For this article, I am going to continue the theme initiated by David Lewis in his Guide for High-Performance Demand Generation. In case you missed it, he introduced the D3 Methodology, a holistic model for maximizing revenue across Marketing, Sales, and Customer Service.
One of the most popular topics when discussing the D3 Methodology with our clients is technology. It is always the technology. We all love the possibility of a magical tech that solves a nagging problem or creates a new capability — and takes our demand generation efforts to the next level.
And for good reason. Technology is one of four core dependencies that make a high-performance demand generation engine possible (with the other three being, of course, your people, data, and analytics).
Since this seems to be a topic of great interest for most marketers, I thought I’d share the key components of a high-performing technology stack.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in:
Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) and CRM
These two pieces of MarTech have become an essential component of running a high-performance organization. Whatever combination you use, these two platforms serve as the foundation for any organization’s demand generation efforts.
Together, they serve the following business functions:
- Deliver a 360° view of the customer from prospect to long-term customer
- Provide Customer Lifecycle Management, from inbound/outbound communications and online/offline interaction management to automation of renewals
- In the case of our partners, including Oracle Eloqua, Marketo, HubSpot, Pardot, and Salesforce and Salesforce Marketing Cloud, they enable a robust integration with other MarTech, Sales Tech, and CX Tech — and the list keeps growing every day
The constant acquisition of marketing technology has finally slowed. That isn’t to say it has become any less important. We have more clients now asking for MarTech assessments that include this important caveat: “Yes, we need digital more than ever, but we need to be smart about our tech investments.” And being smart about investing in MarTech typically comes down to long-term utilization and value versus price.
The top MarTech investment categories our clients are investing in right now:
- Data & analytics
- Channel (advertising, programmatic, content syndication, video)
- Web optimization
- Web and content personalization
- Anything related to ABM — it’s a good time to be focusing on key accounts
Sales, like Marketing, has become a haven of new technology in recent years. The biggest challenge we see here is actually having the capacity to manage the tools, in an integrated fashion, with the rest of the business.
The top Sales Tech investment categories our clients are investing in right now:
- Engagement: Easy-to-use sales tools for email, phone, and social at scale
- Data and insights: Primarily around account completeness, but also third-party intelligence/intent data
- Enablement: A catch-all phrase, but also one that can be captured in another phrase: “anything that makes selling easier” (e.g., a caller that updates Salesforce automatically or a quick-to-setup, personalized sales content experience)
CX, like many MarTech tools, is tough to put guardrails around. CX technology has made great strides recently. Medallia, a customer experience management platform that helps its clients make billion-dollar decisions, was recently featured on Mad Money. What to watch here is how quickly CX Tech, MarTech, and Sales Tech merge — and whether it is Salesforce, a CDP, or some other technology that becomes the central hub.
The top CX Tech investment categories our clients are investing in right now:
- Predictive analytics feeding an insights engine for CX touchpoints
- Multichannel automations of CX touchpoints, with a primary focus on mobile
- Virtual digital assistants (more than likely, you have already experienced different versions of this in your daily life)
One size does not fit all
All of these tools may not be right for everyone. What we are seeing, though, is clear. A symbiotic technology ecosystem comprised of a tightly integrated Marketing Automation platform and CRM, MarTech, Sales Tech, and CX Tech, combined with skilled talent, data, and analytics around the customer lifecycle, will be what helps organizations optimize their demand generation efforts and achieve high-performance revenue growth.
Will Waugh is a consultant for DemandGen focused on helping clients with demand generation, lead management and leveraging marketing technology. He genuinely believes that data can change the world. Follow him on on Twitter. Other articles by Will Waugh: 7 Essential Marketing Technology Categories: How’s Your Stack Looking?