Choosing a CMS │ Questions and Answers


After years of struggling with disruption, B2B enterprises are realizing that the struggle needs to end. To get there, they are making moves that enable them to embrace adaptability as a strategic advantage. For many, the first step is choosing a CMS that empowers flexibility.

Shifting your mindset to see opportunity in disruption is a tall order, and it requires having the right toolset to empower your teams. As Gartner reports, one key digital transformation is central to success: moving to a composable architecture.

In marketing technology terms, that means adopting technologies that centralize and optimize operational workflows, enable flexible and rapid change, and empower scalability in a cost-effective way.

That’s why moving to a headless CMS is priority for so many B2B enterprises. But for organizations that are used to the constraints of a traditional, monolithic platform, thinking outside that box can raise questions that they might not have considered.

If you’re at that point of change in your organization, it’s time to seek advice from your technology partner. Getting an objective, outside perspective is a good move. And when you choose an agency that has experience with organizations like yours—and the technologies you use—you can transform your view of disruption from struggle to opportunity.

What Trends Are Driving B2B Organizations to Modernize Their CMSs?

Disruption has always been a given in marketing; but the past couple of years have challenged even the most stoic marketing leaders. Rapid-fire changes have flown at us from every direction. From product demand to increased competition to customer buying behavior, everything seems to be in constant flux.

That constant uncertainty has amplified the limitations of many legacy CMS platforms. These foundational, monolithic website technologies are where many B2B organizations have built their digital presence, and they are…comfortable. But their siloed architectures drastically limit organizations’ ability to manage content across a multi-channel ecosystem.

To cover their expanding needs, many B2B companies have simply piled on additional CMSs—new instances, even multiple platforms. And eventually, that outdated, overbuilt approach becomes unsustainable.

Moving to a Modern, Headless CMS Declutters the Tech Stack

The composable architecture of headless platforms puts organizations in control of their technology choices. It enables them to facilitate an omni-channel experience that benefits customers, business users, and tech teams. And it reduces their security risk and costs while empowering adaptability.

According to The State of Content Management 2022 (a survey report from Storyblok), after switching to a headless CMS, 82.91% of organizations saw improvements in time management, budget, productivity, KPIs, and revenue growth.

And Gartner notes that a composable application architecture empowers strategic adaptability, enabling adopters to outpace competition by as much as 80%.

That said, a CMS change impacts people across your organization at every level, so getting a solution that satisfies everyone is a big task.

What Should I Look for When Choosing a CMS?

To decide on the direction that’s best for your organization, don’t start by just listing features. Instead, get a realistic look at the ways you create, manage, and use content across your organization.

Ask big-picture questions such as:

  • Are we building a single brochure website, a content marketing hub, or an enterprise presence across multiple sites?

  • Will we need an ecommerce component?

  • Do we provide portals for sales teams, partners, or employees?

  • Do we personalize website sections (e.g., by industry or for large accounts)?

  • Do we support ABM accounts through custom microsites?

  • Will we need to make resources such as reports, ebooks, blogs, videos, and other media searchable and sortable?

  • Do we need to integrate our site with existing third-party solutions such as a learning management system (LMS), ERP, or CRM?

  • Do we need to enhance security of our online content and data?

  • Do we anticipate needing to scale our online presence?

  • Do we need to enforce a content governance model and workflow across all our content?

  • What are our standards for accessibility, and how is our CMS helping to ensure we meet those standards?

Now—take stock of your answers.
Does the complexity of your needs make your head spin? That’s where the perspective of an outside partner helps.

How Will Our Agency Partner Help Us Choose the Best CMS?

When you work with a technology-focused agency partner to select the best CMS for your needs, you should expect that partner to start where you are—and offer a recommendation based on a proven discovery methodology.

At Refactored, when we consider CMS replacements for most of our B2B client websites, we focus mainly on headless CMS because of its inherent speed, security, and flexibility, and because it leverages a modern website architecture.

Hands down, Storyblok has become our preferred headless CMS solution because of its visual editor, flexible content modeling capabilities, and cost-effectiveness. (You can learn more about our choice in the article that we wrote with Storyblok when we were named their partner of the month.)

However, though we believe that Storyblok could be a great CMS platform for many of the complex and technical organizations we serve, we don’t assume that at the outset of an engagement.

Instead, we start with the specific requirements and preferences your team has documented. Then, we add to our understanding by performing discovery across several areas.

1) The need/driver for the solution

We always start with the why. How does a CMS technology help you perform your duties daily? What is working well with the current solution, and where is it lacking? And how does the CMS fit into the mix of technologies within the organization?

2) Documenting required features

Next, we review the specific features that your teams have identified. We examine why they are needed—not just how they perform an action, but how certain features help your teams work in specific ways.

3) Understanding any required integrations and APIs

The “API first” nature of headless CMS architecture enables great flexibility—and requires a clear understanding of how your organization works. How portable does the data maintained in this system need to be? What other systems does it naturally need to integrate with?

4) Solutions research

Here’s where our agency has already done our homework. Over nearly two years, we have evaluated nearly 15 of the leading headless CMS platforms. Our evaluation followed a detailed review process and included building several complete websites in the leading platform contenders. This experience has given us first-hand knowledge of how well a given solution will perform under real-world conditions.

5) Demos, trials, and pricing

Once we have narrowed down a short list of viable options for your organization, we work with the vendors and your key stakeholders to facilitate demos and practical trials of the solutions you’re considering. We clearly define the total costs of solutions so that you can understand how your CMS fits into your budget.

6) Recommendation

By the time you receive our recommendation, you’ll understand how the CMS solution will work for your business—and how it will support both your technical and business users. We also provide a recommended path for implementing the solution—and offer expert technical support to help you ensure your project’s success.

Choosing a CMS Is Not a DIY Project
Refactored has helped numerous clients stop struggling with disruption—and instead embrace it with a headless CMS that empowers them to adapt to whatever comes next.

Feel free to explore some of the projects we’ve completed. And when you’re ready, talk to us about your CMS project. We’re here to help.