10 Smart Questions to Ask During a Marketing Automation Demo

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Have you ever bought a house without asking the realtor any questions?

I mean zero questions, like about the costs, the neighborhood, utilities, etc.

No, right? Who would buy something at a huge cost that would affect their life without even asking one question?!

marketing automation demo questions

Source: Marketo

The same goes for marketing automation software. Sure, you’ll probably demo the product first, but you shouldn’t sit there quietly and let the salesperson talk your ear off. You need to ask questions!

Here are 10 questions I recommend asking on your next marketing automation demo. They’re pretty basic, but still important.

1. What kind of support will I get?

This is one of the most important questions to ask! Technology makes our lives easier, but it also has a way of going wrong at the worst possible time. That’s when Support steps in!

There are varying levels of support depending on how much your package costs, such as live chat or phone support. Most systems will include the ability to simply submit a ticket to the Support team.

How much you want to spend on support depends entirely on how much you think you’ll need it. Ask about the different support options at each pricing level during your demo, and decide which one best fits your technical abilities.

2. Is training included with my purchase?

You’ve probably never used marketing automation before, and if you have, a new system will definitely be different. Training will be a crucial part of implementing a software system into your marketing department.

You’ll want to make sure that the vendor offers some type of training, whether it’s recorded webinars or one-on-one help from a support staff. If it’s not included in the package you’re purchasing, ask how much it costs and consider if it’s worth it.

3. What other software programs does it integrate with?

This question is mostly concerned with which CRM systems integrate with the marketing automation software. Whether it’s an in-house solution, or a more popular one, if you want to have a fully integrated sales and marketing strategy, both your CRM and marketing automation need to work together.

If you’re more interested in finding a great marketing automation system, regardless of which CRMs it integrates with, then you should ask if there’s a way to connect the two with an API (Application Programming Interface).

However, if you’re basing your marketing automation purchase off of what integrates with your current CRM, then you’ll want to make sure the solution you’re demoing has your CRM listed as a system it can connect to. If it’s not, then you’re just wasting your time.

Other than a CRM, marketing automation can also integrate with webinar platforms, Google AdWords, and many other marketing tools. Ask which ones are able to sync with the product you’re demoing, to further improve your marketing automation strategy.

4. How can both the sales and marketing teams use this software?

It’s the age-old problem: how can Sales and Marketing get along? Now there’s a solution: marketing automation! Integrating CRM and marketing automation streamlines the sales and marketing process and really does improve the sales funnel for both the buyer and the seller.

You’ll want to know which features of the marketing automation solution can be used by the sales team and how it will improve their work. More often than not, the marketing team is making the decision on which system to buy, and then the sales team is stuck with it. Instead, work with them and figure out what they need from marketing automation. Then, bring up their needs and questions during the demo.

5. Are there limits on how many contacts I can have in my database?

For many marketing automation systems, the price depends on the number of contacts in your database. So if you know how many contacts you have in your database, make sure the system you’re demoing can handle it. The worst possible thing you can do is purchase a system and realize a few months in that you’re about to run out of room for new contacts!

Account for growth in your estimate of contacts. No company should stop collecting new sales contacts, so make sure you have an idea of how big of a database you’ll need, even in the long run.

6. How can I measure and report on the performance of my campaigns?

What’s the point of sending emails and nurturing leads if you have no idea how your efforts are performing? Ask about the reporting capabilities of the marketing automation software you’re demoing. Can you track opens and clicks of emails? How do you find form submissions from different landing pages? Is it possible to track a prospect through their entire lifecycle?

Most demos will go over reporting functionality, but don’t be afraid to ask them to show you exactly how to pull different reports or show you how an important part of your revenue can be attributed to marketing automation campaigns.

7. Is customization possible?

The emails and landing pages you create with marketing automation software should easily be recognized by your customers as your brand. Therefore, ask the salesperson about customization capabilities and how to incorporate your brand image into these materials. Prospects want to know who exactly is contacting them. A generic email template will probably not encourage them to convert if they’re not exactly sure who is trying to reach them.

The type of customization will vary by each marketing automation system, but it can range from a simple drag-and-drop to extensive HTML coding. During the demo, ask about this capability, so you’ll know if you can handle it, or if you’ll need someone from Tech to help you out.

8. Can I add more features to my basic package?

You’re a year into your contract and realize you need more landing pages or extra custom fields. Is that possible to get more? If it isn’t, that means you’re in the market for a new marketing automation system and demoing once again. Avoid that inconvenience by asking during your first demo if adding on more features to your package is possible, and, most importantly, how much it will cost.

Yes, you may not think you’ll need the extra features when you’re at the beginning of the buying process, but similar to the contacts limit, you need to allow for growth. Sometimes, just adding on the cost of the extra feature will be cheaper than upgrading!

9. Who uses your software in an industry or business similar to mine?

The hiring process of a new employee can be the same as shopping for a new software product. This includes asking for references. If they serve a lot of companies in your industry, that’s a good sign that it works for your business model. But to be sure, it’s always better to get first-hand feedback from a vendor’s current customers.

Customers will tell you both the good and bad things about the marketing automation solution, which you’ll probably never hear during a demo! Most vendors will be happy to refer you to customers, so don’t be afraid to ask! If they aren’t willing to refer you to anyone, that’s a red flag since it could mean they don’t have any happy customers at all!

10. Why should we go with you over your competitor?

Challenge them, show them that you know there are other options out there, and test their knowledge of their own industry. If a marketing automation vendor can’t tell you why they’re better than their competitors, then they’re probably not the best choice for you. You want the marketing automation system that works best for your business. Even if it’s not the most popular solution out there, if it’s the best one for you, it’s the right solution to buy.

What other questions would you ask on a marketing automation demo?

Looking for Marketing Automation software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Marketing Automation software solutions.

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About the Author


Caroline Malamut

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Caroline is the Vendor Marketing Manager at Capterra. Her love of marketing began while growing up in Philadelphia and has only grown since attending the University of Pittsburgh. In her free time she enjoys reading, spending time with friends and family, and cheering on her Philly and Pitt sports teams.



Good list. I see a lot of companies that are left hanging with the actual integration and implementation process. Another important question is asking who does the implementation and integration. Many vendors outsource this service, or they refer customers to agencies. It’s important to qualify this process to get off to a good start.

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