8 questions to ask marketing work management vendors during the demo
Once you have determined that marketing work management software makes sense for your business and have spent time researching individual vendors, it’s time to schedule demos with your selected vendors. We recommend setting up demos within a relatively short time frame after receiving RFP responses to help make relevant comparisons. Also, make sure that all potential internal users are on the demo call, and pay attention to the following:How easy the platform is to use.Whether the vendor seems to understand your business and your needs.If they are showing you your “must-have” features.And whether the reporting is actionable.But a good demo is one where not only is the vendor demonstrating platform capabilities clearly, but also is answering all of your questions in a way that gives you greater confidence in the tool or service.Here are eight questions you should ask when demoing marketing work management software:How robust and flexible are your reporting options and visualizations?Different users have different reporting needs. Find out if reports can be customized and automatically delivered to different users and types of users, and whether data can be exported in CSV format.What workflow and project methodologies does your tool support?Is it focused largely toward Agile or Waterfall, or does it include aspects of both?How are permissions and access by non-licensees handled?If you plan to use the tool to coordinate with contractors or clients, you should look for tools that offer robustsharing options, including free guest accounts that won’t incur additional licensing fees. Also consider how granularly the different types of accounts can be set up, so that you can expose just the right amount of information to the different users and stakeholders.With regard to projects, tasks, sub-tasks, etc., what is the hierarchy within the tool and how is it organized?If you plan to use the tool within multiple departments, at multiple locations or with each of your clients, you must ensure you can keep initiatives separate from one another within the tool – both to prevent the leakage of proprietary information, and to avoid confusing users with too much data that they don’t need.Where are the actionable reports?Enterprise tools typically have dashboards and generous amounts of data but it’s very important to understand how, and, which reports can immediately benefit your business. A good sales team will understand yourcompany’s objectives and KPIs and will have reports ready or be able to run them in real-time.What does the onboarding process entail and how long will it take for my team to get up and running?What are the training options, i.e., is it online only…or will you send people to our location to train us on site? Be sure to find out what onboarding and support is included in pricing and what is an add-on.What kind of ongoing support and client engagement will your account team provide? How will you gauge our use or non-use of the platform’s features?One of the most common reasons a company transitions out of an enterprise platform is because they don’t use it enough. How do they propose you avoid tool fatigue and checkout for your organization? A vendor should be prepared to address this issue and specifically how the tool creatively engages users and gets them back into the environment. Quick and effective resolution of user questions is also an important factor, as it can make a significant difference in the speed of adoption.What new features are you considering? What’s the long-term roadmap and launch dates?The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing. It’s important to understand a vendor’s level of innovation and its ability to add and track emerging technologies. How do they solicit suggestions and feature requests from users, and what kind of influence do these have? Knowing a vendor’s new feature release date schedule and its ability to stick to committed timelines is also very important. This helps establish a long-term trust and relationship with the vendor based on the understanding that it will always be on the cutting edge.If the vendor answers all of your questions well and the platform seems to meet your needs, that means it’s time to move on the checking references, speaking with existing customers, and ultimately negotiating the contract.Marketing work management: A snapshotWhat it is: Marketing work management platforms help marketing leaders and their teams structure their day-to-day work to meet their goals on deadline and within budget constraints, all while managing resources and facilitating communication and collaboration. Functions may include task assignments, time tracking, budgeting, team communication and file sharing, among others.Why it’s important today. Work environments have changed drastically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has heightened the need for work management tools that help marketers navigate these new workflows.Marketers have been at work developing processes that allow them to work with those outside their own offices since marketing projects—campaigns, websites, white papers, or webinars—frequently involve working with outside sources.Also, with marketers required to design interfaces, write content, and create engaging visual assets today, more marketers are adopting agile workflow practices, which often have features to support agile practices.What the tools do. All of these changes have heightened the need for marketing work management software, which optimizes and documents the projects undertaken by digital marketers. They often integrate with other systems like digital asset management platforms and creative suites. But most importantly, these systems improve process clarity, transparency, and accountability, helping marketers keep work on track.Read next: What is marketing work management and how do these platforms support agile marketing About The Author Pamela Parker is Research Director at Third Door Media’s Content Studio, where she produces MarTech Intelligence Reports and other in-depth content for digital marketers in conjunction with Search Engine Land and MarTech. Prior to taking on this role at TDM, she served as Content Manager, Senior Editor and Executive Features Editor. Parker is a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since its beginning. She’s a former managing editor of ClickZ and has also worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing. Parker earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.
Sales and marketing misalignment is a trillion-dollar problem. Here are 5 ways to fix it.
The feud between marketing and sales is costly, but it can be avoided.In order to do so, sales and marketing teams need must align to maximize brand awareness, increase revenue and strengthen consistent communications to your customers throughout every step of their buyer’s journey. So, how can marketers enable sales to do their job better and vice versa?Join Drift’s Meghan Flannery, director of go-to-market, and Julianne Thompson, director of sales development, and discover best practices and tools to create more harmony between revenue teams. From actionable campaign plays you can steal to technologies that keep your teams honest, this is a can’t-miss webinar for any marketing leader.Register today for “5 Ways to Fix the Trillion-Dollar Marketing & Sales Misalignment Problem” presented by Drift.Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.About The Author Cynthia Ramsaran is director of custom content at Third Door Media, publishers of Search Engine Land and MarTech. A multi-channel storyteller with over two decades of editorial/content marketing experience, Cynthia’s expertise spans the marketing, technology, finance, manufacturing and gaming industries.
