How to Guide Leadership Through “Shiny New Tool” Syndrome

TLDR: Getting a new tool often seems like an attractive solution to a pain point, but without careful planning and an audit of the solutions in your stack and on the market, another tool to manage = another problem to solve.

Why bring in new tech When your team has a pain point or stress-inducing process to iron out, adding a new tool to your stack often seems an attractive solution. Perhaps leadership brings experience of using a certain tool to solve the problem at hand. They might know of comparable companies using a piece of tech and benchmark your stack against theirs. Or, they’re excited by the promise of results — ‘plug-and-play’ accessibility, increases to revenue and productivity that justify the investment.

How to assess new tech: Beyond the hype, however, these flashes of inspiration alone aren’t solid enough reasons to adopt another new tool. As we write in the Martech Optimization White Paper, careful planning, evaluation, and an audit of what’s currently in your stack are crucial to identify the most sensible solution for your business. Without these, more tools can easily add complications, go to waste, or run counterproductive to what you’re trying to achieve.

What’s in this article for you? In this Tough Talks Made Easy, we’ll help you influence a more critical approach to tool adoption to maximize the return on your dollars and your time. You’ll learn how to:

➡️ Assess new technology adoption

➡️ Understand the demands and challenges of a new tool

➡️ Evaluate your current tech stack and the options on the market


The real demands of new tools

Sometimes, leadership will advocate for a tool they’ve used in previous companies.

While the solution may have the correct capabilities to solve the problem at hand, selective experience with a tool can cause decision-makers to view it through rose-colored glasses.

If they only began to use the tool after the implementation or ramp-up period were completed, they’re likely unaware of the more challenging elements of getting off the ground. You need to ensure the solution that leadership advocates for has the correct capabilities to solve the need at hand.

Concerns to address before adoption

👉 Downplayed complications during sales process: During the sales cycle, the complications of running a tool are often downplayed. Vendors might portray a solution as “out of the box” with minor setup, or demo a version of the tool with features, integrations, and reporting already well-established. In reality, the baseline you see in demos won’t be there when you first configure the tool. Ramp-up periods can be prohibitive, and 6 to 12 months down the line, you might be miles off achieving the results you were promised.

👉 Stagnation in your tech stack: When the effort involved in managing a tool far outstrips expectations, and you haven’t planned to inherit the responsibility, that tool can sit in your stack gathering dust. Before leadership takes the plunge, advise them to wait until you’ve gathered feedback from current customers—get a real shot of truth about what it takes to onboard, implement, ramp up, maintain, and get results from the solution.

👉 Assessing impact and viability of new tools: Leadership needs to know if any shift in headcount occurs from using the tool, whether customers are using it to accomplish what you’re aiming for, and the renewal vs. churn rate past the initial contract. Before your CMO reaches a decision, they should be able to answer key internal questions: What are the hours involved with adopting this tool? Who’s responsible? Do we have the budget to give that person additional compensation or to hire someone new to run point? Given our investment, what kind of revenue and productivity lift can we expect?

Tools are vehicles for results – to get anywhere, you need a driver.

Getting a handle on the practicalities will help leadership identify if a tool is right for your needs or viable for your resources.


Evaluating your stack and the market

Mid-to-large organizations often lack a deep understanding of what’s in their tech stack.

When departments have the size and autonomy to buy their own tools, there might be significant overlap between the functionalities of tools owned by different teams.

If this is the case, leadership should explore the possibility of adopting a solution that your organization already uses.

Start by reviewing any documentation that outlines the tools in your workplace. If your organization already owns the functionality you’re after, speak with the tool owner and spend some time using the solution to get a sense of how appropriately it addresses your needs.

An important point for leadership: You might find a tool that facilitates what you’re looking for, but not in the most competitive or sophisticated way.

For any internal or external tool you assess, establish where it stands in the market

👉 Is this solution best-in-class or tertiary in its lane?
👉 Can this tool evolve with your business and perform long-term?

C-Suite’s are after the greatest possible ROI, and that comes by choosing the tool you’ll need five years from now.

To justify any technology investment, leadership needs a clear case for how it adds value.

Confidence in how a tool’s functionalities and integrations work is crucial to making that assessment.

If there’s a risk of integrations or data flows breaking down between updates, for instance, flag this to leadership. Any manual processes or convoluted workarounds a tool introduces compromise your ROI. Conversely, a tool that’s less adept at generating revenue might save the team significant amounts of time — productivity gains that prove ROI.


The bottom line

The martech boom shows no signs of slowing down, which means plenty of noise to cut through.

