Here’s how to slim down your MarTech stack, identify areas of need, and rebuild your stack to cut costs while maximizing value.
Imagine the following scenario:
A business onboards ten new employees to the marketing department, so they purchase additional licenses for the campaign monitoring platform it uses on a daily basis. During a hyper-growth phase, that same organization signs up for an expensive social media marketing tool that’s necessary for the transition period from start-up to a larger enterprise, but that same solution won’t be useful later down the road.
After the dust settles, the company struggles to manage MarTech applications that are no longer a good fit for the business and finds that they’re locked into contracts with different tools or solutions that provide essentially identical benefits. Sound familiar?
You’re not alone.
Many companies end up building their MarTech stack on an as-needed basis, which comes from a holistic, organic, get-what-you-need-right-now-to-grow model. It’s common to purchase solutions with only the immediate solution in mind, but that piecemeal approach, while adaptable, scalable, and “pivotable”, can cause redundancy issues down the line.
Complicating matters are fickle markets and perpetually-shifting consumer preferences, which can easily render MarTech solutions obsolete over the course of just a few years. While there are some programs that are timeless staples, there are others that could simply be a money drain for your business right now.
From unnecessary licenses to expensive, irrelevant solutions to overlapping tools that provide the same benefits, even the best-run business is likely to have a few redundancies in its MarTech stack. The following tips can help you figure out where to cut the fat.
How to evaluate your MarTech stack
Sizing up your MarTech stack can be boiled down to two central points– gauging whether or not a tool or solution is worth its price for your business, and determining which programs are keepers and which you’d be wise to drop.
Determining value: What’s the ROI for each solution?
The first step to reviewing your MarTech stack is ranking the return on investment of each solution your business uses. Prioritize each program in your MarTech stack based on the value they deliver. Bear in mind that value can look different – sometimes it’s literal dollars, other times it might mean a superior experience for employees and customers.
- Which programs are saving manpower hours by automating manual work?
- What has an impact on sales, even if it’s not clear at first glance?
The answers won’t always be straightforward, and you’ll need to invest sufficient time and research into investigating them.
Employee surveys can be an incredibly helpful tool here. Ask your marketing and sales teams which programs provide them the least value, and which apps they believe are most beneficial for their workflow. You can even ask for their feedback about specific programs and their ideas about which solutions they think would make a positive impact.
Remember that some apps will fall into the “keep the lights on” category, meaning programs that are essential for your business, even if they don’t have the ideal ROI. Think universal, classic programs, like word processing, basic graphic design, and email apps, that aren’t specifically MarTech-oriented, but your marketing and sales teams will need in order to do their jobs.
Deciding where to cut back
Downsizing your MarTech stack can provide major savings to your company’s expenditures, boosting your bottom line and freeing up funds to be allocated more responsibly.
Total removal vs. scaled reductions
Deciding to trim the fat on your company’s use of a specific MarTech solution doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing decision.
Do you have too many users allocated to this content promotion software?
Would you like to keep this campaign management platform, but pay for fewer seats each month? Be sure to conduct a full-scale, comprehensive investigation into exactly where your user licenses are allocated.
Blanket access for all employees to all programs is a major source of waste and unnecessary spend. Your Finance team and HR department should not have access to your marketing data analytics tools and CRM programs. Identify and review all of your licenses and seats, and pull the plug on access for people who don’t need to use particular apps.
Overlapping solutions that provide identical benefits
Consolidation is critical. Make sure that you don’t have multiple solutions essentially doing the same thing – this is an especially common issue after mergers and acquisitions, where one company absorbs another.
Ensure that you “take inventory” of all the tools at your company’s disposal, and chart what benefits they provide and how much they cost your business. Once you have that data, you can downsize appropriately.
It’s crucial to remember that integrating systems from two different organizations, or from one app to another, is a major project. Allocate sufficient time for transitioning information before committing to ending your contract with service providers and solutions.
Don’t forget about renegotiation
Every renewal is an opportunity to go back to the negotiating table. If your company has grown and needs more seats, you should be getting a discounted price per user. Conversely, if you’re really serious about terminating a solution you don’t need anymore, you’re in an excellent position to play hardball in regards to pricing.
Do your homework before meeting with the sales rep. You should be aware of the impact MarTech products and services are having on your business, competitive pricing for similar solutions, and market trends. Use this knowledge to strengthen your arguments during negotiations.
Focus on flexible, multi-use products
Taking stock of your MarTech stack by spotting and preventing redundancies, then making the right changes, can have a major positive impact on your company’s finances. This auditing journey should be led by someone who is intimately familiar with your company’s IT, IS, and overall business needs, alongside your marketing team lead.
Your organization’s CIO, Head of IT, or IS Manager are all viable options for carrying out your tech stack audit. However, if your organization is smaller, whoever purchased the programs is the best candidate for sifting through them.
It’s critical that the person reviewing your MarTech stack understands the benefits and features of each program, how they may overlap, and what’s needed to keep your marketing and sales teams’ workflows running smoothly on a daily basis.
A senior member of your marketing team can also advise on solutions and tools that are considered the industry standard for marketers and sales teams.
When you’re evaluating your MarTech stack and planning the best way to move forward, you should consider comprehensive solutions that can help you cut down on the number of software you need to license and that can grow with your business to scale. Some tools, like our Conversational Marketing platform Exceed.ai, can take the place of multiple solutions, helping you centralize data and cut costs while working with complete synergy with major MarTech software providers.
We automate the lead qualification, scoring, and nurturing process, covering all phases of the journey from start to finish. That means you don’t need to obtain separate tools that address each step in the lead conversion, outreach, and engagement journey. For more on how our solution can help you streamline your MarTech stack, get in touch with us. We’d love to show you more about how Exceed.ai can be a critical element in your company’s marketing technology arsenal.