With the emergence of marketing automation solutions in the last 10 years, the automation of the last department in B2B companies has truly begun. Today over 6,000 martech startups have emerged to address many niche aspects of marketing automation and populate Scott Brinker’s B2B martech landscape. I had an investor hold up a printout of this chart in 2013 when the numbers were smaller, trying to make sense of what was important and what wasn’t. Even then it was certainly was hard to tell what’s important from Scott’s chart, and it’s only gotten more complicated.
Here’s what’s important: there’s a multi-billion dollar problem that needs to be solved. B2B companies spend hundreds of billions on their sales and marketing. Looking at their P&L, this expenditure is ripe for optimization as a lot of high growth companies spend over 50% of their revenue on sales and marketing. The problem with B2B martech is that most companies intensely focus on the marketing side of the equation and not building solutions that allow both functions to work together better. And with the advent of Account Based Marketing (ABM), aligning marketing and sales activities is now a top priority.
At the same time, many have observed a difference in the ability for marketing to measure its performance versus their sales counterparts. B2B sales operations have had CRM systems like Salesforce to measure sales team performance from opportunity to close deals. Each team or rep can be measured against specific sales goals and the data for sales is pretty good. VPs of sales bring performance information to the exec meeting and the board meeting. Not so much for the marketing VP. Their information is largely what happens at the top of the funnel and connecting marketing activities to sales and all the details of happens to each lead is often lost or overwritten.
Three things are needed for B2B marketers to solve this problem. First, B2B marketers need to be able to track what happens to every lead and prospect interaction from every campaign, whether it’s a sales or marketing campaign, so marketers have access to complete set of accurate data. Second, all this data needs to be stored and accessible in reports and dashboards to both sales and marketing teams. They must look at a common set of information about sales and marketing performance. Third, this information must be transformed into funnel metrics for process optimization and attribution metrics for budget optimization.
In my world, there’s a war going on for the system of record of the marketing data. This was underscored last week by the Marketo acquisition of Bizible. A system of record is the term that describes where you can find the most accurate information about a business operation. E.g., Quickbooks is the system of record for financial information for many small companies. But the argument looks like this — should the marketing system of record be the marketing automation system or should it be the CRM? It’s perfectly obvious that the right answer is the CRM should be the system of record for both marketing and sales data. If sales people are using the CRM and all their data is there already — plus some of the marketing data — why not put all rest of the marketing data into the CRM so you have a single consolidated place to manage all this information? And if you can manage all the sales and marketing workflows there to accurately track and measure what happens and keep a historical record, it would be a wonderful tool for B2B marketers. Wow! Wouldn’t that be great?
When we started Full Circle, we envisioned a world where marketers could track every detail and outcome of every marketing touch, a world where the information was easily accessible for both sales and marketing, and the data was organized so you could get an accurate funnel and attribute sales to campaigns in the way the most suited a company’s operations. We hypothesized that if we could do this, marketers would work so much better with sales to drive more revenue and save money at the same time. This is the B2B Martech we envisioned and it works really well.
So is B2B Martech a failure? In many ways yes. But solutions have emerged to solve this incredibly huge, multi-billion dollar marketing problem and that bring sales and marketing together. When purchased and combined with regular communication between sales and marketing teams, B2B marketers will get the best results.