Marketing automation is a relatively new technology when compared to its sales counterpart – CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Even though software is much more intuitive than it was when CRM became popular, there is a certain level of service and support you should be receiving from your provider. Here’s a list of the top five services to expect from a marketing automation provider:

Support

Being able to pick up the phone, send an email, chat or send a smoke signal to your provider is crucial for your success with a marketing automation platform. Sometimes you simply don’t remember which button to click. Be sure to select a provider that has support hours during your working hours. Also, be sure to understand which regions of the world are responsible for supporting your account. (Sometimes the language barrier can be tough!)

Your provider should offer a SLA (service level agreement) with regards to response time and escalation should your support ticket require an extra set of eyes. Sometimes these are buried in the fine print of your contract, but understanding them before you sign could be the difference between campaign success and failure.

Lastly, support like this should be included in your contract, no matter what you’re paying for the product. Your provider should be able to provide the same support for everyone – all customers supported equally!

Onboarding

Onboarding is possibly the most important experience you’ll have with your marketing automation provider and it’s is a service you should expect to pay for. You’ll configure your platform and learn everything you need to know to get started with marketing automation. Your onboarding coaches are there to help you learn the things that made you decide to purchase marketing automation in the first place. When you graduate from onboarding, you’ll be placed in the hands of your Client Success Manager (CSM).

Client Success

Some marketing automation providers have different names for this group. You could have a Client Success Manager, Account Manager, Marketing Automation Manager, or someone with an entirely different name. The point is that this person is your go-to person, a single point of contact, who is responsible for your success. During your onboarding process you should define what success means for you and your Client Success Manager is the person proactively helping you get there. As your business grows and changes, they’re helping you get even more out of the platform. They should also be the person helping you find the answers should you have a problem. They might not have all the answers, but they’re able to find all the answers for you. Last but certainly not least, this is a service you shouldn’t have to pay extra for. Marketing automation is a new technology and you’re likely new to the provider, it’s behooves the provider to help you fully adopt their platform.

Account Management

Sometimes your Client Success Manager is your Account Manager, sometimes they’re a different person. Either way, your marketing automation provider should continue to earn your business, even after the contract is signed. This person exists to make sure you’re going to re-sign with them when your contract is up for renewal. If this person isn’t also your Client Success Manager, they’re working very closely together because the Account Manager is measured on whether or not you sign on the dotted line again.

Continuing Education

It’s important to ask your marketing automation provider about continuing education before you sign. The onboarding experience is enough to make you a marketing automation pro, but what if your business grows so fast you need to add another pro to your team? Cue: The Continuing Education team. While you’re technically ‘onboarding’ a new team member, the traditional onboarding experience isn’t right for you. You need a new teammate that’s going to be able to learn inside of your mature environment, review the campaigns you’ve already done or simply get familiar with your lead scoring model. The Continuing Education department will work with you and your Client Success Manager to make sure a new teammate is up and running in no time.

Also part of the Continuing Education team are refresher courses and new product training. If your marketing automation provider releases an entirely new piece of technology in the platform, they should be training you on how to use it – at no additional charge.

There is no shortage of help to get you up and running on software that’s been helping companies exponentially grow their business. The hardest part has never been using the technology, it’s still coming up with the creative campaign ideas that get your business noticed.