Approach tool adoption with these principles, and you’ll make every dollar and hour count.


✅ Be intentional with martech investment to work smarter and achieve more.

✅ Balance your current and long-term needs.

✅ Size up the options in your stack and on the market.

✅ Determine the ROI from adding a new tool into the mix.

✅Plan carefully for how you’ll use it.

For any guidance on evaluating your tech stack or the martech landscape, Revenue Pulse is here to help.

P.S. Want more ideas for improving your tech stack? Get a copy of our MarTech Optimization White Paper

How Do I Evaluate New Pieces of Technology?

Hi Joe,

I’ve been asked to evaluate new solutions that could replace one of our tools.

This is the first time I’m having input into the assessment and purchase of new software, and I’m not really sure how I should approach this.

I have two specific questions:

  • How can I identify the most effective tool for my company?
  • What qualities should I look for to guide the decision?


Evaluating Evan.

pink seperator line

Evan, it’s good that you’re thinking critically about this.

The amount of martech solutions is increasing by the day, so it’s becoming more of a challenge to cut through the noise and advocate for the best tech.


“It’s almost a rite of passage
for people in MOPs to get burned by a tool.”


It’s almost a rite of passage for people in MOPs to get burned by a tool, whether:

❌ they were oversold on its capabilities
❌ the solution didn’t gel with their stack, or
❌ it just wasn’t the right fit for the problem or goal at hand.

I’ve participated in evaluations where solutions seemed promising — useful functionalities, relevant integrations, good price point — only to not quite deliver on their purpose.

Frustrating as it is to wait out a contract, these experiences make clear how important it is to be intentional with your tool purchases and how sometimes, this is a difficult thing to get right.


Guide your evaluation:

👉 Know your agenda: What problems are you trying to solve or efficiency gains are you trying to achieve?

Whether you want to improve a particular process, consolidate multiple tools into one, or make it easier to scale, see if you can accomplish this during the trial or demo phase or determine whether it’s possible or not to do so.

This is a big clue as to how suitable a tool is.

👉 Keep focused on your primary issue: You might spot something interesting about a tool that isn’t why you wanted it in the first place.

That observation can lead you to solve a different problem or open a new opportunity, but keep in mind the capability or issue that’s driven you to enter the process.

👉 Understand its total value: How well does a tool address the breadth of issues and functionality gaps in your company?

You might find a solution that does exactly what you need it to without broader utility or an adequate tool for your intended use case that fits optimally with other aspects of your business.

Both are valid motives for choosing a tool; consult with the stakeholders in your company who’ll use or sign off on the tool to determine which would bring more value.

👉 Integration: As a standalone product, is the solution you’re looking at best in class at what it’s designed to do?

Is it an established market leader or gaining positive momentum? Does it integrate well with your CRM, CMS, and marketing automation platform? These are positive signs that a solution has longevity and that it’s compatible with your stack.

Look for online reviews, Gartner Magic Quadrant placements, and partner/vendor certification with your core pieces of tech.

👉 Research the solution provider: It’s worth doing your homework on the solution provider just as much as the tool itself.

Take into account the deployment options, customer support, and training that the vendor offers, along with any third-party reviews and feedback from your network.

For more reading on this topic, check out our piece ‘Is It Worth It? The Hidden Cost of New Martech Tools.’

You’ve got this,

Joe Pulse

Is It Worth It? The Hidden Cost of New MarTech Tools

TLDR: Adopting a new tool has a range of logistical and financial consequences. MOPs and RevOps leaders should interrogate each potential addition to your tech stack by evaluating the ease of implementation, the experience of your team, the ease of integration with your current or planned tech stack, the potential financial costs beyond the purchase price, and how the tool responds to real business needs and strategic aims.

The motivation for adopting new tools: When new leaders join companies or people move internally to different teams, they take with them the technologies and practices they’re used to. New marketing leaders are often keen to implement tools they’ve had positive experiences with in the past and can be prone to thinking that having more tools makes it easier to surface ROI—more ways to analyze data, more ways to present it, more functions and features to optimize how you work.

The consequence of new tools: In practice, however, this isn’t quite the case. Adopting a new tool has a range of logistical and financial consequences for your business that require thoughtful planning to navigate.

What’s in this article for you? In this Tough Talks Made Easy, we’ll help you explain to your CMO or CRO the problems that can arise from adopting a new tool too soon. We’ll also outline the important things your organization needs to consider before deciding to adopt new technology.


