When 160 multi-industry marketing executives were surveyed on how they intended to invest marketing resources, many cited new marketing technology (MarTech) purchases.
The most common technologies demand generation marketers will test and deploy this year include account-based marketing technology (58%), multichannel lead-nurturing (41%) and content planning/syndication tools (37%). However, before expanding your technology stack with newer solutions such as these, it’s important to make sure your current tech ecosystem comprises the foundational systems needed to ensure such investments will work.
The 5 Essential Tools for B2B Lead Generation
Tool #1: Marketing Automation
Automation is at the core of effective B2B demand generation. The most effective B2B marketers rely on a marketing automation platform (MAP) to create a personalized, multichannel customer experience at scale, converting contacts into marketing-qualified leads (MQLS) and sales-accepted leads (SALs) into sales pipeline opportunities.
All good marketing automation solutions include the following three criteria:
- Automate email (and potentially social media, SMS, and/or digital ads)
- Allow dynamic segmentation of campaign targets
- Contact targets after specific actions or periods of time
The majority of MAPs also integrate with CRM and other technologies in the B2B MarTech ecosystem. There’s no shortage of vendors within this space. Even the most particular marketer with very specific needs will find many of good options to pick from.
Tool #2: CRM
Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms may be a sales technology, but B2B marketers can’t build out a MarTech stack without this core system in place. According to Gartner, CRM became the single-largest software market in the world in 2017. You simply can’t effectively manage and scale demand without a CRM.
There are over 200 software vendors and options offering a solution marketed as CRM which includes specific sales tools and a unified customer and opportunity database.
Tool #3: CMS
The important part of Rouse’s definition may be “related programs.” Your CMS should be flexible and easy to use. Optimally, it should also include tools for SEO, analytics, landing pages, conversion optimization and one-to-one content experiences as part of the software application. Depending on your CMS, this category could be one tool, one tool and plugins, or one tool and many other applications.
Whether you use WordPress, Hubspot, Drupal, Joomla, or one of the other dozens of CMS options, your B2B marketing team needs a tool that supports an agile approach to managing and scaling your website. Once again, there’s no single solution within the CMS category which is “best” or “right.”
B2B marketers need a CMS, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. They also need tools for website visibility, on-site conversions, blogging, web analytics, personalized content delivery, website forms and other aspects of website demand generation.
Tool #4: Demand Orchestration Platform
30% of B2B marketers now say pipeline influenced is their top performance metric, according to DemandGen Report’s 2018 Benchmark Survey Report.
27% of respondents say they now face specific account-, lead- and revenue-based quotas. By comparison, the primary success of just 14% of B2B marketing programs is measured in traditional “volume” metrics – total leads or inquiries.
If you’re being hired to scale a marketing organization’s contributions to pipeline or revenue, efficiency and effectiveness are the two pillars on which your MarTech stack should be built. Accordingly, B2B demand gen marketers need a demand orchestration platform to streamline and automate top-funnel programs and processes from one place. Not only does a demand orchestration platform provide efficiency and greater program insight, it also ensures you’re only generating actionable lead data for your down-funnel efforts – such as lead nurturing and scoring – which, in turn, results in more conversions, opportunities and revenue.
Tool #5: Project Management
Demand marketers aren’t just responsible for generating leads. They’re responsible for full-funnel B2B marketing success, including tracking opportunities throughout the entire sales cycle, elevating sales-marketing alignment and collaborating with the customer success team. B2B marketing organizations are also using an increasing number of channels, tactics and partnerships to drive full-funnel results – which means a lot of moving pieces.
As a final core component of the bare-minimum B2B MarTech ecosystem, we suggest a project management tool with task-tracking functionality, especially if your organization is relying on a demand generation consultant or other third-party collaborators to coordinate complex campaigns.
Project management apps are a huge category of technology, and the “right” solution is really a matter of preference and whether you’re using the app for visibility or more complex operation analysis and budget forecasting. The options available in this category range from highly complex software such as Jira or Microsoft project designed to meet the needs of enterprise software development to lightweight apps like Trello.
The Right Tools is Only One Aspect of B2B MarTech
Do you need the right tools in place for effective B2B lead generation? Absolutely.
However, having the right tools is only one part of using technology effectively for lead generation.
B2B marketers need to create a comprehensive technology blueprint which answers each of the following questions:
- Which marketing technologies have already been adopted?
- How do these technologies connect and not connect?
- Which processes do these technologies support?
- How does our MarTech support our customers and prospect?
With a knowledge of how MarTech maps to people, processes and B2B lead generation goals, demand gen marketers are best equipped to make future tech investments and adjust operations to create customer value in the future.