When building a marketing technology (MarTech) stack, both the best-in-breed and single vendor approaches have their benefits and drawbacks. Today’s business realities has marketing operations teams and business leaders re-examining the best way to get necessary tasks accomplished: “one-for-each” or “one-for-all”.
A changing landscape
Digital transformation is driving marketing leaders to make decisions between two competing approaches to building a marketing technology stack. On one side is best-of-breed, defined by Technopedia as “the best system in its referenced niche or category. Although it performs specialized functions better than an integrated system, this type of system is limited by its specialty area.” That second sentence contains the key appeal of best-of-breed (BoB), the belief that selecting individual vendors for essential functions delivers better performance than an integrated system. Many companies have bought into that view.
A survey of more than 300 marketing, sales, and advertising professionals by business-to-business (B2B) marketing agency Walker Sands reports that the best-of-breed strategy has been gaining popularity over the last decade and commands more than 40 percent of their respondents’ marketing stack. That tilt is in some ways caused by the BoB message that single-vendor solutions do not offer superior quality apps—an assertion that is now being challenged.
The single-vendor solution
Today’s integrated enterprise solution is focused on the capabilities and usability of its apps, as well as the advantages of choosing a single vendor. Usually offered as a comprehensive, integrated software suite that uses one data mart, this approach provides the implementation, operational, and training advantages of single-source integration as well as features and capabilities of specific products that are competitive with a BoB offering. The question of whether the ease of use, capabilities, and business value of its individual products can equal the value of their best-of-breed counterparts is the key consideration when deciding which path to follow.
The power of the single-vendor shared platform
TPC Logistica Inteligente (TPC), one of the main logistics operators in Brazil, depends on a complex corporate sales process with cycles that last on average eight months and involve several areas of customers. When the company’s main need was the implementation of a robust customer relationship management (CRM) tool, after a detailed analysis of the main solutions on the market, TPC opted to implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales, which share a common platform.
Following a thorough implementation plan presented by Microsoft and its partner Inove, TPC completed the adoption in less than two months. For a company that makes approximately three million deliveries a year, the implementation aspect of the product “was important and decisive,” says Silas Faria, Innovation Manager, TPC.
The speed and smoothness of the implementation was the beginning of fast-tracking impact of Dynamics 365 on TPC. With Dynamics 365 Marketing in operation, TPC was able to instantly start tracking mail and phone and qualify its customers. This breakthrough enabled TPC to improve customer relationships and increased the company’s visibility in its market.
With Dynamics 365 Marketing and Dynamics 365 Sales natively aligning with each other and the engineering advantage of an adaptable shared platform, TPC saw how it could readily integrate additional Microsoft solutions, creating, in effect, a “best-of-breed” solution that shared a common data model and the Dynamics 365 customer engagement platform. The best of both approaches.
Building out to build business
Choosing Dynamics 365 Marketing and Dynamics 365 Sales created opportunities to smoothly integrate additional Microsoft solutions as well as an array of ISV third-party solutions. TPC now feeds its data into Microsoft Power BI dashboards to acquire insights to support decision-making. The company used Microsoft Power Apps to create an application that combines business data with information on available storage space in its distribution centers.
For TPC Group, Dynamics 365 is a “best-of-the-best” solution. Dynamics 365 Marketing and Dynamics 365 Sales have transformed its understanding of its customers. Power BI and Power Apps improved how information is gathered, analyzed, and used to grow business. “We have gained speed, process quality, and strategic management,” observes Eduardo Leonel, Commercial and Marketing Director, TPC. All accomplished with the single-vendor Dynamics 365 solutions and platform. Further, TPC has an easy path to adding other Dynamics 365 applications for customer engagement, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Consumer Insights and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service.
The impact of choosing Dynamics 365 Marketing and Dynamics 365 Sales is impressive. TPC’s decision has triggered a significant increase in the company’s conversion rate: it added 16 new, highly-complex projects in 2019 compared to only two in the previous year.
Seeing the path forward clearly
The integrated solution promises quicker and smoother integration and deployment in a competitive business environment that doesn’t tolerate slow reactions or performance disruptions. And in the case of the Dynamics 365 solutions, it brings the same drive as a BoB company has to be the best in each product category.
Muddying the waters is the disruptive action of some larger single-vendor suite providers to augment their solutions by acquiring their BoB competitors. On the surface, this would appear to present a “best-of-both-worlds” option, but integration obstacles still exist within this hybrid approach, particularly in the challenge of seamlessly connecting applications that originated with different vendors.
While Dynamics 365 is a single-vendor solution that is easy to configure, use, and extend, it also offers BoB advantages. The Dynamics 365 applications are built upon an adaptable, expandable platform and a common data model that unifies data across all your business processes and enable interoperability among apps.
At the same time, each Dynamics 365 application team—including Dynamics 365 Marketing, Dynamics 365 Sales, Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance—is focused on engineering a best-of-breed level performance. For example, Dynamics 365 Marketing provides a powerful combination of marketing automation with events management, Dynamics 365 Customer Insights integration, a connector to LinkedIn, and AI-based capabilities. Aligned marketing and sales applications from Dynamics 365 can help companies understand customers better, collaborate remotely, optimize buying processes, and adapt to rapidly changing environment.
The choice for many companies, particularly those with ambitious growth plans, may be a single-vendor consistency that encompasses an array of best-of-breed products. Having to choose between the two alternative approaches could be a thing of the past.
Learn more about how the combination of powerful, fully featured Dynamics 365 Marketing, Dynamics 365 Sales, and other Dynamics 365 solutions can meet these challenging times.