New tool consequences

Marketing operations people are frequently asked to take ownership of managing new tools, and so they have first-hand experience of the reality that more tools = more responsibilities.

Adding a new tool to someone’s workload has productivity consequences for what that person can feasibly deliver, especially if they need training to effectively use the tool in question.

If the department leadership is looking at a new core piece of tech—a marketing automation platform, a CRM, a content management system—it’s likely to demand a revamp of your whole MOPs infrastructure.


“Before adopting a new tool, you need to understand
if it’s worth it and why.”


Without qualified talent on board, you might need to hire someone new to lead on that piece of tech — and the hiring process costs time and money. So before adopting a new tool, you need to understand if it’s worth it and why.

Poorly-conceived additions to your stack will leak revenue, for example:

👉 Wasted subscription fees for unused tools.
👉 Unforeseen disruptions to your team’s workflow and productivity through accommodating new processes.
👉 Suboptimal implementations or maintenance that cause damage downstream.
👉 Integrations that don’t work properly, corrupted data, bloated storage.


The questions to ask


If you have a robust tech stack

If your tech stack is already robust, your first step should be to evaluate what isn’t working.

Is a new piece of software the best way to address your needs? Encourage your CMO or CRO to explore the solutions existing in your company stack — you might already have the license to a tool that fulfills a similar purpose to a good standard, and you’ll avoid the redundant expense on an overlapping solution.

If leadership’s considering a tool that can change the essential infrastructure of your MOPs/RevOps function (a MAP, a CMS, a CRM), it’s crucial to know what strategic ambitions it supports.

➡️ Are you scaling down to cut costs or simply overhead?
➡️ Are you scaling up because your CMO/CRO has a growth plan and needs the particular capabilities of more advanced tools to achieve it?
➡️ Have they planned for the corresponding investment in the MOPs team (e.g. whether that’s greater headcount, higher training budgets, or a redistribution of role responsibilities) to facilitate a more complex platform?


If the new tool will play a supporting role in your stack

When evaluating a tool that plays more of a supporting role in your stack, you’ll want to assess how well it integrates with your existing infrastructure.

➡️ What depth of expertise will the tool require?
➡️ How long is the implementation period? Will it require more resources on a temporary or permanent basis?
➡️ Is it best-in-class at providing the functionalities you’re looking for?
➡️ Does it have good momentum in the marketplace?

Getting to the bottom of these points is essential to come up with a realistic assessment of a tool’s total cost of ownership.


Questions to ask beyond those above

➡️ Is the total cost of ownership (TCO) worth paying?
➡️ Do the capabilities of the tool respond to the goals your CMO/CRO wants to achieve?
➡️ Can you reasonably estimate that its features can drive revenue and productivity in ways that justify the time, money, and work?


“The impact of adopting a new tool
is often poorly understood.”


The impact of adopting a new tool is far-reaching and often poorly understood. Remember that strategy defines your outcomes and tools help you achieve them. Read our article Connect the Dots Between Strategy and Technology for more.

Your MOPs and RevOps leaders should interrogate each potential addition to your tech stack by evaluating the:

👉 ease of implementation
👉 experience of your team
👉 ease of integration with your current or planned tech stack
👉 potential financial costs beyond the purchase price, and
👉 tool’s ability to respond to real business needs and strategic aims.

Approach each tech decisions with this degree of intentionality, and you’ll maximize the ROI you gain from your stack.

Get in touch for more guidance on assessing and implementing new technologies.

Mastering Salesforce: A Must for MOPs Professionals

Hey Joe,

My company recently invested in Salesforce and we’ve been using it for a few months.

Our sales team has been receiving ongoing training for the platform, but I’m not getting much guidance on the marketing ops side.

I’m concerned that when the time comes for me to use certain parts of Salesforce (or other platforms, I’m less familiar with), I’ll be lost.

How can I bolster my technical toolbelt and stay prepared?

Eager Ed

pink seperator line

Ed, I applaud your proactivity. Keeping your technical skills polished and up to date is very important in the marketing ops world!


“It’s rare to be a pro at
and Salesforce.”


Many MOPs members are proficient with marketing automation platforms like Marketo. Still, they won’t know as much as they should about CRMs like Salesforce. In fact, it’s rare to find someone who is a Marketo expert as well as a Salesforce admin.

This can be a problem because MOPs members must know how to navigate Salesforce to access lead modules, campaign data, and several other integrations to keep information across MOPs and Sales Ops clear and synchronized.

