Implementing or replacing a marketing automation system is a herculean effort and anybody who’s done it once can attest to that. Changing systems is arguably more difficult than rolling out a brand new one. Why? There are many more factors to consider both internally and externally when you decide to replace an existing solution.
Because of this, there are a number of potential factors to consider to ensure you set your team up for success.
As the Director of Marketing at Rhumbix with a background in demand generation, I’ve replaced two different competitive marketing automation solutions with Salesforce Pardot. While the workflows and the exact steps were unique each time, there are a few key takeaways and tips that leaders can leverage to make the process smoother.
Receive Internal Buy-In
Marketing automation solutions touch a myriad of systems, so extricating this essential piece of software is far from a quick, one-and-done process. When evaluating a new system to replace an existing one, it’s important to involve users from different areas of the business.
For example, before we replaced our previous marketing automation vendor with Pardot, I spoke with some of the Business Development Reps (BDRs) about their experience with the solution. What I uncovered was surprising: they voiced many frustrations that I hadn’t previously been aware of.
By including them in the discovery process, they became advocates for our migration to Pardot, and helped make the implementation and adoption much smoother.
Strategically Plan Your Migration
Making the move to a new system is likely to have a hiccup or two, so finding a good time to migrate platforms that won’t have major implications for the business is important. I’ve found that a good time to make the switch is during a slow period for your business, something that is likely to vary between companies and be specific to your industry.
At one of my previous companies, that meant over the holiday season; at another, it meant in the middle of summer when our prospects were largely offline, providing us time and space to make the switch.
Explore a time when you and your team will be able to migrate assets (download, upload, etc), and rebuild critical campaigns.
Lastly, it’s essential to download all reports from the old system so that you retain historical benchmarks of success. Remember, migrating to a new platform means you won’t have a ton of data in your new system when getting started.
Position for Long Term Success
Both Rhumbix and my previous company really cared about a cohesive customer experience, which meant it was essential that our marketing automation platform allowed us to carry our branding across critical touch points. We needed to be able to create landing pages, emails, and other assets that mirrored our branding.
One solution we worked with previously forced us to use their templates and made it next to impossible to bring custom HTML into assets. This made our brand look immature and cheap, and quickly became a point of frustration for the team.
Once we migrated to Pardot, even our lean digital marketing team was able to accomplish a seamless branding experience across assets within Pardot. We were able to ensure a consistent landscape that communicates our vision to visitors.
This flexibility is essential when considering the speed of implementation and the customer experience you’re hoping to create — without a limber solution, you’ll not only waste valuable time trying to fit your branding into templates, you’ll ultimately be unhappy with the result.
Find a Partner, Not Just a Vendor
A true testament to both short and long-term success is to select a marketing automation vendor that doesn’t just see you as a client, but one that sees you as a partner.
A number of years ago when my company was using a competitive solution, one of our forms went down. This form was the starting point to our sales process — without it, we were unable to collect information and follow up with valuable interested prospects. We considered this a mission-critical form for our business because we relied heavily on inbound leads that were often highly transactional in nature. When this form went down, it put a halt to our business.
Given that this was a fairly urgent issue, I reached out to our account manager right away to find a solution. Our account manager replied and said something to the effect of, “This is not my problem.”
I came to realize later that the lack of urgency and concern was likely a result of our company size — at that time, the company likely fit into their SMB or mid-market category, and we simply weren’t a priority.
So, I did what any logical person does: I took to twitter and @mentioned their corporate account to see if this was a widespread issue or specific to our instance. We received better and more prompt support from their Twitter handle than we did from our own account manager.
Considering that this competitive solution came at a premium price point (which accounted for much of our yearly budget), it was disappointing to see that they were clearly not invested in providing quality customer care, or ensuring their customers achieve success.
There are a number of reasons why the situation devolved rather quickly, but the takeaway here is that partners help you through struggles, rather than avoid accountability. This helpfulness is something I’ve seen time and time again with Pardot. Working with a company that cares about their clients no matter their size, be it SMB, mid-market, or Enterprise, ensures that ALL companies can find success through their products, not just some companies.
When you’re making a change or rolling out new software, the last thing you want to be doing is trying to figure it out on your own. With the right solution, helpful folks, and the Trailblazer community of like-minded professionals offered through Pardot, you’ll never go at it alone.
While any migration is not without its challenges, the success I’ve found with Pardot is why I’m such a Pardot advocate. Don’t believe me? Watch me nerd out in this commercial where I talk about the software that helped propel my career.
Learn more about how Salesforce Pardot can help you engage buyers, close deals and grow account relationships today.