How to build a martech stack

Ready to build your martech stack? We’ll show you how to define your requirements and then build a suite of marketing technology tools that create growth for your business. The outcome is a martech stack which improves customers acquisition, activation, retention, referrals and (ultimately) revenue.

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MarTech Stack Definition

A marketing technology (martech) stack is a suite of integrated marketing technology tools that create business growth. Yes, software is capable of generating growth! The term ‘stack’ has been used in technology for years as developers describe their various technologies and codebases this way. You’ve probably heard of the know-it-all ‘full-stack’ developer at some stage. 

 

As the number of tools available to marketers has increased in recent years, a ‘stack’ is now more commonly used. A martech stack represents the various technologies used by sales and marketing professionals. Much like a product tech stack, a martech stack is well integrated and operates as a cohesive unit. 


Read more >>>> What is a martech stack?

Define your business requirements

Much like snowflakes, no two martech stacks are the same. The art of how to build a martech stack lies in the engineer’s ability to customise the technology to meet a specific business requirement. You can take inspiration from other stacks (Growth Division’s included), but you need to adapt them to your business. Therefore, the first step in building a martech stack is to really think about why you’re building it and what you want to achieve. 

 

 >>>> examples of martech stacks (coming soon)

 

Questions we ask our clients before recommending a solution involve the following: 

  • Who is your customer? (define your Ideal Customer Profile) 

  • What is your marketing budget?  

  • What is your business model?

  • What is your key metric (north star metric)?

  • What are your targets for 6/12/36 months? 

  • What channels are you planning to test within the Bullseye framework? 

  • What channels have you tried previously and why? 

 

 >>>> take our business requirement survey (coming soon)

 

Stages of a MarTech Growth Stack

For us, a martech stack should be built around your company's growth strategy. Once you’ve defined your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), you should then be working to find a scalable channel to acquire them. The tools and technologies used should fit into the channels you’ve decided to experiment in and then track the customer along their journey with your company. We prefer to use the AARRR framework by Dave McClure to track metrics along the customer journey. 

Your growth funnel in metrics

Get in touch with Growth Division if you need help with your growth strategy.

Acquisition 

Acquisition tools are arguably the most important of a martech stack. Getting new customers is a key activity for every marketing department. There are thousands of tools at this stage. It’s important to determine which channels you want to experiment in first, and then select the most appropriate tools for this channel and your stack overall. We use the Bullseye framework from Gabriel Weinberg to evaluate which 3-6 (out of 19 potential channels) to start with. It’s vital to understand your Ideal Customer Profile and which channels can be used to reach them. 

 

>>> How to acquire customers using Bullseye (coming soon)

It’s time to build your stack around your channel strategy. In this day and age, marketing technology can do a lot of the heavy lifting with respect to generating customers in certain channels. Just spend a bit of money on Google Adwords or Facebook’s advertising platform and some customers will trickle through as a result of ‘Social and display ads’. Whether you’re doing this efficiently is a different matter, and you may want to engage a channel expert to manage the tool. Nonetheless, you should research the acquisition tools available in the channels you’ve identified and select the appropriate options based on the following criteria:

 

  • Will the tool automatically get customers? 

  • Ongoing management requirement (of an expert)? 

  • Value for money/contribution to overall budget? 

  • Integration capabilities to other tools in your stack? 

  • Scalability of the tool and capacity limits? 

  • How mature is the technology and/or company? 

 

How to Build a Martech Stack: Recommended Tools

Activation  

What is the first key action you want your customers to take? This is what is measured by activation and should reflect a milestone that ‘WOWs’ your customers. Getting customers to this point is largely down to your product or service, but there are a few growth hacks that can increase activation. 

 

The classic hack: an email or notification onboarding schedule. To improve activation, it’s best practice to align the schedule with customer activity - are they engaged or not? An engaged user will need additional information on the product, but an inactive user will need convincing to come back. Make sure you set up analytics tracking and trigger notifications based on events. Our preferred martech tool for this is Mixpanel - it beautifully tracks user behaviour and allows you to send marketing emails as you wish. 

Know your customer and send them useful emails. Credit: Hubspot

Growth Division's Recommended Activation Tools:

Retention

Most businesses live and die by their customer retention. A small increase in customer lifetime value can transform your business and open up new channels for acquisition. Not enough focus goes into retention in our humble opinion. Now we know how important it is, let’s have a look at how to boost results. 

 

The wait is over, it’s time to talk about CRM (Customer Relationship Management). A CRM forms the backbone of your matech stack and is one of the critical pieces (in case you’ve not realised, this section is important!). Your CRM needs to integrate with your other martech tools and often will be used as the principal place for your data, sales and reporting. Regardless of whether you are B2B or B2C (or both), there is a solution out there for you.

