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With tens of thousands of tools on the market, it’s easy to mistakenly implement a tool that creates more headaches than solves – technologically, operationally and financially. Here are 3 rules of thumb that I share with clients to intelligently build a martech stack that drives business and marketing results.

Rule #1: Strategy Before Technology
Before even building your technology stack, your strategies and goals need to be aligned, documented and mapped. It’s easy to rely on the technology to drive processes, but that won’t work in the long term. Tools in of themselves cannot make any team, company or person adopt them to succeed. Rather, your strategy should drive how you customize tools to help you achieve your marketing goals.

What’s the old adage, “Measure Twice, Cut Once”. Never is this more important than with technology adoption and selection. PLAN >> BUILD >> DO is the process we follow at TBM – by design. Even if the planning part is simply running an audit of how you work today. Map it fully to understand the implications on technology selection. Let the strategy dictate tech selection, customization and usage. And, most importantly, let business KPIs drive the evaluation of tools, teams and processes.

Rule #2: Bigger Isn’t Better

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the larger firm or more expensive tools are better. The right technologies for your B2B marketing must fit your business. In fact, all too frequently I see mid-sized marketing organizations select enterprise tools because they think bigger is better. It isn’t. And their marketing teams aren’t large enough to support them. And the tools rarely get used broadly.

At TBM we see technology selection as a rigorous process. We evaluate 3 areas in our tech selection process:

  1. People & Process – Document your current and desired marketing processes that your are trying to improve or support. Identify the stakeholders involved in the day to day interaction with the toolset. Map how their day-to-day is simplified by the tool selected.
  2. Budget & Financial – What are the various costs for various tools. Look at Cost per Employee; Cost per Team as well as overall budget requirements. This will help you understand the scaling of tech costs relative to the growth of your team and all end users. Build your business case.
  3. Tech & Data – Clearly you need to select a toolset that has proven results in a like setting to your own. If you’re a $20 Million AAR firm, don’t think what works for a $1 Billion ARR business unit of GE will work for you. It won’t. Also, evaluate data flows, integrations and APIs with your current tech stack. Lastly, make sure you select a tool that matches your company’s technical resources or ones that your firm can grow into.

Rule #3: Keep It Simple
These days, we can get so caught up in making everything over-complicated. Most often the best solutions are the simplest and easiest-to-use. Building a simplified stack doesn’t mean your giving up features and functionality. It means driving your tech stack to be as simple as possible. There is a 80 / 20 rule with all tech. You’ll never use 80% of the features in a given tool set. If you focus on the 20% you will use, your tech selection and user adoption will be successful.

Also, in the interest of simplicity and interoperability select one main CRM / SFA / Marketing Automation stack (e.g., SFDC, Adobe, or HubSpot). We call it the Hub and Spoke Approach (hence our company logo). Then, build off of that initial platform rather than trying to “frankenstack” a solution. Your IT Team and your end users will thank you.

The world of marketing technology can be overwhelming and a confusing place with flashy bells and whistles everywhere you look. When selecting a martech solution, the key is to remember that your end user is always right. Your tech isn’t. And that should be the guiding star to building a smarter, better tech stack.

How do you think select new technologies? Share your thoughts on Slack.