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The customer relationship management (CRM) system was once considered to be an all-powerful marketing and sales tool for business-to-business (B2B) companies, but these systems aren’t always enough. Chris Rothstein, CEO of sales enablement technology Groove, spoke with eMarketer’s Maria Minsker about what’s missing from B2Bs’ marketing technology stack, despite the bustling landscape.
eMarketer: What does the marketing technology space look like with regard to B2B companies? Is there enough marketing technology out there designed with B2Bs in mind?
Chris Rothstein: There’s almost a little too much going on right now, and it’s becoming overwhelming for B2Bs. There are so many systems, and each one claims to help marketers and salespeople understand what customers to go after, how to best reach them and when certain deals might close. There’s a piece of technology designed for almost every part of the funnel.
eMarketer: Does that mean there are no gaps in B2B marketing technology?
Rothstein: No, there are still gaps that exist. One of the biggest gaps is that CRM systems were built to make sales teams more effective, but they just ended up becoming databases to store information. Many salespeople and marketers don’t believe these systems actually save any time.
Traditional systems are good for keeping a record of all the people you’ve ever talked to, but they’re not good for identifying opportunities. There needs to be technology that sits on top of the CRM system and actually empowers sales teams to acquire customers.
eMarketer: Can you give an example of this type of technology?
Rothstein: For one thing, there’s sales enablement technology. B2Bs are turning to sales enablement because those tools can help identify opportunities, improve sales efficiency and drive actual revenues.
Companies are also using artificial intelligence and natural language processing to analyze phone calls and scour them for marketing and sales opportunities. Normally those calls would just be tracked in a CRM system, but B2Bs are now recording calls and working to understand those engagements, which was never really done in the past.
eMarketer: Are there other ways that the marketing tech space is evolving for B2Bs specifically?
Rothstein: Marketing technology is getting closer to sales technology, which is unique to the B2B space. It used to be that marketing technology for B2Bs was designed to handle nurture campaigns or identify qualifed leads. Now those tasks are shifting over to the sales side, because there are tools available that unify that whole process for sales reps on an individual level.
In other words, instead of marketers running these massive campaigns centrally, sales reps can leverage technology to target individual customers. The funnel is becoming decentralized, and we’re starting to see marketing technology budgets get reallocated toward sales tools.
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