Building a Better Tech Stack: A Panel Discussion at #RevSummit17

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Who better to ask about building the optimal technology stack for your B2B enterprise than executives who’ve done it themselves? One of the more popular sessions at day 2 of Revenue Summit 2017 featured Edison Partners CMO Kelly Ford moderating a panel discussion on building tech stacks, starring McKesson head of digital marketing and technologies Rohit Prabhakar, Blueconic marketing VP Cory Munchbach and Reflektive CMO Julie Knight-Ludvigson.

Different-sized companies approach building their tech stacks differently, but all the panelists stressed the need to combine well-planned strategy with the ability to remain flexible as technologies, objectives and needs change. Knight-Ludvigson said her team at Reflektive is always rethinking its strategies and tools in the age of account-based marketing.

“First and foremost we have to agree what ABM is for a company like us that serves mid-market and enterprise,” she said. “What is our state of readiness? We have a lot of young talent but they might not understand social selling. We’re looking at tools to help with social selling because that’s a quick win.”

“Right now it’s about agreeing on strategy, process and definitions,” added Knight-Ludvigson, who noted the current “move from a segment driven model to a territory/account-based model.”

Prabhakar comes from a MarTech perspective, and outlined a three-point strategy for tech stack building that asks how he can generate business value, amplify his company’s story and support its enterprise agenda. His three-year roadmap features different priorities for each step along the way — year one is more foundational and focuses on building a better customer experience. Year two is all about how to enable and amplify marketing. Year three zeroes in on sales enablement and marketing optimization.

As structured as that sounds — and is, flexibility is crucial to success. “You need to be very agile,” Prabhakar asserted. “We spend a lot of time with vendors. They’re the best place to learn. They can teach you what nobody else can.”

Although the panelists hail from different-sized companies with varying operational goals and sometimes disparate stakeholders, they all agreed on the paramount importance of communication. “It sounds trite,” acknowledged Munchbach, “but communication is so important… Building trust with different stakeholders makes it possible for us to do what we do.”

That can be a difficult task that only gets harder the more stakeholders a company has, making effective communication even more important. “We always ensure that we always make stakeholders aware of what we’re doing,” said Prabhakar “I call it co-ownership — even when we own the stack, it’s not like we actually own the stack, my company owns the stack.”

When it doubt, talk it out. “There’s never too much communication,” stressed Prabhakar. “You can’t operationalize me,” quipped Munchbach. “I don’t scale… If you’re going to make a change in Salesforce that’s going to affect everyone, get the buy-in before you make the change and articulate why it is you need this to get done as it relates to helping the business. Most of the time you’re not going to get a lot of pushback.”

“Working very closely and almost over-communicating is the key,” Knight-Ludvigson concurred. “Decisions are often made that are good for one group, but not good for another, and not for our strategy… We have to ask how are we following up as a team on what we’ve done, and what do we need to do to improve?”

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Brett Wilkins

Brett Wilkins

Brett Wilkins is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for U.S. news. Based in San Francisco, he is the editor and publisher of Moral Low Ground and is a Yahoo! Featured Political Contributor.