How Can I Choose the Right Marketing Technology Stack?

Hi Jo,

My boss has asked me to figure out what type of tools we should add to our martech stack going forward.

Our company is relatively small at the moment, but we’re growing quickly year-over-year.

With so many tech options out there, how can I be sure we’re making the right choices with our investment?


Technical Tammy

pink line

Hi Tammy, this is an excellent question.

Scaling up your martech stack at a rate that aligns with your company’s growing needs can be quite difficult.

You’ll want to avoid as much tech bloat as possible, while also ensuring your team has the proper tools they need to grow operations efficiently.

It can be a tricky balance, but I have some tips that will set you on the right path.


Size is your primary benchmark, not time

When looking to invest in new software tools, the most important consideration is the size – and future growth- of your company.

You might be thinking: when will we get use from this tool? One year from now? Three years from now?

This is okay, as long as size is the primary benchmark for these time-based predictions. For example, let’s say you have 25 clients now. How long will it take you to get to 50 clients, 100 clients, and so on?

Think of buying clothes for a child. You could buy the next 10 shirt sizes for them, but those shirts could be sitting in a closet for the next five years before they fit. Or, they might fit much sooner than expected and you need to go shopping again.

Similarly, it’s your responsibility to track the progression and maturity of your martech stack so you can keep developing it to meet your continuously growing needs. Doing so will require continual communication with leadership.

For example, they might have information about revenue projections for the next two to five years, certain KPI targets that have been set, and so on. All of these factors go into understanding your current and future needs, which will direct how you invest in your tools.


Tech for now or for later?

Now that you’ve established a reference point for what you’ll need and when you’ll need it, I recommend you future-proof your tech the best you can.

In my experience, it’s better to invest in tools that will last as long as possible to avoid the costly process of ripping out the entire system later.

For example, one option might be to spend $100,000 on a tool that you won’t fully use for another few years. But the alternative could be spending $50,000 on something you need right now, only to spend another $300,000 in a few years ripping out the entire system because it needs replacing.

This “rip and replace” process, however, will be a bigger deal for some tools compared to others.

To simplify things, think of your tech in two categories:

  1. Backbone tools, and
  2. Peripheral tools.

Backbone tools are the core of your martech stack, including your essential marketing automation tool such as Marketo, Hubspot, etc. These tools will be much more painful and costly to “rip and replace,” so you’ll want to grow with them over the long term.

In some cases, depending on your current budget and needs, you can invest in the baseline offering of a certain tool now.

Then, later on, you can upgrade and layer in added services and functions as necessary. These add-ons, which can be applied dynamically, are your peripheral tools – in addition to other things like data enrichment software.

As you can probably tell, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to choosing the right tech.

Your needs will depend on many factors including your company’s structure, size, and projected growth. But as long as you’re constantly synchronized with leadership, and you plan ahead to future-proof your backbone tools with room for peripheral upgrades, I’m confident you’ll have an efficiently designed martech stack that can grow alongside you and your team.


Next steps

Once you’ve worked out which tools to invest in, make sure you’re absolutely clear with your boss about what a tech overhaul will involve. It’s going to take an ongoing time investment, thorough evaluation of your tools, and behavioral change from team members as they adapt to the new tech.

Effectively communicating all of this to your VP and CMO will increase the likelihood that they support your proposed changes. You can read more about how to explain your tech stack overhaul to your boss here.

You’ve got this — and if you need any help bringing in new technology, drop us a line.



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How to Ace a Career Conversation in Marketing Ops

TLDR: Organizations hiring in MOPs often report a shortage of top talent, but many capable candidates are unsure how to illustrate their value and suitability. Before you apply for an internal promotion or a role in a new workplace, get to know three things: the standards and trends in the marketing operations space, your ambitions and preferences, and how you achieve goals, solve problems, and create positive outcomes. Then, you can enter your next career conversation focusing only on the right opportunities and ready to impress.


The job market in marketing ops is becoming increasingly dynamic, driven by the rapid growth of opportunities in the space and a collective reassessment of our relationships with work. Organizations hiring in MOPs often report a shortage of top talent, but many capable candidates are unsure how to show and prove their value.

If you’re considering a new role, whether an internal promotion or a new workplace, you’ll find yourself talking about the things you want from work and the positive impact you create. Hiring managers and your boss (for promotions) are ultimately looking to identify three things: if you can do the job, if you want the job, and if you’re the right fit.

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn how to position yourself as a credible candidate in career conversations.

Your power as a candidate comes from:

  • educating yourself about how the expectations of each role compare to the norms of the market
  • reflecting on your motivations and preferences, and
  • preparing to demonstrate how you achieve goals and solve problems.


