A recent post on ChiefMartec.com confirmed a trend that I’ve been seeing over the last three years — getting MarTech right is hard. And no, I’m not saying that in a self-serving manner.
Initially, as marketing technology started expanding rapidly, companies could get big results from simply implementing the basic functions of lead flow management, acquisition technologies, lead scoring, funnel measurement, etc.
Now, having those processes and the tools to support them are just table stakes and the expectations have grown.
The trend has been toward greater complexity in all areas of marketing — and really revenue — operations. And not just on the technology side, but also on the process, people, and governance side. Not to mention the rising expectations of your executive team and your customers.
Now, results actually depend more on people, processes, and strategy than the available technologies. Which is actually good news, because those marketers who get it right will have an unmistakable advantage over their competition.
Technology doesn’t do it by itself
Despite the promises of AI, both MarTech and SalesTech require more people to manage and operate them than they used to. They’re also 100x more powerful than they used to be.
All of that power requires that the “machines” in your Demand Factory™ are continually tended to and maintained by the right people.
Your Demand Factory, for example, runs on data. That data needs to be continually cleansed, maintained, and verified. The integrations that the data runs on have to be regularly checked and cleaned up to maintain system performance and ensure that the data is still flowing correctly. If not, none of the systems run correctly.
Once the data is correct, content is the other fuel that feeds the factory and it is in even more demand now. And it’s not just whitepapers, webinars, and blog posts. It is also all of the pieces of content for targeted ABM strategies or website and marketing personalization. The ease with which new systems make hyper-targeted segmentation possible means that there are exponentially larger content demands to feed them.
And all of that requires good people and good processes.
Change is the new normal… or maybe it always has been
The other part that makes MarTech and SalesTech hard is the constant stage of change. Whether it is vendor capabilities (or acquisitions), employee turnover, or just customer behavior, change is a constant.
And that requires good governance and change management. These factors, along with documentation, can seem to be the enemy of “getting stuff done.” But, as I’ve seen across dozens of clients, the lack of agile and well-thought out processes for governance, change management, and documentation has caused strategies and projects to screech to a halt when something goes wrong (e.g., the essential employee who designed the system leaves, or a key process breaks when a new program is turned on — both of which are common occurrences).
On the flip side, I have seen governance and change management processes that have caused untold lost revenue opportunities because Marketing and Sales took such a long time to approve and implement needed systems.
The answer is to design agile and business-oriented processes that include all of the key stakeholders across Revenue Ops: Marketing Ops, Sales Ops, and Customer Success.
Without a strategy, technology doesn’t get you anywhere
Finally, implementing or even using MarTech without an overall revenue strategy is about as useful as renting a Ferrari without any destination mapped out. Yes, it might be fun to drive around the neighborhood, but without a good map you’re likely to end up in stop-and-go traffic — where you won’t be able to take full advantage of the Italian luxury sports car’s performance.
And now, with all of the different system integrations you undoubtedly have, a comprehensive strategy is even more vital — as is making sure that each group is aligned and empowered to act according to it.
A good strategy always ties the tactical actions into the ultimate revenue and business goals of the company. As MarTech has moved along the Gartner hype cycle, the pressure to increase ROI faster has only increased. This level of expectation and accountability makes it critical to build measuring and achieving results into the launch of new systems and programs, rather than enjoying the luxury of building first and then developing the dashboards and measurement later.
“Hard” = Opportunity
The silver lining in all of the complexity and advancing technology is that there is tremendous opportunity for companies to advance in the market by being better at revenue ops than their competitors.
The pool of Marketing and Sales Ops professionals, along with the repeatable processes they’ve developed and their increasing experience, means that the field of revenue ops (Marketing Ops + Sales Ops + Customer Success) isn’t the open frontier it used to be. There are maps and playbooks. Yes, those really good people are still unicorns, but that’s the way it is in any high-impact field.
So, “hard” doesn’t mean it isn’t worth pursuing. It just means that it takes the rigor and discipline to get it right. And getting it right is an opportunity to stand out from your competition.
And besides, “hard” is fun.
We think so, anyway. That’s why DemandGen offers a wide range of services and expertise to help you get MarTech right, including an in-depth MarTech Stack Assessment, the actual execution and integration to make sure everything runs smoothly, and strategy and training to ensure internal alignment and the best results possible. Get in touch to learn more.
Ryan Johnson develops and implements marketing automation strategies for DemandGen clients. As a DemandGen Consultant, he has helped clients across a wide range of industries to streamline and optimize their marketing and sales processes to drive measurable success and ROI.