By Julia Bye
Whenever a new tool or software is released that can make a marketer’s life easier, we often jump on it—especially if said tool can increase productivity and decrease time spent staring at spreadsheets.
Tech is great when it works the way it needs to work, but that, unfortunately, isn’t always the case. If your team uses too many programs that don’t communicate with each other properly, it can take up unnecessary time. Alternatively, if you invest in too little, your competitors may leave you in the dust.
Here are four telltale signs it’s time to evaluate your current software platforms and commit time to performing a tech stack audit.
Sometimes the technologies you are using work great within their systems but don’t communicate with other vital systems. This can cause inefficiencies in marketers’ already-busy schedules. An obvious example of this is when you are creating reports and have to look in 10 different platforms for the data you need.
Data silos also hinder collaboration between departments. Frequent communication and collaboration are vitally important between sales and marketing departments for scaling the company and reaching goals. If your teams aren’t pulling data from the same place, this will impact what overall success looks like—you will have a hard time distinguishing between what is working and what’s not.
If there isn’t an easy integration, consider a different technology that may fit your needs better. Even if the better-integrating technology is more expensive, consider the time saved as an important ROI when weighing the overall cost of implementation.
Are the integrations between systems firing the way they should? When the technologies you use to automate processes are creating errors instead of efficiencies for your team, it may be time to find a better solution. Even the small issues can turn into big issues over a longer period of time or when looking at the big picture and the amount of time it takes your team to check for accuracy.
Don’t leave data issues unsolved; it will come back to bite you in the butt later. Fix the kinks or find a platform that works for you the way you need it to.
This may seem like an obvious sign that it’s time to do a tech stack audit. But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve conducted a tech stack audit for a client and find great software that they aren’t using—often because they don’t know how to use it properly or they aren’t aware they have access to it.
Pro tip: As more and more people are working from home, you will want to consider training around your tech stack as an onboarding process. This will ensure that new team members know what tools are available and how to use them properly.
Also, be sure to evaluate tools for duplicate functions. Consider consolidating any tools/programs whose abilities overlap. In the SaaS world, companies are frequently expanding and acquiring more service options that may help consolidate your martech stack.
For example, Terminus, an ABM platform, just acquired an ABM chat company that is now part of the Terminus toolkit. This means that a company utilizing Terminus likely doesn’t need to allocate budget for a separate chat platform.
When it comes time to submit your yearly marketing budget, you want to ensure that every line item is justified and that your team is getting the biggest bang for its buck. Yearly budgeting is the perfect time to execute a tech stack audit. Be sure to ask the following questions when evaluating your tech stack:
A tech stack audit does more than just save on the cost of an unused platform—it evaluates the overall ROI of the tool within your organization. At a minimum, your organization should conduct a tech stack audit on a yearly basis to keep teams communicating and integrations running smoothly. Keep an up-to-date spreadsheet that lists your tech stack and its capabilities.
About the author
Julia Bye is a Minneapolis-based Director, Client Strategy for SmartBug Media. With a background in agency marketing, she specializes in lead generation, lead nurturing, sales enablement, and content-based tactics that focus on her client's sales and marketing goals. Read more articles by Julia Bye.