Research and reflection

Interviews are like two-way sales calls. As you relay how you solve problems and create positive outcomes, your employer wants to excite you with the role and workplace. You don’t want to lose sight of the things that matter amidst the pressure of an interview, so before you enter any career conversation, do some R&R (research and reflection).

Perhaps the most crucial question to answer is this:

What do you want from work? List your must-haves, deal-breakers, and future career ambitions to narrow down the roles and workplaces that fit well. A clear vision and authentic enthusiasm will help you speak with conviction about your skills and suitability for each opportunity, and you’ll likely receive more attractive offers as a result.

Even with what seems like a dream job, gather information before your interview and decide if the working conditions, responsibilities, and development opportunities on offer are what you want.

  • What do employee testimonials reveal about an organization or team’s culture?
  • Is the list of responsibilities in the job description realistic?
  • How does the compensation package compare to market expectations?

Confident knowledge of the MOPs space lets you assess if the role has a fair workload, if compensation is in line with your level, and how the processes and tools used in a workplace compare to the industry standard.

Internal career conversations can be a touch more delicate.

Whether you want extra help, more money, or different responsibilities, give specific examples of the changes you want to your role with a promotion.

Make a case driven by impact data and achievements for why you deserve the outcomes you’re after and illustrate how a change in your role will add value or reduce problems to help the organization achieve better outcomes.


Show and prove

Marketing ops is all about optimizing your organization’s Marketing spend to increase revenue.

The following skills and traits are instrumental to doing that well:

  • problem-solving
  • results-driven
  • growth mindset
  • confidence, and
  • expertise in the latest trends, tools, and practices in the space.

When discussing the role, illustrate your impact by describing how you’ve solved problems and achieved results that have boosted the bottom line.

If you don’t already know the goals you’re working towards, speak with your boss and set specific, measurable targets with deadlines. Establish what success looks like in each month, quarter, and year of your role. Then identify the performance metrics that matter to the business and connect them to revenue.

Read that paragraph again. That is how you can measure impact and build a verifiable case of your achievements.

Showing goal orientation to your boss is especially meaningful if you’re going for a promotion, but still helpful in conversations with external hiring managers too. You’ll benefit from a confident sense of how you meet and exceed expectations. In either scenario, come to the table ready to say things like: “One of my goals was to increase MQLs by 15%. I did so by 20%, here’s how.”

If you don’t meet those goals initially, proactively reach out to your relevant stakeholders to try and solve the problem.

Your manager, Marketing, and Sales are all your “internal customers”— people who should know the value of your work. Discovering why you didn’t achieve a goal or solve a problem and taking corrective action shows that you’re committed to getting results. In a career conversation, “I fixed this problem by working with others to come up with a solution, here’s the resulting progress” is a persuasive argument to make.

All of your research into the MOPs space especially pays off for internal conversations.

When you understand the direction of the industry and are ready to articulate your value, here’s a point your boss can respect: “The industry is changing fast and lots of opportunities are emerging. I like working here and wanted to give you the chance to continue my professional development with X compensation or Y responsibilities, but if not, I’ll have to look elsewhere.”


Your value explained

Whether you’re discussing an internal promotion or interviewing for an external position, the most decisive element of any career conversation is how you illustrate your impact and motivations.

Get to know the standards and directions of the MOPs space, what you really want from a new opportunity, and how you achieve goals, solve problems, and create positive outcomes.

Then, you can enter your next career conversation focusing only on the right opportunities and ready to impress.

Want to know more about demonstrating your value in marketing operations? Revenue Pulse is here to help.


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Will I Offend Anyone if I Start Asking Questions?

Hi Jo,

I’ve been feeling a little isolated in my marketing ops role lately.

It often feels like I’m left to my own devices, and I don’t always have visibility into what other teams are doing and how they’re doing it.

I think there could be a lot of value in connecting the dots between marketing ops and marketing more, but I’m not sure how to best go about it. Will people get offended if I just start asking questions?


Questioning Quinn

pink separation line

Hi, Quinn. You have no idea how much I resonate with how you’re feeling.

When I first started in marketing ops, it was because I raised my hand to run Marketo at my company. Like you, I was pretty much left to my own devices—not even my boss knew what I was doing, really.

It’s an unfortunate reality for a lot of MOps professionals. Depending on the size of the business, a MOps “team” might be a single person wearing way too many hats.

Plus, if a company hasn’t figured out where MOps lives yet, it may not even be clear if you report to Sales, Marketing, or RevOps. The lines of communication with each of those teams might be tenuous, at best.

