Last week’s SiriusDecisions Technology Exchange in Austin, TX provided attendees with a lot of sessions on the plusses and pitfalls of implementing too many or too few technologies, the importance of training for teams, and the necessity of processes to make sure you get the most out of your marketing stack.

In Jay Famico’s keynote, he notably said, “Importance is relative; priorities are not.” The key here is to ensure that you know what your priorities are, and then to plan activities to support those priorities in order of importance. He presented the SiriusDecisions structure of first defining your company’s objectives, then creating the functional objectives to meet those objectives, and bringing those down to the team level to support them. He cautioned not to add too many priorities, either. After 5 or 6, he said, the relative value of each decreases. But with 5 to 6, you can hone in.

Technology is a strategy, not a tactic

For marketing technology stacks, this means focusing on the target areas where you want to ensure success, measuring to align resources to priorities, and interlocking to make sure teams are coupled with projects.

Importantly, Jay noted that it’s important to acknowledge what technology enables you to achieve — and to make sure that any new technology is in line with the sales and marketing priorities. He emphasized data, which gives you the ability to compare quantities and qualities, and delivers visibility into the operations and activity of your organization.

Finally, he made the comment that I truly believe in: reporting has to come from your systems of record, not from documents, spreadsheets, or email. It’s what’s in the system that matters. That means ensuring that everything from lead data in your MAP to opportunity data in your CRM has to be logged. As he said, “What’s in the system matters.”

In the data keynote “The Pulse: Technology and the B-to-B Revenue-Generating Engine,” Tony Jaros and Jacques Begin provided results from SiriusDecisions’ recent survey:

  1. B2B organizations spend 1.5%-16% of their revenue on marketing — with less for larger organizations and more for smaller organizations that are in high-growth modes.
  2. Of this marketing budget, 3.5%-6% is spent on technology, with small organizations again spending a larger proportion of their budgets on getting these basic systems in place and functional.
  3. Finally, this represents from as little as 0.05% to 1% of total company revenue spent on marketing technology.

Notably, 6 in 10 respondents said their budgets for technology grew by 5%-10% or even more in the past year.

Marketing Operations Results

One of the most interesting pieces of data for me was that many organizations are using web analytics as most of their measurement and reporting. This means that the majority of companies are very activity-based when they look at performance. As the SiriusDecisions team pointed out, this provides no insight into revenue, only into web and activity analytics. Essential items in the measurement cookbook to be sure, but by no means a rounded out meal.

Demand Creation

When looking at demand creation, they pointed out that the key systems are still sales force automation, marketing automation platforms, and web analytics. They noted an increasing interest in multi-touch attribution, which of course I agree with. Tony Janos particularly called out the dangers of using only first-touch or last-touch models, which provide limited information about the marketing activities that are driving leads once they are in your funnel and how they mature to opportunity stages.

No one is using my technology…

One of the highlight sessions I attended on the second day of the conference was “B-to-B Tech: Why Employees Don’t Use It, and What You Can Do About It,” with Kerry Cunningham and Amanda Jensen.

The key problems they focused on that organizations don’t always consider when rolling out technologies are:

  1. Employees that are disengaged from the start — those who are uninterested in or unwilling to adopt the new tools and platforms.
  2. Social impact of new technologies — people who are invested in the existing technologies and are resistant to replacements as it may threaten their role or sense of value in the company. As Kerry said, “You have definitely moved their cheese!”
  3. Workplace tech adoption is often led by innovators and early adopters — this leaves normal folks behind and unprepared or uninspired to use the new technologies simply because they’re not early adopters or experts.
  4. There is no roll out plan for the organization — you adopt the technology, but didn’t have a pre-adoption plan to educate the team as to why you’re using it, how to use it, and what the end goals are by using it.

These were great takeaways for any organization to consider when adopting new technology into their marketing stack (or anywhere else in the organization, for that matter).

Hopefully this small window into this year’s event will make you interested in attending next year’s event — again in Austin, TX — November 1-3, 2017. Hopefully we’ll see you there!