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Don’t Blow Your Stack: Expert Tips for Making Smart Martech Choices

by | 02.Feb.18

Most marketers have seen Scott Brinker’s supergraphic, which lists more than 5,300 marketing technologies. No wonder it can feel daunting to plunge in and start building your stack.

But some marketers are fearless in the face of these big challenges, and Delinda Tinkey is definitely one of them. A certified Marketo expert, advanced Salesforce administrator, and four-time Marketo Champion, Delinda has always recognized and embraced technology’s potential.

Today, she oversees sales and marketing technology and operations at Evolve IP, one of the world’s fastest growing cloud strategy companies. In her role, she has built a strong, high-functioning marketing stack that is not only growing the company’s market share, but supporting the entire customer lifecycle.

I had a chance to catch up with Delinda when she joined me on SLMA Radio to discuss her experiences designing and implementing her marketing stack. Here are some of the highlights:

Rhoan: Where do you start when it comes to building a strong stack?

Delinda: Today, you really need to understand the systems that the business uses and how the tools you’re recommending are going to impact the business. I always hear people say that technology’s not a solution, it’s a way to implement the solution you want for a pre-defined problem.

That’s true, but you can’t just sit back and wait for a problem to occur. Marketers have to constantly be looking for new ideas and strategies that don’t even exist yet. I love staying connected with other marketers through LinkedIn, user groups and conferences to discover new tech and learn what is and isn’t working for other people.

How do you convince decision makers to invest in martech?

You have to pay attention to the initiatives and the strategies that the executives are pushing forward and put new tech within that framework for them. Show them how it will help marketing meet its goals, and therefore help them meet their goals, too. If you’re expected to increase leads by, say, 20 percent year after year, how are you going to do that unless something changes or something scales better than it did the year before?

What are the challenges marketers face as they build their stack?

I see two big challenges. One is the silver bullet syndrome; the idea that one tool will solve everything. I always pre-demo solutions to understand what will and won’t be a realistic outcome for us, and I prep the presenter to make sure the executives and stakeholders hear the right message and their expectations are managed.

Another challenge is driving adoption to make sure people are using the technology on a day-to-day basis—reminding them and exerting executive pressure. A lot of follow-through is needed to make sure something really delivers on its promise.

One of the great benefits of martech is its ability to support customer engagement holistically.  Is this happening at Evolve?

Yes, we’re going beyond lead generation and creating content customized for the customer experience. We want to show clients we’re thinking about them. We want to build the relationship and focus on client outreach.

For example, I once had a vendor reach out to me for months to try to get something on the calendar, and when I finally blocked off time to speak with them, the extent of their message was, “So, do you have any questions for us?” I immediately thought of our own account managers, and how important it is for them to bring value to every client interaction. By building a 360-degree view of the customer, marketing can give account managers those analytical insights and recommend the right shareable content to support the engagement. Those are things that tend to be big hits.

We also implemented a marketing app that manipulated Salesforce data in a way that I really thought would benefit sales operations. Fast forward to today and pretty much everybody has adopted it—sales operations, sales, and customer success.

A bonus is that a lot of the platforms we already use for lead generation can be leveraged seamlessly into this new plan.

What are some of the big trends or initiatives that are impacting marketing operations?

Right now, a big thing for me is real-time data enrichment. We’ve all been talking about enrichment for years, but I think if you find a solid vendor who can update that data over time without requiring you to export and import things in and out of your CRM, that’s increasingly helpful because everyone’s databases are growing every year.

Also, more and more marketers are going to find themselves in conversations around holistic customer data and needing to understand those connections between sales and marketing systems and backend systems. It’s going to be up to marketing to connect those dots. Now that you have those custom metrics, how are you going to use them to drive the engagement rates?

Listen to the full SLMA podcast with Delinda Tinkey here.

Want more marketing insight? Hear my recent podcast on how companies can use martech to increase revenue.

Does your martech stack up?

Listen to the full SLMA Radio interview with Delinda Tinkey as she provides tips on building a strong martech stack.

A house of cards in the exhibition Illusion Arts
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