B2B and ‘institutional’ marketers know all too well about the back-end systems that eat your data without providing value or insight. Netsells explain how these systems are more than just an annoyance - and how fixing them isn't as hard as it looks.

Marketers within larger institutions will know all too well about learning to ‘work around’ their back-end systems. We generate leads, their data disappears into the ‘back-end black hole’, we call it a ‘tech’ issue and go back to our brand awareness projects.

GO! Network Members Netsells spoke to us this week about overcoming these common issues for B2B, professional & financial brands, why it matters, and the benefits you can gain from taking on the challenges.

Why is a messy back-end data management system so hard to fix?

Often the result of businesses going through multiple acquisitions, growth spurts and mergers that bolt new systems onto the old, it can be complicated to even know if fixing the issue is in your remit.

Rob Bellingham, Sales Director at Netsells, has a few ideas about what makes this so complex.

“Two key questions that you should typically ask when considering a larger-scale project like this are ‘Who do I need?’ and ‘Where do I start?’.

The situation has likely been left for so long that responsibilities are split across the business, and figuring out budget/stakeholders alone can be complicated. We  act as a partner that can fill in the gaps for brands when these projects start.’

The risks of not upgrading your marketing software and data management systems

Whether it’s marketing software, Sales CRMs, or administrative data management causing the blockers to your strategy, ignorance is not bliss.

Key persons risk

“There is an exponential increase in the cost of maintaining old platforms. Your development team becomes the only people that can understand the platform and the skill set becomes out of date for new developers quickly. This can cause problems recruiting for new talent, as nobody wants to work with dated or ‘patched up’ system..”

Customer trends

“The impact from covid has not necessarily changed buyer habits for good but it has accelerated their expectations of modern platforms. Development budgets have seen some of their largest increases to date, with 35% of tech leaders expecting to spend significantly more over the next 6 months. Keeping up with competition and countering new threats from challenges in the market is vital.”

Spending on digital transformation increased in 2020, with 83% of companies planning to accelerate their efforts due to customer expectation, and 65% expecting to increase the amount they’re investing in 2021—despite the economic downturn.”

Losing ground with competitors

“According to the tech in trends report 2021 organisations shifted their spend and resources to tackle 3 main prioritises:

1. Improving the workforce ability to adopt many brands building products to digitalise the employee experience.

2. Increasing agility and flexibility in their tech

3. Delivering on a digital customer experience to accelerate revenue”

Back-end data management systems are not a ‘tech’ problem – they’re a revenue issue, and a marketing issue too. More and more businesses are investing in transformation that allows them to be more efficient with their marketing strategy, and provide a better customer experience. Falling behind isn’t just about internal challenges – it can lose market share.

Getting started – making the digital transformation process more manageable

“Marketing teams are one of the first points of call within a business to understand what their customers want. Marketing forms an essential part of product development, helping to prioritise and generate new ideas.

Use that position to understand what insights you aren’t getting. Your success relies on a good product and a good experience for customers – that, in turn, relies on data and your stakeholders should buy into that as well.”

“Remember, not everything has to change in one go. Embarking on a project like this presents the time to talk about incremental improvement, upgrade and enhancement. It doesn’t have to be a daunting process. One step at a time in the right direction - exactly what agile was designed for.”

Netsells are a bespoke platform and application development agency based in York. To learn more, get in touch at hello@thegonetwork.com.

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