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Marlou Kramer10/11/17 11:53 AM4 min read

How to use B2B tools: A handy overview!

Most organisations are in the middle of a digital transformation. Many processes are digitized, using a wide range of applications and B2B tools (business to business). Abbreviations are everywhere: CMS, CRM, MAP, EMS, ESP, SaaS… But what do they mean? And which tools do you as an event or marketing professional need for your activities? We made a handy overview of B2B tools you can use.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Nowadays, fewer companies develop their own software. It’s becoming more and more common to use software in a SaaS construction, allowing the user to use the software online, in the form of a license. The biggest advantage is that you don’t need to buy or install software. You just use it from ‘the Cloud’ - and only for the period you actually need it. All applications mentioned in this article are examples of SaaS products.

  • What the SaaS? Click here to read more about Software as a Service and how to use it for your events.


An overview of the different SaaS B2B tools


Content Management System (CMS)

Users: Marketeer / Content Manager

A CMS is used to easily publish and manage your content on the (company) website. Using a CMS allows you to create pages, adjust the content and add images without technical knowledge. If you use CMS, you are no longer dependent on developers or designers to manage your website.

  • Well-known examples of CMS: Wix, Wordpress and Squarespace

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Users: Sales & Support professionals

CRM is used to manage a company’s customers and relations. All contact details and communication moments are filed in one central place. Using a specific customer ‘pipeline’, allows you to gain insight into the expected (sales) results - and follow or service each contact individually. Invoices, contracts and licences can also be included in a CRM system.

  • Well-known examples of CRM: Salesforce, Hubspot, Pipedrive and Zoho

Email Service Provider (ESP)

Users: Marketeer / Communication professional

According to Hubspot, 86% of the professionals use mailings (or email marketing) in their B2B communication. Using an ESP allows you to reach large audiences with professionally designed (HTML) emails.

  • Well-known examples of ESP: MailChimp, MailPlus and Sendinblue.

Marketing Automation Platform (MAP)

Users: Marketeer / Sales professional

MAP supports you in generating and prioritizing new leads. It helps you to become more visible in search engines, optimize your website by using statistics and personalizing the online user-experience for your customers.

  • Well-known examples of MAP: Hubspot, Salesforce Pardot, Oracle Eloqua and Marketo.

Event Management Software (EMS)

Users: Event manager / Marketeer / Personal Assistant / Secretaresse.

Inviting and registering your visitors can become time consuming and complex when working with multiple systems like Outlook and Excel. Especially when they are not specifically designed for the event industry. Using Event Management Software can help you to communicate more efficiently and effectively with your target audience with the modules: mailing, registration, event website and survey.

The advantage is that all communication has the same look and feel - and all elements of the software are synchronised. Also, in some cases it is possible to link the software to other SaaS applications, like your company’s CRM.

  • Well-known examples of EMS: Eventbrite, Momice, Cvent


Read here: "Selecting event management software: involve the right stakeholders" or find out what else to take into account before making a final decision.

Use the software for the right purpose

There is a chance the features of your SaaS providers overlap. This sometimes results in the ‘misuse’ of certain software. A common example is the use of ESP (like MailChimp) as CRM system. It is possible to record contact data and company details in your ESP application. However, the added value of a CRM goes beyond the features of an ESP: contact moments, client status and advanced company information cannot be tracked in an ESP system - you need a CRM to do this properly.

Another example is the use of MAP for event communication. MAP offers many features, eg. CMS and email. Therefore, some event organisers choose to use these platforms as a basis for their event communication. However, important features like visitor registration and event surveys are not included in the package.

Smart combinations

As an event manager or marketer, you run the risk of getting lost in all the different applications. The trick is to make smart combinations between them. For example, you can easily link MailChimp (EPS) to Salesforce (CRM), by using an API* (yet another abbreviation). Also, EMS, CRM and MAP can be easily connected. This saves you as an organiser a lot of time, because you no longer have to import and export lists. And your contact info is always up-to-date, no matter what!

*Application Programming Interface (a piece of code that enables the communication between 2 different software programs).

Integrate all the different B2B tools for your events


By using SaaS applications, you can make important processes in your organisation more efficient and effective. But if there are too many, you might lose track. Make sure you use your B2B tools for the right purposes - and make smart combinations where possible. This saves you a lot of time and makes your work easier!

Read more

Recently we have published 'The ultimate guide to event registration', in which you will find all the advantages and disadvantages of the event registration systems even clearer