• ABM,  Design Thinking,  News,  Vendor Selection

    New Vendor Spotlight

    As the resident “Lead Analyst” within their Propolis service, I’ve been working with the B2B Marketing organization for many years now. Launched in March 2021 as an exclusive digital community for B2B marketers, Propolis has collected, by design, a very diverse membership, not just marketing executives but entire marketing teams in companies of all sizes.

    I think that Propolis has proven to be nothing less than a game changer for B2B marketing as an industry, as a profession, and most of all as a community. After all, the way that business professionals want to consume and discuss industry and disciplinary trends has changed to become much more:

    • Digital. Meaning that there is interactivity, not just website documents.
    • Democratized. Where all job levels can afford to benefit from the information.
    • Discussion-based.  Where peer inputs are valued just as much as the so-called experts. 

    In the next weeks we will be extending our coverage and publishing our first B2B Marketing Martech Vendor Spotlight report, this edition focused on vendors supporting Account-Based Marketing (ABM). 

    When I was asked to design and research the Spotlight report, I realized that here was a great chance to create something different than the classical research analyst reports available so far. Those waves and quadrants score and compare the vendors based primarily on their product offering.  My experience helping B2B marketers in their vendor selection process (I often recommend using Design Thinking) has been that the supplier itself is equally, or perhaps even more, the focus of attention and evaluation. No, the make-or-break questions that I get asked in my workshops are more about how a vendor will work with them as a client:

    • “Will they help us to set up and run the solution?”
    • “How do they react when something goes wrong?”
    • “Do they have programmes to help ensure we get a return on our investment?”

    So, first we select and spotlight those vendors we feel are most relevant and important for the Propolis members (a mix of both large enterprise and small-medium sized businesses). Then we profile each vendor and score it on four criteria relevant to the topics listed above. We also field a detailed vendor questionnaire asking about the resources in place to ensure successful implementation, integration, user adoption, and even value management of their ABM solution. Not every vendor responds and completes the survey (yet – as this is the first report after all) but my 20+ years of working at META Group, Gartner and Forrester Research, plus seven years of user surveys and report writing for Research In Action, is experience enough for me to craft and score all the profile pages.

    These four criteria are critically important to potential buyer teams when evaluating and shortlisting vendors and the stress being on CUSTOMER SUCCESS more than individual product features: 

    • Market Momentum. Here, we have assessed how well a vendor helps prospective buyers to understand the solution offering and how it fits into their environment. 

    • Customer Focus.  Almost all software solutions are now delivered as-a-service and the most successful SaaS vendors are those who help their clients on an ongoing basis, not just in response to support calls. 

    • Price vs Value. As with any business investment, marketing executives need to be assured that the investments they make in technology are providing an appropriate payback. 

    • Implementation Success. The true test of a business partnership is the commitment from a vendor to supporting the integration of their system with whatever the client has in place already. 

    We score each criterion as Strong, Good, Medium, or Low. 

    The B2B Marketing Martech Vendor Spotlight Report on ABM will be published to Propolis clients during the The Global ABM Conference from B2B Marketing in London in November. Further Spotlights will follow over the next year covering topics like Marketing Operations, Marketing Resources/Asset Management, Digital Content Management, Digital Experience, Customer Data Management, Digital Event Management.  

    Always keeping you informed!  Peter

  • ABM,  Marketing Lead Management,  News,  Vendor Selection

    Martechopia exhibits event vendors

    On my first business trip since years, I attended B2B Marketing’s Martechopia event in London earlier this week. As usual, it was a mix of insightful presentations and discussions by the rich team of experts that the organization is always able to collect for their events. Also, my latest Propolis research report for B2B Marketing entitled ”Riding the Wave of Martech Change” was launched at the event.  

    But I was even more intrigued by the sponsors that exhibited. This was traditionally a mix of a few marketing automation platform vendors, various other software vendors, plus a few agencies – typical providers that target B2B marketing executives as prospects. Well, the big names were not there but a new rising star, the Californian analytics and account engagement platform vendor, 6sense, was present in recognition of their new office in London. Spoiler alert: the day before, I had recorded a video/webinar for them about Account-Based Marketing in Europe to be published in the next weeks.   

    The intriguing thing was that there were THREE marketing event management (MEM) vendors with booths – I also met event attendees representing two further MEM vendors during the day. It looks like I was right in my prediction in the December 2021 Vendor Selection Matrixtm on Marketing Event Management – that investments for marketing event platforms is going to become part of the B2B marketing budget in the next years.  

    In their stage presentation, MEM vendor Cvent even admitted that they had totally ignored Marketing as a target buyer till now, they were only focused on event managers (who are not in marketing). That is true; when I contacted them for the MEM research last September, they declined to brief me because I (only) write for marketers. Well, now they are playing catch-up to address exactly that audience. 

    The other two MEM vendors displaying at Martechopia were in the Top Five in my December report:  ON24 and SpotMe. My colleagues at B2B Marketing are now even using SpotMe as their event platform – I had shared my research with them last year, of course. Another spoiler: there is a webinar with ON24 and myself in the works. 

    My perception was that the staff at both vendors were very good about talking about marketing topics to the delegates instead of event management stuff like registration processes and ticketing. I see MEM becoming an integral part of the customer engagement lifecycle monitored and orchestrated by marketers – from initial kicking-the-tyres curiosity through to offering a Netflix-style library of videos and webinars, most of it collated out of the event calendar. As I write in the report:

    • The crisis has accelerated the inevitable. Large Virtual Events are now SOP and many businesses will plan these as routine in their marketing calendars. Webinars are now an accepted marketing tool across most sectors and geographies.
    • Over one half of companies used between six and ten vendors this year – most did not have a centralized procurement strategy for this topic. Expect his to change for 2022.
    • Nearly three quarters of companies have serious difficulties monetizing their events efficiently. Over half have issues with supporting international audiences, managing presentation content, event registration and ticketing.  

    I suspect the vendors probably did not collect that many “leads” this year, but they have certainly put their stake into the ground and will be top-of-mind when the strategic MEM projects get budgeted this and next year.

    Always keeping you informed!  Peter