Doesn’t it seem like there’s always a new tool to try, plugin to buy or analytics dashboard to install? The speed at which technology and the state of martech evolves has required marketers over the years to find new tools quickly and consistently. This has left many marketing teams managing a complex and disconnected stack of tools, which can cause issues with efficiency. Not to mention being the source of a major revenue flow problem for many businesses.

Being able to quantify touch points in digital means that marketers now have more data than ever before at their fingertips. Unfortunately, more data doesn’t always mean better data. And without the tools in place to gather the best metrics, marketers are often left swimming in a sea of unusable numbers.

To find ways that marketers can take back their tools and harness real metrics for actionable results, SharpSpring partnered with Ascend2, a leading research-based marketing company, to survey 187 marketing professionals on how their current tools were serving them. Here’s what we found.

The Problem

One fact became clear from the data, marketers are facing a technology overload:

  • 44% of marketing teams are using four or more tools to execute their strategy.
  • 92% of the most successful marketers agree that consolidating tools in their tech stacks would increase productivity and efficiency.
  • 59% of marketers feel that they do not have the data they need to feel confident about which marketing campaigns are working.

Many marketers are struggling to get the data they need out of the systems they have and we wanted to understand why marketers felt like their marketing strategies were only “somewhat successful”.  So we asked them to name their biggest challenges.

It might come as no surprise that the top issue facing marketers is lead generation. 37% of respondents said that generating quality leads was their main challenge. Of course, if marketing doesn’t have a full view of the customer journey to see which leads end up converting, they’re going to keep struggling to optimize.

However, another 26% said that attributing campaign results to marketing efforts was also a major challenge. Showing value in marketing is critical to securing budgets and staff and it starts with understanding what kind of revenue can be tied to marketing as well as your conversion costs. Again, this comes down to understanding the story the data is telling them.

When marketing and sales aren’t aligned and marketers can’t see the full customer lifecycle, it becomes difficult to attribute dollars back to efforts. Having multiple sources for data and connections is making clean attribution a problem for many businesses. Understanding attribution can be a game-changer for a marketing strategy. That data can be used to inform budgets and drive dollars into campaigns you know are converting.

So what’s stopping marketers from achieving this level of integration? Nearly half (47%) of marketers are struggling with a lack of resources — both budget and people.

This big 3: lack of time, lack of people, lack of budget, are the main reasons companies struggle to move forward. This is why we’ve seen such a shift to revenue growth platforms that have strong marketing automation capabilities. Marketing automation helps companies get more done with less by automating tasks, reminders, emails, and social campaigns. Marketing automation tools solve the 3 main problems teams are currently struggling with.

Inadequate Technology

When we asked the group to rank the tools they used on a scale of 1-10, marketing tools received an average 6 out of 10 at being good at helping marketers do their jobs. That is not the type of grade we hope to see! Download the report to see the full sentiment.

Of course, this doesn’t mean the tools themselves are bad, but it does show a common trend of frustration with complicated martech stacks. The core issues lies with getting a single, centralized view of the customer and using the data between sales and marketing teams to convert leads into actual customers. This is where marketing automation can come into play.

The draw of revenue growth platforms like SharpSpring isn’t that they are innovating technologies, but rather that they’re seamlessly integrating.

Overflowing Technology Stacks

The survey told us that 44% of marketing teams are using 4 or more tools to execute their strategy. The more separate data sources there are the harder it is to understand the customer journey and then do anything useful with that information. Data without context will always just be numbers.

Without analyzing and utilizing data, marketing is just a game of chance. Some things might work for a little while but then how do you replicate success? Pulling marketing efforts into one tool helps to consolidate and create data dashboards that give teams quick insights to the customer journey and success of campaigns.

Insufficient Data and Utilization

When tools aren’t integrated, it’s no surprise that marketers are struggling to turn data into actionable strategies. Well-rounded data is the tool marketers need to create personalized customer experiences that create repeat business. Being able to personalize the customer experience with data through automation means that customers can get the 1:1 interactions they love without adding manual labor.

