Determining whether a point solution or a holistic platform is the right fit for your team can be daunting. Is your team ready for an end-to-end solution like a content marketing platform (CMP) that can be configured specifically to your business? Or, is your team more suited for a point solution that solves a very specific problem, but is more rigid and limited in its functionality?
Both options can be beneficial to meet your current pains, but only one can grow with you. That’s why most mature marketers push the point solutions aside to invest in a platform that will scale with them and offer additional value as their needs evolve.
There are four key reasons the best B2B marketing teams are flocking to holistic content platforms. Let’s take a closer look:
1. Improve Cross-Team Alignment
It’s not just operational marketing groups that need to align—it’s important that your sales team is on the same page as marketing, too. In today’s world of B2B buying, customers consume marketing content to learn about your brand, and, according to Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer, 80% of those customers expect the same brand voice to come through in their conversations with your sales team.
In order to enable customers to buy quicker and buy more, marketing and sales need to work in tandem to deliver a personalized customer experience at every interaction in the customer journey.
But a consistent CX is impossible to deliver when teams are operating in different platforms, using different processes, and speaking different languages.
A holistic content platform encourages marketing to create content with a distinct purpose and audience in mind, repurpose more content for a consistent brand message, and visualize their content coverage across strategic contexts like persona and buying stage. For sales, a holistic platform will enable them to go to one platform to submit ideas for content, to know when finalized content becomes available for them to use, and to find and share the content they need across the sales cycle.
And instead of that information getting lost or relying on manual tracking, a unified content platform allows marketing to see in real-time which assets the sales team is distributing across each customer journey.
2. Centralize and Organize
One of the biggest frustrations I hear from marketers looking to switch from point solutions to a holistic platform is that their data is siloed, making it difficult to measure results, understand customer sentiment, and track plans, work-in-progress, and finalized content assets.
Most marketers are spending far too much time tracking everything in spreadsheets and keeping the enormous document up to date.
Picture this: You’ve finalized an important content asset and uploaded it to your website, your social media scheduler, and your marketing automation platform. Now what if a marketing leader asks you to make a quick change to the copy? You now have to make the change and re-upload the latest version to each platform, as well as the spreadsheet or project management tool that you’re tracking your work. A holistic platform will make it a lot easier to make those changes, update the asset everywhere in a few clicks, and ensure only the latest version is in front of your audiences.
Because holistic platforms like CMPs are more configurable than one-size-fits-all point solutions, integrations with analytics and BI tools can create a one-stop-shop to track external reach, internal engagement, top-performing campaigns, work-in-progress, gaps in your strategic coverage, and more. Create visualizations from the platform to streamline internal status and planning meetings, or to keep leadership in-the-know.
3. Work Smarter
It’s no surprise that end-to-end content marketing platforms can offer incredible efficiency gains. First of all, you won’t have to log in and out of a ton of platforms to go through the content lifecycle. And you won’t have to email, message, and poke your colleagues when you need to collaborate or hold them accountable for causing a bottleneck. Plus, you have a single place where data is stored, allowing you to pull meaningful charts and visualizations to streamline meetings and make better decisions.
But arguably the best advantage of a holistic CMP, is the peace of mind that content isn’t going to waste.
Consider how much of your organization’s content is outdated or off message. Are there duplicate assets floating around? Does your sales team have old case studies and eBooks saved to their desktop to send to prospects? Do they know where to go to find the latest and greatest content to share?
A holistic content platform can enable you to centralize collaboration, track activity, view strategic plans and operational bottlenecks, and reduce content waste and duplicative efforts.
4. Reduce Cost of Ownership
The cost of evaluating, implementing, and administrating multiple software solutions can easily end up costing more than a holistic content platform will.
In fact, 77% of B2B buyers say that their latest purchase was very complex or difficult, according to Gartner. When you consider the time needed to identify requirements, research vendors, schedule calls with each sales team—on top of all of the procurement steps you’ll need to take once you’ve chosen a vendor, the business cost of buying multiple MarTech tools is very real. And with an average of 6-10 decision-makers involved, that’s a lot of time wasted on the vendors you won’t end up partnering with.
There are also costs to integrating several tools together, which is essential if you’re looking to run with multiple point solutions. This path can leave you at risk of losing data, finding out your tools are incompatible, and/or realizing you don’t have enough internal resources to properly admin each tool, keep them up-to-date, and drive adoption from end-users.
If you want to build a mature, strategic content operation, it’s time to find the right holistic content marketing platform instead of tools that sustain siloed teams and increase business costs and organizational effort to manage.
Photo courtesy of Kelly Sikkema.