In 2019 I have discovered many separate vendor landscapes – all listed below for everybody to read.
During these projects, I interviewed thousands of marketers on their business processes automation and talked to some 120 marketing software vendors – usually analyst relations staff and product marketing managers, as discussed in this blog.
The vendor-marketers have often commented something like: “strange, there are vendors on your list that I do not see in deals or think I compete with”.
Well, that’s because I first describe a marketing process in my interviews and ask respondents which vendors they work with on that process. I try to avoid category terms invented by other analysts or product managers because the chances are: marketing people don’t think in categories (that’s more of an IT-centric trait).
I’m currently updating my Marketing Lead Management (MLM) report. The survey is in and the new vendor landscape is an interesting mix of Email Service Providers, Marketing Automation vendors and even some describing themselves as Customer Data Platform vendors. My observation is that the MLM process is changing to a Customer Engagement process in many companies and that is why we have this mix.
So the challenge for marketing software marketing professionals is: Do you focus on shining in a category or ensure you are found by marketing professionals when they are seeking a solution to their automation challenges. Sometimes, these objectives and tactics may be mutually exclusive.
Here are the vendor landscapes discovered in my global process-oriented surveys.
Marketing Lead Management (Nov 2018). MLM processes are deployed in marketing and/or sales operations departments to support the collection of unqualified contacts and opportunities from various sources such as: Direct mail or email responses; Database marketing programs; Other multichannel marketing campaigns; Offline interactions such as seminars and tradeshows; Social media contacts; and web pages.
ACT-ON (#1 Overall, #1 Customer Satisfaction), ADESTRA, ADOBE, APRIMO, BPM’ONLINE (#1 Price/Value), CRMNEXT, ENGAGIO, HUBSPOT (#1 Customer Satisfaction), IBM, IMPARTNER, MARKETO, ORACLE, PEGASYSTEMS, RIGHTON INTERACTIVE, SALESFORCE, SAP, SALESFUSION, SUGARCRM, WEBMECANIK, ZOHO
Brand Content Management (Dec 2018). BCM is the management of all digital content assets in order to govern the brand messaging across the company, from corporate brand to the individual messaging statements around products. Companies working in a more distributed (sometimes called local) marketing environment deploy BCM processes to manage content across all their internal organizations, subsidiaries, and/or all business partners.
ADOBE, ANSIRA, BRANDMAKER (#1 Overall), BRANDMUSCLE (#1 Customer Satisfaction), BRANDSYSTEMS (#1 Customer Satisfaction), BYNDER, CAPITAL ID, CELUM, CENSHARE (#1 Price/Value), CODE WORLDWIDE, EPISERVER, IBM, MARCOM CENTRAL (#1 Price/Value), NORTHPLAINS, OPENTEXT, PICA9, SAS INSTITUTE, VYA, WEDIA
Sales Engagement Management (Mar 2019). Marketing plays an increasingly active role in enabling the sales team, collaborating with their colleagues in Sales Operations with a robust set of sophisticated tools in an all-in-one platform in order to engage productively with knowledgeable buyers and customers.
ACCENT TECHNOLOGIES, APPAROUND, BIGTINCAN, BRAINSHARK, CLEARSLIDE (#1 Customer Satisfaction), CLIENT POINT, CUSTOMSHOW, DOCSEND, FILEBOARD, HIGHSPOT (#1 Customer Satisfaction), INSITE SOFTWARE, JOURNEY SALES, OCTIV, PITCHER, PROLIFIQ, SALESLOFT, SAP, SEISMIC (#1 Overall, #1 Customer Satisfaction), SHOWPAD, MEDIAFLY
Web Experience Management (May 2019). WEM is an integrated set of business processes for the creation, management, delivery and optimization of contextualized digital experiences on websites. Software used to automate these processes must deal with an ever-more complex, extensive and interconnected technology landscape.
ACQUIA (#1 Customer Satisfaction), ADOBE, AMPLIENCE, BLOOMREACH, CONTENTFUL, CROWNPEAK, COREMEDIA, EPISERVER (#1 Price/Value), E-SPIRIT, EZ SYSTEMS, IBM, KENTICO SOFTWARE, MAGNOLIA, OPENTEXT, ORACLE, PROGRESS, SDL, SITECORE (#1 Overall, #1 Customer Satisfaction), SQUIZ
Digital Asset Management (July 2019). The DAM process is the storage and management of digital files, in particular digital media files like graphics, videos, sound and text components needed for digital content production. DAM catalogs and retrieves the digital assets for various types of users working in marketing, product management, sales, service, design, and manufacturing departments of an organization.
