After four scintillating huddles on tech stacks, let there be no doubt this is a foundational topic for B2B CMOs. The right MarTech combo can increase the efficiency of marketing exponentially, and it gives CMOs data that allows them to make better decisions. It gives them data that helps them justify their existence (and their budget). It gives them the data to show how marketing is contributing both to the short-term and long-term goals of their organization.
It’s also very clear that many stacks are bloated, filled with underperforming or underutilized technologies. In some cases, it is the technology itself; in others, it is a lack of trained staff. Integration becomes a challenge as the stack grows, and then there’s the data problem. MarTech is only as good as the data it houses and individuals are changing jobs at historic rates, so databases that aren’t updated constantly will be practically useless in six months. Yikes!
Without further ado, here are 6 ways to stack your tech stack for success.
Assess via Annual Audits
Before you acquire yet another technology, do you and your team a favor by conducting a thorough audit of what you have. The audit starts with making sure that every technology that you have has an owner. That owner then needs to be ready to defend the tool and answer some basic questions: How are you using the technology? What’s working and what isn’t?
During the audit, consider a simple scoring system like green, yellow and red. Green means it is properly staffed and it is delivering a good value as expected. Yellow means that it is either underperforming or underutilized, but there’s still some hope. Red means that it is underperforming and no amount of additional staffing could improve the outcome AKA needs to get tossed out immediately.
Double Down on Your Database
MarTech stacks are only as good as the data they contain. Yet many marketers are underinvesting in keeping their databases up to date. Given historic levels of job changes, it’s likely that at least 25% of your contacts have new jobs and new emails in the last 12 months. To address this, some CMOs have dedicated staffers in-house or off-shore appending data day in, day out. This is particularly important as you fill out the contact list of the buying committee at enterprise opportunities.
Inspect for Integration
Integration is often a major headache when adding a new tool to your stack. This is why some CMOs prefer an integrated system from the same vendor like Salesforce & Pardot or Hubspot CRM & Marketing Automation. This may mean accepting a less-than-ideal performance from one of the tools. For example, there are very few fans of Pardot relative to a best-of-breed tool like Marketo!
The alternative is to get your MarketingOps team and/or IT to write the integration software, which adds time and is often hard to update. This problem only gets worse as your stack grows, so push your tech providers to demonstrate their ability to play well in your tech sandbox. For example, many huddlers chose Sendoso over Alyce to manage their gifting because it integrates well with Hubspot.
Budget with Bodies
It’s a simple truth that your tech is only as good as the technicians who use it. Yet somehow, some marketers forget to budget in headcount when adding to their stacks. The result is that either they go over budget by adding staff or they stress out their current staff and the new tech is underutilized. The simple rule of thumb is that each new tool requires 1-2 new staffers, ideally ones who are certified on that tool.
99% of huddlers have a CRM system (i.e. Salesforce, HubSpot) and a marketing automation tool (i.e. Pardot, Marketo). Most have some source for contacts (ZoomInfo, Clearbit) and sales enablement (Outreach, Salesloft, Showpad). A large subset has social media tools (Sprout Social, Oktopost), content management (Ceros, Paperflite, Uberflip, Pathfactory), and is in some phase of ABM implementation (i.e. Demandbase, 6Sense). The most common attribution tool in use is Bizible.
Beyond the Basics
Having finished your audit, trimmed your stack, and staffed up to maximize usage, it’s time to geek out. And there’s way more amazing stuff out there than we can cover here. That said, start with your strategic objectives, not what just crossed your desk last week. If, for example, engaging employees and customers is a top priority, then focus on tools that can help you there. It’s easy to have tech envy unless you remind yourself that more tech can equal more headaches.
Speaking of envy, if you’ve tried a transformative new tool, please let us know about it.