Five questions software vendors must answer before you choose their marketing software.
Looking at new marketing software? There are many companies currently offering solutions. How should you choose between them?
The first considerations
- Integrated or stand alone? Online or offline? Remember, the less expensive solution may not be the most suited to your business needs, or be the most cost-effective long-term . . .
- Compliance with legal requirements and also the latest standards/protocols (eg Sender ID), to optimize delivery rates.
- Tools which allow:
– Easy subscription/unsubscription management.
– Easy list management, for segmentation and personalization.
– Distribution of targeted emails.
– Automatic delivery of different versions of emails to suit different software and settings.
– Automatic update of database in real time for various types of bounce.
– Sophisticated statistics to enable you to track response and calculate ROI.
– Automatically generated reports.
But what makes a good software vendor an excellent software vendor?
Don’t limit your focus to the marketing software. In order for your organization to make the most of its investment, you need a supplier who can provide a service and support which is on a par with its technology.
Make sure your potential software vendor answers these five questions before you purchase.
1. How does the product meet the specific needs of my organization?
The ideal software vendor should seek to become more than just your supplier – they should seek to become your partner.
Look for one who will:
– collaborate with you to identify your business pains;
– design tailor-made solutions to help you reach your goals;
– offer you the experience of their specialist team to drive your business’s results.
You may think this will be costly, but the cost of not seeking a personalized service can be far higher. For instance:
– you may need to increase headcount to use the new technology;
– you may need to invest in additional resources, such as extra hardware or licenses;
– you may end up investing in software which does not aid efficiency or deliver results.
2. Will I receive assistance with the set-up?
The best software vendors put customer service at the heart of their business. They will not leave you with only a manual or a video to implement your software. They understand that ensuring your team can use the software effectively and efficiently benefits both of you.
A software vendor which seeks to see itself as an extension of your in-house team will ensure they have a support team to provide you with new user training either face to face or via a webinar, and subsequent support response in minutes, not hours or days.
3. What ongoing training is offered?
The more practical training resources the software vendor offers, delivered by qualified, effective trainers, the more likely your staff are to develop a deep understanding of the software and extract maximum possible benefit from it. As well as the training on offer at set-up, you should be looking for:
- training videos
- certification programs
- ongoing classroom training
. . . all from introductory to advanced level.
If software vendors offer nothing more than manuals, their package probably isn’t right for you.
4. Can I expect to receive real-time support?
Does the vendor offer any proactive support? Are they consistently helping you do your job better, or do you only talk to them when you have a problem?
What happens if you do run into problems? How do you contact the software vendor? Do they offer:
- Telephone support?
- Instant messaging support?
- Support forums?
5. What’s in it for my customers?
Finally, software vendors need to be clearly able to explain and demonstrate how their marketing platform will benefit your customers – throughout the customer lifecycle. If the system does nothing to improve your customers’ experience when hearing from you, the platform is unlikely to offer you any great advantages.
“55% of consumers would pay more for a better customer experience.”
Examine the marketing software, then ask the vendor:
- How can they address your specific business pains and goals?
- What help is there at set-up?
- What ongoing training is there?
- What support is on offer throughout the contract?
- How will the software improve your customers’ experience throughout their lifecycle?