We are in the final chapter of this guide. So far, we had covered the product-oriented capabilities of a marketing automation software. We talked about Analytics, Events, Segmentation etc. We talked about the capabilities that you should expect and questions you should ask the vendor.
Finally, in this chapter, we would talk about the vendor-specific details. The kind of features that you should expect on the service front.
Check if the platform has experience working for companies having data volume similar to yours for a decent amount of time.
I have discussed in ‘Conclusion’ why you should take the names displayed on the vendor’s website with a pinch of salt.
Ask them to suggest three power users of theirs and call them on your own to gauge their experience. It is normal for prospects to ask for this and you should definitely do it too.
2. Case studies
Understand the scope and duration of work of vendor with the creme clients advertised on their homepage. You see, the shop supplying envelopes to Walmart’s office is also a vendor of Walmart. You wouldn’t take vendor’s giant claim on their website on face value if he does something similar for a big shot name. Find out, to what extent the top names on the vendor’s website use their service.
3. Onboarding and implementation
Why it is important?
Surprisingly most of the churn for any marketing automation product happens or starts at the product onboarding stage which explains the criticality of onboarding.
However, that doesn’t make it only the vendor’s problem. It is equally the client’s problem. The following three reasons would establish the importance of an agile onboarding process:
- Confusion wrt ‘events’ among businesses- Most consumer businesses are still not aware of ‘event tracking’- the whole premise on which the marketing automation products operate. During the onboarding stage, clients are systematically taken through the integration process which solidifies their understanding around how the product functions.
- Data sanity- This is one of the pressing problems surrounding any product that is built on data. For instance, assume that you integrated WebEngage 3 months ago. However, the data around revenue was being tracked wrongly. What does that entail? a) Corrupted historical data, totally evading any possibility of making sound marketing/product decision b) Redoing the manually extensive process of tracking event, something that should have been sorted right at the onboarding.
- Success- Unless the groundwork is not properly set, the client cannot achieve success with the product.
Below, I am linking the onboarding tracker that we follow internally. It would give you a good idea of how an onboarding process should look like.
4. Technical support
- What are the support timings?
- How is the support facility available, via email or phone?
- What is the promised response time?
This is especially pertinent when the vendor is located in the different continent. If their support is reliable only in their day timings then you can only wait for the stars when anything goes wrong in their night timing.
Always look for solid 24*7 support.
How is the vendor going to compensate if the promised time is not respected.
4. Account management
Best products are the ones which don’t need any account management or anything close at all. Best products are self-service.
Customers prefer solving their problems by themselves instead of jumping on a call every 10 seconds.
Now, everyone provides account management. Everyone. So, it becomes a vague addition to your SLA if you are not careful about the caveats.
- How many professional hours in a week/month will the account manager be dedicatedly available?
- What is the promised uptime?
- How many enterprise clients my account manager will support?
If the vendor isn’t able to deliver the promised uptime, question how is he going to compensate.
That would give you the idea of bandwidth that your account manager is likely going to allocate to you.