The pandemic has forced us to rethink priorities and processes. It’s a pivotal time to re-assess all current and future processes: both within your organization and across your routes to market. Process is the bedrock of a strategic marketing framework. Internally, processes form part of your planning structure, feed into your measurement, reporting, communication and demonstrating commercial success. A clear, tailored process is key to planning and executing a successful marketing mix. It drives targeting and engagement with your desired audiences.
In The CMO Manifesto: A 100-Day Action Plan For Change Agents, by John Ellet, the framework for being a marketing-led agent of change in your organization is simple: Strategy, Structure, People and Process. These are all key elements of the 10 Ps in the B2B Marketing Playbook. We’ve talked about People and Personalization. Which leads us nicely on to Process.
To help get your processes right, inside and outside your organization, we’re looking to marketing technology rock stars, with whom we have had the pleasure of working to bring thought leadership and lead generation strategies to life.
Embrace autonomy and marketing technology – if it works for you
“51% of companies, on average, are using marketing automation, with more than half of B2B businesses (58%) planning to adopt the technology.”
“Beware of creating ‘Frankenstack’!” says Eric Jan C. van Putten, VP of Marketing at Dynamicweb. Too many marketers are not using the data and tech stack they already have. We don't need to ask for a thousand bits of information from colleagues and clients or prospects if we make smarter use of the behavioral data that we already have.
Efficiencies can be made possible by technology and people working together, not in silos. There is a wealth of quality marketing technology, or MarTech available, but it’s of limited use until you find what works for both your business objectives and target audiences. One size most certainly does not fit all: be conscious of what connections you can make with technology, from both communications and data perspectives, rather than duplicating time and effort.
Understanding tech will help drive change management and organizational buy-in, says van Putten. Think of all the repetitive, manual activity, time and human error eliminated by the right tech and processes! According to SAP, automation and machine learning can support brand continuity and protection; making decisions quicker; business innovation, growth and scale; unique insights; and stronger outcomes.
Pegasystems conducted research in 2020 that showed 81% of respondents think automation saves at least four working hours, per person, per week. They found that staff were making good use of this re-captured time. 51% said they are taking the opportunity to learn a new technology, while 47% are engaging in creative activities.
Technology can also be used to gain a greater understanding of your internal and external stakeholders, the language they use and the challenges they face. Use relevant data and insight to plan the right journey for them, then map out your processes and plans accordingly.
Make connections by mapping channels and processes
“As the technology evolves... so increases the opportunity for brands to build higher-value relationships with consumers based on relevance and intimacy.”
Mark Taylor, Chief Experience Officer, Digital Customer Experience Practice, Capgemini
Consider how you can benefit from automation, tech and data in achieving your business objectives as well as engaging your clients and prospects in the right way. Can you improve processes internally to measure return on investment and commercial success? To improve relationships with Sales and the C-Suite? To better personalize and signpost the customer journeys at every stage of the client lifecycle? The answer is yes; you just need to be able to assess how it applies to your objectives and wider business strategy. As van Putten puts it, fit the tech to a longer-term marketing strategy and wider business strategy, then plan accordingly and execute it. Find the right tech to help you serve your customers better.
Pegasystems echoes this in their recent Tech Trends report, where they predict that Hyperautomation will enable “virtuous disruption” for industry leaders. Hyperautomation is the use of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), robotic process automation (RPA), and other advanced technologies to automate and simplify business processes. There is still plenty of scope for growth and improvement in this area, however. The report found that leaders are automating 80% of simple processes, such as routine IT desk tickets or data processing tasks, but, at the other end of the scale, those who have catching up to do say they have automated just 20% of these basic business areas.
Making Marketing and Sales work together
Integration of carefully researched and targeted on and offline channels and campaigns externally is vital. The same goes for internal integration – the need for more aligned and integrated internal processes, communication and collaboration with other teams and departments is crucial for commercial success and has never been greater in an era when remote working across multiple geographies has become the norm. “Clear focus is required. Identify the biggest challenges for your clients, internally and externally.” comments van Putten. “The biggest challenge for marketing operations is being able to demonstrate value to an organization. It’s a problem that shouldn’t exist anymore.”
Communicating in the right way is crucial: Marketing must talk the same language as Sales and the C-Suite to show how they are contributing commercially, e.g., How many leads created and how much of the pipeline has Marketing driven? “Build relationships with key stakeholders.,” he continues. “By using the right language, you own it and can implement your own relevant processes. Get your company excited about the marketing direction and make sure everyone is pointing and moving the same way.”
Agility is everything
Pegasystems points to business process management (BPM) as the “foundation of the future”: a methodology to manage processes and workflows in an organization, with the goal being to increase efficiency, performance, and agility in the day-to-day operations.
Smaller organizations should be able to move much faster, yet in a controlled fashion. They tend to take a “good is good enough” approach that helps them progress, without getting tied up in committees/processes/silos/multiple systems and dealing with legacy systems or rogue departments.
Larger organizations can take a leaf out of the book of their smaller counterparts to create the right systems and processes to be agile and aligned across the business, without succumbing to silos and lack of collaboration and communication. Working together across teams, departments and business units is the clear route forward and can be made simpler and more effective through careful and clever use of technology to enhance processes at every level of the company.
More marketing technology resources for B2B marketers
Look out for more MarTech wisdom from Eric Jan C. van Putten in Thought Leaders Voice, next episode coming soon!
Check out the Dynamicweb WTF: What’s the future of tech digital transformation predictions webinar.
Read the Pegasystems Future Proof 2025: Tech Trends report to find out how the future of technology and marketing combine with business growth and performance.
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