After a decade of extraordinary expansion in the marketing technology and wider CRM sector, there is an emerging trend for leading brands to begin the process of condensing their sales and marketing tech stacks.
In part, this is due to the fact that the underlying sophistication of CRM platforms has improved to a point where they can meet most of the most common uses cases most of the time.
For more specific needs, CMOs are integrating with the best of breed solutions to deliver the specialist capabilities.
According to Scott Brinker, VP ecosystem, HubSpot there are several important implications for marketers from this trend.
“The marketing technology landscape, over the past decade there's this incredible explosion of all these different marketing and sales technologies.”
The problem, said Brinker, is that for quite some time they operated independently like different silos.
“While we had a lot of capabilities in each, the integration challenge across them was something that a lot of marketing sales, customer success organisations struggled with," he said.
“What we now have seen certainly with HubSpot, but across the CRM space, in general, is the sophistication of the underlying CRM platform has raised to a level that is able to serve 80 percent of the use cases for most of the companies consistently across those different functional areas.
“And at the same time, they have leaned into opening up the platform to let other products integrate to meet the other 20 per cent of needs.”
Of course, that still requires markets to make choices about what is core and what is tactical.
“I look at those almost as a stack layer view. The first and foremost layer in which you want a unified platform is the data."
He said that while marketers have been talking about the system of record for a long time, conceptually, the reality is that many organisations have multiple systems of record.
However the fundamental idea behind a CRM, he said, is to ensure there is one source of truth for customer-related that can be leveraged consistently in marketing, sales, and customer service.
“I think then the next layer on top of that is when you start talking about the orchestration, and workflows within a particular team… but also, interestingly, starting to look at workflows that cross departments which is really exciting, when you have cases [involving] the handoffs from marketing to the sales, when you have opportunities, like with a customer service organisation, that might find an upgrade opportunity that's relevant to the sales organisation.”
Moving even further from the stack, he said, “You're talking about different channels different experiences that we're delivering on those channels there are a set of relatively universal capabilities that we now expect a CRM platform to have, such as how we're going to engage in email channels, and how we're going to have our landing pages and web capabilities.”
There is, however, still a huge amount of specialisation that exists.
“I think that's then typically where you want the CRM platform to be open, so you have the freedom to plug those into your environment."