59% of marketers told us that they DO NOT have the data they need to feel confident about which marketing campaigns are working and which are not. This is a huge issue when taking into account the cost investment of various tools and the time spent learning and implementing them.

With an integrated system, teams can leverage firmographic, demographic, and behavioral data to give customers content that fits their interests, needs, and spot in the buyer’s journey. Unfortunately, with a disconnected martech stack, teams often miss this data and how it can work together.

Download the report to see which of these three data types marketers feel most confident with and which one could serve as a major opportunity for your company.

The Consequences

76% of marketers feel that they are missing opportunities for revenue growth as a result of the top challenges they face.

You probably guessed where this was going. All of the challenges mentioned lead to one major problem for businesses: opportunities left on the table. From a combination of lack of resources, inadequate technologies, and inability to efficiently use the data at hand, marketers are left to walk the fine line of strategic planning and educated guesses.

For businesses this isn’t just a loss in potential revenue but a huge misuse of resources.

The Solution

There are 3 things businesses can start focusing on right away to fix some of these issues. If your company isn’t ready for the shift to an automated marketing solution, working towards these goals within your current martech stack will still help to create efficiency.


Streamlining into a revenue growth platform like SharpSpring is how many companies are finally starting to take control of their data so that it can be used to inform marketing strategies.

In our survey, we found that over 100% of teams that have marketing and sales working together to close prospects are doing it through automation or sales enablement tools. The growth in popularity of marketing automation is heavily influenced by companies’ needs to stay ahead of the curve and deliver great experiences for their customers.

Only 11% of marketers reported that their tools are fully integrated into a single platform and almost a quarter reported that their technology stacks are made up of stand alone tools. That leaves a lot of room for improvement for marketing teams simply to function better and more efficiently.

We also found that not using marketing automation can be especially detrimental to technology and SaaS companies because about 70% of their competitors are using some kind of integrated system. This means the companies slow to adopt are also falling behind the technology curve.

Align Marketing and Sales

The biggest frustration with separate technologies is departments get siloed from each other and it becoming difficult not only for marketing and sales to work together, but also for either side to provide a clear view of what’s happening to the executive team.

A misalignment between sales and marketing also runs the risk of messaging to the customers being repetitive, or simply missing the mark throughout the customer journey.

In this report, we’ve also highlighted views from executive teams. We saw that a surprising number of executives reported being satisfied with the KPIs reported by their marketing teams. This is another opportunity to check-in on goals to better align teams with executive expectations. Download the report to discover the other differences we found between executive and marketing teams.

Measuring for Success

Marketing is a tool to help new prospects become aware of and remember your business. The role of marketing is to start pooling qualified leads into the funnel for sales to then seal the deal. In this sense, marketing and sales are two teams that work together towards a common goal. With an integrated martech stack it becomes easier to assign revenue attribution to marketing and actually see how these two teams influence each other.

Survey results showed that the marketers seen as most successful reported on sales-focused metrics like sales units and sales dollars. Giving both teams tools that allow insights into the full customer journey only improves communication between teams, allows for strategies to be optimized more quickly, and creates a better, overall customer experience.

Because at the end of the day, the goal of business is to create more happy customers. Integrated data solutions give marketers and sales teams the toolkit to do just that.

Is a Revenue Growth Platform Right for You?

Download the full report and you’ll see that marketers agree, consolidating tools is the future of marketing.

We understand better than most that dismantling your current martech stack in favor of an all-in-one marketing automation solution is a big investment. However, the opportunity losses and costs of inefficiency are even higher for a business. When weighed against that, the move can actually create revenue and save budgets in the long run.

Of course, partnering with the first tool is step one. If you’re ready to take your business to the next level and stop wasting resources, talk to a SharpSpring team member about a demo today!

Kim Jamerson
Kim Jamerson
As Vice President of Marketing at SharpSpring, Kim heads up lead generation efforts through a variety of channels and processes. She has an extensive background in marketing and communications, ranging from TV news to enterprise software and healthcare.