With this amount of uncertainty in the role, it’s no wonder you have questions!

My advice? Ask away.

When you touch as many parts of the revenue production process as marketing operations inevitably does, you need to have awareness and visibility into what other people are doing. Then, and only then, can your company truly optimize revenue.

Not quite sure where to start? Don’t worry. Here are my three tips that should help you get the ball rolling.


Take initiative—with some help

Whether you’re new to the role or have been there a while, it’s always valuable to build relationships with people in other teams.

That said, depending on your company’s culture, asking for their time or for more visibility into the work they’re doing might feel like you’re overstepping.

If that’s the case, talk to your boss first.

Talk them through why it’d be valuable for you to build these bridges, and ask for their support in making it happen.


Connect the dots between your systems

Most people that are in charge of a technology platform will understand that it’s worth talking about how their system and your system share data.

For instance, if you’re running Marketo, set up a chat with the Salesforce admin at your company.

By sharing knowledge about each platform, you’ll be able to collaboratively identify any redundancies. If there’s a task that can be better done with one platform versus the other.


Set the standard for collaboration

If teams operate in silos, it’s because they don’t know not to.

If you start talking to people and making it a normal activity to share information and collaborate, then others are more likely to see the value and follow that behavior.

From one MOps professional to another, I’m sure you’re a proactive individual. So I know you won’t shy away from reshaping how your teams talk to each other.

Trust me, you only stand to win.

Even if nothing changes and you still have issues getting the right information from other teams, you’ll have shown initiative and added some skills to your tool belt. And that will look really nice on your resume when the time comes to move up or move on.

You’ve got this,

Jo Pulse

How to Gain the Trust of Your Leadership Team

TLDR: MOps and RevOps directly fuel the success of their leaders, but they often feel disempowered to speak up for greater input and influence. To get on the map, show how your work impacts the bottom line. When leadership sets strategies and goals, chooses tools, and establishes KPIs, these are opportunities to use your data, research, and expertise to manage upwards. Suggest solutions and best practices based on sound logic and data, and C-level will trust and seek your input.


The top goal of many C-Suite executives is to optimize revenue. MOps and RevOps are in a unique position to help leaders accomplish this. You sit on a treasure chest of data about business performance. You surface reports, track meaningful metrics, and interpret insights. Without the contributions of people with these skills, leadership struggles to make effective strategic and investment decisions.

In this way, MOps and RevOps directly fuel the success of their leaders. Still, however, there’s a limited understanding at the C-level of the true impact and value of these disciplines.

And compounding the problem of recognition, MOps and RevOps people often feel disempowered to speak up and advocate for greater input and influence, even when they have the expertise to steer key decisions successfully.

Your leaders want to solve problems. They want to know better and do better, but they can’t read minds. And they want to hear well-evidenced proposals over complaints. In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn strategies to gain recognition, influence, and input by speaking up with leadership the right way.


Talking impact

The key thing to boost your visibility is to show how your work impacts the bottom line or otherwise contributes to the specific goals your execs care about.

You might feel like you don’t have much of a voice within the company, but hard evidence is difficult to ignore.

Get to know the particular results leadership wants (e.g. customer retention, attraction). Capture the relevant data to build a business case to support a course of action. Luckily, with all the data you work with on revenue generation and optimization, you have the ingredients to be persuasive.

C-Suite wants data-driven solutions to pressing business concerns. That’s true whether you’re advocating for a particular tool or suggesting a strategic change at a particular point in the sales cycle.

These are the kinds of questions your execs are interested in, and you’ll gain respect by investigating and proposing answers.

  • How will that new tool cut campaign deployment time?
  • How do the changes you’re testing impact conversion rates and revenue?

Win greater investment into the team

This approach also helps with winning greater investment into the team.

As with many things in business, there are no quick fixes. Some MOps/RevOps projects can seem like daunting investments of time and effort, particularly if leadership isn’t sure what the business stands to gain. Highlight the inefficiencies that are consuming time and resources, then show how certain investments can help to eliminate those issues—value add vs. cost.

In order to give C-Suite the insights and metrics they need to drive good decisions, you need to be properly equipped to do that job. Back up your arguments with data to illuminate the connection between C-Suite and MOps/RevOps: when you’re better, they’re better.


Educate upwards

Many C-level execs don’t fully grasp the nuances and minutia of Marketing Operations. They may want you to take on a particular tool, for instance, without your in-depth knowledge of the martech scene and the most suitable capabilities to achieve your objectives. They may base KPIs on vanity metrics rather than data points that can meaningfully steer decisions. Or they may not realize the demands of implementing a platform, and the time it takes to build, test, and tweak until you get the results you want.

