How Can I Become a Better Communicator in My MOPs Role?

Hi Joe,

I’ve been steadily improving my skills in MarTech, but I feel like other important soft skills have been lagging behind.

When it comes to building stronger relationships with my team members, communicating with other departments around the company, or even presenting in front of large groups in meetings, I’m really struggling.

Any advice on how I can communicate and present more effectively?


Awkward Alex.

pink seperation line

Alex, I know how you feel, and I’m sure many others out there do too.

Building and developing soft skills for better communication and presenting is no easy feat, especially if you’re a bit more on the introverted side or you’ve struggled with public speaking in the past.

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have many conversations and experiences that have helped me forge these skills. Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way!


Lead with empathy

When I think of soft skills, empathy immediately comes to mind as the number one trait to look at for improving communication.

Practicing empathy in all your interactions will help you develop deeper relationships around the company, as well as encourage and inspire those around you.

This goes for speaking with clients as well. Consciously employing more empathy will help you understand your clients’ needs more clearly. Ultimately allowing you to serve them more effectively.

This is one of my favorite Simon Sinek quotes that embodies this concept: “Empathy is being concerned about the human being, not just their output”.


Find common ground

If empathy is number one on our list of soft skills, then close behind it is the ability to find common ground with others.

Whether you’re speaking with sales, marketing, IT, or anyone else involved in the company, there will always be an opportunity to find some piece of common ground.

It could be anything from sports, pop culture, where they’re from, or what companies they’ve worked for — MOPs can be a small world! This is a great way to bolster your professional relationships and it’s a seamless ice-breaker when speaking with new hires for the first time.


Everyone is rooting for you

When speaking in front of an audience – whether it’s an internal meeting, client presentation, or anything else – it’s natural for most people to have some anxiety or fear of rejection.

To help with this, I defer back to the idea that: it’s in our nature to want others to do well.

We don’t want to see others fail or feel embarrassed. So the next time you find yourself speaking in front of a large group, keep in mind that they’re on your side and want to see you succeed.

It may seem simple, but internalizing this shift in perspective will go a long way in helping you feel more poised during presentations.


Company culture matters

A lot of soft skill development also has to do with the culture of the organization you’re with.

Here at Revenue Pulse, we promote a culture of teamwork and support. Mistakes will happen, and being transparent about your flaws in an authentic way will help build trust and strengthen relationships – both within the company and with clients.

It’s also important to surround yourself with people who will give you honest feedback so you can improve.

Give others permission to tell you if a presentation wasn’t impactful or if a conversation felt off – while we need to take our work seriously, it’s important we don’t take ourselves too seriously as well.


Leave your comfort zone

While all these tips are important, the final ingredient that ties everything together is experience.

I don’t know of any great communicator or presenter who is speaking in front of a group for the first time.

Put yourself in front of audiences as much as possible and have conversations often. Getting the reps in will help you build confidence, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a better communicator.

You’ve got this,


How to Explain RevOps to Your Marketing Ops Team

TLDR: In response to customer churn, technical debt, and siloed working, moving to a RevOps team helps people in marketing operations, sales operations, and customer success collaborate and align on strategy.


Marketing operations as a discipline grew from necessity. Businesses need people who understand marketing automation to master the tools and processes that make marketing teams succeed. As the field develops, MOPs teams are now moving towards a new organizational structure known as Revenue Operations (RevOps for short). This transition requires a comprehensive understanding of the entire customer cycle.

If you’re a MOPs leader managing a shift to RevOps, anticipating the changes in team structure and role demands can elicit some anxiety. Your MOPs team will want to know why the shift to RevOps is happening and what it means for their jobs.

As people question their place in the new order of business, how do you inspire confidence in the team?

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn how to present an optimistic vision for the move to RevOps. This shift can help people in MOPs to remedy historical challenges and make more significant contributions to the business. Convey this, and you can get people excited about the opportunities ahead.


RevOps in context

Multiple teams play a role in the customer journey.

  • MOPs’ contributions—campaign creation, data analysis, lead scoring and handover—kick off the cycle.
  • After MOPs brings good leads to sales operations, SOPs creates efficient lead management processes to help sales win business.
  • From there, customer success teams work to retain customers and prevent churn.

MOPs, SOPs, and customer success are responsible for engineering different stages of the funnel. Revenue Operations unites these teams to optimize the entire customer cycle.

Essentially, it means bringing all three teams under one roof to ask the same questions: How do we improve the customer experience through our tech stack, sales processes, and interactions?


