A Step-By-Step Guide to Combatting Overspending, Inefficiency, and Skill Gaps
As award-winning marketers in the ever-evolving Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) industry, Sureshot has witnessed firsthand the rapid growth and adoption of marketing technology (martech). Each tool promises to streamline operations, improve customer engagement, and drive revenue growth, but many organizations struggle to extract the full value from their martech investments. This disconnect between investment and return is largely due to overspending, inefficiency, and a lack of specialized skill sets within marketing teams. In this blog post, we’ll explore these challenges and offer actionable insights on how to overcome each one and unlock the true potential of your martech stack.
Martech Overspending and Inefficiency
As the martech landscape continues to expand, many organizations find themselves acquiring new tools and platforms in an attempt to keep up with the competition. However, this strategy often leads to overspending and inefficiencies, as companies cobble together a variety of tech tools with overlapping functionalities and complex integrations between multiple systems. In fact, according to Gartner, marketing teams utilize only 42 percent of their martech stack’s full capabilities—and we all know 42 out of 100 is an F- in terms of grading performance.
Combat Strategy for Overspending and Inefficiency
To counter martech overspending and inefficiencies, it’s essential to take a strategic approach to your martech investments. We recommend taking four critical steps:
- Step 1: Conduct Regular Martech Audits
Make a habit of regularly evaluating your existing martech stack to identify redundancies within systems, as well as underutilized tools. This step will help you streamline martech investments by enabling you to put your budget dollars toward the platforms delivering the most value.
- Step 2: Prioritize Seamless Integrations
Managing multiple systems can get complex quickly. To restore time and sanity to your marketing ops team, choose solutions that seamlessly integrate with one another, as this greatly reduces the issues that arise when managing multiple systems. In addition, consider using an iPaaS platform to automate data flows and simplify integrations.
- Step 3: Establish Measurable Objectives
Define specific goals for each martech tool in your stack. A few examples of marketing objectives most marketers pursue, include increasing lead quality, shortening the sales cycle, reducing customer churn, boosting customer lifetime values (CLV), improving engagement, closing more deals, etc. Once you have established your goals, it’s time to measure each martech solution’s performance against the goals it directly impacts. Doing this helps to ensure that each platform delivers tangible results and contributes to the overall success of your marketing strategy.
- Step 4: Evaluate ROI
Calculate the return on investment (ROI) for each martech tool to identify the platforms that yield the highest returns. This will enable you to allocate your resources more efficiently and make wiser decisions regarding future investments.
Combat Strategy for Addressing Martech Skills Gaps
The rapid evolution of martech has created significant skills gaps within marketing teams, as professionals struggle to stay up-to-date on how to use the latest tools and implement best practices that produce results. Unfortunately, this knowledge deficit leads to an inability to extract the full value from your martech investments. To address this challenge, we recommend the steps below:
- Step 5: Invest in Continuous Learning
Encourage your marketing team to participate in relevant training programs, attend industry conferences, and stay informed about the latest trends and best practices in martech. SimpliLearn maintains that rewarding employees who complete training with certifications, reimbursements and prizes from friendly learning challenges, helps them to stay motivated, and retain more knowledge.
- Step 6: Leverage External Expertise
If your in-house team lacks the specialized skills required to maximize the value of your martech stack, consider partnering with external experts or agencies to fill in the gaps. Some martech companies, like Sureshot, offer customers a hybrid-tech approach in which they provide access to martech experts who perform everything from solution set-ups and integrations, to ongoing services, such as process automations.
- Step 7: Promote Cross-Functional Collaboration
Foster collaboration between marketing and IT teams so that both sides understand one another’s goals. Build a team atmosphere between the logic-driven left-brained folks in marketing ops and IT, and the visionary folks in marketing by hosting lunch-and-learns, Q&A meetings, ice-cream socials, and other team-building activities. Pursuing collaborative relationships helps to ensure everyone understands marketing’s goals, as well as the technical aspects of how IT and marketing ops teams leverage martech to get there.
FACT: 97% of employees and executives believe a lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project.