ADOBE (#1 Overall, #1 Customer Satisfaction), APRIMO, BYNDER, CANTO, CENSHARE, CLOUDINARY, COGNIZANT, CELUM (#1 Customer Satisfaction), CUMULUS, DIGIZUITE, EXTENSIS, MEDIA VALET, MEDIABEACON, NORTHPLAINS, NUXEO (#1 Customer Satisfaction), OPENTEXT, PICTUREPARK, SITECORE (#1 Customer Satisfaction, #1 Price/Value), WEDIA, WIDEN
Account Based Marketing (Oct 2019). The ABM process is actually a long-established marketing/sales methodology in business services companies, where success depends so much on personal empathy and the relationship. The advent of digital marketing, tooled by technology advances in website and data analytics, now allows all B2B businesses to do ABM by leveraging collected behavioral and profile data on companies (accounts) or even individual buying decision-makers.
6SENSE (#1 Customer Satisfaction), AGENT3, D&B DATAVISION, DEMANDBASE, ENGAGIO (#1 Overall), KWANZOO, INSIDEVIEW, JABMO (#1 Price/Value), LATTICE ENGINE, LINKEDIN, MADISON LOGIC, MARKETO, MRP (#1 Customer Satisfaction), RADIUS, ROLLWORKS, TECHTARGET, TERMINUS, TRIBLIO, TRUE INFLUENCE, ZOOMINFO
Channel Marketing and Enablement (Nov 2019). Channel Marketing and Enablement processes cover the tasks involved for a manufacturer distributing products and services through partner organizations as their indirect channel. Only a few vendors can help marketers to automate both sets of processes.
ANSIRA, CHANNELXPERTS, IMPARTNER (#1 Overall, #1 Price/Value), TIE KINETIX (#1 Customer Satisfaction), ZIFT SOLUTIONS
Through-Channel Marketing Automation (Nov 2019). Part of the channel marketing processes involved for a manufacturer distributing products and services through partner organizations as their indirect channel, TCMA brand and content asset management; where programs, promotions and leads are managed both down and up the channel. TCMA is also known as Local or Distributed Marketing.
ANSIRA, BRANDMAKER (#1 Customer Satisfaction), BRANDMUSCLE, BRIDGELINE DIGITAL, CHANNELXPERTS, CHANNELKONNECT, ELATERAL, IMPARTNER (#1 Overall, #1 Price/Value), NETSERTIVE, SPROUTLOUD, TIE KINETIX (#1 Customer Satisfaction), ZIFT SOLUTIONS
Partner Relationship Management (Nov 2019). Part of the channel marketing processes involved for a manufacturer distributing products and services through partner organizations as their indirect channel, PRM is the set of processes around the partner relationship itself: recruitment, registration and classification, contractual details, information exchange, and more.
ANSIRA, CHANNELXPERTS, CHANNELTIVITY (#1 Price/Value), CHANNELKONNECT, IMPARTNER (#1 Overall, #1 Price/Value), MAGENTRIX, ORACLE, SALESFORCE, TIE KINETIX (#1 Customer Satisfaction), WEBINFINITY, ZIFT SOLUTIONS
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Always keeping you informed! Peter
I’ve just published more Vendor Selection Matrix reports – on channel marketing and enablement. I’d been curious about this topic all year, expecting great change and progress compared to my last review in 2017. I’d assumed this software market would be energized by a clear transformation in the relevance of channel strategy for modern businesses.
Let’s be honest, for decades channel marketing and enablement was just a peripheral process in most industries; the mantra was: “first we sell direct and then we’ll find some partners”. Which was fine for firms selling physical products (or on-premise software) needing knowledgeable sellers to present and position the offer to buyers.
But now almost every industry is morphing to an “as-a-service” business model. And buyers are pulling the service based on their own research. And no, channel partners are not being “dis-intermediated” (that strange cliché of the 1990s eBusiness articles) – they’ve become even more influential and advocational. But their business model has changed and they’re more than likely to live off revenues earned from the end-user than the manufacturer they occasionally represent. And instead of resellers or distributors, they are called affiliates, referrers, associations, communities, groups, ambassadors.
