In my previous post, I discussed “How To Set Predictive Marketing Goals (Part 2 of 5)“.
Once you have decided you need predictive marketing and have set your goals, start looking for a solution. Evaluating vendors is your next step. Perhaps that’s why you’re here — welcome! Here are the actions, tests, and checks we recommend before you make a decision. Be thorough!
1. View Vendor Websites
Open the contending vendor websites side by side, tab to tab. Read through the product pages and success stories to see if they can help you accomplish your goals. Find out what kind of problems the vendor solves and what kind of results they are achieving with their current customers.
2. Talk to Colleagues
Your early adopter marketing friends have probably looked at some of these solutions. Ask them what they learned and there assessment of the vendors they have heard about.
3. Reviewing Analyst Reports
Get a good idea of the capabilities of the vendors in the space. In many cases the analysts have already done some of your homework for you. Lucky for you, it’s not cheating…it’s just smart! You will get an unbiased opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of the vendors. The space moves fast, but this will give you a good baseline understanding. Some of the recently published analyst reports on predictive lead scoring and predictive marketing are:
- SiriusDecisions “Predictive Lead Scoring 2014” Field Guide (subscription required)
- Gartner’s “Tech Go-to-Market: Using Big Data to Focus on the Right Prospects Can Improve Sales and Marketing Effectiveness” (subscription required)
- Gartner’s “Market Guide for Advanced Marketing Analytics Platforms” (subscription required)
- Forrester’s “B2B Marketing’s Big Data Destiny” (purchase required)
4. Make Discovery Calls
Speak with the vendors you are considering. Describe your problems and objectives. Ask about their capabilities and how they would help you achieve your goals. Ask the hard questions—you will get a better understanding of the abilities and limitations of each vendor.
5. Talk to Customers
The early adopters of predictive marketing technologies are advocates willing to share their stories. See if the vendor will set you up with a reference customer so you can pick their brain about their greatest marketing challenges and how the vendor is helping them solve them. Ask what vendors they evaluated and how they made their decision.
Once you’ve gone through these steps, shortlist the solutions to consider. Your top 3 will be a good place to start a more in depth conversation.
Bonus Pro-Tip: Get Proof
You will then move into a proof phase. You will want to pull your list of goals out again to make sure you are on track and see if anything new should be added. Assess each vendor against your goals in order of priority. Implementing a predictive marketing solution may be a big strategic initiative. If it so for you, you should consider piloting the technology with a proof of concept. This will help you understand the technology, get a feeling for how you work with the team, and what you can expect when you implement the solution.
Check out the other posts in this 5 part series:
- Part 1: “Why Select A Predictive Marketing Solution?“
- Part 2: “How To Set Predictive Marketing Goals“
- Part 3: “5 Things To Do When Selecting A Predictive Marketing Vendor“
- Part 4: “Win The Marketing War: Get The Proof For Predictive Marketing“
- Part 5: “Marketing Mindfulness: 3 Critical Steps For A Successful Proof of Concept“