Five Reasons Why Your Martech Purchases Are Failing

There’s a technology based solution to nearly every problem marketing and sales leaders face today. As of 2020, there were more than 8,000 martech solutions on the market.

It’s overwhelming, and enough of a problem that Gartner recently released an entire guide on how companies can responsibly sift through the technologies and make smart decisions about what to buy.

The truth is that most teams have become disillusioned with leading martech solutions like chat, ABM, and personalization tools. Organizations have realized that tech solutions don’t actually solve all their problems. Instead, these tools are complicating data streams, adding to tech debt, and bloating budgets. 

But is that the fault of the tool itself? We don’t think so.

Tech can revolutionize your customer journey, but it is clearly failing to deliver results. Here are five reasons why.

1. You made the purchasing decision in a silo

More often than not, martech purchasing decisions are made in a vacuum by either marketing or sales teams. That’s a big mistake.

Strategically, these tools impact your entire tech stack. Tactically, they impact the day-to-day workings of a lot of people. 

Marketing may think that its opinion is the only one that matters when it comes to choosing an ABM tool, but sales and IT have just as much at stake in this decision. Sales needs a tool that can collect the right data, reach the right companies, and integrate well with the CRM. IT needs a tool that meets security standards and integrates with the rest of the ecosystem. All three parties need to be involved in the purchasing decision.

Unfortunately, this realization doesn’t usually hit until after a tool has been purchased. Problems arise during and after implementation as teams start to use a tool. IT may realize that the solution doesn’t integrate with core elements of the tech stack. Sales may take one look and assess that the information is useless, or hard to access, and never use it again. When this happens, the purchase is generally considered a failure. Not for its own faults, but because it doesn’t meet the needs of all interested parties.

2. You’re using the tools in a silo

Tech purchases fail when they’re not correctly connected to other systems.

Any new tool must integrate with your existing setup and contribute to a singular view into the customer journey. If not, you’re losing crucial information about the customer journey. 

Using tools in a silo has a compounding effect. We often see this play out between sales and marketing. If marketing is capturing data in one system, but sales relies on another, and the two don’t talk to each other, then there is no clear funnel view. This leads to major battles between sales and marketing about which data source is correct and prevents either team from optimizing their efforts.

But this isn’t just a problem between sales and marketing. If data isn’t connected, you may see information about quantity, but you lose visibility into quality. You’ll have no way of knowing what channels source the highest quality leads, which interactions are likely to generate a hot lead, or which demographic and psychographic data points are the best fit for closed-won opportunities.

Connecting your technology is key for end-to-end visibility across your customer journey. If your tools aren’t connected, then your teams aren’t working together. If they aren’t working together, then no one is gaining visibility into the full lifecycle of leads from first interaction to last.

3. You’re buying tech to solve a process problem

If sales is complaining they’re wasting their time contacting marketing qualified leads that aren’t qualified, you don’t have a tech problem – you have a process problem. 

We see this play out often with sales enablement, ABM, and chat tools. All three are usually purchased in an effort to increase the number of leads or improve the quality of leads. But what generally happens is this: sales insists that the leads marketing is sending over aren’t warm enough, so it needs an outreach tool to automate follow-up nurture. A tool is purchased, outreach is sent, and prospects begin to go cold. 

The first instinct is to blame the tool – it’s sending too many emails, they aren’t formatted properly, etc. But the reality is that you tried to solve a process problem (marketing was passing leads off before they were warm enough) with a tech solution (the sales enablement tool).

Instead, the two teams should have gotten together to re-assess lead qualification criteria. With new parameters in place, marketing can continue to warm leads through an appropriate nurture journey, then pass off only when they truly are hot. When this is the situation, a sales outreach tool can be very powerful in capturing the prospect at the perfect moment. But if you haven’t solved the underlying process problem, then the tool will be considered a failure.

4. You’re buying tech without a strategy

Tech is often purchased to solve an immediate problem: there’s no consideration for how the tool contributes to broader goals. This is such a big issue that we’ve written separate pieces that cover the most common ways we see it happening.

The common theme throughout all of these pieces is that technology was purchased without a strategy. If you want to buy a piece of technology, you need to understand why you’re buying it, how it will work within your broader ecosystem, how it will support and enhance your customer’s journey, and the outcomes you expect to see. Don’t buy anything without thinking about how it fits into your strategy first.

5. There is no governance plan

Every new purchase should be accompanied by a plan to ensure that implementation (and transition if you’re replacing an existing tool) runs smoothly and that someone is accountable for the tool’s management post-launch.

You need to know: who is going to primarily be using the tool? Of the teams that will be using, which one makes sense to lead the implementation? Who will be responsible for managing the tool once it’s launched, including staying on top of updates, making changes, and solving issues? 

These questions are crucial to answer. If there’s no clear ownership of the tool, you risk either giving too many people permission to edit or not giving enough permissions to enable customizations. If you fall into the first camp, your data is at-risk of being manipulated by conflicting or unqualified parties. If you fall into the latter group, you’ll never maximize the tool beyond its out-of-the-box features.

A lack of a governance plan means that your tool will quickly become less productive than anticipated and thus, it will be deemed a failure. 

These five reasons are why many martech tech purchases fail. One of these mistakes on its own is enough to tank the success of a tool, but combined, they impact your ability to reach revenue goals. 

Before purchasing your next software solution, make sure that you can honestly say you’ve addressed each of these topics and that you know how this new tool will support your overarching strategy. With a plan in place and visibility into the potential pitfalls, you can set your tool up for success from the beginning.

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