CLASS #6
Owning MarTech effectiveness and data insights
6.1 How are MarTech effectiveness and data insights aligned? Where do you get started?
The marketing stack is getting ever more complicated. The global marketing technology market is now valued at an estimated $121.5 billion, representing a year-on-year increase of 22%. Budgets are shifting. What previously was a domain owned in the CIO / CTO office is now led in Marketing.

The marketing leader has a pivotal role to play in MarTech strategy, procurement and execution.

Now, we are talking more in Series A / B scale-up mode. Rather than big company CIO / CTO / CMO organisational structures. However, the marketing leader at this stage of business needs to define the MarTech effectiveness and data insights.

There are important decisions to make.

These decisions lay the foundations of future growth, scalability, clever investments and return on investment. Getting early stage technology spending wrong will end up costing you more in the long run. It often ends up with you creating a Frankenstein infrastructure which does not help you to operate at speed.

The purpose of this section is twofold and let's explain both parts.

1. MarTech effectiveness — this covers having the right strategy and once implemented, the right approach to get the most out of the tools at your disposal.
2. Data Insights — your CEO wants predictive data insights that informs what is happening in the short term and also a longer term view of the pipeline funnel. What is flow-through over the next 6 months and what needs to be done aligned to growth?

In my experience, if you get number one correct, number two will be easier to execute against. But it’s not easy with all MarTech vendors promising the earth in terms of data insight with many not able to deliver what you need. I’m speaking from experience and learnt this lesson the hard way!
6.2: Homework: Key questions you
will face to get started
1. Do we use CRM and Marketing tools in one platform? Or do we pick what we regard as best-of-breed and use individual tools to integrate together? It’s the classic debate of using Salesforce.com for CRM and HubSpot for Marketing. There is validity in both approaches.
2. Which CRM do we use — at what stage do you grow out of tools like Pipedrive and HubSpot?
3. MarTech Innovation — Are we reviewing new tools for competitive advantage?
4. Tool Usage / Effectiveness — Are all tools being used properly?
5. Cost and ROI — do we understand ROI in MarTech tools?
6. Self-Service management — do we control our MarTech tools?
7. Long term view — do you have a roadmap for your MarTech strategy? Are there milestones and performance measurements against your tech stack?
8. Is your MarTech stack too bloated? There’s very much a tendency for marketers to buy new “shiny” tools without thinking about resource/ opportunity cost.
9. Who owns the technology stack? Do you have sales / revenue operations or plan to have roles hired?
10. Do you need separate marketing systems, ABM tools and/or insights tools? How much tech do you actually need?

In the first instance, you need to build a strategy. It doesn’t necessarily have to take 3 months to build one but you do need an informed view of the direction.

The view on where your MarTech strategy will develop over time and what needs to be done.

It’s not about the tech. It’s about the systems and processes; the tech is the enabler and much of it is very similar.
6.2 Core Marketing Tools for Review
Core marketing tools are what I’d like to call table-stakes operating systems. These are foundational to operating the business. I will not go into detail about each one because many of these are self-explanatory with a summary in the homework on how to consider what you should use and when.

I’m not listing every tool in the lists below, only the ones I regard as worthwhile to review. NB: Picking the right tools depends on the size of your business as well as its complexity and operational goals.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

1. Salesforce.com
2. HubSpot
3. Pipedrive
4. Freshworks
5. ZenDesk Sell
6. Nimble CRM
7. Streak CRM

If you are in scale-up mode my recommendation is you really have to look at Salesforce.com or HubSpot. You will quickly outgrow the systems geared towards startups; like Streak CRM.

Marketing Automation (MA)

1. HubSpot
2. Salesforce Marketing Cloud (Pardot)
3. Marketo
4. ActiveCampaign
5. GetResponse
6. Keap
7. Mailchimp

Your strategy linking sales (CRM) and marketing automation (MA) is the foundational building block of MarTech. If you get this wrong it can be difficult to unwind without lots of data work being carried out in the process. My recommendation is keep it as simple as possible and look for easier to use self-service solutions rather than clunky tech. Marketo is one I’d put in this bucket. Yes, it’s a very powerful system. But in a fast moving scale-up it does not help you execute at speed. And it’s one where you need heavy investment in individuals or consultants to get it operational.

Sales Execution Software

A new category over the last 5 years. It’s the powerhouse behind your Outbound Marketing and SDR effectiveness. It’s a crucial cog. You have systems that just provide the sales execution (email tracking and send / sequences) and ones that are a combined data platform and sales execution. You have to be careful how you decide and what works for your scaleup.

1. HubSpot
2. Outreach
3. MixMax
4. Salesloft
5. YesWare
6. Adapt
7. Cirrus Insight

Personally, again my preferred view is to have one system. Hence, I have run sales execution using the native HubSpot tools. You can argue they are not the best in the business. But to aid clean data flow-through it’s a preferred choice. Outreach is a market leader if you want to invest in a more comprehensive tool. A personal favourite is MixMax. But this may not be suitable for larger organisations.

