The Next Debate: The Convergence Of Mar Tech And Sales Tech

Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Brian Andersen, partner at LUMA Partners.

There have been numerous articles published about the convergence of ad tech and mar tech, and whether it’s happening or not.

As I presented at the AdExchanger Industry Preview conference in January, I am firmly in the camp that ad tech and mar tech are converging. However, this convergence is really centered in business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing, where advertising is front and center of a company’s marketing activities. Think P&G, Unilever, Ford, Home Depot, AT&T, American Express and other large advertisers.

But business-to-business (B2B) marketing is different. While there are innovative companies that have married ad tech and mar tech for B2B, the more prevalent interaction is between mar tech and sales tech. This is because selling goods and services to companies is a very different process than selling goods to consumers.

A buzz phrase that emerged in B2B marketing in the past couple years is account-based marketing (ABM). Since the definition of ABM seems to vary within the market, here are two definitions from industry thought leaders:

“Account-based marketing is a strategic approach that coordinates personalized marketing and sales efforts to open doors and deepen engagement at specific accounts.” – Jon Miller, CEO and co-founder at Engagio

“Instead of leveraging a set of broad-reaching programs designed to touch the largest possible number of prospective customers, an ABM strategy focuses marketing and sales resources on a defined set of targeted accounts and employs personalized campaigns designed to resonate with each individual account. With ABM, your marketing message is based on the attributes and needs of the account you’re targeting, hence the name account-based marketing.” – David Cain, former global vice president of global marketing at Marketo (currently CMO at PlanGrid)

What are the commonalities among these definitions? One is that marketing and sales are coordinated around the common goal of targeting and landing specific accounts. Another commonality: Personalized interactions are required.

However, sales tech historically has been dominated by one type of product: CRM software. But CRM software is designed mostly to enable sales management to monitor the actions of salespeople and track relationships with prospects as they move through the pipeline. What they don’t do is arm the individual salesperson to be successful in those interactions.

With US companies spending more than $800 billion on sales compensation per year, according to the Harvard Business Review, there is a huge opportunity to leverage innovative sales tech to make those resources as effective as possible. Studies by InsideSales and others have shown that companies that invest in sales-enablement technologies close bigger and more deals in less time than companies that underinvest.

As more enterprises adopt sales technologies and implement ABM, we will naturally see more alignment between sales and marketing teams and the systems they use. And as shown in the Sales Tech LUMAscape, this also extends to post-sale activities, such as customer success and support.

Stepping back, we have all observed the significant venture investment in ad tech – or overinvestment, as many would argue – and mar tech, and we are now seeing a significant uptick in investment in sales tech. We have witnessed a significant volume of ad tech acquisitions and are seeing an increasing number of mar tech deals. We can, therefore, logically expect to see more sales tech transactions over time.

Follow LUMA (@LUMA_partners) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

 

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