Solve, don’t sell – What clients really want to hear from MarTech providers

Competition is fierce if you are a MarTech solutions provider. Decision makers across marketing, media, digital and technology are all under pressure to deliver greater ROI, often smaller budgets than pre-pandemic. And their time is precious.

They value tools and platforms that can help achieve their goals but they don’t want to wade through a blizzard of buzzwords and hype. So what do those who hold the purse strings value? What do they look for in a prospective partner? 

Winmo and Propeller Group partnered for a panel to explore these issues at Advertising Week 2020. The punchy but constructive session featured Kerry Dawes, Director of Marketing Technology at TUI Group and Winmo CEO Dave Currie; it was chaired by Propeller Group’s Director of Content and former Marketing Week Deputy Editor Branwell Johnson.

Integration is a big challenge

Discussing the merits and limitations of MarTech, Kerry Dawes outlined a key challenge faced by businesses that solutions providers need to understand. Businesses and marketing teams are often sitting on massive amounts of historic data and legacy technology. Vendors need to be cognizant of this challenge – and how their technology can plug in and merge with older tech and data. 

This point of researching and developing a clear understanding of a prospect’s needs underpinned much of the discussion. Dave Currie pointed towards the plethora of accessible tools which can help you paint a basic picture of a prospect’s position. 

He said: “There are so many tools which allow you to do the basic research about a company – and from this you can fill in the gaps of what their needs and pressures might be. Whether you are using a platform like Winmo to get insights, or a Google News search of the prospect company’s recent activity, you need to do your homework.” 

Don’t be tone deaf

Understanding and appreciating the full context of a prospect’s situation is always important – but in the era of Covid it’s absolutely essential. Kerry Dawes shared her experience of being approached by vendors through lockdown whilst the travel industry was reeling from the catastrophic impact of the pandemic. 

She said: “I found myself very frustrated through the peak of the pandemic earlier this year. When everyone was so stressed and worried about family, health and the future of their business I found a lot of the outreach I received was totally inappropriate. I found myself replying and getting angry about how inconsiderate these were. It does do damage to the agencies who are being so casual and flippant with their approaches.” 

So what works best? The answer from the panellists was clear: highly relevant, appropriate messages to a small group of people. It’s relationship building –  demonstrate real value early on and grow from there. “You don’t dive in with a marriage proposal”, added Dave Currie. 

Whilst LinkedIn and email are direct, effective ways to get in touch – our panelists admitted these channels are often used to deliver ineffective, unpersonalised messages sent en masse. However Dave Currie noted that organic interactions on social media are an increasingly good way to get on a prospects radar. 

Dave pointed out:  “Responses in chat forums, or comments on social media posts, is a great way to build an organic discourse and relationship with a prospect. It creates an instant mental touch point of who you are, what you do and what your perspective on the world is.” 

Overcoming ‘not invented here’

The panel ended with an audience Q&A – which surfaced one key challenge MarTech vendors regularly face: the ‘not invented here’ argument. Typically stemming from IT departments, this challenge speaks to businesses desire to own the technology they use. 

Dave Currie argued that this objection should be expected. If you’ve done your homework in the discovery and prospecting stage, getting a good understanding of who your buyers are and what their objections may be, then you have put yourself in a strong position to address this objection; invented here or not – this is what you need. 

Finally, Kerrie encouraged providers to be smart and empathetic in their approach when she said: “The people who are invested in understanding your challenges and work to add value stand out even brighter amidst the lazy shots in the dark.” 

To learn more about how Winmo or Propeller Group can help you as a solutions provider contact  hello@winmo.com or newbiz@propellergroup.com.