9 questions to ask marketing work management vendors during the demo

Once you have determined that marketing work management software makes sense for your business and have spent time researching individual vendors, it’s time to schedule demos with your selected vendors. We recommend setting up demos within a relatively short time frame after receiving RFP responses to help make relevant comparisons. Also, make sure that all potential internal users are on the demo call, and pay attention to the following:

  • How easy the platform is to use.
  • Whether the vendor seems to understand your business and your needs.
  • If they are showing you your “must-have” features.
  • And whether the reporting is actionable.

But a good demo is one where not only is the vendor demonstrating platform capabilities clearly, but also is answering all of your questions in a way that gives you greater confidence in the tool or service.

Here are eight questions you should ask when demoing marketing work management software:

How robust and flexible are your reporting options and visualizations? Different users have different reporting needs. Find out if reports can be customized and automatically delivered to different users and types of users, and whether data can be exported in CSV format.

What workflow and project methodologies does your tool support? Is it focused largely toward Agile or Waterfall, or does it include aspects of both?

How are permissions and access by non-licensees handled? If you plan to use the tool to coordinate with contractors or clients, you should look for tools that offer robust
sharing options, including free guest accounts that won’t incur additional licensing fees. Also consider how granularly the different types of accounts can be set up, so that you can expose just the right amount of information to the different users and stakeholders.

With regard to projects, tasks, sub-tasks, etc., what is the hierarchy within the tool and how is it organized? If you plan to use the tool within multiple departments, at multiple locations or with each of your clients, you must ensure you can keep initiatives separate from one another within the tool – both to prevent the leakage of proprietary information, and to avoid confusing users with too much data that they don’t need.

How does the tool support reviews and approvals? What types of media can be marked up within the platform? Marketing processes typically involve gaining approvals from other
stakeholders, such as legal departments, clients (when creative is developed by an agency
and marketing or C-level leadership. Depending on your needs, you may seek a tool that
supports a multi-step, multi-approver workflow or something simpler.

Where are the actionable reports? Enterprise tools typically have dashboards and generous amounts of data but it’s very important to understand how, and, which reports can immediately benefit your business. A good sales team will understand your company’s objectives and KPIs and will have reports ready or be able to run them in real-time.

What does the onboarding process entail and how long will it take for my team to get up and running? What are the training options, i.e., is it online only…or will you send people to our location to train us on site? Be sure to find out what onboarding and support is included in pricing and what is an add-on.

What kind of ongoing support and client engagement will your account team provide? How will you gauge our use or non-use of the platform’s features? One of the most common reasons a company transitions out of an enterprise platform is because they don’t use it enough. How do they propose you avoid tool fatigue and checkout for your organization? A vendor should be prepared to address this issue and specifically how the tool creatively engages users and gets them back into the environment. Quick and effective resolution of user questions is also an important factor, as it can make a significant difference in the speed of adoption.

What new features are you considering? What’s the long-term roadmap and launch dates?

The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing. It’s important to understand a vendor’s level of innovation and its ability to add and track emerging technologies. How do they solicit suggestions and feature requests from users, and what kind of influence do these have? Knowing a vendor’s new feature release date schedule and its ability to stick to committed timelines is also very important. This helps establish a long-term trust and relationship with the vendor based on the understanding that it will always be on the cutting edge.

If the vendor answers all of your questions well and the platform seems to meet your needs, that means it’s time to move on the checking references, speaking with existing customers, and ultimately negotiating the contract.

Marketing work management: A snapshot

What it is: Marketing work management platforms help marketing leaders and their teams structure their day-to-day work to meet their goals on deadline and within budget constraints, all while managing resources and facilitating communication and collaboration. Functions may include task assignments, time tracking, budgeting, team communication and file sharing, among others.

Why it’s important today. Work environments have changed drastically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has heightened the need for work management tools that help marketers navigate these new workflows.

Marketers have been at work developing processes that allow them to work with those outside their own offices since marketing projects—campaigns, websites, white papers, or webinars—frequently involve working with outside sources.

Also, with marketers required to design interfaces, write content, and create engaging visual assets today, more marketers are adopting agile workflow practices, which often have features to support agile practices.

What the tools do. All of these changes have heightened the need for marketing work management software, which optimizes and documents the projects undertaken by digital marketers. They often integrate with other systems like digital asset management platforms and creative suites. But most importantly, these systems improve process clarity, transparency, and accountability, helping marketers keep work on track.

Dig deeper: What is marketing work management

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