Businesses are more vulnerable to churn

Shifting business dynamics in recent years makes integrating these three teams urgent. The rise of SaaS and subscription models have made businesses more vulnerable to churn. If customers can pay for your products and services on a rolling, short-term basis, maintaining high retention rates takes constant work. Hence, the growth of customer success.

Meanwhile, the explosion of workplace tech has caused companies to go all-in on tool adoption. As people leave roles and take their expertise, MOPs and SOPs teams are increasingly strained by technical debt and dysfunctional tech stacks.

A hard-learned truth: Tools are only as good as the people who use them.

As remote working becomes more commonplace, there is a heightened risk of siloes. Consider how connected MOPs, SOPs, and customer success are in the customer journey. These teams can’t work effectively when fragmented.

Someone in your MOPs team will recognize this one: without access to Salesforce, fixing a dataflow means pulling in someone from SOPs. When teams are disconnected, they get protective (“why are these people making changes in our tools?”). As a result, collaboration becomes difficult, even between teams that share the same goals.


What RevOps offers

MOPs, SOPs, and customer success all exist to support revenue generators. Integrating these teams under one banner helps people align on strategy, collaborate, and share their knowledge.

Instead of technical debt and division, you create opportunities for MOPs and SOPs to coalesce around a selection of tools and technical processes.

No longer working in isolation or with ambiguous impact, MOPs gains visibility with customer success and sales. From the very start of projects, they can work together to set goals and improve processes that translate across the whole customer cycle.


MOPs to RevOps

At this point, the logic of RevOps should make sense—but what does a RevOps role mean in practice?

The field is still new and fluid, but there are some guiding characteristics you can share with colleagues wondering how their roles could change.

RevOps moves away from granular tool ownership and data management towards calculating the impact of practices across MOPs, SOPs, and customer success. With more emphasis on visualizing these insights to leadership, RevOps provides opportunities to make holistic connections, identify the impact on revenue and productivity, and present these findings at high levels.

The key ingredients to RevOps

  • tool knowledge
  • business acumen
  • strategic thinking, and
  • a grasp of customer success and SOPs.

This presents a challenging learning curve for MOPs professionals, but it’s a chance for inquisitive people to get in on a nascent movement, develop new skills, and take ownership for finding problems and figuring out solutions.


Vision and change

RevOps is a team about the constant, integrated optimization of customer journey practices. It’s proactive, planned, and dedicated to winning and retaining business in the most efficient ways.

The shift from MOPs to RevOps responds to new business dynamics and demands, but it also helps MOPs people improve how they collaborate and align with SOPs and customer success.

Within a RevOps team, MOPs professionals can gain new skills and make greater strategic impacts through visibility, interconnectedness and a proactive role in optimizing the customer journey.

Invest in building a consistent experience that solves the challenges of siloes, and your MOPs team will want in on the journey.


Want to know more about RevOps? Get in touch for a chat.

Should I Take the Marketo Certified Expert Exam?

Hi Jo,

I’m in the early stages of my career in MOPs, and I’m wondering if I should take the Marketo Certified Expert (MCE) exam.

Many people in the industry have this qualification, though I’m not entirely sure what doors it can open.

My current role is mostly about supporting campaigns, but I could see myself heading down a more hands-on path with tech.

Is taking the MCE a smart decision for me? If so, what can I do to make sure I pass the exam?

Excited Ellen.

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Ellen, it’s great that you’re considering how the MCE can support your career.

The MCE is like a badge of honor.

It tells employers, clients, and the MOPs community that you’re someone they can trust when it comes to Marketo.

Obtaining the qualification can be beneficial in various ways, but its relevance ultimately depends on your goals.


Benefits of MCE

Passing the MCE helped me progress from a campaign operations role into Marketo consultancy and negotiate a higher salary.

Do you like the idea of moving towards strategy or systems operations? If you’re interested in designing the sales, data, and reporting processes in Marketo that allow others to run campaigns and get performance insights, the MCE can give you that momentum.


Other options

That said, not taking the MCE isn’t a hard stop for career development. If you become interested in a more generalist marketing role or a discipline that’s less about managing tech, like field marketing, then you’ll use Marketo in a less administrative capacity.

In that case, you might want to look at the Marketo Certified Associate (MCA) qualification, which validates the functions and skills you need for running campaigns.

Taking either the MCE or MCA lets you practice and prove your skills with Marketo.

While you’ll never use all of Marketo’s features, I find getting either certification helps people in various roles to speak the same language about this vast and important piece of tech.