Let’s talk about some things you can do to improve your proficiency with less familiar tools:


1. Complete certification courses 🎓

Tell your boss you want to build your technical toolbelt and inquire about services you can use to train yourself independently on different platforms. For example:

👉 Many companies have training programs that allow their employees to acquire a Marketo certification.

👉 Hubspot also has a free certification course – as long as you can access a Hubspot instance.

👉 Salesforce has a free online learning platform called Trailhead that you can use as well.


2. Explore external resources 🧭

If you want to supplement these certification courses, or you want to hone in on a specific area of a tool, there are plenty of high-quality external resources available out there if you look carefully.

Healthy, active communities of users can be found online and are very helpful when it comes to learning about different platforms.

You can turn to sites like Reddit or official user forums managed by the platform owners themselves – such as Marketing Nation by Marketo or the Salesforce Developer Community forums.

Youtube is also home to many experienced users who create screen share tutorials, walking you through processes step-by-step.


3. Attend conferences and workshops 🧠

There are plenty of workshops and conference events (both in-person and online) that major platform companies like Salesforce, Hubspot, and Adobe will host throughout the year.

Attending these events is a great way to pick up technical skills, as well as build relationships with other MOPs and Sales Ops people who can offer guidance.

Many companies will pay for their employees to attend these events to expand their technical knowledge and bring back information for other team members to learn from.


4. Connect with your sales team 🤝🏽

If you still need help when it comes to using Salesforce at your company, try reaching out to one of your Sales Operators.

Ask if they can briefly walk you through a certain integration or process – this can go a long way in strengthening your understanding of the platform.

When you go down this route, however, be sure to come prepared. I recommend doing as much independent research as you can (through the above methods), so you can approach your Sales Operator with high-quality, concise questions.

🔥 Pro tip: Record the session with your Sales Ops team for internal reference purposes. Sales Operators are busy, so having that recording will allow you to independently review it after a one-time walkthrough. This will be helpful not only for your own reference but to train other members of your MOPs team who need to learn the same process.

Over time, this can develop into a useful collection of internal training resources for MOPs if anyone needs a walkthrough of Salesforce features in the future.


“Remember to stay curious
and stay engaged.”


It’s great to see you taking ownership of your professional development. Remember to stay curious, stay engaged, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

With these tools and resources at your disposal, you’ll be well on your way to mastering new platforms and adding value to your company. Keep up the good work!

You’ve got this,

How Can I Figure Out the Martech World?

Hi Joe,

I want to understand more about marketing technology, but I don’t know where to start.

The tools we use at my company, like Salesforce and Marketo, have so many functionalities and data that I feel like I might break something if I start playing around.

The martech space moves fast and it’s hard to get a handle on where the industry is going.

I’d feel more confident in my job if I knew how to get the best out of the tools we use, and understood the outlook of martech as a whole.

How can I start to build that knowledge? Where do I find the time?


Martech Mark.

pink separator line

That drive you have to learn is a great thing, Martech Mark.

When I first started using Marketo, I wanted to be productive from day one. At first, I thought that meant sticking just to what we knew at our company. Like you, I thought experimenting would lead to “breaking” things beyond repair.

I’m happy to say that wasn’t the case.


Understanding martech

Tools like Marketo don’t have the easiest learning curve, so you might not get it right away. That’s not the end of the world.

Take a few hours each week to read up, play around with tools, post in communities, or whatever grabs your interest. Here are some places to start:


Free trials and versions

Many tools out there have free versions (e.g. Hubspot, Salesforce Lightning Platform) or at least free trials (e.g. SAP Marketing Cloud) to experiment with.

So if you’ve got a certain piece of tech in mind, check out what build you can get on the house.


Online courses

LinkedIn, edX, Coursera, and other learning platforms have a mix of free and paid courses to try out, covering a breadth of technologies.


Product spaces

Official company spaces provide a range of free resources, from the videos and courses on Marketo University to the forums in Salesforce’s Trailblazer Community.


Online communities

Chances are, the tool you’re learning has active communities on Github or Reddit—and dedicated MOPs communities can help you steer your course.


News and blogs

Sources like MarketingTech and ChiefMartec publish news and analysis of the latest movements in the martech world.


Use resources as sandboxes

You’ve got free reign to mess around. It’s all about trial and error.

Once you get going, document all the things you do and hear that are useful to your learning including:

  • your observations
  • how a tool benefits your work (does it make a process faster? Improve analysis?)
  • where a tool falls short of helping you meet certain goals.

These notes are lessons that can help the whole team learn.

As you say, the martech space moves quickly. Trends rise and level out, upstart tools get acquired, and if you’re exploring a new capability area, there’s no guarantee the tool you learn will be one the industry settles on.

