B2B Martech: take your time, but hurry up!

AI, predicitive, sales enablement, DMP, Big data, digital transformation, machine learning, IoT…

The Martech sector (marketing technology) offering amounts to an incredible alphabet soup. Interest in solutions that can handle large data sources is high for large corporations, in both the B2B and B2C sectors. But what about Quebec B2B small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are still struggling to integrate a simple CRM?


Recently, at a conference, I was talking about the human aspect and processes to put in place in Martech, rather than the latest “edgy” thing. It’s certainly exciting to be on the new frontier of marketing … especially when you sell a technological solution that seems to solve so many problems and make so many promises.

But reality in the trenches is quite different, however. Even in very large B2B companies, Martech’s level of penetration is still very low, apart from CRM and marketing automation which, it needs to be mentioned, is still limited to sending automated email in almost all cases.

In B2B SMEs, sales culture still prevails. Marketing is still seen as a sales department “expense” that’s there to support sales activities.

Sales is still struggling to use CRM effectively. Entering useful marketing information in the CRM system still feels like a waste of time! Stories about resistance outnumber successful sales and marketing alignments.

Despite this, many experienced salespeople are seeing their sales decline …

They don’t need a sales course, they need to learn how to work with marketing! This conversation must take place before discussions about the latest technology.

The customer experience

Moreover, we easily forget the customer experience associated with these technologies. This goes for both the employees who need to adapt to them and for customers who must deal with new ways of interacting with you. These interactions with technology can be a source of many frustrations, something that we definitely want to avoid in B2B!

Although I firmly believe chatbots will become more prevalent in the 2018 commercial landscape, we will have to evaluate the potential of failed sales, generated by a bad customer experience. Losing a few sales on a pair of shoes is one thing, losing a prospect’s interest in a new industrial system is of a completely different order!

Lead scoring is already in place on some popular platforms. I’ve seen sales teams almost fantasizing about not needing their marketing team because their software was going to filter prospects for them. However, the filters applied to leads, the type of scoring (fit/behaviour / vs / buyer’s journey) even a scoring linked to the behaviour of a group (very useful in B2B), all require a well thought-out strategy and a complex “buy-in”.

This is one of the challenges in B2B. Influencers, users and buyers must be considered. They generate a lot of noise and sometimes lead companies to stuff their CRM with too much information, which causes more confusion than actual sales results!

The fundamental sequence of this digital transformation, according to Exo B2B

Advanced analytics, data-driven prediction, even machine learning will change the way marketing is done. Artificial intelligence is already provoking a lot of thought about which tactics to use. Pressure is increasing and the pace is picking up!

The trap is giving into to the pressure of “acting quickly”. So, more than ever, the fundamental sequence must be respected to avoid errors with multiple consequences:

  1. Corporate culture must not only demonstrate an openness to new technologies but also foster execution through rigorous planning.
  2. Communication between the teams affected by the new technologies must be clear and collaboration must be well managed.
  3. Technology integration processes need to be “human first ».
  4. The choice of tools.
  5. Training on the use of the tools to be put in place

So we need to get on the train but be careful about integrating these changes without destabilizing the SME.

In a nutshell, here’s what I feel like telling you about new marketing technologies: “Take your time but hurry up!

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