Earlier this year, I was sitting on the top floor of Salesforce Tower in San Francisco and reviewing the briefings I had heard that day: how does this SaaS provider plan to recruit 250,000 new partners in the near future? Salesforce executives had stated that this was the only way that it can double its revenue in the next five years. The why has been clear to me since years: the success of any new business software apps will be dependent on the recommendation/influence of many intermediaries, most of whom the vendor will not even know or recruit directly as partners. Lawyers, tax advisors, estate agents (realtors), financial advisers — basically, to cite the nursery rhyme “the butcher, baker, and the candlestick maker”. The how is certainly more of a challenge; you cannot hire enough recruiters and channel managers to handle that volume – it needs to be automated to the highest degree.
Salesforce even engaged researcher IDC to produce a report predicting that Salesforce and its partners will between them create 4.2 million new jobs and $1.2 trillion in new business revenues worldwide over the next 5 years.
Enter the need for a much more strategic channel marketing and enablement software stack. Now, our vendor selection matrix research starts with a global survey. We firstly defined channel marketing and enablement as all processes cover the tasks involved for a manufacturer distributing products and services through partner organizations as their indirect channel. And we asked the 1500 respondents to name and score the vendors they know in that context. The 20 vendors with highest ratings and sufficient mentions are then profiled in my report. The survey also returned that the second most important priority for buyers considering software solutions is “Coverage of all three components”, i.e. Marketing, Enablement, and Sales Enablement.
The resulting vendor landscape does not yet reflect this market need. Most of the vendors still focus on either channel marketing (usually called through-channel marketing automation, TCMA) or enablement (partner relationship management, PRM) only. In my briefings with the vendors, my test question was “how do you handle affiliate partners then” and the response was mixed. The vendor landscape continues to be highly-fractured with deep specialization. I am not confident that many of them will not be able to react to the disruption described above — manufacturers seeking a channel platform that can support a highly-volatile partner community through a much more complete business cycle: from connection to order processing and service delivery.
So I have ended up producing three reports on this topic profiling the vendors in their chosen sub-categories.
- TCMA: The vendors that have the heaviest focus, or focus solely, on channel marketing processes
- PRM: The vendors that have the heaviest focus, or focus solely, on channel enablement processes
- CME: Those vendors servicing both channel enablement AND some marketing processes.
Incredibly, 3 vendors selected and reviewed by the survey respondents have insisted on being left out as they see themselves as “The leading vendor for …..” (they each wrote that). Those vendors in the survey that do cover BOTH channel marketing and enablement are (listed alphabetically): Ansira, ChannelXperts, Impartner, TIE Kinetix, and Zift Solutions. I see only these vendors, plus the newer vendor Impact (did not have a sufficient number of respondents to be profiled), being able to cover the next generation channel management needs. Interestingly, Impact has introduced the term Partnership Automation and talks about “automating the partner lifecycle” – a quite different perspective.
The top five vendors rated by the users for PRM are (listed alphabetically): Channeltivity, ChannelXperts, Impartner, TIE Kinetix, and Zift Solutions. The vendors Ansira, ChannelKonnect, Magentrix, Oracle, Salesforce, and Webinfinity complete the list of vendors who cover the channel enablement processes. (Note that this list includes the vendors named above.)
The top five vendors rated by the users for TCMA are (listed alphabetically): BrandMaker, ChannelXperts, Impartner, TIE Kinetix, and Zift Solutions. The vendors Ansira, Brandmuscle, Bridgeline Digital, ChannelKonnect, Elateral, Netsertive, and SproutLoud, complete the list of vendors who cover the channel marketing processes. (Note that this list includes the vendors named above.)
Abridged versions of the reports can be viewed here. Contact me if you’d like more detail.
I’ve been researching the topic of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) and find that 57% of businesses plan to invest in ABM software in the next 1-3 years. Business marketers in every industry must add ABM functionality to their marketing tech stack because their buyers only want communications relevant to their current business issues.
The ABM process is actually a long-established marketing/sales methodology in business services companies, where success depends so much on personal empathy and the relationship. So, they research the interests and needs of their target audiences and provide that “market intelligence” to their sellers or account managers.