For that reason, don’t stress about where the market’s heading. Focus on the tech that interests you and helps you achieve your goals.

You’ll pick up transferable skills that apply across technologies. Like learning a language, it gets easier after the first one. Just keep going.

You’ve got this — if you need any help, drop us a line.


4 Steps to Explain Technical Debt to Your CMO/Marketing VP

TLDR: Technical debt arises from rushed responses to problems created by poor planning. Think long-term about your projects, and you won’t have to choose between speed and execution. 

Technical debt describes the implied cost of making “quick fixes” to your tech stack or IT infrastructure.

Technical debt accumulates when the people building your software take suboptimal shortcuts to complete projects over more effective approaches that take longer. Doing so entrenches flaws into your tech that become more troublesome to fix as time goes on, leading to higher rework costs later.

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn to discuss the causes and consequences of technical debt with your CMO and suggest cultural changes to prevent it from building.


Why technical debt builds

During projects like platform migrations and implementations, a CMO and VP generally focus on contract negotiations.

Their efforts to get the best deal. This focus can, inadvertently, eat into the time needed for the technical work.

When projects start too late, those responsible for building the project will face pressure to make up for lost time and choose “quick fixes” to hit deadlines and achieve results.

While CMOs aim to make the most cost-effective decisions, they often account just for the purchase cost of a new application or platform.

For instance, your CMO may choose a marketing automation platform license cheaper than its competitors without considering the extra admin, consultation, and custom development necessary to make it work.

Add in the cost of training personnel and additional support, however, and you could well face a higher total cost of ownership. Especially if you don’t plan from the beginning to bring these resources on board, or if the project is already running behind schedule.

Short-sighted thinking leads to these negative outcomes:

  • compressed timelines
  • bloated costs and scope, and
  • increased project vulnerability due to mistakes and substandard workarounds.

These decisions compromise a project’s execution and encourage technical debt, making subsequent improvements more challenging to make.


Preventing technical debt

Influencing upwards is an impactful approach against technical debt.

Depending on the dynamics of your organization, a direct line to your CMO or Marketing VP might not be possible. In that case, look to your Operations Manager or Marketing Director as allies with the access and technical expertise to impart the urgency of starting on time.

While it’s impossible to identify every gap a solution has until it’s in-house, you can confidently speak to the consequences of a late start.

Here’s how to sell your boss on the respect the project deserves:

“If negotiations drag out and leave us behind schedule, it will impact our ability to deliver this project on time, on budget, and to the level of competency you want. X will happen if we don’t start as planned, and it’ll take Y additional costs to fix.”


Implementations and migrations

Implementations and migrations are demanding initiatives. The planning phase is crucial to map out all your anticipated costs and labor needs.

Your CMO/Marketing VP can’t expect key contributors to carry their full workload and give their all to an implementation or migration—people who are stretched take shortcuts, and that just leads to technical debt proliferating.

Freeing up key team members to commit and provide the necessary focus to the project gives them space to contribute to the best of their ability, without incurring rework costs.

For instance, sales and marketing leadership could reduce the quarterly targets of the sales reps involved, or lessen the day-to-day campaign execution responsibilities of contributors from marketing.


Create a change management team

The creation of a change management team is a particularly progressive solution to technical debt.

Technical debt arises from rushed responses to problems created by short-sighted planning.

Advocate for a dedicated team of people to support the project from conception, mapping out the ramifications of any change in:

  • costs
  • timelines
  • resource requirements, and
  • post-implementation training.

This increases the project’s resilience to disruption and lessens the risk of technical debt.


Long-term thinking

If projects are delayed at the early stages, you’ve ultimately got a choice between paying upfront or later on.

Do you use the most effective methods to build a new implementation or migration, accepting you’ll be up and running later than planned? Or do you take shortcuts to make your initial launch date, at risk of introducing flaws into the project that carry large rework costs and compromise how effectively it works?

Between the two, it’s not an even trade.

The cost of technical debt often outweighs the agility of completing a project as fast as possible.

Steps to avoid technical debt:

1. Reinforce the importance of making a plan and sticking to it with leadership.

2. Scope out your timelines, labor needs, and total cost of ownership upfront—when things need to progress to meet your deadline, the people you’ll need to be involved in the project, and its real financial cost.

3. Advocate for a change management team to reinforce the consequences of starting late or making changes, and to find solutions in a proactive, planned manner.

4. Take the demands of your project seriously, and you shouldn’t have to choose between speed and execution.

Need more guidance? Get in touch — we’re always here to help.