There’s a great opportunity for you here to manage upwards. If execs don’t consult you frequently enough at the onset of big projects and decisions, speak up to be heard. You have the evidence to create better outcomes and win credibility. While leadership is in the process of setting strategies and goals, choosing tools, or establishing KPIs, proactively flag the risks and consequences of taking a suboptimal path. And whatever you think is the right course of action, put forward your vision with a rationale based on data, research, and expertise— “I advise X because of Y.”

You are your best advocate

You are your best advocate, so don’t be afraid to start conversations.

Problem-solving is an important part of your job, and that extends to speaking up when you know better. Leadership will appreciate any reality checks and better approaches that you contribute, but they’re especially interested in why. So if you want a say in where strategies and investments go, take advantage of the massive amount of data at your fingertips—it gives you more power than you realize.


Get on the map

Your reasoning makes you a credible voice. Offer your perspectives proactively to make yourself heard— if you display the ability to suggest solutions and best practices based on sound logic and data, C-level will trust and seek your input.

Need more guidance on taking strategic decisions in Marketing Operations? Let’s chat.


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How Do I Manage New Project Requests From My Boss?

Hi Joe,

My boss just reached out and wants us to try out a new project that we’ve never done before.

I’ve never even heard of some of the things she’s talking about. I told her that I’d look into it, but I’m not sure where to start.

Do you have any suggestions?


Clueless Corey

pink seperator line

Hi, Corey!

We’ve all been there. Our boss sends an email or Slack message asking whether we can run a brand new type of campaign that we’ve never even seen before. We read the request again. Hyperventilate a little. Draft three different responses, and finally settle on “Let me look into that.” But what’s next?


Start with research

First off, telling your boss you’d look into it is a great first step.

It shows initiative and that you’re ready to find a way to make it work for your team. So many people worry about not having the answer right away, and they end up saying “yes” to things they can’t actually accomplish, or “no” to things that might actually make a positive difference. The fact that you’ve given yourself the time to research the feasibility is great. Nice job.

There are two main things you’re going to have to do before you get back to your boss:

  • The first is figuring out what the ask actually is and how it’s typically addressed.
  • The second is to map out the scope of the project, while also understanding the value that will come from implementing it.

Let’s dive into these two things a little more.


1. Understand the ask

A big part of what your boss (and their boss) is going to want to know is how much money, time, and resources the project is going to cost.

Before you can even map out the scope of the project, you need to have a clear picture of how you’re actually going to execute it. Here are some ways to go about that.

Tap into your network

The truth is, it’s unlikely that this is the first time someone is looking into this project. The marketing ops community has tons of people that are willing to share their experiences and answer questions — so ask.

Check out relevant forums

There is a rich collection of forums on various marketing automation topics — you’ve probably already used them to answer questions before. Revisit these and post your questions so members can answer. 

See if there’s a company dedicated to this particular issue

A lot of companies in the marketing automation space started out trying to solve a particular issue.

Take Knak, our sister company, for example. They exist in part because they realized that Marketo didn’t have robust email editing capabilities. They wanted to give marketers more freedom to design emails.

There might be another company out there that’s built around helping marketers execute the type of project you want to run. We may even be able to help.


2. Figure out the scope

Once you know what the project will look like, then you can assess how much it will cost.

This will go beyond the price tag of a new tool. You also have to consider how many people will need to be involved and for how long, and whether it makes more sense to bring in a consultant.

On the flip side, you should also consider the value the project will bring to your team. How much time will it save? How many new leads will it generate?

This may be the point where you realize that the project isn’t actually feasible or sensible for your team.

Don’t be afraid to say no to your boss.

As long as you can show that there’s a good reason for it and that you’re looking out for the best interests of the company, they’ll understand a “no.”

All that said, don’t let finances or the fact that a project seems to make sense for your business be the only factors that guide your decision-making.

Sometimes, it’s the projects that look banal on the outside that end up making the most impact in the long run.

Maybe everything works fine as it is, but it’s worth experimenting and fostering a culture of innovation and iteration within your team. That way, you can avoid becoming complacent and instead position your company as a leader within the space.


You’ve got this,

Joe Pulse

What Leadership Should Know About Data Hygiene

TLDR: Bloated, inaccurate databases cause all kinds of problems; lost revenue and productivity, heightened risks of data privacy violations, and unreliable decision-making. Data hygiene is a company-wide project—everyone from the CEO to your SDRs should think critically about how they handle data and contribute to policies. Standardize how people collect and handle data across systems and conduct periodic audits to check the quality of your data and sources. This will drive the business forward and allow teams to support each other and reach customers and prospects as effectively as possible.


