As a nationally recognized speaker, author, and blogger, Matt Heinz has spent his career focusing on the evolution of sales and marketing, and the role technology plays in this transformation.
With 20 years of marketing, business development, and sales experience, Matt is President and Founder of Heinz Marketing, where his team helps companies achieve greater sales, revenue growth, product success, and customer loyalty.
We sat down with Matt to discuss the planning and execution of the ideal martech stack, the strategies you’ll need, and where martech is moving down the track.
The martech landscape now numbers over 6,829 solutions, how does a marketing ops team start building their martech stack in such a huge market?
The last thing you want to do is pick the technology that looks nicest, shiniest, or spends the most money at the trade shows. It doesn’t matter how many tools there are, what matters is what your sales process needs, and what your organization, culture, and marketing team needs to be more efficient, effective, and productive in driving and managing pipeline.
I think the best way to identify opportunities to leverage marketing technology is to look at your own process and look at where the constraints and obstacles are in your pipeline. What are the things you’re doing manually that could be automated? What are the things being done by people that could be done just as well, if not better, by robots?
If you look internally first to prioritize what you need that gives you much greater precision and discipline when choosing the right technology to bring in.
What are the critical components of an ideal martech stack?
Unfortunately, every company is different so it’s really hard to say, here’s what every company needs. But I think there are some foundational pieces, like a CRM and some type of marketing automation platform. I find that a more advanced reporting and attribution tool becomes important for a lot of B2B companies managing complex buying processes. I think something that standardizes and semi-automates part of the sales lead outreach process is a critical tool now, especially for sales teams or organizations that have inside sales teams.
Beyond that, it just depends on what your go-to-market strategy is. If you’re doing a lot of field events then obviously event marketing platforms could be really important. If you’re doing targeted account selling then account selection tools and predictive tools might be required as well. It just depends on who you are and what you’re selling.
How can marketers strategically approach their martech stack? What objectives should drive their decision making?
Well, I think efficiency and predictability. What do you need to do to create more efficient and effective execution and results at each stage of the process?
What’s getting more and more important is creating a predictable and scalable engine to drive growth moving forward. If you’re going out there and making a bunch of calls and hoping it all works out, you’re just doing random acts of marketing. It doesn’t necessarily drive consistent pipeline creation, let alone conversion, month after month and quarter after quarter.
When you look at the martech stack you want to build, you’re looking for increased predictability of pipeline performance as well as increased efficiency of pipeline performance.
What are the common pitfalls you see in ineffective martech stacks?
I think that a lot of companies buy the technology and assume that they’re done and assume that there’s a technology that’s synonymous with a particular function. They’ll buy the technology without thinking through the strategy and the components of content, people, and resources that are needed to make that technology work.
I think another way of saying that is sometimes we think that technology is the strategy, but realistically technology drives implementation of your strategy. You have to first understand what you’re trying to achieve, what do we need to achieve that, and what tools can be effective in helping us achieve that.
You guys do an “App of the week” each week, what promising B2B martech tools have you seen recently?
It’s all over the map. Some of them are pretty extensive. There’s a tool called The Big Willow, which is a really good account selection tool. It’s great at taking the companies you’re already working with and helping you identify other companies you should be targeting. There’s a tool we use every day now called LeadIQ. It’s a sidebar on your browser that not only helps you capture and find contact information for the people you are about it but it also has some process automation as it automatically adds those prospects to a sequence in SalesLoft or Outreach so you can immediately start engagement with a click of the button.
Some of the tools are more enterprise focused, while LeadIQ is more of an individual tool you can use. Our team will write up things around productivity and project management, so we really run the gamut.
With the GDPR now a fact of life, does this change the way a marketer looks at the martech landscape?
I don’t know whether it changes the way they look at the landscape but I think it certainly requires a level of integration and communication across tools that wasn’t required before.
For instance, if someone in the European Union asks you to forget them, basically saying I want you to not just stop calling or emailing me but just forget that I exist, then you have to be able to do that in every system you have.
Say you have a marketing automation platform, a CRM, and an email tool, if those aren’t integrated together so you can forget someone in one move or click across all these tools then you’re probably going to be out of compliance with something like the GDPR.
I think if nothing else that kind of regulation is forcing marketers to better integrate their tools with each other so they’ve got a common view of their customer database.
How do you see martech evolving in coming years?
We’re going to have more and more tools. Every year, we think there’s a bunch of new tools that have come out so we’re going to see consolidation and that we can’t possibly have more. Just as technology advances, I think the ability we have to try and solve more and more problems with technology broadens. I think it’s an exciting time, in terms of those tools.
With your first question you referenced the volume of tools that exist out there today and I think it’s easy to get distracted or intimidated by looking at all those tools. Despite the continued proliferation, you can make your job easier and you can become more successful. Instead of looking at the tools, look inside your company, look at where your needs are, look at the biggest problems you need to solve, and go find the tools that address that.