P.S. Like this post? Follow us on LinkedIn to never miss an update!

How to Help Your C-Suite Choose Between Marketo and HubSpot

TLDR: Marketing automation platforms play a significant role in how businesses engage with their audiences. Marketo and HubSpot are leading the pack, but which one should you choose? Our latest Tough Talks Made Easy post gives you the tools to help your executive team choose the right platform for your business. Take a look.


What you’ll learn here:

  • When choosing a marketing automation platform, Marketo and HubSpot are leaders.
  • Where HubSpot is a centralized inbound marketing platform with multiple functions, Marketo focuses on moving leads through the marketing funnel.
  • You can help your C-suite choose the right solution for your business by exploring these three considerations:
    • your tech stack
    • your products and customer audience, and
    • the maturity of your team.


Marketing automation tools are changing the way businesses operate.

On the one hand, they make marketing and sales teams more efficient and productive. On the other, they’ve made it easier for marketers to provide tailored, personalized experiences that meet their target audiences where they are.

At the top of the marketing automation charts are Marketo and HubSpot, two platforms that have led the way in revolutionizing the marketing space. But, which of these tools is best for your business?

To help you guide your exec team in their decision on which software to adopt, here’s an overview of each platform and the considerations you should make as you evaluate them.


Marketo Vs. HubSpot


HubSpot is an inbound marketing platform that has four functions:

  • marketing
  • sales
  • customer service, and
  • customer relationship management (CRM).

Users can operate their email marketing, CRM software, contact management, and help desk automation from one place with a well-designed user interface.

While many teams appreciate the centralized experience, HubSpot also offers extensibility that allows you to integrate with third-party apps, including Salesforce.

This flexibility makes it easier for companies to customize the experience to what makes sense to them.



Marketo Engage, meanwhile, is a robust marketing automation platform.

Marketo focuses exclusively on moving leads and customers through various stages of the marketing funnel. It does this in a way that’s customizable to the organization’s processes and structures.

What Marketo offers:

  • marketing automation
  • email marketing, and
  • lead management capabilities.

This focus allows users to create highly personalized content to tailor marketing campaigns to specific audiences.


The truth is, this isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison.

When it comes down to it, both tools serve different functions and have to be considered within the broader scope of your tech stack and where your business is going.

So, the question you and your C-suite should really be asking is: Do you need a centralized marketing and sales hub or a robust marketing automation platform that integrates with other best-of-breed solutions?


3 non-technical considerations:

When making this choice, you’ll need to engage with your leadership team to determine which platform makes the most sense for your business.

Here are three non-technical considerations that will help guide your conversation with them.

1. For your CIO: Your existing tech stack

HubSpot reduces complexity for your team

As mentioned above, HubSpot is a centralized solution for sales, marketing, and customer engagement functions.

It continues to expand the offerings on its platform, making it a great place to start if you don’t have any technology serving those verticals—and don’t have the budget to invest in multiple integrated solutions.

The other benefit here is that HubSpot reduces complexity for your team, as they only have one tool to learn. This also makes it easier to transfer data from one function to another for accurate attribution reporting.


Marketo helps you build a best-of-breed tech stack

Marketo is the right choice if your company builds a tech stack with best-of-breed solutions leading their verticals.

The tool makes up for not being an all-in-one solution by integrating seamlessly with leading solutions like Salesforce, Drift, and Bizible.

In fact, Marketo was originally designed with Salesforce in mind, and they still operate seamlessly together today. That said, it’s important to remember that each platform has its own price tag, so you need to have the budget available to build and run this integrated ecosystem.

The other consideration is that Marketo is less prone to evolving its software, making it a more predictable investment.


How to help your CIO: Your CIO likely has a strategy or roadmap for what your company’s tech stack will look like. Talk to them about it and use the points above to determine which platform fits into that strategy.


2. For your CMO: Your products and customer audience

Small product catalogs:

Businesses that only market one product to one or two audiences will naturally have relatively simple customer journeys.

It reduces the need for complex workflows, persona building, and robust attribution models.

HubSpot does a good job of addressing this use case as it easily connects the dots between each step in a single customer journey.


Large product catalogs:

Meanwhile, companies that have larger, more complex product catalogs require more specialized tools across every part of the path to purchase.

That’s especially the case if they have a number of customer segments to meet with the right messaging at the right time.

This is where teams can make the most of Marketo, accounting for multiple considerations and customer behaviors.


How to help your CMO: Raise these points with your CMO to advise them on where a product like Marketo or HubSpot can be more productive.

