You could purchase a marketing automation tool and try to figure it out for yourself.
Or you could get a marketing automation company to do it all.
Look, marketing automation is getting crazy complicated.
Lead routing, lead tracking, campaign measurement, all emails and landing pages, lead nurturing, dozens of segmentation lists – it goes on and on.
Not to mention a deep integration into your CRM, which has to work flawlessly.
Your entire marketing program depends on whether the marketing automation is right.
The best sales teams are already working with top Salesforce partners to get everything set up from the start.
It's time for marketing teams to follow suit.
Don't just look for a marketing automation tool, find a marketing automation company (agency) that can help you with anything.
The 5 best marketing automation companies
Some of us at these marketing automation companies are:
- Neil Patel Digital – Best for content marketing automation
- LeadMD – Best for Tech Stack Integration
- CS2 Marketing – Best for on-demand marketing activities
- Bluewolf – Best for Salesforce Automation
- Perkuto – Best for Marketo Automation
Let's dive into each one.
Neil Patel Digital # 1 – Best for Content Marketing Automation
If there is one digital advertising channel that encompasses everyone else, including automation, it has to be content marketing.
I'm not here to remind you that content is king. You already know it!
Even with marketing automation, content marketing drives everything. You need the right content in the right emails to keep the leads in the funnel.
Tons of billion dollar startups have content geared their sales and marketing process. And it works wonderfully.
And it's one area where my Neil Patel Digital team shines the brightest.
We introduced full sales cycle content programs for many Fortune 500 brands.
I am firmly convinced that we are one of the best companies in terms of content.
If you want content marketing and marketing automation to work together seamlessly, let's talk.
# 2 LeadMD – Best for Tech Stack Integration
Marketing automation frees you (and relevant people on your team) from everyday tasks.
Let's say someone signs up to download a white paper on your landing page.
You fill out the form fields, your CRM collects this data, creates tags based on the information provided, and segments them into relevant email lists.
This email sequence can contain 180 days or branched email logic based on your actions and sales phase.
For this to work well, you need tight integrations between:
- Marketing automation tool
- CRM tool
- Landing page tool
- Software trials and accounts
- E-commerce accounts
- Subscription Settings
- Customer support tools
- Deduplication tools
And dozens of little tools that affect your users.
If that sounds like a lot, it's because it is.
These systems get extremely complicated very quickly.
You need a team that knows how everything works together. A broken link in the chain could accidentally dump thousands of leads and cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. I've seen it countless times.
LeadMD specializes in setting up these types of integrations:
LeadMD is the marketing automation company for integrating your tech stack.
When you're feeling really good about the rest of your marketing strategy and just need help getting all of the infrastructure to work properly, turn to them.
# 3 CS2 Marketing – Best for on-demand marketing activities
Once you've fully implemented your marketing automation, it doesn't end there.
New marketing projects are constantly emerging.
A hot new campaign needs to be added to your automation. Sales would like to optimize lead scoring or the MMS definition. IT changes one of your tools and you have to redeploy that part of the stack.
Many projects (large and small) will be pending.
One option is to hire a full-time marketer. That easily costs $ 100,000, full of perks, taxes, and marketing tariff pay.
Or, you can find a marketing automation company that specializes in scaling up and down as needed.
That is exactly what Cs2 Marketing does.
First of all, you can sign a contract for ongoing advice. This is very valuable in making sure you don't accidentally set your entire marketing stack on fire.
When you have a project, they have an entire team that can do it for you.
This is perfect for midsize businesses that need to focus every dollar on customer acquisition for as long as possible.
# 4 Bluewolf – Best for Salesforce Automation
I will say something controversial.
Often times, integrating your marketing automation tool with Salesforce is more important than the marketing tool itself.
After all, your business lives and dies in your CRM, which is usually Salesforce.
One way to get everything working right is to work backwards. Let your CRM choose, then force your marketing automation tool to work the same way.
Before you dive into a full implementation of the marketing automation tool, consider hiring a top CRM agency that supports Salesforce.
To do this, take a look at Bluewolf.
Bluewolf is an IBM company, and that alone speaks volumes about the agency's reputation. They mostly serve corporate brands and are ready to handle whatever you can throw at them.
Bluewolf is global too. They have around 24 offices on different continents.
# 5 Perkuto – Best for Marketo Automation
Marketo is a powerful tool. If you're already using it and want to deepen your implementation, check out Perkuto:
You could say that Perkuto is THE best Marketo expert who has achieved Marketo Engage status and works with a team of over 50 marketing automation strategists and hardcore engineers.
If it is possible in Marketro, Perkuto can make it possible.
I would definitely reach out to them if you have a messed up Marketo implementation and you need serious expertise to fix it all. In these cases, you want a top expert to get you back on track. They are worth every penny.
5 characteristics that make a great marketing automation company
What should you prioritize when considering marketing automation companies?
What are the red flags?
What signs tell you that someone is one of the best?
I start by looking for these properties.
