Jay Famico at Sirius Decisions posted your blog post Marketing Automation Platforms: Minimum Requirements where he identified 16 key requirements for marketing automation that escape into campaign management, lead management, and platform management capabilities. That blog inspired me to discuss some ideas on a start-up software company perspective on marketing automation. And since I’m an unbiased blogger, I’m planning to discuss my opinions on some specific solutions. I’m not claiming to possess done a comprehensive review of every one of the possible marketing solutions, but I’ve done multiple start-ups and I’ll present a few ideas on the forms of solutions that I would consider dependant on my experiences.
A start-up’s perspective on marketing automation is the company has some specific marketing projects or processes so it needs to execute also it’s trying to find practical solutions. The company is constrained by funding and also by the expertise of the folks executing the marketing programs. The company usually buys what exactly it needs (unless it closed a round of funding and is also evaluating platforms to meet up with future growth).
From a start-up perspective, the business needs a CRM strategy to store leads, a contact marketing solution, along with a solution for registration on landing pages. The company might or might not have a website. As the corporation gets funding, then integration between platforms, lead scoring, lead nurturing, campaign management, inbound marketing, and analytics be important. And there could be other specific needs like surveys, event management, or webinars.
The Stealth Start-up with Quarterly Marketing Budget = $0
Stealth Start-Up Recommendation: There’s an entire range of free marketing tools you can use
I’ve worked two stealth start-ups and free was my most significant criteria. The stealth start-up can be a pre-A-round company. The company can be trying to head over to market without getting VC money. They could be using their own money, angel funding, or money at a grant or competition to get the business going. The company could have handful of prospect leads that happen to be involved in providing feedback or beta testing early product releases. The stealth start-up doesn’t use a marketing budget. The company requires a CRM treatment for track leads, e-mail marketing to keep talking to leads, and registration (landing) pages to get new leads. Integration these capabilities is not a requirement.
I’d start by searching for a free CRM solution. I’d get a basic answer to keep track of contact details, notes, and email opt out. Since Salesforce.com not offers a free of charge version, I’d go with a solution like Zoho CRM that is certainly free for 3 users or more to 5000 records. When this company grows, we might always migrate the details to a different system.
For marketing via email, I’d take a look at something like Mail Chimp that has free marketing via email for up to 2000 subscribers and 12,000 emails a month. I’d also locate a free landing page treatment for support registration and download for lead gen campaigns. You may possibly also build landing pages being a web forms on the website for those who have resources to accomplish this. My exposure to web-to-lead or website web forms is you also need to start being active . sort of Captcha treatment for avoid generating spam leads. These web forms usually aren’t integrated with CRM so you’ll need to import the registration data to your CRM system.
There are many other free tools you could use for surveys (Survey Monkey), analytics (Google Analytics), SEO (Google Keyword Planner), competitive analysis (Hubspot Website Grader, Google Keyword Planner), plus the list proceeds. Of course Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and SlideShare are free of charge places to activate prospects. If you have a very marketing need, there’s a good chance that there’s a complimentary solution around. It could possibly have ads, may possibly not be integrated, and it will not work perfectly, but it’s free.
The Boot Strap Start-Up with Quarterly Marketing Budget <K$100
Bootstrap Start-Up Recommendation: Enterprise-class CRM, standalone marketing capabilities by incorporating integration with CRM, continued heavy utilization of free marketing solutions.
I worked at one Boot Strap Start-Up high was some marketing budget, but free and do-it-yourself marketing were vital. A Boot Strap Start-Up has some investment, though the amount is way too small to think it is an A round. In this example, there is certainly some marketing budget within the tens of thousands of dollars per quarter.
In this scenario, I’d be trying to find a CRM solution that is certainly affordable knowning that can grow with the business. I’ve used Salesforce.com at intervals of start-up so I usually recommend that platform. However, there can be other compelling business or technology top reasons to consider Zoho, NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics, SugarCRM or another CRM solutions.
Your email marketing must look more professional, you’re sending email with greater frequency to bigger lists, the tracking and analytics with your email is beginning to become important, and integrating email campaigns together with your CRM product is important. However, your budget still can’t afford a subscriber list marketing automation platform. I’d be checking out stand alone e-mail marketing platforms that contain strong integration using the CRM system for uploading lists, syncing email opt out, and tracking email campaign history. I won’t even attempt to review e-mail marketing platforms, though the last time I was within a start-up with small marketing budgets, I chose Vertical Response because I felt it had the top integration with Salesforce.com, good email analytics, as well as a pay-as-you go model.
