SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) have that unique challenge of trying to achieve growth with limited resources. Today, more than ever, SMEs have powerful tools at their disposal to expand their marketing efforts, build their brand and increase revenue.
One of the options that can truly help SMEs streamline their marketing workflows is marketing automation. It enables marketing and sales teams to save a lot of precious time and company resources that can go to more important tasks. It also helps you deliver personalized and highly relevant campaigns that engage potential and existing customers. The hard part is that as a busy entrepreneur, you need to select the right marketing automation platform for your unique requirements. With so many options, it can be difficult to choose the right one. Here are some of the top features you should consider when evaluating marketing automation platforms for SMEs.
Any company likes to have its employees work with tools that are intuitive and easy to use. SMEs even more so. So when evaluating different marketing automation tools, you should really look at how user-friendly everything is, how easy you can find the features you need. Usability has a very underestimated impact on the amount of time it takes you to run marketing campaigns.
Sending emails is probably the first thing that comes to mind when talking about marketing automation. That makes effective email marketing tools essential. Look for features like email templates, automated drip campaigns, A/B testing, and advanced analytics to measure your email performance.
Any business needs sales to survive. And to be able to sell, you need to generate leads. The platform you are considering should offer lead generation capabilities, like a landing page builder, forms (preferrably smart ones), and integration with your CRM systems to manage and nurture those leads effectively.
Integration with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is crucial for tracking and managing customer interactions. Any interaction you have should be saved in your CRM so you can see every single interaction you had with a person. Integrating with your CRM helps you ensure a seamless flow of information between sales and marketing teams. Ideally, you’d go for a CRM that has all the automation tool already on board.
Since we’re talking about platforms that contain and use personal data, you should definitely verify that the platforms follows industry best practices for data security. You should also ensure that it complies with relevant regulations to protect customer data, such as GDPR or the AI Act that the EU is working on.
In a complex competitive business landscape, having detailed and comprehensive analytics and reporting features is essential. Measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns is important to determine what works and what doesn’t.
One of the main benefits of having such features in place is the ability to track all the key metrics that are vital for determining how well your marketing efforts are performing. Besides, detailed analytics and reporting features can help businesses identify areas for improvement and optimize marketing strategies. So look for features that provide advanced insights when choosing your new marketing automation platform.
The only certainty you have is that your organisation will evolve. Ideally it will grow,for example by selling more, by launching new products or moving into new markets. So you’ll need to ensure that the chosen platform can grow with your business. It should accommodate your evolving marketing needs and handle increased workloads as your business expands.
No matter what platform you will use, there will come a time when there is something wrong with it and you’ll need customer support. Make sure the vendor of the platform offers decent customer support for your team. If possible, make sure your team gets training when onboarding on the platform. At Upperscore, whenever we do any kind of implementation, we offer training by default. Training is a crucial factor in the success with which companies use the platform.
Chances are you’re already using other software that needs to integrate with your automation platform. So check if the platform can integrate with the tools and software you already use, like analytics tools, content management systems and so on.
Any serious automation platform should offer you advanced workflows to automate repetitive work. That includes sending follow-up emails, assigning leads, creating tasks for your team, lead scoring and so on. If possible, test this on the platforms you are considering: workflow are set up only once and automate huge amounts of work. This is where you can get a massive ROI on your investment. If workflows are new to you, check this blogpost about some Hubspot workflows any company should implement.
No company uses only 1 channel for marketing. Next to email, companies also use social media (often a few different ones), SMS, and WhatsApp or example. So before you make your final choice, make sure that your new marketing automation platform supports the channels you are using to run campaigns.
You should also make sure your marketing automation platform of choice is updated frequently. And we don’t just mean bug fixes. To stay ahead of the curve and be able to offer customers what they want, your platform should offer new functionalities on a regular basis. And they should do it for their own good too: how else will they continue to deliver great products and sell to new customers?
By considering these 12 features, your organization can choose a marketing automation platform that aligns with its specific goals and resources. There may be more parameters that are very specific to your organization that you also need to check, so you may want to add these to your personal list. These 12 should get you a long way towards selecting the platform that is the best fit for you.
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