As a small business marketer, the tools and platforms I choose or can afford haven't necessarily had the capacity to grow at the same pace as our business needs. It has been a continual challenge to find the right tool for the right phase of business development. Recently, none more so than our Marketing Automation (MA) tool.
When I first started to look for the ideal Marketing Automation provider for Big Bang a little over three years ago, our company had no internal sales, relied heavily on our sole distributor for most everything, and had just hired me to do internal marketing for the first time. So initially I needed the tool to help me get a deeper handle on web visits than Google Analytics was capable of, develop and run email marketing campaigns, and provide the ability to begin creating landing pages and other lead capture assets. We didn't even have a CRM back then.
The MA company I chose was fairly new to the game, a small company like we, and even though their product may not have contained all the greatest features and functionality, the price was right and they were more than willing to work with us in a very personally.
Over the next couple years, our two companies continued to grow. Big Bang changed the status of our sole distributor to primary, hired someone internally to start developing sales and a sales channel, and continued to increase the number of contacts and customers that we were dealing with directly. All the while, our marketing automation provider continued to develop their product and grow their customer base.
But as time went on, continued sales, product, and infrastructure growth again changed the direction our company was heading, and after firing our distributor, we had to pretty much restructure everything internally from the ground up. I began to see that our business needs were going to quickly outgrow the capabilities of our MA provider. The clearer my marketing strategy became, and the more efficiently I was able to execute, the more obvious it became that I would need a tool that was able to do a whole lot more.
I no longer had the time to build landing pages and trigger campaign emails from scratch. I needed accurate and logical lead scoring. I really needed a customizable dashboard and easy reporting capabilities, and most of all, I needed to be able to do all of these things and more a whole lot more quickly.
So I switched.
It certainly wasn't an easy process. The time and effort required for the implementation of a new MA platform is significant. But the time invested now to get the new tool operating efficiently will be more than rewarded, not just in my time, or my ability to more efficiently manage our digital marketing efforts, but in the trackable, reportable, and measurable increase in sales.
Ultimately I had to decide if the headache of changing platforms was worth it. But if I am able to begin a higher quality dialogue, or generate quicker interaction from consistent and well-delivered content, and ultimately increase sales while saving myself some time, all the while having the revenue to justify it, then I think the answer is obvious.