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How to Build a Smart SaaS Stack for Marketing Teams

6 min read Sanjay Krishna

Marketing is taking a bigger slice of the pie in 2022. In fact, three out of four Chief Marketing Officers said that their budget actually increased from 2021. Much of this capital will be directed to digital-first marketing strategies. 

To get the most out of these online campaigns, companies will need to expand their SaaS technology stack and add powerful MarTech tools. But it’s not just a matter of fancier apps—you still have to build your stack the right way. 

Here are our top tips on how to build your company’s marketing SaaS stack, plus five must-have tools. 

What is a “SaaS Stack”?

A SaaS stack is a collection of software-as-a-service tools that integrate together to power much of your business operations. When it comes to marketing, your stack should be able to analyze and increase lead generation, improve your buyer journey, and scale your business through customer retention and new logo growth. 

Marketing tools can help you accomplish these objectives by automating, measuring, and guiding your marketing team through their most frequent marketing activities. A popular infographic, Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic from Scott Brinker, shows that there are almost 10,000 MarTech platform vendors available for companies to purchase in 2022. 

These tools are used to streamline communication with customers, analyze the performance of marketing campaigns, and automate internal processes. This becomes especially important today, when customers expect real time, omnichannel engagement with brands. B2B companies need to engage with thousands of leads in a way that is genuine and engaging. A strong marketing technology stack can make this personalization at scale significantly easier. 

No matter which types of tools you need, make sure that they come with extensive data analysis capabilities that allow your team to target the right customers, improve the buyer journey, and deliver the right content at the right time. 

What makes a good SaaS Stack?

With thousands of MarTech vendors out there, finding the right tools for your technology stack should be straightforward, right? Unfortunately, marketing teams have to deal with the same problem as the rest of the organization—avoiding bloated stacks while getting the most value out of what they have. 

Streamlining your MarTech stack is just as important as the rest of your SaaS infrastructure. Without it, much of the functionality can go to waste. In fact, 68% of MarTech leaders are struggling to use all of the capabilities in their marketing stack. When there are always new tools on the market that can solve every niche problem, marketers should avoid buying more than they actually need. 

One way to make sure you keep your tech stack working smoothly and efficiently—regular audits. A bloated technology stack can have the unintended consequence of slowing down marketing operations, especially when everyone is using their preferred tools in silos. Regularly auditing your SaaS tools can help you get a grasp of what capabilities you have–and which tools need to get the boot. 

What are the must-haves in your Marketing SaaS Stack?

While every company has their own unique SaaS stack, there are five key tools that are absolutely must-haves for a successful marketing team:

Content Management Systems (CMS)

The majority of your buyers will start their research for software by searching online. That said, if your business is not on the first page of Google, you’re in trouble. Your website and your web page content are instrumental to your business success. CMS tools help give your website content structure so buyers can find your pricing page, thought leadership blog posts, event microsites, and more.

Examples of some of the more popular CMS platforms include: WordPress, Hubspot, Joomla, Shopify, Weebly, and Wix.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Your company CRM is the hub of all marketing and sales data. It stores your interactions with customers, sales opportunities, and new leads. Marketers can slice and dice huge repositories of data on what makes someone a customer for life, allowing you to improve across all of your marketing outreach. Every marketing qualified lead that’s generated from your campaigns will reach your sales team through your CRM—bringing them one step closer to becoming a new customer.

Popular CRM platforms are Salesforce, FreshWorks, Zoho CRM, and Pipedrive.

Marketing Automation

Marketing outreach is complex. There are dozens of channels to reach your target buyer and buyers can interact with many of them before they speak to a sales rep. That’s why automating your marketing programs is crucial. 

Key functionality to look for in marketing automation platforms includes automated emails, social media posts, and personalization. Your marketing automation tool should integrate seamlessly with your CRM. Every interaction your sales reps have with a lead can be used to improve your marketing outreach.

You can automate your marketing with platforms like Marketo, Constant Contact, HubSpot, or Customer.io to name a few.

Email Marketing

Email is not dead. In fact, email engagement is the top metric B2B marketers use to track and measure the performance of their content. It’s still one of the best ways to engage with potential buyers. 

With email marketing software, you can segment your leads and contacts and target buyers based on what’s most important to them. You can even set up automated workflows that take leads through a series of emails. The faster you respond to a lead, the more likely that lead is to convert into a sales opportunity.

Email marketing platform include Mailchimp, Sendible, Benchmark Email, or Omnisend.

Partner relationship management (PRM)

Don’t forget about your channel partners! Partners are an effective way to expand your reach to new customers, co-market events and product releases, and fill in any feature gaps that your products may have. A strong partner relationship management system can automate lead delivery based on location, industry, and more. 

Through a PRM, you can provide enablement, real time communication, documentation, and any other resources to help your partner succeed. Make sure your PRM vendor integrates with your CRM and other marketing tools.

A few partner relationship management platforms are impact.com, Zinfi, or Allbound. 

How do you build a SaaS Stack for Marketing Teams?

When deciding on which MarTech tools to bring into your SaaS stack, keep your main objectives in mind and address the top priorities for the business. Here are four steps to take when evaluating potential tools for your marketing operations. 

  1. Review your existing tools

Take stock of everything you’re using at the moment. This includes tools used by adjacent teams, like customer support and sales. A SaaS management platform can help you keep track of which capabilities you already have available. That way, you don’t waste money purchasing a redundant tool.

  1. Identify your marketing strategies for the coming year (or longer)

If the business needs to bring in new logos, your marketing budget should support social media tools, a webinar platform, and a way to manage advertisements. To reduce customer churn, prioritize email marketing and lead nurturing tools.

  1. Do your research

With almost 10,000 MarTech tools on the market, deciding which vendors to go with can be more than a little daunting. Narrow down your shortlist for each category of software by ensuring that they have your highest priority features and capabilities.

  1. Continuously monitor your existing and new applications

Detailed oversight of each of your tools, user engagement, and feature adoption can help you decide if you’re getting enough value out of your software. If there’s a problem, speak with your vendor about rightsizing your contract, consolidating tools, or even canceling your contract all together.

For example, in one case Quolum helped a customer remove over 20 unused Grammarly licenses (that’s $3,600 per year just off one tool).

Optimize your SaaS stack – and your spending.

Are you looking to build a smart SaaS stack while staying conscious of time and budget? Check out Quolum’s Guide to Hands on SaaS Vendor Management to learn how to build a strong vendor relationship, optimize your spend, and get the most out of your contracts.

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