Sales and Martech Bloat: The #1 Hidden Problem at Scaling Companies
Author| Published: June 2, 2022
Does this scenario sound familiar?
A start-up is born. The tiny team there sets up social accounts, runs digital ads, builds the sales materials, and starts attracting customers.
As the company grows, each day presents a new problem to solve. Employees make a case for software that can help them: a marketing tool like Mailchimp or Hootsuite; a CRM like HubSpot or Salesforce; sales tools like Gong; or a ticketing system like Zendesk. These systems get deployed quickly to address an immediate need and help the company grow.
The start-up becomes successful. Over months or years, it grows its customer base, gets additional investment, and expands its workforce. Now a late-stage start-up or scale-up, it has a bigger team of experts to build out specific aspects of marketing, sales, or customer success.
Over this period, more demands have been placed on the original sales or marketing software. Different teams have configured them for their own use. Layers have been added to the original setup. Integrations and dependencies have been created. The software might even be integrated with custom programs and native products.
By now, the cost to maintain this company’s sales and martech stack has skyrocketed. The original tiers for the software subscriptions were blown through long ago. New standalone software or plugins have been added for specific purposes by different team members.
Unfortunately, some of the people who approved, implemented, or used the sales or martech software have left. Very few people in the company can grasp the complete picture of its prospects and customers. There is no single source of truth.
Sales and Martech Bloat Defined
Your company might be suffering from Sales and Martech Bloat when it is impossible or difficult to do any of the following:
- Forecast anticipated revenue
- Track all interactions and touchpoints between you and your customers
- Use data about your customers to segment and target them differently
- Justify the cost of your sales and martech software and demonstrate its ROI
Your team might also complain that using these systems is repetitive or time-consuming. Or that it doesn’t enable the company to get the best results.
Ultimately, if you feel that software is hurting you as much as it is helping you, you’re likely encountering Sales and Martech Bloat.
The Risks of Sales and Martech Bloat
Sure, we’d all like to use software that works perfectly. But is that realistic? The business has other, more important priorities than this. Why bother trying to fix something that is low priority?
The risks are hidden, but they are huge. In explorations with many clients in the past 18 months, we’ve seen the following impact:
Why is Sales and Martech Bloat happening?
It’s usually more than just one thing. Sometimes the software is mismatched and incapable of doing what the business needs to do. Perhaps it hasn’t been set up correctly, or users aren’t trained to use it. Systems might be siloed, overlap, and disconnected. Not following a best practice years ago might have a snowball effect, leading to issues the company is struggling with now.
The fact is, many in-house teams typically aren’t equipped to set up, use, and evolve sales and marketing technology. They are too busy marketing, selling, or keep clients happy. And the sales and marketing software providers usually only answer general helpdesk inquiries.
We believe Sales, Marketing, and Success teams deserve better than to put up with Sales and Martech Bloat.
Instead of bogging down in-house teams, scaling companies need revenue operations experts to unblock roadblocks and align platforms, process, and people. That’s typically where we come in.
As sales, marketing, and revenue operations professionals ourselves, the Inflectiv team has seen the good, bad, and ugly of companies and technology. We’ve had to work through implementations, and we’ve had to live with the technology well after it launches.
What can you do if you think your organization suffers from Sales and Martech Bloat?
If you suspect an issue, we recommend taking these steps:
- Diagnose the situation and ask questions. What exactly does this system do? Who set it up this way, and why? Is there a simpler way to do this?
- Talk to your peers. Are they having issues too? What are their workarounds? Who might be able to help resolve some immediate challenges? If nothing else, finding out who else is struggling make you feel less alone.
- Explore best practices. There are some incredible resources available online, including many by platforms like HubSpot. Better yet – reach out to other sales, marketing, or success pros in your network and ask them how they are using their sales or marketing technology.
- Develop a scorecard. Fill in a small table with headings for what you need your Sales/Martech to do your company. Then assign marks for how well your company can actually do these things in its current state. This can be an incredible way to organize information, get feedback, and alignment – especially if there are gaps and silos at your company.
- Bring in external experts. Sometimes an external group can unblock a complex tech bloat issue – especially if they have a good track record helping similar companies. In addition to having encountered the situation before, look for a firm with communications expertise to ensure the new solution actually takes root.