If you feel overwhelmed trying to budget for marketing technology, you’re not alone. At first glance, the cost of martech seems pretty straightforward. The sales rep tells you the product will only take a few hours to set up, plus x number of dollars per month to use, etc. But in reality, the cost of implementation is often the hardest – and potentially largest number – to predict.
As we know, martech should be purchased to drive business results. So knowing the cost of implementation is crucial to estimating ROI. To ensure you cover all the bases, here are things to remember when budgeting during the martech purchasing process.
Extra Implementation Fees
It’s not uncommon for a vendor to tack on fees to install the product, and you’ll definitely need to account for this in your budget. Implementation fees for smaller products and platforms aren’t typically hefty, but if you’re an enterprise company looking to add a new CRM, implementation costs and consulting will look a lot different than they will for a social media publishing tool.
To ensure you understand all the vendor fees associated with setting up the product, make sure to ask your sales rep about their implementation process during your conversations and demos. If they can’t give you a clear answer, consider another option. The last thing you want when implementing marketing technology is an unresponsive vendor.
Time is Money, and Martech Setup Takes a Lot of Both
Depending on the scale of the product, the sheer amount of time to set everything up could be your biggest expense. First, you’ll need to understand and plan out the implementation timeframe. Some questions to ask yourself when budgeting time include:
Will the transition be gradual or abrupt? What are the pros and cons to each?
How many people will be responsible for the transition and how many hours should be dedicated to working with the product?
Will employees need to be trained on the new product? How long will that take?
The consequences of underestimating the time it takes to implement the product are much steeper than budgeting too much time. When the sales rep tells you it should be a breeze, think about your current situation. Do you need to move data or content? Is that data or content clean? Once the product is implemented, will you need to customize dashboards and reporting options?
If anything, overestimate how long the process will take. Then add more time to that number.
Someone Needs to Own the Product
After the initial setup, you’ll need to appoint someone to be responsible for the product, serving as a point person for other employees. Keep in mind that this looks different for every company and every product.
For smaller organizations, having one employee dedicate 25% of their time to the solution might be enough. For larger, enterprise-level companies, this could require having one or more employees work on it full-time, or hiring an employee from the vendor to manage, train, and troubleshoot as necessary. In short, make sure you’re factoring in labor costs during the implementation as well as going forward.
Updating Your Existing Martech
Finally, plan for costs if the new product doesn’t integrate perfectly with all your martech solutions (in our Marketing Technology Purchasing Guide, this is just one reason why we emphasize integration over everything else). When martech doesn’t mesh, this could mean one of two things:
You need to buy another solution to properly integrate the marketing technology; or
You’ll need to upgrade current martech to support the new product.
For example, if you purchase a martech solution that integrates with 9 of your 10 products, you will need to figure out a way to make that last integration work. Maybe it’s purchasing yet another product – a connector software such as Zapier or IFTTT – to get the two talking. Or, perhaps one of the products just needs to be upgraded to the next level (whether that’s a product’s “enterprise” level, etc.) that will allow the integration.
Ideally, every piece of technology would connect well with one another. But this is hardly the case. So when purchasing a new martech solution, prepare to spend money (whether that’s manpower or other martech solutions) on product integrations.
Don’t Forget All the Other Stuff
There are so many things to consider when choosing a martech solution. And unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet, secret formula, or tool that tells you which product will be best for your company. While accounting for costs is important, it’s still just one piece of the puzzle.
To learn more about the buying process from start to finish, download our Marketing Technology Purchasing Guide. Covering everything from goal setting to evaluating sales reps and approaching product demos, our guide will equip you with the information to make the best decision possible.