of the things you most like about the system and wouldn’t want to lose moving forward
“It integrates perfectly with our CRM”
Of course, this is a very simple step by step solution and doesn’t really compare to a real-life scenario where you need to contemplate a whole list of frustrations, must-have's, and integrations.
Phase 2: Research
Taking into account the previous steps, you’ll already be aware of which elements are essential to you, which systems you'll probably want to change, and which ones you may not be so sure of. By the end of this phase, you’ll need to be able to answer these three main questions:
- What are the main benefits of changing your software assets?
- How will you save time and/or money?
- What value would they be adding to your systems? And if it results in a bigger cost, how would that help your bottom line?
The main issues when making important changes in your marketing software stack are:
Scalability: It's important to know how you´ll be able to use this system as your company grows. Most systems have certain limits, and it's important to investigate them thoroughly before receiving unexpected surprises once the system is implemented and is difficult to go back.
Ease of use: This point is crucial to get to know how much time and how many resources the system will need. How much training and assistance you´ll need will end up impacting on your pricing indirectly as well. Will you need to take courses or training? How many people will need them? How much time will it take to implement and do you need additional resources to do so? Will you need to hire consulting hours?
Price: This point can get tricky because different systems have different offers that change according to its features, and a lot of them also vary over time and usage. For example: some marketing automation or email marketing systems can charge you according to features, contacts, email sends or users on your instance, so your pricing may be different when you start using it than some months into its usage depending on your requirements at the moment.
Functionality: It's likely when analyzing different systems, that you'll find that they don't have all the functionalities you wish they had. As we mentioned before, it's important to know which ones are non-negotiable and which ones you can work around. Keep in mind this important marketing software change is one you want to keep for at least a few years, so think about the implications of settling for something you know needs fixes right from the start.
An important point to highlight is to research the integrations; how your marketing system connects to the assets like your CRM will save a lot of time and give you easy information.
Don't Know Exactly What Your Marketing Stack Needs?
What actions do you need to do at this stage?
Reach out to your internal team: Not only marketing, but IT, sales, and other areas may probably give you some input as to what you may need to look into. Some systems may also include benefits for teams outside of marketing and sales.
Compare systems and read reviews online: Look into sites such as G2, Capterra, softwareadvice, etc. These sites will give you first-hand experience into what you may encounter: benefits, difficulties, etc. Create a document for yourself that´ll help you easily see pros and cons of each system according to your needs.
Reach out to sales: Don’t be shy about talking to salespeople to make sure all of your doubts have been solved, letting them tell you more about what to expect and how to solve your concerns. Grab some case studies on how other companies solved their problems that may be similar to yours.
Phase 3: Planning and implementing
At this point, you´ve decided which system/s you´ll be using from now on. You'll probably need to create a Gantt chart (or a planning sheet) to know how many people will need to be involved in the transition process and what the steps will be moving forward and how they will be executed.
You´ll need to communicate these changes to the staff involved to know what they should expect. You´ll also need to plan out how this process will go, migrating the information you need to take from the old instances and importing it to the new ones, making sure vital information isn't lost in the transition.
Are your systems and resources able to support these requirements or will you need external help? How much time does it take? When will the best dates be to receive training and how will those be?
Changing your software stack requires maximum precision because the new systems are expected to last as long as possible, giving as many benefits as possible at minimum expense.
Setting up and going through the learning curve can take several weeks or months and failing to choose the right programs can lead to important losses. It can become expensive when done wrong, that's why it's important to take the time to do it right and follow steps that will guarantee as little friction and unexpected delays as possible.
If you're having problems with your marketing software stack, you can always book a growth consultation where we discuss your current state and help you get started on your new project.