The advent of digital marketing, tooled by technology advances in website and data analytics, now allows all B2B businesses to do ABM by leveraging collected behavioral and profile data on companies (accounts) or even individual buying decision-makers. ABM software enables marketers to channel personalized content to potential buyers. But first and foremost, ABM is a strategy and is applicable to all marketing channels.
ABM is currently the most-used promotional acronym by marketing software vendors with well over 90 software vendors claiming to provide ABM-specific functionality. There are probably several dozen more with no ABM claims but also being used by B2B companies to market to specific accounts with target-market segmentation and content personalization. Still, I estimate the software market at around $750 million in 2019 with a current annual growth rate of some 12%.
The term ABM is actually a misnomer, it should be Account Based Marketing and Selling (ABMS). The ABM process will only succeed if marketing collaborates with its sales counterparts to select the target accounts; share the important contact data; coordinate content distribution and distribute intent alerts. My survey found the second most important driver for ABM investment to be “enable sales to better understand their customers”. Some interview respondents pointed out that they have always done ABS but this is now supported better by their ABM project.
My prediction is that the current mire of confusingly-positioned vendors will converge to a couple of dozen platform providers supporting all, or most, of the ABM-related processes such as account and contacts selection; analytics and insights, content personalization, customer engagement orchestration, and performance assessment. Many survey respondents reported deploying two, three or even four ABM vendors, with integration an issue. 30% plan to migrate to a more suitable system, unusually large compared to other vendor selection matrix surveys.
As usual, I will publish a Vendor Selection Matrix showing the ratings for the 20 most cited ABM vendors across our survey of 1500 practitioners. That will be on October 8th. The top ten vendors rated by the respondents are (all listed alphabetically): 6sense, Demandbase, Engagio, Kwanzoo, InsideView, Jabmo, Madison Logic, Adobe (Marketo), MRP, and Zoominfo. In positions 11 thru 20 are vendors Agent3, D&B Datavision, Lattice Engine, LinkedIn, Radius, RollWorks, TechTarget, Terminus, Triblio, and True Influence
In 2019, I still get people asking me “Didn’t you write that Death of the B2B Salesman report?” Actually, I didn’t, I was just one of the editors. The author of that Forrester Research report was my old colleague Andy Hoar, who was covering eCommerce. I just leveraged his research in a keynote speech to provoke my audience of 500+ sales enablement professionals at the conference I was moderating. That was in 2015 and, well, it certainly succeeded! Back then, my colleagues and I had established the need for the discipline of sales enablement within B2B organizations and the conference was used to discuss the role, responsibilities and technologies. For my latest thinking on the role of B2B sellers, feel free to listen to this webinar, which was broadcast just last Fall.
It’s been great fun to revisit this topic recently and catch up with all the leading software vendors as well as many business practitioners. But I’ve moved the goalposts a little in my new research report because I don’t think that sales people (definitely not their management) will want to have that many different systems running on their devices.
Marketers want a system to distribute content to sellers at the same time as Sales-Ops is focused on on-demand coaching plus supporting the day-to-day operational processes that sellers must endure. Ultimately, these solutions will be combined into one robust set of sophisticated tools, on the seller’s device of choice, in order to engage productively with their knowledgeable prospects and buyers. I therefore see Sales Engagement Management as one of the fastest growing Martech markets and 48% of 1500 business executives we interviewed will be investing for the first time in this area of software automation near term.
Now, because the market is in its early-adopter phase and many of the users tended to buy from the first vendor that called, the survey may not accurately reflect the current offerings of all vendors. Some of the early leaders, with somewhat-satisfied customers, are no longer the innovators; while newer vendors, but with smaller reputations, are encroaching rapidly.
Indeed, the one thing I noticed in my briefings, and this is confirmed in the scores allocated by the 1500 practitioners we surveyed, is that it’s difficult to separate vendors from each other at first glance. I had to dig very deeply at each briefing to find out exactly which customer types were being targeted, and with which value proposition. This is typical of a market in rapid growth, where the RFP process is only just starting to be applied, and where a high close-rate means that marketing concepts like thought leadership or value-based story telling have not yet taken hold.
Anyway, the report is now published and below is a table which lists the highlight statements for each of the vendor scorecards I wrote for the vendors with the 10 best aggregate scores.
Always keeping you informed! Peter