Outside of these 3 categories you have a million other options to explore. LinkedIn automation, data insight tools, customer success software, SEO, social media, e-signature, proposal tools, business intelligence and analytics. Don’t be overwhelmed and do not procure every tool at once.

Have a clear strategy, take an incremental approach and do not add for the sake of it being new. h. One new category is Account Based Marketing software.

Due to it’s growing significance we will assess in-depth the landscape of options you can consider.
6.3 Account Based Marketing Tools
ABM (or Account Based Marketing) is one of the hottest trends in the MarTech stack right now. It defines a new category and approach to engagement. But how you implement these tools in an already crowded stack is a huge consideration — especially when you consider issues around Marketing Automation tool adoption.

Is the ultimate decision to get rid of the clunky MA tools and fully embrace ABM tools, or simply find a neat way to seamlessly integrate them into your workflow? The ones that embed in workflows will be the winners in this category, as far as I am concerned.

✅ Tech stack — Depending on the size of your lists and the size of your budget, it might make sense to enlist more robust technologies instead of cooking up a DIY strategy. Providers like Demandbase and Terminus can be particularly helpful if you need support on the reporting side as well.

Data Platforms:


CRM


Sales Execution


ChatBots


ABM Gifting


Now What?

There is no doubt, ABM wll define what will be the “norm” in marketing. Every strategic marketing view should be account-based in enterprise B2B.

Personalisation has been a buzzword for years, and the word ABM just formalises that approach, just as Marketo spearheaded the Marketing Automation revolution. ABM vendors will push the industry into the next era.

You as a marketer need to drive efforts toward hyper-personalisation, data enrichment, contextual experiences and multi-channel touch-points. ABM can deliver this for you. The real enabler for your success as a marketer will be to pick the tool that provides the greatest data and predictive analytics, so that it is super clear how to tie spend to outcomes, which is what most marketers crave.

Start thinking about ABM but the most important aspect of success is how it embeds into your existing workflows and does not overcomplicate your already (I’d imagine) tech processes, campaigns and reporting mechanisms.
Homework: Build a MarTech roadmap summary (with visuals)
MarTech is a key component of marketing effectiveness, scaling and infrastructure. You need a clear position on your strategy, including the outcomes of using tech and to invest wisely. Here is a good process to follow:

1. Understand your go-to-market strategy. Is it Direct? Channel? What does the current tech landscape look like in the business? Where are the current challenges? What problems are you looking to solve with tools? What investment levels do you have? How does this fit into the overall budget strategy?
2. What tech is essential table-stakes? What tech is desirable and nice-to-have?
3. Do you need internal skills for MarTech i.e. if you use clunkier systems like MarTech you will need to have internal resources. My advice is to keep it lean. Focus on tools that are self-serving or easier to use.
4. What is your integration strategy? Advice here would be to mind-map all the tech solutions, how they interact, serve each other and bucket the outcomes in each area you are looking to create.
5. If you are like me, you love shiny new tech tools. Reign yourself in and go back to the GTM, outcomes and ease of use perspective. Adding new tools (however cool) do not act as a magic bullet to solve process issues, messaging and poor playbooks in the business.
6. Align with stake-holders (CIO / CTO / CEO) to make sure the strategy is understood and the reason for investment and what you are hoping to achieve is clear.
7. Understand your resourcing challenges. For example, if you are looking to implement multiple tools at once. Is that possible? Is it a distraction to other priorities? You have to get the right balance.
8. Don’t spend all your time on researching, demo’s and sales conversations. You need to get on with the real work. One tip to manage this process is to create a MarTech backlog (using Asana or Jira or any PM tool). Add new tools to this backlog. Have a sensible approach to reviewing tools in a small ongoing fashion.
9. Get the data models right. Most issues with MarTech not working as planned once implemented is typically down to data and integrations.

10. Finally, make sure to create a visual map of your MarTech stack. This is beneficial for several reasons:

a. It can shock you to see how many tools you are running.
b. It can be presented to key stakeholders.
c. It can help you visualise the buckets and architecture of your overall stack.
d. It can help you spot gaps or over/underinvestment in certain channels.

An example slide is shown below:
BONUS TIP — Do I need to invest in MarTech?
Adding new products into your product stack is a common question. But most do it in the wrong way, or procure a new tool in the wrong context. Let me explain what this means.

The reason for buying a new tool is to drive operational efficiency, or better experience for the users, scalability and/or an improvement in results. Case in point is a tool like Outreach instead of HubSpot sequences. Does this sound common? You invest time researching, reviewing and demo’ing lots of options. All dreaming about that magic bullet to the challenge you are trying to solve. You get your team involved. The vendor pushes hard on the utopia of the outcome.

At the same time you invest in a data-platform or have one in place already that will sync with Outreach or another similar tool. You can then combine tool + product to create your magic formula of success. This will get you more meetings at the same time as reducing admin, i.e. the conversion rates to meetings for SDRs, sales and CS will improve.

Individuals, always forget the 3rd pillar. This pillar is the message. Now what is more important? The tool. The data. Or the message? Well in fact it could be a combination of them all. But IMO the message is the forgotten glue in between the data and the tech. The tech is the least important.

