It’s no surprise B2B marketers had to make huge adjustments between the first and second quarter of this year when in-person events — such as tradeshows, conferences, etc.— were canceled due to the pandemic. Some teams lost significant portions of their marketing budgets, while others redirected funds to digital channels.
An Allocadia “State of Spend” report said that digital ad spending increased more than 183% at larger companies, as people shifted budgets from in-person events to digital because of Covid-19. The pandemic still isn’t under control, and public health experts warn that we’re likely many months away from anything like a return to normal. It’s also probable that the massive shift to digital outreach will have a lasting effect.
Marketers and demand gen professionals who are looking for a martech solution that can help them navigate the pandemic should reconsider that lens. Keep in mind that agility will be the key to success going forward, which means you need to find solutions that enhance your efficiency through better marketing performance metrics and not just to deal with the fallout from the pandemic.
Here are some questions to ask yourself about any martech investment you’re considering and guidance on how to make sure your technology investment helps you monitor and manage performance on digital channels now and into the future.
Does It Make You More Efficient?
Martech can let you operate more efficiently in two ways: It can help you improve processes and allocate spend more effectively. On the process front, you’ll need funnel metrics and attribution so you can monitor how leads are progressing through the sales funnel, measuring progress inside the CRM so the data is credible to everyone.
With this approach, you can identify process breakdowns and fix them for a more efficient operation. For example, if you see a hold-up in the handoff from marketing to sales, you can work with the sales team to address it and improve lead velocity. Closer alignment with sales takes effort, but it improves process efficiency.
On the spend side, look for a martech solution that allows you to accurately attribute revenue to campaigns — again, inside the CRM for a single source of data truth. There are a variety of attribution models you can use, and when you find the ones that fit your demand gen activities, you can invest more efficiently and correct course as needed by focusing on campaigns that generate the best results in terms of revenue.
Does It Give You More Time To Focus On Strategic Vs. Tactical Activities?
There’s technology available now that can automate reporting and display campaign status on dashboards so that you’re always able to create reports and visualize lead generation activities, digital or otherwise. It’s important to choose a solution that operates within the CRM for complete data visibility.
Also, keep in mind that with the move to digital, marketers have been challenged to connect clicks from digital ads, site traffic, social channels, etc., to leads, pipeline and revenue inside the CRM. Martech can solve this problem and allow you to be more strategic by indicating how digital impacts sales so you can optimize your marketing mix. Look for a solution that measures engagement, cost, effectiveness and revenue.
Is It Aligned With Your Company’s Short- and Long-term Goals?
We know there’s been a spike in companies investing in new technologies that can help them manage the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in during the pandemic. About half of marketers who responded to a Merkle Survey in Julystudy said they were looking for innovative technologies to navigate the change.
That’s what makes this last question so important — fast implementation of new tools won’t yield all the improvements you need if it’s not aligned with your long-term organizational objectives. The current economic climate may make long-term goals more elusive, but stability will be on every marketer’s mind in 2021.
So before making an investment, identify immediate needs and future goals, and make sure the technology you’re considering addresses both.
Clarify what ROI looks like now and down the road. Identify KPIs and assess the new technology in terms of how it captures and presents data, not just within your department but across the organization. When you find a solution that makes your operation more efficient, frees up your time to focus on strategy and supports short- and long-term goals, you’ve found the right technology.
Bonnie Crater is the President and CEO at Full Circle Insights, and a ten-year veteran of Oracle Corporation and its various subsidiaries. She has held senior executive positions at companies like Zelerate, VoiceObjects, Realization, Genesys, Netscape, Network Computer Inc., Salesforce.com, and Stratify.