1. ROI before Tech
Some engineers and infrastructure workers love technology for technology's sake.
Not all, but some.
It's very dangerous in marketing.
You need a marketing automation implementation that generates real ROI. They spend $ X. It must generate more than $ X. That's the whole point of marketing.
Otherwise it's just a waste of time.
When you look at marketing automation companies, your focus should be extremely focused on increasing ROI. It should be the lens through which they filter each recommendation.
Even better, of course, they should be talking about sales growth and ROI. You shouldn't feel like you have to push them here.
2. Experience with companies bigger than you
When working with a marketing automation company, make sure that you are not their biggest customer.
The last thing you want is for a vendor to put your implementation together as this will be the first time they'll handle your complex use case.
You don't want the marketing automation company to learn quickly. Your implementation will suffer. The technical debt builds up and you end up paying to fix it later.
Ask the company for case studies and a list of customers in an industry similar to yours. Many of them should be bigger. If not, treat it as a red flag.
3. Deep experience with your Marketing Tech Stack
There are dozens of different ways to set up a workflow or feature in any marketing automation tool.
You don't want it to just work. You want it to be set up to strike the perfect balance between scalability and flexibility.
That is not easy.
Knowing which option is best takes a lot of trial and error with each tool. And experience in dozens of clients and implementations.
Even if a marketing automation company has a ton of experience, make sure they are experienced with your marketing tech stack.
Otherwise, keep looking.
Implementing Marketing Automation (and CRM) is one area where you don't want to compromise.
We're talking about a basic infrastructure that routes every lead from your company.
Leaks mean you are losing serious money.
And as these systems get extremely complicated, things can easily fall through the cracks.
So when shopping with different companies, consider low prices a red flag. The experienced people know their worth and calculate accordingly.
Spend the money getting your marketing automation right. It pays for itself immediately.
5. A desire to coach
When you speak to companies, the best have an innate desire to coach you and your team.
Even if they do 100% of the initial implementation, they know your team has to manage and operate everything.
Communicating best practices, leading your team, and empathic coaching will ensure your implementation stays clean for years to come.
Every time you call, you should feel like you are learning. This is a good sign that they will continue to coach your team throughout the implementation.
What to Expect from a Great Marketing Automation Company
If you are looking to contact marketing automation companies, these are the steps you should follow.
1. Fill out the contact form
Since marketing automation projects are important rollouts, expect an in-depth sales process before getting started.
Marketing automation also needs to dig deep into your requirements before you can even set a general price range.
Find their website's contact form and use this to get started.
2. The discovery call
After completing the contact form, you should get a response pretty quickly.
Any great team will be insane when responding to new perspectives. Expect an answer within 24 hours.
If you don't get a response, it could be a sign that you are not suitable for this company. For example, companies that specialize in corporate clients are likely to ignore smaller startups that need a basic implementation for a marketing team of 2-3 people. It's just too small for them. In these cases, they usually do not respond at all.
So if you don't get a response and you are a smaller business, look for people who have customers on their website that are closer to your size.
Once you get an answer, you will usually be prompted to make a discovery call. There won't be a lot of pitching on this call. Instead, the marketing automation company wants to learn as much about you as possible. They will ask you like:
- Your Marketing Tech Stack
- Company size
- Main actors
- Hard demands on the project
I recommend that you sit down before the Discovery call and find clear answers to these questions. This keeps the process going quickly.
The clearer you can be with the partner, the more likely they are to be able to deliver what you want.
3. The proposal
Depending on the complexity of your implementation, you may have multiple calls to capture the entire project.
When everything is clear, expect a proposal that breaks down the full costs, schedules, and results of the project.
If you win at the price, it's probably in the right range. The implementation fees for CRMs and marketing automation tools are quite high.
Another thing, really double and triple check all requirements with your team. Look for holes and items that you missed in the spec. Changing the requirements later will be very difficult. It's best to add changes to the proposal now.
Also, ask the company how it will handle changes in scope during the project, if this happens. They usually get an hourly rate that they charge for extra work.
4. Sign and get started
When you're done, sign the proposals and start the project.
After everything is signed, the marketing automation company usually takes the lead. As long as you are on your side, things usually keep moving without your having to push.
The initial process usually starts with:
- Introductions to the entire implementation team
- A kick-off call
- Scheduling for regular check-ins
- Call internal experts to discuss all the details
Are the top marketing automation companies worth it?
I think so.
Every serious marketing team needs a fully functional marketing automation tool.
And marketing automation tools have gotten so complicated that it is unwise to confuse them yourself.
You want an experienced team to properly introduce your tool. It costs a lot more upfront, but saves a lot of money in the long run.
I spoke to a VP of Marketing the other day. He worked on a world-class marketing team and managed hundreds of thousands of leads. He turned to me and said, “The other day we discovered 100,000 leads that were lost in our marketing automation tool. They just sat there. For one year. "
That's crazy! Think about all of the lost revenue.
And it happens all the time.
Take a look around, contact some experts in the field, and do everything right.