Marx had a unique perspective of the then industrializing society. He viewed machines and production to be defining human thoughts, consciousness and mental structures of people - "the material productive force" marching inexorably in a certain direction taking society in its path.
In this sort of world view, relations in society arise out of relations necessary to sustain production. The nature of those production relations is in turn governed by the stage of evolution or sophistication of mechanization/automation. Therefore, rather uniquely, primary importance is accorded to the material productive forces. In this philosophy called dialectical materialism, the consciousness, logic, apriori reasoning of the human mind are all subservient to the relations defined by production relationships. The sort of mental conditioning which Marx inferred as class-based thinking or polylogism.
So what brings about a social revolution? According to dialectical materialism, the metamorphosis of the material productive forces - which is an inexorable, autonomous change - causes an alteration in the production relation influenced social structures. Interestingly, Engels draws upon instances in the biological world of 'negations' to draw analogies in society. He says the emerging of a butterfly or a chicken (from a cocoon or an egg as the case may be) essentially 'negates' its previous stage of life. Though this is only verbal sophistication, the obfuscation that such grand ideologies bring at a larger scale is more significant compared to minor verbal chicanery.
The validity of material productive forces needs to be tested. The term in itself is never independently defined, but only understandable from common usages - such as the capital goods accumulated by society since inception. The human mind conceiving about accumulation as opposed to consumption can be attributed to his ingenuity - apart from a certain degree of serendipity. This would be in complete opposition to dialectical materialism which dictates that human consciousness is determined by social structures which are in turn a product of production relations, driven by the forces of material production.
An opposition to materialism as a philosophy doesn't mean to dilute the role of technology, progress and innovation in changing the contours of society. From a historical perspective, human attitudes, choices and relations may perhaps have changed in several ways since civilization began. But that does not mean the change is due to the innate quality of materials. Capital goods don't have an autonomous consciousness in itself and it is riding along a certain path - culminating, as Marx would think, in socialism. A capital goods centric view of society, without taking into account human logic and apriori reasoning as equally contributing to its origins, is faulty.
Material productive forces or capital goods requires the physical act of abstinence from present consumption. As production lengths are stretched (more roundabout), productivity improves. These are real phenomenon thought out and acted upon by humans. A society may have ideas. But in the absence of capital, it cannot enjoy the benefits of capitalism unless someone is willing to lend that capital. How did the real phenomenon of saving and accumulation take place in society?
What sort of social relationship existed in the absence of material productive forces? When capital was thin, there did exist a system of human relationship that allowed saving and investment. So the Marxian view of human consciousness existing only in the realm of production relation driven society isn't true. Because you need to accumulate capital in the first place.
The Marxian view also ignores the role of division of labour. The division of labour happened in the very early stages of capital development. As capital accumulated, different people specialized in operating different parts of it. There ought to be a basic societal relationship in existence even at very early stages of capital formation. Therefore to claim that only materials drive social relationship is false in the absence of accounting for the division of labour as a fundamental basis of capitalism.
We don't have any answers from the texts of Marx to these question/counters. Like most ideologies underpinning socialism, dialectical materialism prefers to be dogmatic about its assertions and seeks to claw out a position of unquestionable authority rather than being subject to peer review.