tools

How to Optimize Your B2B Martech Stack: 4 Indicators Your Stack Needs Help

Quantity Doesn’t Mean Quality

Marketers have lots of “tools” to choose from when it comes to automating marketing tasks and processes, collecting data, improving engagement, and managing projects. In fact, research shows that the average organization uses as many as 91 different martech tools within primarily CRMs, marketing automation, content marketing management, and customer data platforms. 

It’s easy to be wooed by new point solutions that make all kinds of promises and often, IT simply can’t keep up with marketing demands. Then there’s a common situation when marketers bring in their own preferred marketing tools when they join the organization. The martech stack can quickly get out of control without purposely-built software that allows you to get the full value out of your marketing technology stack. 

When it comes to martech, more isn’t always better. Costs can escalate, the network becomes complicated, and the data you really need is buried somewhere among one of the many tools. Instead of adding transparency and efficiency, the martech stack becomes more of an inhibitor.

How do you know if you aren’t optimizing your existing B2B martech stack? We’ll give you four key indicators. 

4 Pain Points that Indicate You Aren’t Optimizing your B2B Martech Stack

It isn’t that difficult to determine if you are optimizing your B2B martech stack. All you really need to do is see if you have any of the following common pain points. If any of these hit a nerve, it’s a good sign you have room to improve.

You aren’t sure which tools you have.

There’s something many businesses have in common: they aren’t entirely certain of what cloud applications and technologies they have across the enterprise. Marketing is no different. There are so many marketing tools out there, each with their own value, but without strict policies and consequences, new systems can be brought on board by anyone without much oversight. 

One survey found that only 8% of companies know the scope of shadow IT at their organization. If you can’t see it, how can you manage it?

Marketers need to know what they’re dealing with. Who is using what tools and are those tools really needed? Do you know what data those tools contain and is that data of value? Can those tools be integrated to create the necessary visibility to drive smarter decisions?

In order to optimize your martech stack, it’s important to assess it. This means all shadow IT as well. Survey your teams to understand exactly what tools are out there – used and unused. Work with IT to determine what they know. Until you have a full assessment of your martech stack, you won’t know how you can optimize it.

You aren’t fully leveraging the tools you have.

Gartner found that marketing leaders spend 26% of their marketing budgets on martech, yet in another survey, they discovered marketers use only 58% of their martech stack’s potential. That means 42% of what you’re paying for and managing isn’t even being utilized. 

It’s not only the costs and complexity this underutilization increases. Gartner says, “Marketing teams are leaving martech’s potential untapped, imperiling both their credibility and impact.”

Once you know what martech you have, it’s time to evaluate whether you are getting the ROI you need to justify its place in your stack. That metric threshold will differ from organization to organization, but it’s important to establish an acceptable ROI. If you have some tools that are similar in their functionality and scope but some are achieving greater ROI than others, you may want to consider eliminating those that aren’t measuring up, even if they are bringing in a modest ROI.

On the other hand, you may discover you have highly valuable tools, but you have yet to really tap into their full potential. Before you invest in another tool, make sure you know the features and functionality of the tools you already have. By discovering gaps, you can determine if additional tools should be added, more training is necessary, or tools can be retired.

Your systems aren’t talking to each other.

A survey by Forbes Insights discovered that marketing leaders are finally looking at ways to integrate the data they have in their martech stack to improve insights – and this is in lieu of adding more point solutions. They are seeing the value in having various martech systems talking to each other, sharing data and automating analytics to operationalize the data. 

Marketers don’t necessarily need more data; they need to be able to use the data they already have in a meaningful way. You can’t have data dispersed and siloed among various marketing tools. When your martech is centralized and connected, that’s where the magic happens. You save time and money with fewer manual processes and log-ins. Your people can do more with less effort. And perhaps most importantly, you can finally leverage the full scope of your data because it now all makes sense. You have a full picture of what’s happening, where opportunities lie, and where to invest marketing dollars.

A common pushback to integration is the fear of the integration itself. People fear the integration process will take too long and require specialized skills. While some integrations are more complicated than others, integrating your martech stack doesn’t have to be challenging. Sureshot, for example, developed user-friendly integrations that technical and non-technical people can easily do. Eliminating that reliance on IT not only speeds integrations and the usability of the solution, but it also allows IT to focus on other projects instead of integrations.

You still don’t have the visibility you want.

The entire point of martech is to give marketers the visibility they need to effectively reach potential customers through the right channels with the right message at the right time. Unfortunately, even with all the marketing tools, marketers repeatedly cite poor database visibility as one of their top pain points. 

Forrester found that 85% of marketing executives surveyed said they lack visibility into data to define target audiences, and nearly the same number said they have no way to rank the quality and authenticity of their data. That’s a real problem. When you can’t see all of your data and you have no real way to know if the data you can see is reliable, how can you have any confidence in your marketing decisions?

If you’re still using Excel spreadsheets or other manual tools, you’re not benefiting from your martech. If you have to submit an IT ticket to get database reports, you’re not getting full value from your martech. If you don’t feel good about the comprehensiveness and quality of your data, it’s time to do something different.

Today’s marketing operates at warp speed. Timing is everything. Your decisions are based on real-time and trend data from various segments and data segments. The longer you wait to act, the greater the risk of that window of opportunity closing. Marketers require actionable insights when they need it and the data needs to be presented in graphs, charts and tables. Compare that with digging through multiple pages of spreadsheets full of raw data.

Take Control of Your Martech Stack

These pain points aren’t only good indicators that you aren’t optimizing your existing martech stack – they also give you proper justification as to why it may not be wise to add yet another marketing tool to the mix when someone asks. The point isn’t to fill your stack with every possible solution; it’s to ensure your martech stack has all of the tools it requires to empower your teams and those solutions are working together.

Optimizing your B2B martech stack doesn’t have to be a long or labor-intensive process. Leverage cloud-based software to bring all of the pieces together for you to create visibility, automate processes, and centralize your data. When you can trust your data, you can make decisions that reduce risk and increase the success of your marketing campaigns.

David York
david@sureshot.io

David York has spent the last 15 years at the forefront of the martech revolution, and is an expert on its past, present and future.