My boss has asked me to figure out what type of tools we should add to our martech stack going forward.
Our company is relatively small at the moment, but we’re growing quickly year-over-year.
With so many tech options out there, how can I be sure we’re making the right choices with our investment?
Hi Tammy, this is an excellent question.
Scaling up your martech stack at a rate that aligns with your company’s growing needs can be quite difficult.
You’ll want to avoid as much tech bloat as possible, while also ensuring your team has the proper tools they need to grow operations efficiently.
It can be a tricky balance, but I have some tips that will set you on the right path.
Size is your primary benchmark, not time
When looking to invest in new software tools, the most important consideration is the size – and future growth- of your company.
You might be thinking: when will we get use from this tool? One year from now? Three years from now?
This is okay, as long as size is the primary benchmark for these time-based predictions. For example, let’s say you have 25 clients now. How long will it take you to get to 50 clients, 100 clients, and so on?
Think of buying clothes for a child. You could buy the next 10 shirt sizes for them, but those shirts could be sitting in a closet for the next five years before they fit. Or, they might fit much sooner than expected and you need to go shopping again.
Similarly, it’s your responsibility to track the progression and maturity of your martech stack so you can keep developing it to meet your continuously growing needs. Doing so will require continual communication with leadership.
For example, they might have information about revenue projections for the next two to five years, certain KPI targets that have been set, and so on. All of these factors go into understanding your current and future needs, which will direct how you invest in your tools.
Tech for now or for later?
Now that you’ve established a reference point for what you’ll need and when you’ll need it, I recommend you future-proof your tech the best you can.
In my experience, it’s better to invest in tools that will last as long as possible to avoid the costly process of ripping out the entire system later.
For example, one option might be to spend $100,000 on a tool that you won’t fully use for another few years. But the alternative could be spending $50,000 on something you need right now, only to spend another $300,000 in a few years ripping out the entire system because it needs replacing.
This “rip and replace” process, however, will be a bigger deal for some tools compared to others.
To simplify things, think of your tech in two categories:
- Backbone tools, and
- Peripheral tools.
Backbone tools are the core of your martech stack, including your essential marketing automation tool such as Marketo, Hubspot, etc. These tools will be much more painful and costly to “rip and replace,” so you’ll want to grow with them over the long term.
In some cases, depending on your current budget and needs, you can invest in the baseline offering of a certain tool now.
Then, later on, you can upgrade and layer in added services and functions as necessary. These add-ons, which can be applied dynamically, are your peripheral tools – in addition to other things like data enrichment software.
As you can probably tell, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to choosing the right tech.
Your needs will depend on many factors including your company’s structure, size, and projected growth. But as long as you’re constantly synchronized with leadership, and you plan ahead to future-proof your backbone tools with room for peripheral upgrades, I’m confident you’ll have an efficiently designed martech stack that can grow alongside you and your team.
Once you’ve worked out which tools to invest in, make sure you’re absolutely clear with your boss about what a tech overhaul will involve. It’s going to take an ongoing time investment, thorough evaluation of your tools, and behavioral change from team members as they adapt to the new tech.
Effectively communicating all of this to your VP and CMO will increase the likelihood that they support your proposed changes. You can read more about how to explain your tech stack overhaul to your boss here.
You’ve got this — and if you need any help bringing in new technology, drop us a line.
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