Why do you spend 6 months researching, implementing and launching the new tool. Only to spend 2 hours working on the message. You spend all the time training the team with the tool and forget to upskill them on writing, value proposition and pitch. Is it then a surprise your campaigns see no uplift in conversions and results? Not really.

The moral of the story. It might be the right decision to buy Outreach (or another tool) and integrate with HubSpot / Salesforce.com. But you should think about your approach. In many ways it’s simpler to stick with what you have and focus on the challenge you are looking to solve.

Work on the message.

Work on upskilling.

Work on the value proposition.

Get those right first. Don’t try to solve your problem with a new tech tool.
6.5 Data Insights as a core pillar
Being “data-driven”. It’s the most cliched recommendation from “thought leaders and marketers across SaaS”. But being data driven is one of those concepts that everyone recommends to do but few do it well. I’d love to know how data driven certain CMO’s or thought leaders actually are when running their unit / teams.

The reason is quite simple.

Getting data accurate and assessing across your MarTech stack to cover the end-to-end funnel is difficult. In many scenarios, it’s difficult to trust the data, make decisions from the data, even understand the data and hence impossible to be "data-driven".

The theory to be “data-driven” is obvious. The reality of operating in a “data-driven” way is a challenge. But it’s a challenge you need to solve. The reason is that the longer a marketing leader operates without effective data, the longer it takes to deliver insights to a CEO or board. Your credibility slowly wilts and diminishes.If you never solve it you will never provide the leadership, value and credibility into the business.

You may think you have 15 HubSpot / Salesforce dashboards that show the funnel. You can present each one in it’s siloed entity which shows a picture of pipeline health. In my experience that never satisfies the CEO. The CEO / board wants to understand the complete flow through of the funnel from marketing to new business, cross-sell, up-sell and advocacy. They want to understand the detail of each component of that funnel and what it means in the context of how the business will look now and in 3-6 months’ time.

The average marketing leader says they are “data driven”. The great marketing leader has built a full operational data model covering the entire funnel with all inputs across every channel included into the visualisation.

The great marketing leader will then be able to deliver “data insights”.

Think about the framing; it's different. "Data-driven" is thinking you are great with data because you tell everyone you are "data-driven" (and in a lot of cases with the detail to prove you are data driven - this is similar to people calling themselves ‘thought leaders’ - another common bugbear of mine!!). If you deliver “data-insights” you are taking action on the data.

Most likely because you have built the data model to inform recommendations, suggestions and improvements into the sales and marketing funnel.

Your goal is to deliver “data insights”.

The end state goal is to have a holistic picture of the entire funnel. An example template of the BowTie funnel is below. This can be your starting point of the process.
Homework: How to start delivering
“data insights”
The journey to deliver detailed insights on the performance of the funnel is not easy (and it will depend on the complexity of your business). Here is what you need to do next to get started.

1. Make a decision on the tech stack. Do the systems you have right now allow you to build a full funnel? It’s difficult to build the Bow-Tie in HubSpot, as an example. In the past we had to move to Salesforce, or connect with a tool such as DOMO.

2. Review current dashboards, reports and channels. Map out where you have gaps. What parts of the funnel do you understand, what parts do you not understand, does the holistic end-to-end funnel make sense? If it does, you are at a good starting point. In most cases, you will have siloed reports in the different channels i.e. Channel, Digital Marketing or Inside Sales. These will paint a picture of one area but it’s harder to connect to the bigger overall picture. An example of one part of the funnel; how they connect:
3. Using the bow-tie full funnel plug in your channels into where they fit in the overall model. Build a requirements document for what you are looking to achieve.

You need to consider these requirements:

1. What is the final report you need to achieve? Is it 1 or 3 or more? That top-level full funnel visual. This is the basis for your data insight recommendations.
2. What reports sit below the full funnel? How do you drill into all aspects of the master funnel to find out what's happening in each channel. How many of these reports sit inside the master funnel?
3. Where does all the data come from? Map where all the data sources originate from and if integrating make sure all the connectors work when plugging systems in together i.e. HubSpot and DOMO.

Here is an example of a drill-down report that would go into the master dashboard:
  1. It’s likely you will need support from Revenue Operations, a data-scientist or consultant to support the data discovery and modelling process. It may save you months to get this support (if you can).
  2. Map out what reports need to be built and in what order. You need to design the overall architecture of how everything fits together. This informs what order/ in-parallel needs to be done to build the end-state.
  3. Your final deliverable should be a working dashboard anyone can use. That’s real-time. It will allow you to get a big picture of pipeline health. It will allow you to drill into all channels from Digital, Events, Sales, CS to understand how each channel fits into the bigger picture.

If you achieve this result. You will be in an enviable position ahead of most of your peers. You will be able to deliver “data insights” to the business that inform strategy, investment and GTM activities. Getting it right will unlock scale and growth. It’s that important.
You have reached the end of Lesson #6 — CONGRATS!

For more content on SaaS Sales & Marketing alignment please go to www.edwinabl.com. We now move onto Class #7 — Product & Customer Marketing.
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