When is enough enough?
Marketers have bigger tech stacks than ever before. Last year, Chiefmartec’s map of the marketing technology landscape grew so dense it became almost indistinguishable from TV static.
Image credit: Chiefmartec
But when the average stack contains a whopping 91 tools, when is enough enough?
At what point do too many software solutions hold marketers back? Who’s measuring the ROI on these things? And most important, who’s paying attention to the data quality?
Without a solid foundation of accurate data, all the marketing tools on earth can’t extract revenue from a database that’s full of the wrong people.
If you haven’t had time to ponder these questions, consider this post your new year’s reset.
6 signs your martech stack is bloated:
1. Your stack isn’t a hub-and-spoke
Every year, The Stackie Awards celebrate neatly organized marketing tech stacks. Last year’s winners share one key trait: They’re all organized in a hub-and-spoke model.
The hub at every stack center is what’s known as the ‘core stack.’ That’s a marketing system like Marketo, Hubspot, or Eloqua, plus a few other tools. The core serves as the single source of customer truth. All non-core tools plug into the core.
Why is this ideal? Because data is messy and without one central system conducting the outreach, you’ll create a lot of redundancy. If your martech stack looks more like spaghetti than a wagon wheel, reassemble it.
2. You’re still paying for proxies, not performance
Over the past six years or so, marketers have finally earned a seat at the revenue table. Sort of. Marketing automation allows them to prove their worth in terms of dollars and now that’s what’s expected of them.
Yet many marketing teams still measure success with outdated proxy metrics like impressions, views, likes, reach, and influence. In 2018, these will no longer do. If you can’t measure the ROI of a tool, you can’t afford it. Cut back on tools that can’t pay their own way.
3. You have more data vendors than members on your team
In a world of perfect data, there wouldn’t be much to marketing. Databases would be tiny and sales cycles short and sweet. Marketers would email the people who wanted to hear from them and pass accounts along to sales.
Yet the fact that the average marketer allocates 22 percent of their budget to software – more than IT departments according to Gartner – is a clear indication their data is pretty messed up and they need a lot of help making use of it.
If this is your team, reevaluate your data sources. If you’re importing data for accounts, contacts, technographics, psychographics, intent, and more from different vendors, it’s time for a consolidation. This is especially true if newer vendors use more advanced collection methods.
EverString, for example, uses a proprietary mix of machine learning and humans to provide all of the above categories with greater coverage and higher accuracy. It can reduce the need for cleanses and conflict resolution, and keeps it all up to date.
4. You’re still sheltering contacts
Is your marketing system full of leads that aren’t in the CRM? And also, why are you still using leads? Both are signs that your stack is cluttered and your data is bad. If your systems can’t resolve form-fills and attribute them to the right accounts and contacts, then you’re probably sending too many messages, many of them to the wrong people.
Deprioritize outreach and tackle your data problem, perhaps by flipping your funnel and exploring account-based marketing (ABM). When the data is good and sales and marketing agree on accounts, the relationship between the marketing data and sales data should be pretty close to one-to-one.
5. Your team can’t overcome data silos
Big data is great, except when it’s fragmented. Marketing teams that haven’t organized their stack in a hub-and-spoke model often find that there is valuable data trapped in all of the point solutions.
For example, the social selling platform may detect that a contact has changed accounts long before the marketing hub does. An advertising platform may detect when multiple contacts on an account click the same ad but is unable to communicate it. And perhaps the most common silo: Sales reps have deep insights into a deal that marketers have no way of knowing.
The solution? Re-organize your stack and limit yourself to tools can can plug into the stack core.
6. Your ABM program hasn’t supplanted demand-gen
Most marketers practice ABM, but few practice it completely. That’s because it takes a leap of faith to move from inbound – where the constant lead flow offers a sense of security – to ABM, where sales and marketing patiently try to crack the same set of accounts.
But in a world where 85 percent of marketers think that ABM offers the highest ROI of any program, it will soon seem unethical to do anything else. ABM software provider Terminus has dropped inbound completely and simplified their stack around ABM. Their sales development team doesn’t prospect, the marketing team doesn’t log leads, and yet they’ve had tremendous success.
“Most marketers are trying to boil the ocean with a massive amount of activity,” Terminus VP of Marketing, Peter Herbert told EverString. “Nobody would tell you they run their business that way, but that’s how they do it. But when you actually have the right data – one report that prioritizes all accounts by fit, intent, and engagement – you can get a lot more by doing a lot less.”
Time to trim the fat
Chiefmartec’s marketing technology map is complicated but martech stacks should be simple. The Stackie Awards show us that best ones are neat, tidy, and ROI-focused.
If your stack looks like spaghetti, suffers from silos, and isn’t built upon a foundation of accurate data, it probably needs a new year’s diet.
Want to trim your martech stack? Request a demo of EverString.