What to look for when choosing small business marketing automation software

Lilach Bullock on Marketing automation,


So you’re considering using marketing automation software to make your kick-ass business even better at kicking asses? Smart move. If you’ve already done your preliminary research, you’ll know that most B2B businesses are already using some form of automation – in fact 82% of them are using email automation and 42% are using marketing automation. If you’ve a head for numbers, you might even recall reading somewhere that a quarter of all Fortune 500 B2B companies use marketing automation.

But stats can only tell you so much. Actually, that’s not entirely true – statistics can tell you a whole lot, like the fact that the majority of marketing automation users believe it has proven to be a worthwhile investment. One thing you won’t learn from ogling numbers however is the sort of features you should be looking for when choosing SMB marketing automation software. And not just features, but other factors too. Like cost.

Let’s be honest, if you’re a small business, you’ll already be in the habit of scrutinising every outlay, whether it’s new whiteboard markers or a new cloud-based storage platform. Every purchase needs to be carefully weighed up to determine not only that you’re getting value for money, but to ensure that the benefits outweigh the cost and time investment that’s involved.

Cos that’s the other thing you’ll already know about marketing automation software: just because it’s got ‘automation’ in its name doesn’t mean it works like magic straight out the box. Even the cleverest of tools has to be configured to suit your business model and requirements. If you’re planning to invest in small business marketing automation software – as you almost certainly should – here’s what to look for…

Choose a scalable solution

The threshold for switching to automation generally comes when you’ve got more prospects than you can respond to individually. That doesn’t need to be an inordinately high number either: even a database that runs into three figures means you’re faced with hundreds of prospects to nurture and respond to on a one-to-one basis, and with the best will in the world, that’s simply not possible. As a wise woman once said, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

When choosing a marketing automation solution however, don’t select one based on the current size of your subscriber list: choose one representative of where you see your business being one or two years from now. If your automation software can’t grow as you grow, you’re only setting yourself up for a logistical nightmare further down the line when you’re forced to switch to a more advanced solution. Remember, when marketing automation is done well, it has the potential to dramatically grow your database – that’s the whole point of it – so plan ahead, and consider what your needs are likely to be in the future, not only in terms of scalability, but also in terms of the sort of features you’ll want to make use of further down the line.

Choose a cost-effective solution

Cost effective marketing software

Cost-effective and cheap are not synonyms. The best solution for your business won’t necessarily be the cheapest – it will be the one that gives you the best value for your money. Or the best bang for your buck if you like. When weighing up your options, obviously, the price of the software is a major factor, but there’s a more important cost you should be calculating – the human cost. Marketing automation software is designed to free your sales team from much of the administrative drudgery of having to manually reach out to prospects and categorise them based upon their interest level and position in the sales funnel. The best automation software for your business is the one that will save your team the most time, day after day. That’s where the value comes in. By all means look at the price tag, but also look beyond that and calculate how much time and capital you stand to save on account of the features that can now be automated.

Choose an integrated solution

Cost effective marketing software

Many marketing automation software solutions will integrate with your CRM, often using an API. This is ideal because it allows your sales team to join the dots and gain a more complete picture of where your prospects are at. Customer information that is already in your database can be synced with the data that your automation pulls up, putting names to email addresses and attributing actions to customers. There are always alternative ways of importing customer lists into your CRM, even using something as simple as a CSV file that’s been exported from your automation platform. If you can eliminate this step however not only will you be saving time and preventing duplication errors, but there will be less staff training required.

Remember, every time you add an additional cog into the well-oiled machine that is your business, you’re adding to its complexity. In the case of marketing automation, that addition is one whose benefits make it an easy decision to justify. Nevertheless, if you can choose a solution that will play nicely with your CRM, it will make life easier for your entire sales team, particularly when they’re out in the field and need access to up-to-date customer records.

Choose great customer service

Cost effective marketing software

Some purchases don’t require much by way of after-sales service. Like trainers. You open the box, lace ‘em up and they’re good to go. Everyone can work trainers. Marketing automation software is a little trickier. It’s not fiendishly tricky – far from it – but when you do run into a spot of bother, you need to have somewhere to turn. If your software provider’s idea of service is sending you an email each month trying to upsell you to their premium package – an automated email sent using their own system no less – you’re with the wrong provider. There’s nothing wrong with upselling in moderation, but that’s not their primary purpose. Their job is to help you get the most out of the automation software you’ve just purchased.

Start using marketing automation today

Interested in using marketing automation? Jumplead is a great tool for quickly and easily implementing marketing automation. Start turning your website visitors into customers. Try Jumplead today!

If you’re eyeing up a number of different automation packages, look for a vendor with a user-friendly and information-rich website containing a detailed FAQ, guides, blog posts and how-to’s. Check to see if there are video guides that they’ve uploaded to YouTube helping users to implement advanced features and also check social media to see how active and attentive they are when it comes to responding to customer queries. Review sites for enterprise vendors will also provide useful feedback on which brands have a good reputation within the industry.

By all means invest in marketing automation software. Choose well and it will be one of the best investments your business will ever make. But before you rush out there and snap up the first option that catches your eye, take a moment to look around. Do some research. Sleep on it. Then, and only then, make an informed decision, one that will pay dividends for years to come as it helps your business grow.

