The Tech Effect

Paul Nolan

In case you haven’t noticed, the business world is immersed in a technological arms race.

In his editor’s note from the June 15 issue of Fortune, an issue that features the iconic Fortune 500 ranking of the largest publicly held companies in the U.S., Alan Murray states, “Today’s CEOs clearly recognize that new technologies are going to radically change the way they do business. And they know they need to figure it out before their competitors do.”

In a survey the magazine sent to all Fortune 500 CEOs, each was asked, “What is your company’s greatest challenge?” The top response: “The rapid pace of technological change.” Cybersecurity finished a close second. More than nine out of 10 respondents (94%) said their companies will change more in the next five years than in the past five.

Companies across all industries feel pressured to keep their sales and marketing teams properly equipped. “The all-important B2B buyer experience can potentially be handicapped before a sales rep even begins presenting their case if the seller is perceived as missing the boat regarding the latest and greatest tools of their own trade,” states Peter Ostrow, Vice President, Group Director of Sales Effectiveness and Strategy at Aberdeen Group (, a consultant on customer data, research, content marketing and sales technology. Ostrow’s comments are found in a white paper ominously titled “Would You Buy From A 20th Century Sales Rep?” (See accompanying story.)

Remaining technologically relevant can be a Sisyphean task in a world in which version 2.0 seems to have a release date before version 1.0 is even done beta testing. As Ostrow points out, “The realities of corporate budgeting demand a judicious approach toward investing in hardware and applications that support their customer-facing personnel.”

Our annual cover feature on technology in the B2B sales and marketing space is part of a broad and ongoing conversation. We don’t have the hubris to believe it is a comprehensive overview, nor do we expect all of the information to have an extended shelf life. There is no such thing when talking technology.

Clearly, however, if you’re not focused on what your sales and marketing teams need to compete at the highest levels, you may not have much of a shelf life either. Dig in and share your thoughts with us ( on technology topics we should cover in future issues.