They’ll also be able to tell you if there are any anticipated changes in how your business plans to market to new or existing audiences, which will also dictate which platform makes the most sense.


3. For your CEO: The maturity of your team

Is your business new on the scene? Or have you been around for decades?

Wherever your team sits on the maturity spectrum should inform how your executives decide on a marketing automation platform.



For growth-stage startups that are prioritizing their product development, HubSpot tends to be the platform of choice.

A centralized, easy-to-use solution can make it easier for the individuals running your marketing, sales, and customer engagement functions to work towards the same goals in a quick and scalable way.

In addition, since HubSpot is continually innovating its platform, it’s an appealing digital solution for companies that are also evolving within their own markets. There hasn’t been significant innovation with Marketo Engage in some time.



Meanwhile, larger enterprises that have invested in building a robust marketing team filled with seasoned MOPs professionals are more likely to have Marketo at the heart of their marketing operations efforts.

With the right combination of tools and people, these companies can get creative with how they reach their vast audiences.


How to help your CEO: This type of insight will matter to your CEO. As you walk your CEO through the platforms, contextualize each within the current and future states of the company.


Making the right decision

With so many marketing automation tools on the market now, it can feel overwhelming to find and pick the right one, but it doesn’t have to be.

The three considerations outlined above should help you and your executives weigh one leading product against another.

We help companies around the world with marketing automation platform setup, migration and optimization.

If you’re still not sure which way to go and would like to continue the conversation, Revenue Pulse is here to help.

How Can I Choose the Right Marketing Technology Stack?

Hi Jo,

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?


Technical Tammy

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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:

  1. Backbone tools, and
  2. 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.


Next steps

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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How Strategic Changes Impact Tech: What Your CEO Should Know

TLDR: Whether leadership is looking to grow or expand into new service areas, new goals can change which tools are relevant to your business. Speak with your marketing ops team to understand if the proposal requires more time or budget. Before making the shift, visualize how each piece of your tech stack fits together to gauge any impacts. If a new tool is needed, allow for overlapping contracts, time to map out new processes and train people on a new system while they’re still using the current one.


Strategy and technology

The link between strategy and technology is essential for any leader to understand:

  • Your strategy sets the direction for the business and shapes your goals.
  • Your tech stack is the means by which you achieve them.

It’s easy to get attached to particular tools, but strategic intent gives purpose to each piece of tech.

Your stack is fluid. It evolves to solve problems and provide capabilities as your business needs change—a quality that’s especially clear when strategic change is on the way.

Whether leadership is looking to grow or expand into new service areas, the establishment of new goals can potentially change the tools that are relevant to your business.

If martech leadership is working on or has recently announced a new strategy, this Tough Talks Made Easy is for you. You’ll learn how to discuss the impact that strategic changes have on technology, so you can invest the time and budget you need to get your team and stack in shape.


Fitting the pieces together

First, your boss should consult with people around the business to better understand the impact of a proposed change. This ranges from director-level and management to the people in MOPs handling tools on a regular basis. Having these conversations early into the planning phase can reveal if a proposal demands more time or budget than first anticipated, along with any additional hires or new pieces of tech.

While putting together a plan, leadership needs to know exactly how your tech stack works across the whole organization. Changes to technology can reverberate across the ecosystem and cause unexpected trouble.

If your new strategy involves using a different marketing automation platform, for example, you then have the task of replacing a platform with lots of data tied into it and integrations with many other tools. Certain tools you’re using might not integrate smoothly (or at all) with the new platform—and that means new problems.

The message to impart here is to hit pause on a big shift until you’ve mapped out the tech stack across your business.

  • visualize how each piece fits together to establish the tools you have
  • understand why teams use the tools they do, and
  • verify how each tool integrates.

By doing so, you’ll better gauge the impact of a strategic change on technology. As an added bonus, you can spot opportunities to consolidate tools with overlapping use cases and save on budget.

Before surveying the market for new tools, ask your leadership to lay out their specific needs.

  • Is there a particular problem you’re looking to solve?
  • New capabilities to add?
  • Integrations that a new tool should have?

This promotes intentional, goal-driven tool adoption.

Sometimes, the trial period for a new tool isn’t enough to accurately determine the fit for your business. Limitations can become apparent after the demo and trial are complete. The clearer they are at establishing the necessary components of a new tool, the better equipped you are to find a tool that’s fit for the strategy.

We wrote an article about explaining your tech stack overhaul to your boss that may also be helpful.