Jana Partners LLC slams Zendesk’s proposed Momentive acquisition
In an unusual move, investment firm Jana Partners LLC has publicly released a letter to the Zendesk Board of Directors strongly advising against the proposed acquisition of Momentive. Describing itself as a “significant shareholder” in Zendesk (along with partners), Jana Partners describes the acquisition as lacking financial merit and strategic logic and coming with a “high degree of execution risk for Zendesk shareholders.”Indeed, immediately following the announcement of the proposed acquisition on October 28, Zendesk’s shares fell sharply against a background of criticism by analysts. Momentive is an AI-powered insights solution built around Survey Monkey, the flagship survey platform.Among Jana Partners’ specific objections are:The clash between Zendesk’s strategy of securing enterprise customers and the former Survey Monkey’s SMB customer base;The likelihood that the acquisition will dilute Zendesk’s potential for standalone growth;The possibility of creating a deeper integration with Momentive rather than seeking to own it; andIssues Zendesk was having with execution within its own business, prior to the announcement.Then it gets personal, asking if the friendship between the Zendesk and Momentive CEOs has been a factor or if the Board is not “sufficiently engaged” to protect shareholder interests.Why we care. Obviously this is not the first time investors have publicly challenged a company’s strategy. Those who covered it will not have forgotten the buffeting Marissa Mayer took at Yahoo from activist investors. But it’s unusual, at least in the marketing tech space, to read such a savage and personal critique. But as Jana Partners points out, the market seems to agree. About The Author Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space. He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020. Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.
6 steps to help you prioritize tasks when everything is a priority
Urgent requests make it hard to prioritize the most strategic jobs. But when you standardize and centralize the entire process, you can make data-driven resource decisions and ensure the most strategic work gets done first.In this webinar, join Adobe Workfront as they share six proven methods to handle the onslaught of marketing requests, prioritize the most important work, and increase your value to make 2022 your best year yet.Register today for “Your New Year’s Marketing Resolution: Master the Art of Saying No With These 6 Steps,” presented by Integrate.Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.About The Author Cynthia Ramsaran is director of custom content at Third Door Media, publishers of Search Engine Land and MarTech. A multi-channel storyteller with over two decades of editorial/content marketing experience, Cynthia’s expertise spans the marketing, technology, finance, manufacturing and gaming industries.
How to decide if you need an account-based marketing platform
Deciding whether or not your company needs an ABM tool calls for the same level of evaluation involved in any software adoption, including a comprehensive self-assessment of our organization’s business needs, staff capabilities, management support and financial resources. Use the following questions as a guideline to determine the answers.Have we identified our ABM goals?Implementing an ABM strategy can provide many benefits to the organization – but you first need to understand what you want to achieve. Are you looking to increase upsell and cross-sell opportunities at key accounts to improve customer lifetime value? Or do you want to expand into a new segment, territory or vertical market?Can sales and marketing work together to identify our target accounts?Both sales and marketing must agree on the accounts to target, as well as the criteria for choosing target accounts and when to add (or remove) them from the ABM program. Marketing’s idea of what is a high-priority account needs to match sales’ idea of a high-priority account, or your ABM strategy won’t work. Make sure the two organizations are ready to cooperate on target account definition and selection.Do we have C-suite buy-in?Many B2B marketers find the C-suite is actively involved in ABM – so you’ll need senior executive buy-in before you get started. With a clear mandate from the top of the organization, both marketing and sales leaders will remain accountable for ABM results and ensure that their respective organizations will collaborate as necessary.Who will own or manage ABM?Marketing and sales must be closely aligned for any ABM strategy to be successful. So both organizations need to understand their responsibilities and be accountable for ABM tool use and adoption.Can we invest in organizational training?ABM is a strategy, not just a software investment. It’s critical that all internal stakeholders understand the fundamentals of ABM, and how to execute the strategy through the adoption of any ABM tools that your organization might license. Many ABM tool vendors offer an array of add-on professional services to help with strategy goals, in addition to onboarding and training on their products. Training needs to be comprehensive, consistent and continuous.Have we established KPIs and put a system in place for tracking, measuring and reporting results?Once you’ve established your goals and communicated them throughout the sales and marketing organizations, you’ll need to decide on the metrics that are most important to your ABM efforts and monitor your progress in achieving them. Remember to set clear expectations: initially, ABM will create more work for busy sales staff. Be sure to explain the benefits of ABM to the sales organization, and perhaps incentivize their participation.Snapshot: Account-based marketingB2B marketers have used account-based marketing, or ABM, for years. But shifts in technology and disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic have accelerated its widespread adoption among marketers.B2B buyers perform heavy amounts of research before contacting a salesperson, which gives them an upper hand in transactions. This tendency, too, has increased as a result of the pandemic. Salesforce’s “State of the Connected Customer” report found that an estimated 60% of business interactions now take place online, as opposed to 42% in 2019. What’s more, their survey showed that 80% of B2B buyers expect to conduct more business online in the future than ever before.The amount of B2B purchasers has increased, though many report difficulties in the buying process. As a result, more B2B brands are adopting ABM models to address these issues.The results of these adoptions are promising. In a Forrester/SiriusDecisions survey of marketers, the majority of respondents said account engagement, win rate, average deal size, and ROI increased after implementing an ABM strategy. Because of this ABM vendors are reaping the benefits as B2B marketers invest in these technologies and apply them to their channels. Learn more here. About The Author Pamela Parker is Research Director at Third Door Media’s Content Studio, where she produces MarTech Intelligence Reports and other in-depth content for digital marketers in conjunction with Search Engine Land and MarTech. Prior to taking on this role at TDM, she served as Content Manager, Senior Editor and Executive Features Editor. Parker is a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since its beginning. She’s a former managing editor of ClickZ and has also worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing. Parker earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.