3 Factors to Consider Before You Choose a Martech Solution

If you’re a B2B marketer, you probably had to retool your marketing strategy overnight when the pandemic shut down event marketing programs. At many companies, digital channels are picking up the slack. Gartner’s Annual CMO Spend Survey Research found that martech investments remained strong even amid deep spending cuts. 

The CMO survey also revealed that digital channels made up nearly 80% of marketing investments and that CMOs are optimistic about 2021. More than 60% say they think total media spend will recover next year. 

News about successful Covid-19 vaccine trials has optimism on the rise in general; people are dreaming of a quick return to normal. That said, experts predict widespread vaccine distribution is unlikely before spring. Since digital outreach is cost-effective, we can expect digital spend to remain high.

If you’re among the many marketing professionals who are thinking about adding to their solution stack to manage digital marketing channels, keep in mind that your investment should endure for the long haul. You’ll need to find a solution that helps you improve performance on digital channels while the pandemic persists and afterward as we make our way to a new version of normal. Here are three points to ponder.

Tactics vs. strategy

Do you and your marketing teammates spend a lot of time copying and pasting data into spreadsheets, creating reports, and putting together charts? Do you build data integration workarounds using spreadsheets, manually entering numbers? If so, it’s time to find a martech solution that automates those tasks and eliminates the errors that result from manual data entry. 

You can find solutions on the market today that automate the reporting process and provide dashboards to display current campaign status. If you find a solution that is built on the CRM platform, you’ll have complete data visibility. Look for a solution that gives you the ability to create reports and visualize campaign activities — all without having to use spreadsheets to integrate data and build reports and charts. 

With the right martech, you can focus on strategy rather than tactics. You’ll have the tools to connect digital activities like ads, site traffic, social outreach, etc., directly to leads, pipeline growth, and revenue in the CRM. A solution that allows you to measure engagement, cost, effectiveness, and revenue will provide the insights you need to accurately attribute sales to campaigns and optimize your marketing mix. 

Efficiency

The right martech solution can streamline your operation by improving efficiency on the process front while also allowing you to invest more efficiently to increase ROI. Look for a solution that has funnel metrics and attribution capabilities. This will allow you to see how leads progress through the funnel inside the CRM and attribute revenue to campaigns using data that’s trusted across the organization. 

Funnel metrics make marketing operations more efficient by showing you where process breakdowns occur so you can address them. It facilitates a closer alignment with the sales team, so if there’s an issue with converting MQLs to SALs (for example), you can work with sales colleagues to adjust definitions and move forward. Collaboration with sales is a must, and funnel metrics can be the catalyst. 

On the investment efficiency front, attribution capabilities in the martech solution are the key. With a solution that operates inside the CRM, marketing and sales share a single source of data truth. When you find the right attribution models to attribute revenue to campaigns, you can direct marketing dollars to the activities that produce the best return on investment, achieving spend efficiency. 

Goal alignment

Most CMOs in the Gartner survey said they expect to make more martech investments in the coming months. Almost two-thirds said they believe channel budgets will rise in 2021. This underscores the importance of aligning investments with short- and long-term company objectives.

We’ve all experienced an unprecedented year, and navigating the pandemic can result in tunnel vision — it can make you see everything through that lens. That’s understandable, but when you’re evaluating new martech options, it’s critical to reject that framing and consider how your investment will pay off in the future.   

Think beyond the first quarter of 2021 and assess how a new solution will support your marketing activities this time next year. Take a look at KPIs. Evaluate how the martech you’re considering captures data and allows you to present it to colleagues outside marketing. Find a solution that supports immediate and longer-term goals. 

Bottom line

As a marketer, you can expect digital channels to dominate the first part of the new year because of the pandemic, but it may be possible to restart in-person events in the not-too-distant future. Remember that when you think about a new martech investment. You’ll need a solution that supports all of your marketing activities now and into the future. 

Beyond digital channel management, look for technology that gives you more time to focus on strategy. Assess the solution’s ability to improve your process efficiency as well as your investment efficiency. And look for technology that can deliver long-term value and short-term benefits. If you keep these three factors in mind, you’ll make the right martech investment. 

Bonnie Crater is Co-Founder, President, and CEO at Full Circle Insights.

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