My Selection of a Marketing Automation Vendor- Vendor Comparisons (Part 2 of 3)

by Maria Pergolino on February 3, 2009

This is part two of how I selected a Marketing Automation Vendor.  Part one described how I began sorting through all the potential options.  This post will describe how I compared between my ‘short list’ of prospective vendors.  I began by modifying a list created by a Marketo customer, but then majorly augmented it to fit my needs.  I suggest you do the same.  Do not rely on my list, but modify it for your needs.  Please make comments on decision criteria I missed as I would love to know what I didn’t consider. 

Reviewing prospective vendors on these points was no easy task.  And, in retrospect, there are some things I should have looked at in more detail.  I’m not taking the time to count the points below, but am sure there are well over 100 features I considered.  I compared these features by making the list below in a spreadsheet and taking notes about each feature during product demos.  If i had additional questions about a feature I asked for information from the sales person via email.  I then asked each sales rep to review my sheet and make corrections.  Then I reviewed the differences between my results and the salesreps to understand what I misunderstood.  In some cases I found I had made a mistake, in others I found sales reps being dishonest.   

Below is the criteria I used to make my decision (broken out into categories):

Campaign Management

·         Add to SFDC campaign

·         Create SFDC campaign

·         Auto-responder emails

·         Decision steps, alternate actions

·         Event based automated emails

·         Report on opportunity and revenue

·         2-way synch with SFDC including all leads

·         A/B List testing

·         Multivariate List testing

·         Advanced deduping (replace Ringlead)

·         Auto add to dist list

·         Auto add/remove from dist list

·         Opt-down

·         Build criteria based dist lists

·         Database cleansing

·         Dedupe list imports

·         Dedupe on email

·         Detailed activity profiles in

·         Real-time synch with

·         Suppression list

·         Track inactivity

·         Trigger tasks for sales team

·         Upload from excel

·         Ability for Sales to opt leads out of campaigns


·         Creation (html, text)

·         Deliverability testing

·         Dynamic content

·         Dynamic signature/sender details

·         Import html

·         Reporting

·         Set time for batch

·         Track email bouncebacks

·         Track email click-throughs by individual

·         Sales alert of clickthrough

·         Track email opens by individual

·         Trackable emails from sales users

·         Hard bounces versus soft bounces

·         Review email delivery by list, by campaign, etc

·         Unique IP

·         Outlook Integration

·         Spam Review and recommendations


·         Change Salesforce values

·         Create, no IT help

·         Field level rules for overwriting in SFDC

·         Hidden fields to update SFDC records

·         Integrate w/landing pages

·         Integrate w/Salesforce

·         Ability to host on our site

Landing Pages

·         A/B testing

·         Multivariate testing

·         Branded

·         Creation

·         Dynamic content

·         Edit HTML code in editor

·         Import graphics

·         Integrate with SFDC

·         Integrated forms

·         Own URL

·         Reporting

·         Self-publish

Lead Nurturing

·         Behavior triggered

·         Lead score degradation

·         Lead scoring

·         SFDC change status triggered

·         Sales ability to adjust score

·         Different score paths for different regions


·         Survey Management (depth?)- replace Zoomerang type functionality


·         Known visitor tracking

·         Additional visits in activity history

·         Unknown visitor tracking- (w/ sales access)

·         Replace Leadlander- ability for sales to see companies on site

·         Visitor notifications to sales

·         Replace Google Analytics

·         Replace Omniture

·         CMS system integrated


·         Ability to create custom reports

·         Dashboards

·         Number of Canned Reports


·         Time to install

·         Time for 100% up and running including lead scoring

·         Costs of implementation


·         Attractive

·         Easy to Navigate


·         What happens to data if we transition to a different product


·         PR/Communications Management

·         Tradeshow management

·         Invitation management

·         Direct Mail Management


·         Training included

·         Additional Training Options

·         Training hours recommended


·         Years in business

·         Years with current model


·         Available and Relevant


·         Pricing (per touch or a package)

·         What is a touch?

·         Number per limit

·         Set Up fees

·         Training fees

·         What happens to pricing when additional features are added?

·         What price increases can I expect?


·         Uptime (3rd party monitored)

·         Speed of Service/Scale (transactions per second)

·         Work-flow based automation

·         Activity Driven content

·         International Character Support

·         Webservices API

·         Data Center SAS 70 audited?


·         Best-practice templates (How many)

·         Best-practice Consulting (SMB specific)

·         Regional User Groups

·         Online Community

·         User Conferences

·         Tech Support

·         Dedicated customer support contacts (How many? For what?)

Company Specific

·         SMB Customers

·         Technology Vertical Customers (Hardware & Software)

·         Users

·         SFDC Premiere Partner

Product Replacement (Current products I am using)

·         Will Replace Leadlander (allow sales access multiple times per day)

·         Will Replace Email tool

·         Will Replace Ringlead (dedupe leads from salesforce and excel)

·         Will Replace CMS

·         Will Replace Survey Vendor (Zoomerang or Surveymonkey type)

·         Will forward registration information to GotoWebinar in some way

·         Includes ability to track outside events like PR, tradeshows, direct mail

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