Choosing the Best Marketing Automation Platform for Your SaaS Business
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is emerging as a more realistic option for businesses looking for accessibility, efficiency, and scalability in a competitive climate. This is why SaaS implementation is snowballing at a swift pace, and more and more organizations are making a move to this industry.
According to Gartner, the SaaS industry experienced the largest growth from 2020 to 2022 at $171.9 billion, and it is expected to grow to $716.52 billion by 2028. Apart from large-scale organizations, small and medium-sized companies also do not refrain from opting for a subscription-based model and have started investing in SaaS technologies.
Despite the limited budget, companies do not refrain from opting for a subscription-based model. The United States alone has 59 billion SaaS users, that is, the US has eight times more companies using the SaaS model than any other country, followed by the United Kingdom and Canada with a 3 billion user base.
However, ensuring success in the SaaS industry can be challenging; to meet your goal of taking your business to new heights, you need an increase in users, a higher expansion rate, and a seamless customer journey, along with a decrease in attrition rate. A marketing automation platform helps you enrich your customers' journey, grow your client base, convert and foster new leads, and retain existing customers.
The Need for Marketing Automation Software in SaaS
43% of marketers say ( Source: ascend2 ) that marketing automation services have helped them improve customer experience.
In addition, 34% ( Source: ascend2 ) of marketers have been able to improve lead generation and nurturing with it.
A well-designed marketing automation platform helps boost productivity by simplifying your marketing efforts. Every year, more and more companies are investing in marketing automation software, indicating they will be making more informed and data-driven decisions, offering better onboarding experiences to their end users.
Investing in marketing automation software, you can reap several benefits:
- Automated processes
- Bespoke marketing automation services and strategies
- Accurate and timely reporting
- Sales and marketing alignment
- Lead generation and nurturing
- Data management
- Higher conversion rates
Now the question is, which processes can you automate to save time and effort?
- Email Campaigns – Target your audience in a more personalized manner to increase the response rate.
- Social Media Campaigns – Schedule your blogs and posts across different channels to boost your link-building strategies.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – Segment your leads into more comprehensive categories.
- Lead Generation – Attract your potential leads via lead magnets.
- Lead Nurturing – Compel your target audience by enlightening them about your products and services.
- Customer Onboarding – Create welcome messages, thank you messages, tutorials, and instructions to welcome your new customers and get them acquainted with your platform.
- Content Distribution – Automate educational and up-to-date content to keep your customers from churning.
Once you have decided to invest in a marketing automation platform, the next step is to see if it has all the required characteristics and functionality.
Things to Consider When Selecting an Ideal Marketing Automation Platform
1. User Interface
The first thing to consider is the software’s user interface. You need to make sure you choose an easy-to-use platform, so everyone in your team can easily work on it. Many claims that their MA platform is simple and intuitive, which is not always the case.
Ask the following questions before making a deal to understand whether or not the platform is easy to use and learn.
- Is it easy to use and navigate? You can do this easily by creating an email to see how easy/difficult it is to complete an easy task.
- Is it quick and easy to complete a simple task or do you have to jump multiple hoops? Is the task doable for all your team members? If not, then using this tool will hamper your productivity in the long run.
- Is the information clear or vague? You need to check that the titles are easy to understand; if not, then is there any contextual information available when you hover over the title?
There is always a learning curve when you switch to new software. Thus, you need to ensure that you test the user interface firsthand and understand how quickly you and your team can learn the platform and get started.
All marketing automation platforms offer distinctive features. Select a platform that offers everything you need while also considering the existing technology that you want to integrate into the new platform.
So, it is important to ask yourself:
- Can the platform integrate with your existing technology? Integration helps you to easily transfer and connect data across the platforms.
- Is open API available in the platform? If you want to create custom assets in the future, an open API platform is important.
- Does it have all the features you need? Before comparing the platforms, it is best to make a list of features you are looking for.
Some of the important features include:
With email automation, you can easily manage your email campaigns by sending emails through triggers. Email triggers help you cut down redundant tasks and let you schedule emails.
Email automation software has a plethora of personalized templates using which you can swiftly create persuasive and dynamic emails without having to code. An email automation platform also allows you to design emails in HTML if you plan to create more personalized email marketing campaigns.
