“I am fine with a good enough solution,” said no great leader ever.

Whether you’re a startup company with a marketing team of one or a larger enterprise, you’re always looking for ways to increase your team’s productivity. But choose wisely–settling for a “good enough” solution could do more harm than good. In the short-term, it actually hinders your productivity. And in the end, it could mean that you’ll need to go through a rather painful migration from one system to another. This pain can be easily avoided by selecting the right solution up front.

Choosing the right tool

Selecting the right tool is critical no matter the task—you don’t choose a steak knife when you really need a saw. This applies to selecting the right marketing solution as well. With so many marketing solutions out there, selecting the right one is critical. As you go through the selection process, you might be drawn to the first solution that looks easy, but chances are it only has basic functionality. These solutions that look very easy to use typically come at the expense of productivity.

So how do you distinguish a “good enough” marketing automation solution from a complete one? You need to focus on a solution that allows you and your team to be more productive–by doing the things you do every day, very quickly. Start by looking at the flexibility of its workflows. “Good enough” solutions require you to step through the campaign from beginning to end, following a rigid path. It’s important to find a solution that is agile. Complete marketing automation platforms are agile, allowing you to build out different parts of programs and processes at different times.

Aside from an inflexible workflow, there are other red flags that point to a “good enough” solution, let’s look at five pitfalls of an incomplete solution:

1) Inflexible workflows: Marketers will quickly feel restricted—and frustrated—by a lack of flexibility. To avoid having to follow a rigid path or structure, a complete solution offers marketers the ability to build out different parts of programs and processes at different times.

2) Requiring separate forms: Creating a separate form for every single campaign and then tracking the results is a marketing process that doesn’t scale. A complete solution offers marketers the ability to clone the same form across multiple campaigns—while still offering the ability to track each conversion. This saves an enormous amount of time when it comes to building, maintaining, and optimizing campaigns.

3) Rigid templates: Similar to having separate forms, many incomplete solutions force marketers to go into every template to make changes like updating a copyright date. This is extremely time consuming. A complete solution enables marketers to change information in their templates, which automatically updates all emails and landing pages based on the template.

4) Limited or confusing interfaces: Building lists and segments is a critical aspect of any marketing activity, but incomplete solutions don’t offer intuitive logic that makes this task manageable. A complete solution helps marketers build lists and segments using “and/or” logic, where “and” means both criteria must be true and “or” means either or all criteria can be true. This easy-to-understand logic makes pulling together lists and database segments a much more feasible task.

5) Limited or no triggers: Triggers offer marketers the ability to listen and respond to their customers activity in real time. Incomplete solutions make setting up triggers hard by forcing marketers to navigate to different areas of the interface or creating unique lists. A complete solution allows marketers to trigger workflows based on just about any criteria, such as lead score or account opportunity stage and any changes to those, all in one place, using a simple interface.

Ultimately, the right tool helps your team operate efficiently and effectively, so while it might seem like a quick fix, it’s worth spending the time to fully evaluate your options and choose a solution that can scale with your team. Interested in learning more about how to evaluate a complete marketing automation solution? Download this cheat sheet, How a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution Hinders Productivity.

Published with permission from Marketo. Image Courtesy Marketo.

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