There’s no shortage of tools targeted at B2B organizations to solve for our audience’s ever-growing demands for better engagement. But this flood of solutions has caused a new problem: tech sprawl. Too many organizations are buying technology faster than they can identify what functionality they already have in house. This duplicate functionality wastes money on an overly complex tech stack with redundant capabilities that offers no real competitive advantage. Revenue engine teams are working to reign in and rationalize their tech stacks and determine where overlaps occur.
If you and your coworkers are finding yourselves circling around whether some of your technologies should stay or go, here are some questions you can ask about each system or service to help bring more clarity and alignment:
- Is the technology really required? The first question to ask is how critical the technology is to the business. “Required” means the business cannot function without it. When looking at which technologies should stay, prioritize required systems, followed by those that drive the highest business value. Watch out for cases in which an application or service “feels” required, but it’s unclear how it’s being used or how it contributes to the business. For example, if your company has deployed a chatbot, but it’s not essential to generating demand and the metrics have not shown a significant increase in customer satisfaction, is it really required?
- Is the technology redundant? When you look at your list, are there multiple applications that are required and provide business value but offer duplicate features? This can happen with federated or siloed technology decision-making, an incomplete decommission of old technology, or pilots being used well beyond their proof-of-concept phase. Have you brought in new work management software but have teams that haven’t moved over to it because they prefer the old tech and plan to use it until it’s decommissioned? Assess your repetitive technologies for any that can scale to support other teams or departments so that the redundant systems can be retired.
- Is the technology used frequently? As with redundant technologies, you may find tools on your list that support business objectives on paper and seem necessary but then discover that they aren’t used very often. This can happen when something like interactive content is part of your marketing plan, but after the technology to support it has been implemented, you find the strategy wasn’t really adopted. If the strategy hasn’t been adopted, it likely means that the approaches and processes haven’t been adjusted accordingly, and your “necessary” technology isn’t being used enough to impact the business. Be sure you understand not just how, but also how frequently, the technologies in your martech stack are being used.
- Is the technology being fully utilized? Marketing technology platforms often provide many features, but all that functionality comes at a price. Make sure you aren’t overinvesting and that you’re using what you’re paying for. If you find technologies that aren’t being fully utilized, start by exploring the capabilities provided by your platform and whether you have any point solutions providing these same features that can be decommissioned. We anticipate that, to optimize their tech stacks, B2B sales and marketing organizations will shed one-third of their point solutions (client access required). Also, consider turning off low-value or unused add-on modules.
- Is the technology costly to remove? There is often overhead that comes with removing technology from your stack. Before you remove anything, look at the upstream and downstream impacts. There may be a technology you can live without, but will removing it break other essential systems or leave critical processes unfinished? Also consider the decommissioning level of effort. If sunsetting a technology will take a lot of time, work, coordination, and clean-up, consider when the best time is for dedicating the spending and resources required to remove it.
If current economic conditions are influencing you to try to do more with less, make sure that any changes made to your martech stack won’t create challenges for you in the future. Leave the door open to reintroduce technologies that support your growth priorities once business stabilizes.