From lead generation to workflows to onboarding, an effective email automation platform can do it all in terms of an automated message. Some of the best automation tools to try for automated emails are Mailchimp or Marketo.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Automation
CRM is an important feature for SaaS companies that cannot be overlooked. The best feature of CRM is to gather and access information in one place. With CRM automation, you can acquire information like name, phone number, address, etc. instantly. Moreover, you can also track where is your lead in the conversion funnel.
With CRM, your whole team stays productive and organized when it comes to leads and customers. Some of the best tools for CRM automation are Salesforce and HubSpot.
Marketing Analytics Automation
Marketing analytics lets you access data, statistics, and results automatically. It allows you to access customer and operation data to design potent campaigns and boost your lead-nurturing efforts.
With marketing analytics automation, you can make sound decisions, as it lets you monitor all your campaigns including email marketing, social media, websites, and ad campaigns. Pardot, Adobe Analytics, and Marketo Engage are some of the best tools for marketing analytics.
Landing Page Automation
Landing page means conversion engine. An efficient marketing automation platform lets you create landing pages within minutes.
In addition, the landing page feature will create a funnel that lets the lead complete a purchase, resulting in SALES. It also lets you track the user journey within the funnel, and based on that you can improvise your strategy to create better opportunities for your leads.
Social Media Automation
Brainstorm better social media strategies, schedule/publish content on various social media platforms, and efficiently handle the conversion and tracking with social media automation features. With this feature, you can also track how many visitors visited your website through social media.
Social media is the best way to engage and humanize your leads, but it is time-consuming since every platform has different availability. For example, the audience that is available in the morning on LinkedIn will be AWOL on Instagram. If you are considering the same time to post and engage with your audience on different platforms, then all your efforts will go in vain.
Thus, using the social media automation feature can help you schedule your posts based on your lead's availability on the different platforms, so you can engage with them at the right time and right place.
Web forms let your visitors take action. This feature allows your team to create forms with just a few clicks. In addition, you can personalize forms according to your brand’s theme.
Moreover, several automation platforms offer third-party integration, data analytics, and timely reporting.
3. Technical Support
Using a new platform can be overwhelming, especially if you are completely unfamiliar with the system. Thus, you need technical assistance to get started.
Though many marketing automation platforms are intuitive and easy to use, there can be some discrepancies and complications from time to time. So, choose the platform that offers round-the-clock and high-quality assistance. The common questions to ask are:
- What type of technical assistance does the team offer? Is it human interaction or Chatbot? Ensure that they offer assistance via several conduits like live chat, calling, and email.
- Do they offer instant responses? What is the wait time to get an answer? Some companies offer round-the-clock support, while sometimes you have to be in a queue for 24 to 48 hours, so make sure how fast you want to get an answer.
- Do they offer other resources for technical assistance? Community forms, case studies, ebooks, etc. can help if they do not offer 24/7 assistance.
With advanced technology, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, chatbots are becoming a sound solution to offer day-and-night assistance. However, it is important to ensure that the marketing automation consultant also offers human assistance along with chatbots, so you can resolve issues quickly and in the most interactive manner.
4. Learning Resources
When jumping to a new and unacquainted tool, online resources can help you understand most about the new system. Several marketing automation consultants offer ebooks, guides, how-to videos, and other resources that can help you get acquainted with the platform.
When it comes to selecting the right platform, ask:
- What kind of resources will help you get acquainted? For some walk-through videos work, while some comprehensive learning modules. So, choose the platform that has all the right resources that will teach you and your team everything you need to know about the platform. What works for you might not work for your team, so consider accordingly.
- Are the resources free or paid? It is important to consider how you can access these resources, some are free and can be accessed online, while some needs a nominal fee.
- Do they provide up-to-date resources? Make sure all the resources are relevant and updated.
5. Customer Review
Though choosing a marketing automation platform should be based on your company’s objective and requirements, you might need to know what other users are saying about the tool and if they are making the most out of it.
Look for video testimonials or case studies. Or check reviews (not from their website). You can check out G2 Marketing Automation Software Comparison or YouTube reviews to find the most authentic feedback from the customers.
When checking customer reviews, ask yourself:
- How many companies are using this platform? The size/figure will directly indicate the popularity of the platform.