Include a human touch

For the time and effort it takes to craft a strategy, punctuate it with clear goals, and make the appropriate changes in technology, the plan risks coming off the rails without a human touch.

You need people with the right skills and time allotted to make sense of any new tools and use them constructively.

When scoping out new technologies for the business, you’ll find that salespeople often understate the difficulty of learning a new tool and the time required to see real results.

The learning curve for the likes of a CRM, CMS, or MAP is steep. Realistically, it’s a job for multiple people. Adding a complex, foundational system onto the plate of a two-person MOPs team, in addition to their current responsibilities, is a recipe for burnout.

If your boss’ new strategy requires significant extra work or a new set of skills, the most sensible step they can take is to budget for new hires or an agency’s help — learn how we can help.

Likewise, leadership wants to achieve a particular result as fast and cost-efficient as possible.

Throughout a tool’s implementation period, allow for:

  • overlapping contracts
  • time to map out new processes and changes to data architecture, and
  • training people on a new system while they’re still using the current one.


Optimize your budget

If you can only budget several hours a week for your MOPs team to learn a new system, the timeline to understand how a new tool works and integrate it into the team’s day-to-day workload will naturally take several months.

This learning curve is something to consider when setting strategic targets.

And while your boss sets the strategy, the tactics are best left to the MOPs team.

The learning process is all about trial and error. Experimenting and finding out the best ways to use a tool to do the things you need.

The people using the tool will eventually understand better than anyone which methods work and what results are realistic. Leadership should trust them to decide how to execute daily and encourage their feedback to shape performance goals.


The takeaway

While strategy is your guiding star, the capabilities of your tools and the people in your MOPs team are what make achieving goals possible.

Plan for changes in technology and human resourcing as early as possible when developing a new strategy, and leadership can expect success.

Need some support? Drop us a line, we’re here to help!

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How Do I Enhance Security in MOps?

Hi Joe,

I’m worried that we’re not doing enough when it comes to security in MOPs. There are some pretty big gaps and I’m not quite sure what to do about it. How do I go about asking for help? Should I create a plan beforehand? How transparent should I be with leadership?

Thank you,
Concerned Casey

Casey, I can’t thank you enough for that question. I don’t think we talk about security enough in MOPs—but we should. Our marketing automation software holds a ton of sensitive information, whether it’s user account details or some level of personal identifiable information (PII), and our customers trust us to keep it safe. Particularly now, where marketing relies so much on personalization and connecting the dots between what our business offers and our customers’ needs. 

The risks of mismanaging this data are huge. For one, if a hacker or bad actor gets access to a pool of customer information, you better believe they’ll use it for nefarious purposes. Whether it’s selling that information to other cyber criminals or your competitors, using it to access your customers’ accounts on other high-value platforms, or blackmailing your company; there’s no shortage of ways your data can be used.

Beyond compromising your customers, a data breach is also bad for business. After they’ve been compromised, companies can spend millions of dollars addressing their security vulnerabilities and the loss of reputation that comes with a cyber attack.

The MOPs teams and businesses that are doing security right are focusing on the following areas: 

  • Data integrity: What data you collect, how you collect it, where you store it, and how you maintain it can all influence how secure that information is. For instance, there’s no need for you to have your customers’ social security numbers—so don’t ask for them. And if you do have passwords or PII on your marketing systems, you should look into encrypting or hashing them so that if a hacker gets their hands on them, they can’t read anything. You can also evaluate whether there’s even a business need for this sensitive information on your marketing system.
  • Controlled access to your systems: Security savvy teams ensure that only the right people have access to the right data—at the right time. It can be dangerous to have too many user accounts with permissions to access and manipulate the information on your systems. Instead, you should take a look at all your roles and permissions, and limit access to the people who need the data on a daily basis. Not everyone should be an admin. In addition, conducting regular scrubs on your systems to remove any old user accounts will also ensure you’re not at risk of a disgruntled employee compromising your data or your systems. 
  • Robust security policies: Good security should mean that you don’t have to think about security. With solid policies in place that let the right people in and keep the bad actors out, you and your team can focus on what you do best: marketing ops. 

If you’re seeing gaps in any of these areas, you should absolutely have a conversation with your security team (if you have one) and your executives. Be fully transparent about what you think is lacking, what the impact of those gaps are, and what the business should be doing instead. If they ask you whether this is an immediate need, the answer is yes. At the end of the day, securing your data is all about being proactive. You need to stay one step ahead of the bad guys—and avoid being the next big data breach in the news. 


You’ve got this, 

Joe Pulse