“Feature creep” and data accessibility continue to vex the big CRM and CMS platforms. In its report The State of Engagement, top marketing automation firm Marketo and researchers at Illuminas found alarming levels of user frustration with current SaaS solutions, saying: “Marketers are dissatisfied with the tools available to them to accomplish [sales and marketing] tasks, with nearly half (48%) citing this as their number one barrier to effective engagement.”
Let that sink in: About half of all users in a reliable survey said existing online tools are “their number one barrier to effective engagement.” The irony is striking. It certainly questions the 10-year Gold Rush to license seats from dozens of vendors—many now defunct. As the novelty wears off, why are so many people (and companies) unhappy with their cloud platforms?
In a word, control. Or lack of it, to be precise. The baffling UX and high price tag of many platforms have fallen out of touch with “app culture” where software zeroes in on one thing—i.e., Venmo for payments, Lending Tree for mortgages—making tasks easy and quick. Even more problematic is the serious lack of control over business data that we all have parked in assorted commercial platforms. This creates three potentially massive problems:
- Productivity loss—a software mismatch clogs company gears
- Cash drain—licenses, outside consultants that are frequently hired to assist
- Opportunity cost—the cloudier your data, the greater chance you’ll miss something
It’s tough to admit, but if your martech stack was a valued employee you would have gotten it some help a long time ago. There’s an epidemic—especially among SMBs—of data sitting in multiple systems, performing disparate functions, with obscured access to insights and no systemwide transparency. Advanced systems are a necessity. The question is: how do you manage expectations, regain control and “plant your own flag” in this confusing ecosystem?
Custom Software: It’s All You
Some executives know what they want, they have the resources to do it, so they do. When we meet people like that, they’re often trying to get some control back over time. The fact is that custom algorithms prioritize data and regulate advanced workflows based on the pace and culture of the people steering the ship; it gives owners and directors a precious gift—time—to analyze results, retool and control outcomes better. It’s a perfect example of “cloning your best practices,” which is a concept more and more companies are getting seriously interested in.
Cloning best practices was the “logic” underlying an in-house system that CubeChatter designed for a Boston manufacturing and sales firm. Another recent custom build reduced the number of steps required to process an order by pulling data from multiple APIs. Yet another was created with a modular UX personalized by role. This is compared to traditional dashboard tools that force licensees to adapt to (and adopt) unhelpful “misfit” models.
In each case, the client was a long-term user of cloud platforms that was trying to regain control over data and procedures. This in turn preserved the most precious commodity of all—time—allowing for the critical review that increases productivity and profits.