- Is everyone well-acquainted with the platform? What other companies are saying? As mentioned above, read reviews outside the website to gain more authentic feedback about the platform.
- Are B2B and B2C companies using the software? Some platforms are designed for B2B companies that can lack B2C features.
Depending on the software and features, pricing will vary. But many marketing automation platforms will have a similar price range. It is best to choose a marketing automation tool that offers all the capabilities you need and falls under your price range. When looking for pricing, ask yourself:
- What features are influencing the price range? There are some features you might not need but are hampering your budget, make sure you are aware of what features you are paying for.
- How many contacts is feasible for you to add? Well, companies have larger databases, so ensure you know how much you are paying and learn about the base price of the tool.
- How fast will the database scale? Check your previous data to see how fast your database grows, as this will help you understand what you might need to compensate in the future.
7. Setup and Onboarding
Once done with the purchase, it’s time to set up the system. Well, if you have no idea how to use this platform, you will need assistance. So, you will need to ask the marketing automation consultant whether or not they assist with setup and onboarding.
You can also check walk-throughs or how-to videos to set up the marketing automation software easily, though it is best to ask about setup and onboarding before making the purchase. Be ready with questions such as:
- Are the set-up and onboarding free or is there a fee? Some platforms charge a fee so it is better to know how much it is beforehand.
- Does the team provide on-site assistance or remote assistance? When switching to a new platform, thorough assistance is important so you do not miss out on anything important.
- Will someone help with the migration and transfer of data from one system to another? If you are switching from one system to another, it is important to have extra assistance to get the data transferred correctly.
4 Best Marketing Automation Platforms to Check Out Today
1. HubSpot Marketing Automation
HubSpot marketing automation services come with a complete growth suite—marketing software, sales software, technical support, and easy integration with HubSpot CRM. Based on your distinctive needs, HubSpot can be an ideal and most efficient marketing automation tool.
You can have all your data and activity in one place or dashboard. This gives you a creative edge that would not be possible if you had to use separate tools for everything. Moreover, this marketing automation platform gives you an intuitive and easy-to-use dashboard where you can create workflows.
HubSpot offers free email and form automation tools. However, to access additional features of Marketing Hub, you can start with a monthly subscription of $45 per month.
2. Salesforce Marketing Cloud Account Engagement
Earlier known as Pardot, this is a cloud automation solution that is best for enterprise clients. From CRM integration to lead nurturing or automated communication to email marketing, this marketing automation platform has profuse features to ensure your marketing campaigns are working great.
It lets you trail all interactions, generate lead scoring, and perform lead nurturing. This will help you to improve your marketing efforts, resulting in increased productivity.
Marketing Cloud Account Engagement is a powerful software and you can start using it for $1,250 per month.
Acquired by Adobe, Marketo is one of the most popular software among SaaS companies. It was integrated into the enterprise marketing cloud by Adobe.
Marketo gives you a complete toolkit for lead-based marketing automation. It is one of the best lead nurturing platforms that helps to build long-term relations with customers. From personalized experience to quick launch and real-time behavior tracking, Marketo offers comprehensive features that can boost your marketing efforts.
Marketo’s price range depends on the company’s database, so you need to get a personalized quote from the sales team.
4. Eloqua Marketing Automation
Oracle-owned Eloqua marketing automation is designed for B2B marketers and companies for lead generation.
With Eloqua, you can easily create, personalize, and launch marketing campaigns. It gives you a B2B marketing suite where you can create dynamic campaigns, and perform lead and asset management, as well as segmentation and data-driven targeting.
You can start managing your marketing campaigns at $2000 per month.
SaaS has grown from a simple cloud computing service to a comprehensive platform that provides state-of-the-art features. With new developments and products, there is a possibility that it might slow down your growth and increase your attrition rate. So, the goal is to stay up-to-date with the right technology and tools.
As a SaaS startup, staying competitive is crucial and the right marketing automation platform can help you in accomplishing this goal. Choose a powerful and limitless platform that will meet your present and forthcoming business objectives and help you stay ahead of the curve.
Apart from being a Marketo, Pardot, and Eloqua marketing automation leader, Growth Natives has achieved the status of a HubSpot Certified Platinum Solutions Partner and we have delivered innovative custom API solution to our trusted customers. Our experts can seamlessly assist you in making the right call. Reach out to us today!