By Sangram Vajre

In the technology world, the term stack is used to describe the software, systems, and tools that comprise your organization’s infrastructure. In the business-to-business (B2B) marketing world, you also have several different software platforms that make up your “stack.” This technology is mostly web-based.

Almost all MarTech software platforms and applications are web-based. This means your marketing and salespeople can access these tools anytime, anywhere.

If you don’t have a CRM and a marketing automation system, stop reading here. You can’t execute account-based marketing at scale. ABM will be a time-consuming manual process for your team.

There are a few essential pieces you need to complete the B2B software puzzle. These software platforms must be in your MarTech stack:

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system: Your company needs a centralized place to store and manage all of your customers’ contact information. This includes both your current clients and prospects. A CRM is the best place to store all of this information. The CRM serves as your central data repository. All of your data should be stored here instead of spreadsheets, as this can cause data silos. Data silos are a problem because they make it impossible for your team to access and update information in real time. The good news is that modern CRM platforms have a robust application programming interface (API). The API lets your systems “talk” to each other. Salesforce integrates with almost every type of MarTech software in the marketplace. Salesforce is the 800 lb. gorilla, with more than 100,000 companies are using it, as there are options for small, mid-market, and enterprise-level organizations. This figure shows an example of a contact in a CRM.
CRM
Using your CRM to store contact information.
  • Marketing Automation: The term marketing automation refers to using a single platform for tracking engagement with contacts in your CRM. A marketing automation platform gives you the tools to create activities then monitors the level of activity each contact is engaged in. Marketing automation is used for scoring the contacts created in your CRM.

Whenever you add a new contact record to your CRM, the data is pulled into your marketing automation system through the API. Examples of marketing automation systems include Marketo, HubSpot, Eloqua, Salesfusion, and Pardot. Using a marketing automation tool, you can identify your customers, build lists, and send content. This figure shows the home page of a marketing automation platform.

Home-Page
Using your marketing automation system to streamline activities.
  • Content Management System (CMS): A CMS is the platform where you host your company’s website. The most popular CMS on the market today is WordPress because of its easy-to-use functionality. All of the pages for your company’s website are created and uploaded. The CMS also gives you a platform for posting blog content. This figure shows the central dashboard of a CMS.
CMS
Using a CMS to host your website and blog.

Thousands of templates are available for WordPress, some of which can be easily customized to reflect your business’s brand standards.

A custom CMS is more expensive than implementing a WordPress or Drupal platform. If you need customized development, prepared to invest thousands of dollars.

  • Social media: Modern B2B marketing and sales professionals must be engaged on social media platforms. There are two essential social media platforms:
    • Twitter can be used to find individuals, companies, and trends using hashtags. This figure shows an example of a Twitter profile.
    • LinkedIn is used to search for individuals and companies. This figure shows a LinkedIn profile.

Facebook is a powerful social media tool for advertising, but when it comes to engaging directly with contacts in your target accounts, stick to LinkedIn and Twitter.

  • Account-based marketing (ABM): You need to reach your best-fit accounts and the contacts within those accounts, then monitor engagement. An ABM platform lets you do this, while also controlling your advertising and the messages you’re sending. Analytics capabilities are also included to see how successfully those campaigns target your prospects. The beauty of account-based marketing is you are engaging accounts on their terms through targeted advertising.

Combining these platforms builds your MarTech stack. This figure shows an example of a MarTech stack.

Stack
Example of a MarTech Stack.