Data runs the world, and it also runs your business. Many leaders know this and have strategies for data hygiene and protection, but too often, the enforcement of policies and best practices is inconsistent. This creates a culture where teams don’t know how to collect, handle, and categorize data, and lack insight into why data hygiene is so important.

The results? Inaccurate data and bloated databases—sources of pain for people in many different roles and threats to the revenue and reputation of your business.

If you’re feeling the strain of dirty data, this Tough Talks Made Easy is for you. You’ll learn to explain to leadership the deep impact of bad data and influence a shift to a data-centric culture, suggesting policies, practices, and perspectives on data that help everyone in the team do their jobs more effectively.


The damage of dirty data

A database filled with entries that are inaccurate, outdated, miscategorized, or duplicated has a profoundly negative effect on the business. People doing tactical work burn hours to correct and clean data. Concerned with the quality of their information, SDRs get distracted from reaching out to people, which slows down the sales cycle. CX-wise, missing pieces of information compromise your interactions with customers, who’ll know when your outreach is less than seamless.

Between marketing operations and sales operations, bad data and unclear accountabilities cause infighting, as teams blame each other for disarray. Everyone who needs reporting, from C-Suite downwards, simply cannot surface or grasp the performance and impact of their work. With a messy database, extracting the insights to fuel strategic decisions becomes a near-impossible effort.

If you can’t trust your data, you can’t trust your decisions.

Bad news for the productivity, revenue intake, strategic potential, and inter-team collaboration of your business.

Then factor in some more explicit financial costs. You’re getting charged for your database per row—bloat = dollars spent.

Excess data also heightens the risk of breaching data privacy compliance requirements. EU regulators have issued an average of €1.4 million per fine to companies in breach of the GDPR, so if your database includes old and duplicate records of people who’ve opted out of communications or asked to have their data deleted, you need to clean up ASAP.

The larger your tech stack, the greater the likelihood (and consequences) of disordered data. Coming up with and implementing a system for data hygiene may seem like an effort that’ll slow you down in the short term, but it’s the smart choice every time over tolerating a messy database and all its chaos and revenue loss.


Develop a hygiene plan

Data hygiene is a company-wide project—everyone from the CEO to your SDRs is responsible within their remit for thinking critically about how they handle data and contributing to policies.

How does data enter your system?

The first thing to think about is how data enters your system. Your sources are often things like:

  • enrichment tools
  • CRM data
  • web forms, and
  • purchase lists.

But could also include people like SDRs manually inputting information.

Verify the source

With each new entry, verify that the source is reputable and the data is both factually correct and accurate (e.g. checking for spelling errors and duplicates). And take extra care with data obtained from gated content—in the earlier stages of the cycle, people are more likely to offer untrue or incomplete information to easily access your content.

Standardize your data types

Lots of different people touch data when it’s in the system, and without a strict policy on how to handle and categorize it, things can quickly get out of hand. Standardizing the data types you collect and fields used across your systems can help to ensure you’re handling only the most relevant information and organizing data consistently.

Form a data compliance team

To further help keep things clean, advocate for a dedicated data compliance team. This team comprises a board of people who assess the impact of introducing any new field, data type, or source into your database.

Review your approach to data collection

It’s also worth interrogating your approach to data collection. More data doesn’t necessarily make you better informed, and it’s certainly not worth the excess storage costs and risks of violating data privacy requirements.

Additionally, not all data created or data sources are equal. You may have one or several usual suspects for creating bad data. Get ahead of it by shutting those sources down so you’re not creating bad data to start with.

Ask of each piece of data you solicit:

  • What’s the purpose, use, and relevance to your goals?
  • What categories of information are relevant to your customers and prospects?
  • What information do Sales need to move through the cycle?

Auditing your systems and data on a regular basis (e.g. monthly, quarterly) is crucial to determine what your baseline for hygiene should be. This is your opportunity to detect and remedy any flaws in your database.

Steps you can take to improve data hygiene:

  • delete old and unused records
  • remove white spaces
  • merge duplicates together
  • check your integrations are tight, and
  • ensure your records are enriched with the correct information from quality sources.


Dealing with data

The way you handle data can make or break your business. Dirty data results in losses of revenue, productivity, and decision-making power—to avoid the fallout, C-Suite should treat data hygiene as a priority initiative for everyone in the organization to partake in.

Clear, enforced policies that standardize how people collect and handle data across systems, and periodic audits to check the quality of your data and sources, will drive the business forward and allow teams to support each other and reach customers and prospects as effectively as possible.

Struggling with systems and data in disorder? Drop us a line. We’re here to help.