- Step 8: Foster Internal Talent Development & Cross-Training
Identify employees with potential and invest in their professional growth by providing them with opportunities to learn new skills and take on challenging projects. This will help you build a strong in-house team with the expertise required to maximize the value of your martech investments. Of course, it’s also wise to motivate team members you invest in to share what they have learned with others on their team by offering them incentives. This way, if and when they move on, you won’t be caught off guard by a missing skill set because your employees have been cross-trained to fill in the gaps.
5 Best Practices for Extracting Maximum Value From Your Martech Spend
Now that we have addressed how you can actively combat martech overspending, inefficiencies, and skills gaps, you are ready to unlock the true potential of your martech investments. To maximize the value of your martech spend, we recommend prioritizing the following best practices:
- Align All Martech Solutions With Your Marketing Strategy
Your martech investments should support your overall marketing objectives, such as driving customer engagement, generating revenue growth, producing quality leads, etc. If a martech solution cannot be tied directly (or indirectly) to your mission of realizing marketing goals, it’s taking up time, money and space that is better allocated elsewhere.
Leverage the insights generated by your martech to create dynamic personalized experiences for your customers across all touchpoints. As you systematically connect and coordinate your martech stack, you should be able to use your united solutions to automate the generation and sending of targeted communications across multiple channels. More than just a tenant of account-based marketing (ABM), using automation to scale personalized communications is proven to drive conversions, build loyalty, and enhance customer satisfaction.
3. Foster a Data-Driven Culture
Encourage your marketing team to rely on data and insights generated by your martech stack to make informed decisions that lead to performance improvements. Listening to the story your data is telling you helps to ensure that your investments deliver meaningful results and contribute to your company’s success. And while it should go without saying, make sure your data is clean, complete, enriched and ready to provide you with an accurate picture of marketing’s performance.
4. Embrace Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Many marketers fear being replaced by AI, but there’s no need for fear when you make a point of putting AI in its proper place. To help your team members embrace automation and AI, focus on ways it can help reduce tedious manual steps in various time-consuming processes for them. For example, you can use the power of automation and AI to streamline marketing processes, like scheduling and sending emails; enhance targeting by predicting the responses of various customer segments and identifying new and untapped segments; and optimizing campaigns for conversions by automating personalized campaign content.
5. Monitor and Adapt
Make sure you continuously monitor the performance of your martech stack and make adjustments as needed. As the marketing landscape evolves, new challenges, opportunities, and martech solutions will arise and fall. Being agile and adapting to changes will help you stay ahead of the competition and maximize the value of your investments.
Three Benefits of iPaaS in Maximizing Martech’s Value
As mentioned earlier, iPaaS platforms play a vital role in maximizing the value of your Martech investments by simplifying integrations and automating data flows. Here’s are three of their top benefits:
- Streamlined Integrations
iPaaS platforms foster the seamless integration of multiple martech tools and reduce the complexity of managing all of these systems. They also eliminate data silos, which is the bane of many a marketer’s existence. In short, an iPaaS gives your marketing team the invaluable benefit of access to high-quality, accurate data enterprise-side, which is essential to informed decision-making.
2. Real-Time Data Insights
By automating data flows between your martech tools, iPaaS platforms ensure that your marketing team can control how data is shared between systems. Having this level of control is critical to your ability to maintain data quality, access data insights in real-time, and see not only the big picture, but the whole picture in all its detailed splendor. Naturally, this leads to more agile decision-making and gives marketers the ability to adapt campaigns on-the-fly based on the latest performance data.
iPaaS platforms are highly scalable in that they allow you to easily add or remove martech tools as your organization’s needs change. The big bonus that comes with this kind of flexibility is that your existing processes and data flows are not corrupted, interrupted or disrupted by you adding and removing tools with the speed and indifference of a corporate axman—nice!
In today’s rapidly evolving marketing landscape, staying ahead of the competition requires constant adaptation and optimization. By adopting a strategic approach to your martech investments, addressing skill gaps, and using iPaaS platforms to seamlessly integrate your stack and add automation to various processes, you can unlock the missing 58 percent of potential that eludes the martech stacks of other less well-read marketers (wink).