Your CRM is at the heart of your growth funnel

Criteria to ask yourself for retention tools

  • This list would be too long, so you can view our requirement checklist here. Please get in touch if you want a copy. 

  • Do I need monthly subscription financial tracking? 

 

How to Build a Martech Stack: Recommended Retention Tools:

Talk to any growth marketer and they’ll tell you a story about referrals kicking-off! It’s the dream most founders have - their startup going viral (and then meeting Elon Musk - just me?). In all seriousness, a good viral or referral strategy is hallmark of an effective growth campaign. Once you’ve ticked the boxes of a good product and happy customers, you need to build in referral loops. These loops are ongoing and will continually generate new customers. I really like this article from Reforge on the benefits of viral loops and how they can be used across business types and business models. 

 

Taking this into tool form, you want to give yourself some flexibility on testing various loops. Often founders build a basic referral loop, it kind of works, so they leave it. Instead, we recommend using the Viral Loops software. With just a snippet of code, you can embed a multitude of viral loops into your product or website. It has a fairly decent array of tools that it integrates with and an open API. Don’t wait any longer, get testing.  

 

How to Build a Martech Stack: Recommended Referral Tools:

Last but not least, Revenue. This is what we’re all here for, so how do we generate it? A good martech stack will have revenue generation at its core and focus on driving sales more efficiently. Growth marketing revolves around your ability to understand your CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) to LTV (Lifetime Value) ratio. You need your payment platform to calculate your lifetime value in realtime and then it’s your job to attribute this by marketing channel. 

 

If you want to keep it simple, pick Stripe. Yes, you’ll pay a fair bit more in fees, but you save a lot in development time. Also, from a marketing standpoint, you can integrate Stripe with most CRMs and reporting tools. This alone closes the loop on your data infrastructure and can be worth the additional costs in it’s own right. Oh, and you can get $10,000 processing fee credit from Startups.com here.   

 

How to Build a Martech Stack: Recommended Tools:

I hope this framework has given you some inspiration on how to build a martech stack. The most important part is to get started and select a few cornerstone martech tools. Your martech stack is an evolving asset to your business and should be reviewed regularly. Perhaps you’ve already got a few tools in operation now and you’re looking to build them into a more cohesive unit. Don’t be scared. There is always a way to migrate and integrate your way to success. 

 

An integrated martech stack should make your life easier, not harder. So if you’re getting stuck or things are falling apart, seek help (preferably ours). Once your martech stack is set up and it’s been tested, you’ll realise the true power of technology. You’ll realise the impact a few tools can have on improving customer Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral and Revenue. 

Google Ads Growth Division.png
What is this tool?  Advert management tools
What’s the Unique Selling Point? As a channel to market AdWords provides a unique way to target potential customers who have high buying intent.

As well as outbound email and LinkedIn as marketing channels this stack also includes search engine marketing as a channel. By targetting certain keywords on Google we can drive traffic with high intent to purchase to certain landing pages or areas of the website. 

 

Once we capture the lead data on the site via lead capture forms or sales the data gets captured by Copper and created as a marketing qualified lead ready to be nurtured.

Top Tip:

You can also re-market to customer if you connect Copper up with your AdWords account.

 
Copper CRM Growth Division.png
What is this tool?  CRM
What’s the Unique Selling Point? Best integration into Gmail

Replies from the emails in PersistIQ come into your Gmail inbox, this is where Copper comes into its own with their Gmail extension that means you can create a contact, company and deal for interested leads in a matter of 2 clicks. Copper also auto-enriches contact and company information, equipping the sales team with all the info they need to close deals.

 

This really neat integration between Persist, Gmail and Copper makes for a highly effective process for any salesperson. Copper allows the sales team to track and engage with leads and opportunities through the pipeline, projects and task features in the CRM. 

CRM for Gmail

The best CRM set-up for Gmail

 
Intercom Growth Division.png

What is this tool?  Customer Engagement Tool

What’s the Unique Selling Point?Its advanced custom bot features allowing you to automatically engage, qualify and capture leads.

At Growth Division we love Intercom as both a lead capture tool and as a customer engagement tool in applications and as a customer support tool. In this stack, it’s used as a lead capture tool on the website. We set up a Task Bot to automatically engage with leads on the website, then to qualify them and capture their information, which gets passed into Copper CRM for the Sales team to manage.

