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Stay Away From Technology Islands

June 05, 2012 | By Jonathan Block

B-to-b organizations are inundated with technology solutions that are marketed or categorized as “driving revenue,” “lifting sales performance” or “providing marketing automation.” Other technology products are simply offered as tools that solve a specific problem such as executing email marketing programs or managing sales incentives. In either case, organizations often have difficulty discerning the true value that such technologies will provide.

B-to-b organizations are inundated with technology solutions that are marketed or categorized as “driving revenue,” “lifting sales performance” or “providing marketing automation.” Other technology products are simply offered as tools that solve a specific problem such as executing email marketing programs or managing sales incentives. In either case, organizations often have difficulty discerning the true value that such technologies will provide.

With the increasing availability of technology solutions targeting a wide range of sales and marketing issues, it’s useful for an organization to understand the full range of options to address such business problems. In addition to recognizing the differences between seemingly similar products, organizations must ensure that a vendor can actually demonstrate how its solution solves business issues related to specific sales and marketing activities, such as driving awareness, creating demand or measuring sales performance.

But choosing a tool without considering its ability to integrate with existing enterprise systems to share data will not improve the visibility or measurability of sales or marketing. Just as important as understanding the different tools and their capabilities in individual categories is learning how they can work together to form a critical backbone that drives productivity and insight between sales and marketing and the rest of the organization. This is one of the most important considerations when evaluating and choosing a technology vendor. Remember to identify the key systems within your enterprise that must share data and make sure that the vendors you’re evaluating can integrate with the appropriate systems.

Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block is Vice President and Practice Director, Technology, at SiriusDecisions. He has developed key models and frameworks that enable b-to-b organizations to understand, evaluate and implement appropriate marketing and sales technologies, as well as advised executive clients on the role of technology to help drive sales and marketing integration and enterprise alignment. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @jblock.

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