Tips for acing the MCE:

From my experience taking the MCE, here are some tips I can recommend to ace it on the first try:

  • One year’s experience as a system admin is a good estimate for the time it takes to pass the MCE. If you don’t have admin access, practice processes like implementations, migrations, and integrations in a sandbox until you’re confident in your skills.
  • Try out features that you’re less familiar with. You likely have a good grasp of campaigns, so branch out into functions like reporting and databases.
  • When Marketo’s your day job, you’re effectively preparing for the test by going to work. Think about the test-relevant functions you can implement into your day-to-day workflow.
  • Practice exams and sample questions, like these, are close to what you’ll see in the real exam. Do a few of these and you won’t have any major surprises.
  • Marketo product documents are a great resource for checking the finer points of how things work.
  • Marketo user groups and MOPs community channels are also active spaces for support.

Whichever exam you decide to go for, you want to gradually expand your use of Marketo until you’re comfortable with the fundamental skills tested in the MCE or MCA.

Try not to rush or stress through your prep; slow and steady wins the race.

You’ve got this,
Jo Pulse.

Data Unification: How to Unify Disparate Data

TLDR: Disparate data occurs when teams pull, categorize, filter, and interpret data in unique ways, resulting in different numbers and conclusions.

Few things are more paralyzing for your business than data that doesn’t add up.

Bad data taxes your time, reportability, revenue, and cohesion. If your workplace lacks a holistic approach to systematizing data that teams universally follow, this Tough Talks Made Easy is for you. You’ll learn to explain to your CMO and CTO why disparate data occurs and how to gain clarity through data unification.


The roots of dirty data

Organizations at one of two stages of maturity tend to find themselves with dirty data:

  • startups that have scaled fast after receiving funding, and
  • legacy enterprises with a mix of offline and online data storage.

Startups that prioritized growth with limited resources have likely been too busy to explore strategies for systematizing data. While teams in more mature organizations have had time to develop siloed, well-entrenched methods of treating data.

In either case, there’s a lack of thinking about data holistically or creating agreed-upon systems and practices. And when it comes time to make key financial decisions (e.g., how to utilize marketing investments next quarter or year), discrepancies ripple through the processes of surfacing data.


No centralized repository

When teams use data transformation tools to visualize their numbers, data yields can wildly vary without a centralized repository for calculations.

For example, let’s say marketing and sales use different standard and customized filters to denote types of opportunities, leads, and revenue.

Teams might use different datasets from their CRM vs. their marketing automation platform to answer the same business question and further obscure the analysis by classifying comparable fields in distinct ways (e.g. region vs. country).


No shared understanding

Around the business, departments might use particular tools and systems that allow for reporting to varying degrees of sophistication.

Let’s assume your business has an agreed definition of Conversion: the movement of a person between the Inquiry and Active Opportunity stages of your database.

Your leaders must ensure that different teams have a shared understanding of calculating this. Trouble occurs when:

  • one team uses Tableau to calculate conversion rates using a cohort analysis — looking at a selection of your audience that shares a behavior, and
  • another team uses Salesforce to divide the number of MQLs by the number of opportunities per calendar month.

The time it takes for a lead to go from an MQL to an opportunity is calculated per number of days. Unless the velocity of leads is extraordinarily fast, converting to opportunities in a number of days, you won’t calculate an accurate conversion rate by dividing the number of MQLs by the number of opportunities in the same month.

Let’s say you have 50 opportunities and 100 MQLs active in October.

Taking a monthly view would suggest that your conversion rate is 50%. But there’s no evidence that these opportunities came from October’s MQLs. By contrast, a cohort view would allow you to look back and see of those people who had MQL status in July, who became an opportunity since then?

Alternatively, if you have 50 opportunities in October as a cohort, you can see the 30 MQLs who resulted down-funnel in opps, and these are the parameters you can use to accurately calculate conversion.


The bottom line

You get disparate data when teams pull, categorize, filter, and interpret data in unique ways, with particular mechanisms for reporting and analytics.

Let’s bring it together.


Enter data unification

Data unification requires a maturity of thinking about and organizing your data. Culturally, it means acknowledging disparate data as a systemic problem in your workplace.

If leadership isn’t convinced that addressing this is a priority, punctuate the range of competencies that disparate data puts at stake: reportability, decisiveness, time, cohesion, revenue, and clarity. People across the organization gain those benefits from data unification—a compelling basis to incentivize people internally.


