It’s important to keep up with the fast-moving, data-driven world, but the purchasing process can get out of control if you don’t get a good handle on it. Ease the pain of purchasing by following three easy steps.

1) Make a stack of what you already have

You need to see a clear picture of where you are right now before you forge ahead with any new purchases. Stacks are the ideal tool for figuring out your current technology across the enterprise. Talk with your team to identify what tools everyone using now, and build your “Tools We Have” stack. Don’t leave anything out — even the free & freemium apps for daily tasks like file sharing, brainstorming, shared calendars, even text messaging apps. Talk with IT and developers too, so you can make sure your “Tools We Have” stack includes any backend systems and platforms that you might be able to build on — for example, your back-office systems may offer integrations you didn’t know about, that you can leverage to save time and money through enterprise-wide coordination. Name your layers, then simply drag-and-drop your tools from the massive CabinetM directory.

2) Identify needs

Your “Tools We Have” stack will help you on your way to deciding which tools are working, and which tools are a poor match for your strategy. Your growing start-up may have simply outgrown the tools you started with, or your large enterprise may need to step up its Mobile Marketing game.

When you strategize for improvement, consider internal as well as customer-facing issues. Identify the gaps in your current technology that are keeping your team from operating at peak productivity — where can you automate? Identify the places where you can be better serving your customers online and offline — are you collecting feedback in a meaningful way? Reviewing your workflow end-to-end will help you figure out what sort of marketing tools you’ll need to purchase.

3) Find tools on CabinetM

Here’s the best part. Browse CabinetM’s massive products listing to find tools you’re missing. Not only can you search by category, you can narrow down the results with filters for company size, industry and other key attributes. You can create Drawers and name them any way you like — a great way to conduct this part of your pre-purchase research is to name the Drawers the same way you named your stack layers: CRM, Email Marketing, Social Media and so forth. You have options, so you can use the Compare feature to see side-by-side comparisons that will help you make a smarter purchasing decision. Many vendors offer an easy way to get a demo of the tool so you can see it in action. Annotate the tools in your Drawers with your notes from the demo, subscription pricing, discounts you may be eligible for, even keep track of trial period expiration dates.

Finally, you can show the results of your great in-depth research by sharing Drawers and Stacks. It’s a streamlined, visual way to get buy-in from team members and decision-makers and ease the pain of purchasing new marketing software tools.

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