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Evaluating Marketing Automation Software for Lead Generation and Management

October 8th, 2012

by Chad Pollitt

Today’s technology has made B2B online lead generation and management efficient, scalable and effective. Most online marketing automation software provides a “one-stop-shop” solution for Marketing Departments. So, rather than jumping back and forth between multiple systems and websites, everything is accessible through one interface. This saves time and makes reporting much easier.

However, not all marketing automation software is created equal. There are many solutions, including ones for the SMB to the Enterprise. Some of the solution providers include Marketo, Eloqua, HubSpot, Act-On, Pardot, LeadFormix and Spectate.

Most marketing automation systems provide some or all of the capabilities outlined below:

  • Demand Generation
  • Competitor Tracking and Analysis
  • A/B Testing
  • SEO Tools
  • Social Media Management/Listening
  • Lead Management
  • Lead Scoring
  • Lead Nurturing
  • Lead Generation
  • Campaign Analysis
  • Lead Qualification
  • Sales Effectiveness

The Slingshot SEO Marketing Department recently evaluated several of the providers listed above and discovered some stark differences between them. The marketing automation software evaluated fell into one of two categories: those with strong demand generation (inbound marketing) capability, and those with little to none.

Some of the more mature solutions seemed pricey and lacked strong robust demand generation functionality. They seemed just as comfortable with recommending uploading a purchased list as opposed to organically earning conversions. This might have been acceptable five years ago when many of these solutions were helping to build this fledgling industry—but today, that’s called spam.

A few of the Enterprise solutions, while lacking strong inbound capability, did offer very robust, multi-channel lead nurturing and many unique and desirable bells and whistles. But in the end, Slingshot SEO chose to deploy the Enterprise level of HubSpot 3, the newest iteration of HubSpot’s technology.

The other solutions did not adequately address Slingshot SEO’s need for demand generation. HubSpot, on the other hand, offers a suite of SEO, blogging, social media, testing and competitive analysis tools required to produce adequate demand in today’s ultra-competitive Internet marketing landscape.

Without the proper flow of organically converted leads, marketing automation solutions provide little to no value. Traffic and conversions must be at acceptable levels to justify marketing automation solutions with gracile demand generation capability. Understanding this is critical to choosing the right solution for improving lead generation, lead management and customer acquisition.

Chad Pollitt

Director of Marketing at Slingshot SEO, Chad is a decorated veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, a former Army National Guard Commander and the Director Marketing at Slingshot SEO. He authored “The Content Marketing Manifesto” in 2012. His other writings and articles have been published in dozens of newspapers, magazines and websites throughout the world.

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