The best practice for data unification

Think of your data as holistic, within a clearly defined and universally adopted structure. This is both theoretical and practical.

For example, different departments need to agree upon and reference the same definitions in their analytics and reporting—they shouldn’t use their own methods to filter and calculate things.

Streamline your data storage by pulling it from decentralized repositories and siloes into a data warehouse. From there, build out a central repository of definitions and calculations that everyone then references (e.g. all teams adopt the same definition of sales velocity and reference the same cohort structure and conversion math).

With regards to tech, it’s sensible to consolidate the platforms your organization uses to analyze, store, transform, and visualize data. This ensures teams can access, surface, and parse data consistently and narrows the scope for discrepancies. Learn more steps by reading our post ‘How To Create a Data Hygiene Plan That Works.’


Looking forward

Disparate data is not an insurmountable problem, but it’s more insidious to fix the longer you leave things broken.

If your workplace has lacked the resources or foresight to structure data holistically, or you’ve sat in one too many meetings where different teams make the case for their numbers, now’s the time to act.

Data unification is a project that will strengthen the integrity of your data and decisions and help to drive your business forward.

Get in touch for guidance on systems and practices that make data work.

When Is It Time For a Career Change in Marketing Operations?

Hi Jo,

Let me begin by saying: I love marketing operations.

I’ve been in the space for years, learned the software, and made my mark at my company. There isn’t much about MOPs I don’t know. The problem is, I’m too comfortable.

I find myself wondering what else might be out there and whether it’s time to make a career change.

How do you know when it’s the right moment to move on? Should I give it another year or venture out into the unknown?


Antsy Anthony

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Hi, Anthony.

Whoo boy, this is no small question!

Career choices are some of the most challenging to make. They impact everything from income to work-life balance. It’s no wonder you’re taking some time to mull this over.


Signs you need a career change

The good news is that no matter what you decide, marketing operations isn’t going anywhere.

Exploring your opportunities outside of MOPs doesn’t negate all your learnings. Many skills you might pick up on the outside can strengthen your marketing acumen. Leaving MOPs doesn’t mean it won’t be there waiting for your return.

But if it’s truly time for you to fly, here are a few of the main signs I look for when assessing whether it might be time for a change.


1. You’re not learning anything new.

Curiosity is a crucial ingredient for effective MOPs professionals. It’s how someone in automation wanders into dashboard development or a designer picks up skills in data and analytics.

But not every company has the bandwidth to support this kind of exploration, and many lack the budget to backfill.

If you find yourself short on inquisitiveness at work—if the fire of your thirst for knowledge is getting doused at the office—it may be time to seek growth elsewhere.


2. You want to start leading a team, but you’ve got no team.

If you’ve been a team of one for a while, it can be hard to know what to do with your managerial aspirations.

Assess your options. For example, leadership roles may be available at your current company, but you’re being told you’re most useful where you are.

Don’t fight a losing battle. If the dream of leadership is niggling in the back of your mind, it may be worth finding a position that will let you spread your wings. Read our post on advancing your career in MOPs for more.


3. You’ve suggested efficiencies but aren’t being heard.

As a marketing ops professional, you see all the small details of your company’s campaigns and initiatives—and that puts you in the perfect position to improve processes.

“We should run our webinars differently” and “Do you think we’ve overlooked this audience?” are valid points. But, depending on the environment, these kinds of brainwaves can get shut down.

If you’ve tried asking questions or providing constructive feedback and been rebuffed, you may want to transition to a department or company that values your input.


4. You’re looking for a coach or mentor.

Nobody grows in a vacuum.

Learning from an accomplished professional or thought leader can fast-track your gains when you’re looking to expand your skills.

That said, it may be that your current company is too slammed to provide much in the way of mentorship. This is an important cue: it’s possible that the guidance you’re hoping to receive is outside your current organization. In the case of missing coaches, don’t be afraid to branch out.


Limitless career potential

However you weigh out your career options, I’m confident your MOPs experience will give you a leg up.

I know people who have gone from MOPs to project management, from MOPs to Python development, and from marketing analyst to sales ops to automation.

The journey may be winding, but rest assured: the world is certainly still your oyster.

And you may find yourself returning to MOPs down the road, re-equipped and reinspired.

All the best,

How to Explain Ideal Customer Profiles to Sales and Marketing

TLDR: Ideal customer profiles (ICPs) characterize the customer groups that best fit your services. ICPs aim to help businesses sign more profitable deals with shorter close times. Sales and marketing create ICPs by analyzing data from past customer engagements and deals, coalescing around a shared set of customer profiles to target. Marketing operations helps sales and marketing evaluate whether the data supports the personas created and guide them to refine the ICPs with each reporting cycle.