Email Marketing Automation Software
In this scenario, I’ve used Salesforce.com web-to-lead registration forms to be a low cost strategy to create landing pages. The only disadvantages in using web-to-lead forms are that you simply usually have to add a Captcha solution as well as a web-to-lead form will generate duplicate leads inside your CRM system. So you have to be ready to merge duplicates when utilizing web-to-lead forms.
For any requirements like segmentation, analytics, nurturing, or lead scoring, I’d be seeking DYI solutions. Run reports in Salesforce.com and analyze the info in Excel to make your segmentation. Then manually create and schedule a group of nurture emails during that targeted list. Build your lead scoring formulas in Salesforce.com using formula fields and workflow/field updates. And for further extensive tracking, adapt Google URL builder to tag your links with URL parameters that could be tracked in Google Analytics and Adwords. I would still use all of the free tools for SEO and keyword analysis.
The A Round Start-up with Quarterly Marketing Budget >K$100
A-Round Start-Up Recommendation: Either an elementary or fully featured marketing automation platform
I’ve worked at two A round start-ups. With bigger marketing budgets, there is often a much wider variety of solutions to consider. At this stage, I’m in case you have an enterprise-class CRM solution and I’ve used Salesforce.com Enterprise Edition in those start-ups. With this a higher level budget, you’re building more difficult and automated marketing capabilities. Integration between solutions is very important. Analytics capabilities are crucial. Easy can also be important because even though you have a very bigger budget, you will still don’t have lots of people together with the expertise they are driving all these capabilities.
In my personal, this is why you get in to the marketing automation platform decision. Do you buy to the Hubspot vision? Do you will get an entry level marketing automation platform like Act-On. Or can you go for the whole-feature marketing automation solution like Marketo, Eloqua, SilverPop, or Pardot.
These tools provide e mail marketing, landing pages, registration forms, tracking, lead scoring, lead nurturing, and much more. They are all tightly integrated with Salesforce.com sufficient reason for webinar platforms. They all have some a higher level integration with social media. The pricing for these particular systems ranges from the couple hundred to a few thousand of dollars a month (in addition to their sales reps will most likely provide a deep discount for first-time accounts). If you take a look at one of my earlier posts on my small blog, I provided a directory of criteria that I used in evaluating marketing automation platforms.
Now, I’ll share our opinions on these platforms. And full disclosure, I’ve used and/or tested Act-On, Marketo, Eloqua, and Manticore. I haven’t used HubSpot, but I know several people which may have used it. For a rudimentary, simple to operate marketing automation platform, Act-On is often a great solution. It’s a fundamental marketing automation platform which has a friendly, intuitive interface. However, it's got limited capabilities. So if you’re just coming to grips with marketing automation, Act-On is usually a great spot to get started then as your needs grow, you can think about migrating completely to another platform.
I’ve never used HubSpot and I’ve never really understood what’s differentiated concerning platform. I can build tracking for leads from any channel regardless of if the lead originated outbound, social networking, or organic lead sources in most of the marketing automation solutions. All the marketing automation solutions have landing pages, integration with Salesforce.com, analytics, lead scoring, and lead nurturing. There a variety of free and paid SEO and keyword tools. And from speaking with people within my network, I haven’t heard about anyone using a huge success or even a huge failure using HubSpot. So from my perspective, HubSpot is an additional marketing automation solution and you just ought to assess its capabilities compared to your needs and budget. In plain english, don’t get caught up in HubSpot’s marketing message and do a goal assessment according to your marketing automation requirements.
The High Growth Start-up with Quarterly Marketing Budget > K$250
Okay, you merely got a major round of funding and you’re getting yourself ready big growth and expansion. In my personal, at this amount of funding, it is best to really be leveraging the entire extent of the marketing automation platform. I’d be focusing totally on full featured marketing automation platforms. I’ve seen many companies using Hubspot simply for inbound marketing and also a marketing automation platform like Eloqua for any devices. You may turn getting into more complex or specific capabilities like data cleansing/appending (e.g. Data.com, DiscoverOrg, RainKing). You may explore solutions that automatically populate account names on form fields. Or you might start testing online retargeting solutions or adding e-commerce and subscription management capabilities. An enterprise class CRM solution plus a full-feature marketing automation platform will become important to integrate more complex capabilities. At here, you’re getting sophisticated enough to work this out yourself so I’ll end my comments here.
Email Marketing Automation Software