With the explosion of sales and marketing technologies in recent years, many B2B organizations have acted like kids in a toy store. They’ve loaded up on solutions that appear to be really cool gadgets.
But the results of that buying spree have been mixed, Evan Liang believes. And it’s why when he was asked on the “Stack & Flow” podcast about the capabilities of modern tech stacks, Liang said he would only give most businesses a “C” grade. In other words, there’s plenty of room for improvement.
“There’s a lot of people just buying shiny new objects and not really understanding how they fit into their process,” said Liang, the co-founder and CEO of lead-management company LeanData. “ . . . You really have to customize everything for your business and your go-to-market strategy. There needs to be greater sophistication so that you’re using everything in your stack better.”
Liang recently was a guest on “Stack & Flow,” which is hosted by Infer Director of Product Marketing Sean Zinsmeister and EventHero Vice President of Marketing John Wall. The podcast focuses on how technology is solving problems faced by businesses today.
The discussion with Liang shifted toward how organizations could be doing more with the tech products they likely already have in their stacks. Specifically, Liang said companies are not:
- Tailoring tools for their business. “There’s a lot of, ‘Hey this worked for XYZ company, let’s see what it can do for us,’ ” he said. “But you have to realize that everyone’s process is different.”
- Using tools that integrate with one another. “You have to understand how products in your stack can work together better. That’s the 1 + 1 = 3 idea,” he said. “. . . Instead, the stack today is very siloed. There’s so much more opportunity to customize and integrate the multiple vendors in your stack.”
One example of smart collaboration, he added, is how LeanData’s routing solution pairs with Infer’s predictive analytics product. In fact, making sure that LeanData “plays well” with other technologies has been a major factor in the startup’s growth. Liang said that compatibility begins by being on the AppExchange and native to the popular cloud-based Salesforce CRM.
“If you put it in Salesforce, we can work with it,” he added. “And that’s good because businesses view Salesforce as the master system of record — the Holy Grail.”
The wide-ranging discussion explored several hot-button topics that every data-driven business is wrestling with when it comes to technology. They included:
- Overcoming the challenge of poor data quality. (“What we see on the Infer side is there’s just a lot of bad data problems out there,” Zinsmeister said.)
- The long-term future of the Account-Based Marketing trend.
- How lead routing orchestrates the customer journey.
Zinsmeister added that the “stack of the future” appears to revolve around an orchestration of many different tools that are capable of sharing data.
“It seems like many companies are adopting that approach,” he said.
Liang agreed. The advantage of having done hundreds of implementations with companies over the last four years, he said, is that LeanData can offer guidance to customers for lead routing best-practices. The first piece of advice is always the same — every business is unique. That means not only will each organization’s routing process be distinctive, but so will the tools leveraged in its tech stack.
“Integrations are so easy right now that you can get best-in-breed in each of the different areas,” Liang said of technology categories. “Everyone’s stack is going to be different. I don’t think there’s going to be a one-size-fits-all for everyone.”