What is an ideal customer profile?

Ideal customer profiles (ICPs) are sketches of the buyers who best fit your services.

ICPs are similar to buyer personas, though they tend to characterize groups of customers rather than individual buyers. In theory, these groups are the easiest to close deals from and the most productive for sales and marketing to focus on in their initiatives.

Accurate ICPs help revenue teams do more deals in larger sizes and with shorter times to close.

But when sales and marketing teams create ideal customer profiles in poor alignment with each other, guided by personal biases over data, they risk approaching the wrong prospects with disjointed campaigns and processes that don’t attract business.

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn to explain to sales and marketing what it takes to create ICPs that work—a data-driven approach with 100% alignment.


ICP 101

How to get started with ideal customer profiles: Ideal customer profiles begin with data. By analyzing past customer engagements and deals, sales and marketing can identify the most common traits of customers interested in your products and services.

A team will use a variety of behavioral identifiers (e.g., types and topics of content engagement, webinars and events registered) and demographic identifiers (e.g. job title, region, company, industry) to craft ICPs along with sales data.

Sales and marketing use these insights to create personalized content, messaging, and processes to attract increased business from these groups.


The goal of ideal customer profiles:

The goal of ICPs is to help businesses sign as many deals as quickly as possible and as profitable as possible.

Factoring in additional metrics like monthly recurring revenue, time to close, retention rates, and deal size can help sales and marketing succeed by focusing on the prospects most likely to engage positively with the business and return sustainable profits over time.


How to know if your ICPs are right:

There’s no magic recipe for crafting ideal customer profiles, but if sales and marketing are coming up with many disparate profiles, it suggests that your targeting efforts aren’t specific enough.

To get results, both teams should unite around a shared set of ICPs.

Without close alignment, sales and marketing might have completely different ideas about which customer groups to pursue. When marketing’s campaigns and messaging aren’t in sync with sales’ processes and understanding of the buyer journey, it’s unlikely that your efforts will strike a chord with any particular customer profile.

Between your sales reps and marketing colleagues, your revenue team might be a broad tent of past experience and expertise with different industries and customer segments.

Personal experience can lead your team to infer the best customer traits and groups to target, but data is the only reliable basis for your ICPs.

Past success stories and sector-specific knowledge can be helpful starting points for creating ICPs, but sales and marketing need to validate any assumptions by looking at past engagements and deals.


The overall theme with creating ICPs:

More alignment means more success.

Sales and Marketing should use the same bedrock of data to target shared customer groups with campaigns and processes that complement each other.


Continuous success

Ideally, ICPs lead sales and marketing to meet and exceed their targets:

  • Marketing creates campaigns that generate better MQLs.
  • Sales develops these MQLs into higher rates of opportunities, conversions, and accelerated conversations.

To validate that your ICPs are working, encourage your team to think of ICPs as projects of continuous refinement, where each new reporting cycle is an opportunity to reevaluate if the data justifies the personas that Sales and Marketing have created.

MOPs comes to the table as a valuable source of guidance.

By analyzing the composition of your database and where deals come from, MOPs can pinpoint the percentage of leads, opportunities, and closed sales that meet your teams’ profile criteria and advise on the most optimal ways to segment your customer base.

With the latest data, consulting sales and marketing at regular intervals can help answer a range of decisive questions including:

  • How are particular ICPs performing at different sales cycle stages?
  • What profile characteristics can you tweak?
  • How might you account for ICPs in industries (e.g. government, education) that are significant seasonal buyers?
  • Are there any metrics not currently accounted for that are emerging as influential?

Whatever your reporting cadence—weekly, biweekly, monthly—a continuous process of analysis and adaptation is how your ICPs stay relevant.

Sit down with sales and marketing regularly to go through the reports, and you can encourage a well-informed and agile process of decision-making, where teams can pivot fast in response to ICPs that aren’t yielding results.


The takeaway

ICPs are valuable for Sales and Marketing to identify and refine how they target customer segments, but executing them effectively requires 100% alignment between teams and continuous analysis of engagement and deal data.

By working closely with MOPs to arrive at data-driven decisions, Revenue teams can create campaigns and processes that win more lucrative deals with shorter close times.

For any guidance with creating and executing ICPs, Revenue Pulse is here to help.