 

Intercom can also engage people on a site or application depending on if they’re a lead of an existing customer. We also set-up Intercom to prompt customers to refer friends to the service through the Viral Loops software (see below).

Automatically engage with leads on your website

 
Viral Loops Growth Division.png
What is this tool?  Viral marketing tool
What’s the Unique Selling Point? Easy to set-up, out-of-the-box referral and viral campaign tool

On top of outbound and search engine marketing, this stack includes viral marketing as a channel to market. Utilising evangelistic customers’ willingness to spread the word about your service or product is a great way to drive new leads (and ones that convert better than other channels).  

 

Viral Loops is a fantastic, really quick to set-up system that incentivises customers to refer you to other prospective customers. In this stack, we encourage customers to refer others through the Intercom chat function and via emails from the CRM system.

 

Plan required: Startups / Monthly cost: from $34.00 per month

 
Google Data Studio.png
What is this tool?  Analytics
What’s the Unique Selling Point? The ability to connect many sources of data and review your marketing ROI per channel

Tying everything together is Data Studio, Google’s reporting and analytics tool. Data feeds in here from adverts, email outreach, sales performance from the CRM and from the viral marketing. Keeping your finger on the pulse of each marketing channel means you can continuously learn, iterate and improve on your marketing campaigns.

Final Thoughts...

on the Google Sales & Marketing Stack

 

If your team are already using various parts of G Suite this stack is definitely worth considering as it should easily fit into some of your existing processes. The automated and highly integrated nature of the stack should save any team time, bring in warm qualified leads and leave your sales team to focus on closing (rather than worrying about their own lead generation). 

 

At Growth Division we look to automated or outsource wherever possible, this results in more efficient and more effective stacks. We’re always interested in talking with other marketers about how they set-up their stack, so if you have some clever ideas, or if you want to hear our thoughts on your stack we’d love to set-up a call!

Growth Division’s Top Tips

One thing we wish we’d known earlier:

GetProspect integrates with Google Sheets via Zapier, before we were using the VA to download the data then put it in Sheets. The Zapier integration works well to do this in a more automated way.

 

Trickiest integration:

This stack does have quite a few Zapier integrations, getting the GetProspect, then email validation through Debounce set-up right in GH Sheets is a bit tricky.

 

Estimated monthly stack cost: 

Software: $509.97

Time/VA: $449

Total cost: $958.97

 

Money-saving tips:

Growth Division can save you on the Viral Loops subscription if you chat to us about setting up your stack.

 

Tools used (click to sign up)

 

GetProspect

A lead scraping tool 

Type

Plan

Cost

Automation

Starter

$49

Debounce

Email validation tool

Type

Plan

Cost

Email Marketing

Individual

$70

Zirtual

A remote assistant 

Type

Plan

Cost

Automation

Entrepreneur

$449

Google Sheets

A shared spreadsheet  

Type

Plan

Cost

Automation

N/A

Free

Octopus

 LinkedIn automation  

Type

Plan

Cost

Automation

Unlimited

$39.99

LinkedIn

A business-to-business social network

Type

Plan

Cost

Social Tool

Sales Navigator

$79.99

Zapier

Tool integration API

Type

Plan

Cost

Automation

Starter

$19.99

PersistIQ

Email Automation Tool

Type

Plan

Cost

Automation

Growth

$29.00

AdWords

Search engine marketing tool

Type

Plan

Cost

Advertising

-

Free

Copper CRM

Customer Relationship Management tool

Type

Plan

Cost

CRM

Professional

$69

Intercom

Automated website chatbot

Type

Plan

Cost

Automation

Pro

$153

Viral Loops

Viral Marketing Tool

Type

Plan

Cost

Payments

Integrated

TBC

Google Data Studio

Analytics platform    

Type

Plan

Cost

Analytics

-

Free

NEED HELP WITH YOUR GROWTH?
 

Now onto the fun bit (for us at least)! We love the feeling when you put the finishing touches on your martech stack integrations and see the customer data flowing between the various tools. It’s like finishing that Christmas jigsaw puzzle. Keeping this bigger picture in mind is vital when you’re selecting your various tools at each stage. If a specific tool doesn’t play nicely with the rest, you need to bin it. Yes, there are work-arounds you can patch together (thank you Zapier)! But ideally you want to be aiming for a natively integrated stack. 


Growth Division’s recommended tools are selected based on their integration capabilities. We’ve even built a map here, where you can select various tools or categories and see how they integrate with one another. Doing this yourself, might be a bit overkill, but knock yourself out. Or, we’re happy to have a chat and discuss your options based on your requirements and business, just reach out. 

Growth Division’s interactive martech tools integration map

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