If you are trying to build a martech stack for your company, you might be questioning, what do I need to look for in a vendor? What do I need to avoid? How do I choose a good mix of tools to meet my business goals? Developing an ideal martech stack can be an overwhelming process with all the marketing technology options out there.
In this seminar, Melia Hernandez, Senior Marketing Manager at Smartling, and Tyler Lessard, VP of Marketing and Chief Video Strategist at Vidyard, discussed how to arm yourself to define your optimal martech stack better and select the appropriate technologies to get your product to market.
Here are our top takeaways...
Advice for Those Tasked to Choose Martech Solutions for Their Company
Being tasked to choose a martech solution for your company is an exciting thing! You get to contribute to powering business for your company, and that’s an amazing position to be in.
One Step at a Time
To begin, patience is crucial as you're building your stack. Try not to put multiple different tools in place simultaneously, trying to solve every problem on your plate. This approach is time-consuming and can quickly become overwhelming and less efficient. For example, adding multiple tools at a time could lead to too much performance load being added to your core CRM and other essential data platforms, slowing down certain systems and affecting other departments.
Instead, start with the basic tech stack you currently have in function as a foundation. Look for opportunities from your current situation, and then choose technologies that will help you scale up those opportunities to power your business. Build on top of it with one tool at a time, testing things out as you go to make sure everything is running smoothly.
When adopting new tools, never deploy in a silo. Marketing is intertwined with other business efforts across departments, so choosing the technologies independent of cross-departmental interest will result in bottlenecks and other inefficiencies.
Think of it this way: You are essentially building a revenue stack, so the marketing tech stack needs to be cohesive with what other departments are doing. As you are making decisions evaluating technologies, even if it’s a marketing-specific solution, make sure to involve other teams and stakeholders in the process. Sometimes the new tools might not affect other teams at all, but many times, there can be concerns over how the tool integrates with other existing systems.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to explore options for tools based on your own experience as a customer. If you and your team had a great user experience with a tool in your own buyer’s journey, your customers likely will too.
Red Flags to Question In Your Martech Search
- If the technology provider cannot provide solid proof of concept for anything you’re looking for, including integrations, that’s an issue. You won’t be able to tell if your vision to support your company’s goals with this solution would be feasible.
- It’s a red flag if the vendor is not up-to-date with their competition and cannot provide clear differentiators from their competitors. This could mean that this provider is not the subject matter expert. The solution or the salesperson’s ability to sell is also questionable. It would be hard to trust a vendor that doesn’t invest in educating their teams to invest in their product offerings.
- Building a successful martech stack is all about how the tools work together. If a solution of your interest doesn’t have a clean integration with your other tools, you should look for one that does. Although the vendors might say they plan to build a specific integration, that could still be a red flag because integration development is complex and takes time. Make sure to test out the integrations before committing to a contract.
- Ask your vendor rep how they work with you post-sale to help you achieve your goals. For example, can they tell you what programs they have in place to help you be successful using their tool?
There may be other red flags that are important based on individual business needs, and comparison sites such as G2 can be an excellent resource for finding those out. For instance, if you need to get your product out quickly but you see a lot of complaints about the implementation time for a certain provider, then that would be a red flag specific to you.
Advice for Pitching Potential Choices to Company Stakeholders
When pitching your options to your stakeholders, understanding their needs and engaging them in the process as much as possible is key.
With today’s virtual-first or virtual-only environment, the ways of engaging and influencing the stakeholders can now be a little different and even more challenging. So reduce your dependency on live meetings and be prepared to help educate your stakeholders in both online and offline settings with strong content. Here are a few suggestions for preparing content to support your pitching process:
- The key is to keep the content as relevant and straightforward as possible by removing any unnecessary information. Uncover everything pertinent to the stakeholders, make sure they hear it, and get their feedback.
- If you’re inviting them to a demo call, create a simple breakdown of what will be covered during the call.
- Learn cross-departmental needs and considerations to create a comparison chart.
- Create an executive summary when asking a stakeholder to sign off the contract. A good vendor should be able to help put this together. It should include all the information relevant to the stakeholders, such as proof of concept, pricing, risk level, what this tool will help accomplish, etc.
- Think about your stakeholders’ top three potential concerns they might have. What information could you provide for them to help address the concerns? Prepare to get ahead of possible objections with different stakeholders.
- Ask the vendor about the cancellation policy to include in your pitch to help make the decision-making easier.
Tips for Deciding Between Solutions Based on Integration Capabilities
Make sure to do your research and be methodical in your approach. Document what you are looking for in each integration. What is a nice-to-have and a must-have?
Just because an integration exists, that doesn’t mean it can fulfill your needs. For example, if you need an integration to work with your CRM on the prospect level, but it only works for accounts, then that integration is not useful for your needs.
Additionally, even if the integration options don’t seem to meet your needs, the vendors might be able to offer alternative capabilities. Instead of crossing them off your list immediately, ask if they have other ways to help meet your goals.
And finally, always always request proof of concept!
Suggestions for B2B Companies in Nailing Down Content Strategy – How Can Martech Solution Help with Content?
The process to establish content success can be tough to start, but it’s okay if what you have right now is not perfect. Identify your primary audience first, think about the largest cohort you can speak to that might need your technology, and tailor your content accordingly.
Don’t be afraid if your content alienates other markets at this point because you can eventually get there. It’s like product development – if you try to do everything at once, you end up with a poor product.
So get your best work out there, and get feedback to learn where your content strategy is working and where it’s not. Listen to your customer base. What are your customers saying? What’s going on during the sales calls between your company and your prospects? What’s happening in the localization and translation world that is exciting and relevant to your customer base? Write about it. This allows you to position yourself as a subject matter expert.
Another critical step is to develop quality control assets like brand guidelines and glossaries. These help all stakeholders know exactly what a specific term means and how it’s used. Using these tools improves consistency in representing your brand, which leads to improved quality of your content and customers’ experience with your product.
Then, move on to the larger cohort. Repeat.
Finally, a good martech stack is going to help you scale the above strategy. It should help you organize data on your content and guide your content strategy – how the audience is engaging with your content, what content to develop, which content needs to go to whom, etc.