So you’re considering using marketing automation software to make your kick-ass business even better at kicking asses? Smart move. If you’ve already done your preliminary research, you’ll know that most B2B businesses are already using some form of automation – in fact 82% of them are using email automation and 42% are using marketing automation. If you’ve a head for numbers, you might even recall reading somewhere that a quarter of all Fortune 500 B2B companies use marketing automation.

But stats can only tell you so much. Actually, that’s not entirely true – statistics can tell you a whole lot, like the fact that the majority of marketing automation users believe it has proven to be a worthwhile investment. One thing you won’t learn from ogling numbers however is the sort of features you should be looking for when choosing SMB marketing automation software. And not just features, but other factors too. Like cost.

Let’s be honest, if you’re a small business, you’ll already be in the habit of scrutinising every outlay, whether it’s new whiteboard markers or a new cloud-based storage platform. Every purchase needs to be carefully weighed up to determine not only that you’re getting value for money, but to ensure that the benefits outweigh the cost and time investment that’s involved.

Cos that’s the other thing you’ll already know about marketing automation software: just because it’s got ‘automation’ in its name doesn’t mean it works like magic straight out the box. Even the cleverest of tools has to be configured to suit your business model and requirements. If you’re planning to invest in small business marketing automation software – as you almost certainly should – here’s what to look for…

Choose a scalable solution

The threshold for switching to automation generally comes when you’ve got more prospects than you can respond to individually. That doesn’t need to be an inordinately high number either: even a database that runs into three figures means you’re faced with hundreds of prospects to nurture and respond to on a one-to-one basis, and with the best will in the world, that’s simply not possible. As a wise woman once said, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

When choosing a marketing automation solution however, don’t select one based on the current size of your subscriber list: choose one representative of where you see your business being one or two years from now. If your automation software can’t grow as you grow, you’re only setting yourself up for a logistical nightmare further down the line when you’re forced to switch to a more advanced solution. Remember, when marketing automation is done well, it has the potential to dramatically grow your database – that’s the whole point of it – so plan ahead, and consider what your needs are likely to be in the future, not only in terms of scalability, but also in terms of the sort of features you’ll want to make use of further down the line.

Choose a cost-effective solution

Cost effective marketing software

Cost-effective and cheap are not synonyms. The best solution for your business won’t necessarily be the cheapest – it will be the one that gives you the best value for your money. Or the best bang for your buck if you like. When weighing up your options, obviously, the price of the software is a major factor, but there’s a more important cost you should be calculating – the human cost. Marketing automation software is designed to free your sales team from much of the administrative drudgery of having to manually reach out to prospects and categorise them based upon their interest level and position in the sales funnel. The best automation software for your business is the one that will save your team the most time, day after day. That’s where the value comes in. By all means look at the price tag, but also look beyond that and calculate how much time and capital you stand to save on account of the features that can now be automated.

Choose an integrated solution

Cost effective marketing software

Many marketing automation software solutions will integrate with your CRM, often using an API. This is ideal because it allows your sales team to join the dots and gain a more complete picture of where your prospects are at. Customer information that is already in your database can be synced with the data that your automation pulls up, putting names to email addresses and attributing actions to customers. There are always alternative ways of importing customer lists into your CRM, even using something as simple as a CSV file that’s been exported from your automation platform. If you can eliminate this step however not only will you be saving time and preventing duplication errors, but there will be less staff training required.

Remember, every time you add an additional cog into the well-oiled machine that is your business, you’re adding to its complexity. In the case of marketing automation, that addition is one whose benefits make it an easy decision to justify. Nevertheless, if you can choose a solution that will play nicely with your CRM, it will make life easier for your entire sales team, particularly when they’re out in the field and need access to up-to-date customer records.

Choose great customer service

Cost effective marketing software

Some purchases don’t require much by way of after-sales service. Like trainers. You open the box, lace ‘em up and they’re good to go. Everyone can work trainers. Marketing automation software is a little trickier. It’s not fiendishly tricky – far from it – but when you do run into a spot of bother, you need to have somewhere to turn. If your software provider’s idea of service is sending you an email each month trying to upsell you to their premium package – an automated email sent using their own system no less – you’re with the wrong provider. There’s nothing wrong with upselling in moderation, but that’s not their primary purpose. Their job is to help you get the most out of the automation software you’ve just purchased.

Start using marketing automation today

Interested in using marketing automation? Jumplead is a great tool for quickly and easily implementing marketing automation. Start turning your website visitors into customers. Try Jumplead today!

If you’re eyeing up a number of different automation packages, look for a vendor with a user-friendly and information-rich website containing a detailed FAQ, guides, blog posts and how-to’s. Check to see if there are video guides that they’ve uploaded to YouTube helping users to implement advanced features and also check social media to see how active and attentive they are when it comes to responding to customer queries. Review sites for enterprise vendors will also provide useful feedback on which brands have a good reputation within the industry.

By all means invest in marketing automation software. Choose well and it will be one of the best investments your business will ever make. But before you rush out there and snap up the first option that catches your eye, take a moment to look around. Do some research. Sleep on it. Then, and only then, make an informed decision, one that will pay dividends for years to come as it helps your business grow.

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Increasing sales revenue (53%), lead nurturing (43%) and customer engagement (37%) are seen as the most important objectives of a marketing automation strategy. Find out more about how and why businesses are using marketing automation, and with what success.


Lilach Bullock
Professional Speaker, Lead Conversion Expert, Social Media Specialist & Occasional Diva. Proud mum
UK https://www.lilachbullock.com/