Like many others, I’ve been spending more time in the kitchen lately. My countertop became my work desk, and I’ve been answering calls between prepping meals. All that extra attention had me realizing my kitchen needed a total remodel.
While I consulted kitchen blueprints and picked cabinetry, I couldn’t help but compare the remodel process to marketing challenges from work. The marketing technology (martech) stack especially came to mind. The stack powers your sales and marketing — it holds the technology, data and insights that let your team create memorable and personalized experiences to sway prospects toward your solutions. But when was the last time you really dug into your stack’s nooks and crannies and questioned the tech? Sometimes, like the kitchen, it takes spending more time in it to realize a remodel is well overdue.
As this year has upended traditional revenue plans and goals, you’ll want a clean and well-maintained tech stack feeding your team the most accurate information. Great buyer experiences depend on the best insights, and whatever solutions you’re deploying should help you accomplish that. As you investigate a stack remodel, here’s where I would start.
Clean your junk drawer
Every kitchen has a “junk drawer” where the little things without a home eventually find themselves. Open yours, and what’s inside? There’s surely something useful — soup ladle, can opener, whisk. But you’ll probably also find five whisks when one would suffice, plus a cherry pitter for a pie you’ll never bake.
No remodel can begin without first ruthlessly combing through the junk drawer and keeping only what you really need. My team goes through our stack’s junk drawer at least once per year. Our annual review examines every solution, and we ask tough questions about each one’s value:
- Does it accomplish what it should?
- Does it overlap with another solution?
- How does it contribute to the buyer experience?
- Are we earning an acceptable return on investment (ROI) from it?
When you open your junk drawer, be choosy. Retain the best, and toss whatever you can live without. In an age of tighter budgets, trim your stack of outdated, duplicate or unused solutions.
Invest in the right infrastructure
After clearing the junk, you can then draft fresh blueprints and envision the remodel’s end result. A high-quality remodel requires meticulous planning, but some details are much more important than others to nail at the start. I know chasing shiny features can easily draw you away from the foundation, and that leads to bigger problems down the road. In a kitchen, you could splurge on imported Italian cabinets but install only one electrical outlet. Beautiful, but impractical.
For your martech stack, shiny and expensive applications are your fancy cabinets, and your data is your plumbing and electrical. Set aside the aesthetically pleasing (at least at the beginning), and, instead, examine your underlying infrastructure. You’ll want to know what data your team needs and how it would best serve them. Choose your solutions around that.
If your team doesn’t have a 360-degree customer view or you lack segmentation data, you’re left with a gorgeous kitchen lit by candles and missing a dishwasher. Focus on practicality, and put your initial investment into gathering the right data.
Ensure everything integrates
As you add solutions to your stack, it’s important to double-check how they work together. After all, how annoying is it when you can’t find the right lids for your containers? Your remodel will have you matching every container with every lid and rearranging 50 mugs of all shapes and sizes. But once you line those new cabinets with perfectly arranged containers — when everything fits just right — it’s a great feeling!
Whatever new solutions you install onto your stack should give you that feeling of a perfect fit. For example, if your core customer relationship management (CRM) software is Salesforce, your account intelligence should be displayed in an iframe in Salesforce, not within a totally separate interface. Your team knows the data is in the mug cabinet and won’t waste time checking under the sink or in the refrigerator.
With one data source informing the entire experience, your marketing and sales team can deliver targeted and personalized outreach and content to buyers. That’s extremely important for an account-based marketing (ABM) platform, where you’re orchestrating interactions with multiple buyers per account. Plus, your buyers are sharing information over email, chat and your website; tracking these interactions and how they affect your buyers’ intent makes the difference. A well-integrated stack organizes data and helps your team produce accurate insights to move prospects down your funnel.
Regularly wash out gradoo
Now that your stack is neat and tidy, you’ll want to keep it that way, right? What often happens is a team will work with a new stack for several months, plugging in data and churning out results. Over time, however, old, bad data gums up the stack. Without cleaning it regularly, you’re right back where you started.
I call this stuff “gradoo.” It’s like the cookie sheet nobody has scrubbed in months. Sure, technically, it works — you can bake chocolate chip cookies on it. But is an inch-thick layer of gradoo appetizing? You don’t want that gross sheet lying around your new, beautiful kitchen.
Just like you’d clean your kitchen, plan a recurring deep clean of your tech stack. Scrub old, useless data, and undo tangled integrations and outdated processes. Systems and kitchens also don’t clean themselves (not yet, anyway), so empower a point person in your organization who is responsible for preventing future gradoo. That’ll help keep your stack spotless and well maintained, delivering more value for your team and building a better buyer journey.
Now, remodels are ongoing. I’ve touched up plenty of spots in my kitchen and our stack over time. But your team deserves the best solutions to work with, so give them a remodeled stack and watch as they deliver memorable and persuasive buyer experiences.