Sales Ops and Sales Enablement, how to bring them together

Hi Joe,

My Sales Ops team has been growing rapidly over the past year or so. With that growth, we’ve also added a Sales Enablement team. But the problem is, I feel like our two teams just aren’t on the same page lately. There seems to be a lot of confusion about which team is responsible for what and things aren’t getting done.

How can I turn this around and make sure everyone is collaborating smoothly again?

Thanks,

Team-Player Taylor

 

 

Hi Taylor,

I’m happy to hear about your company’s recent growth! It’s always exciting when things are looking up and I want to congratulate you and your team on this success.

But with growth comes, well, growing pains. What works for smaller teams won’t necessarily work as you scale up your organization. Things can break along the way. So how do we prevent this from happening? Here are a few key points that will help.


Organizational Structure

As your teams grow, it’s important that at all stages of expansion (whether you have a sales team of 3, 30, or 300), there is a clearly defined vertical hierarchy or chain of command.

Of course, it is essential for teams to collaborate cohesively and support each other, as you know. But if your company lacks this vertical structure and the hierarchy is “flatter”, there will often be problems where team members don’t know whose job it is to do a certain task.

I’d also recommend the use of stakeholder maps to help all team members gain a clearer understanding of who is depending on them and what they’re accountable for. Stakeholder maps are not only very practical for refining and communicating the responsibilities of everyone involved in each project, but they’re also a great tool for guiding new hires on who can offer them support, who to approach with queries, and who can approve decisions to keep projects moving forward. 

 

Clearly Define Roles & Responsibilities

There can be a lot of confusion in a company – especially a growing one like yours – between Sales Ops and Sales Enablement. Many members may not fully understand the difference: Where does Sales Ops end and where does Sales Enablement begin?

This is common in my experience so don’t worry, you’re not alone. The two teams are closely related, but they differ in important ways. I would start by laying out a clear definition of the roles, responsibilities, and parameters of the Sales Enablement team in comparison to Sales Ops. If everyone can agree on this, you’re already halfway there!

One way I like to communicate this is to look at Sales Enablement as the “execution arm” of Sales Ops.

 

Here’s a quick example to illustrate what I mean by this:

Let’s say Sales Enablement realizes many leads become closed lost during the middle of the funnel. The buyer had the initial introduction and pitch, but then the proposal is sent a few days later and things fall through. Sales Ops receives this information and takes a closer look at the operational level – where they discover their sales reps don’t have enough content (case studies, whitepapers, etc.) to send proposals sooner.

This is where Sales Enablement comes back in and goes about producing that needed content (which could mean acquiring collateral from marketing, content creation, etc.). They are effectively enabling the execution of Sales Ops by making sure the buyer experience is everything that it can be – hence the “execution arm”.

 

Calibrate Expectations

Once everyone in Sales Ops and Sales Enablement is on the same page about their roles and responsibilities, it is crucial to set up continuous points of communication between the two teams to calibrate expectations.

At all times: Sales Ops must know what data they’re expected to report to Sales Enablement, and Sales Enablement must know the type of support they’re expected to provide so Sales Ops can execute at their highest potential.

At first, it might take some time for members to fit into their new teams, and that’s okay. With clear roles, responsibilities, and expectations defined through active communication, I’m confident that you and your teams will be more productive together than ever.

 

You’ve got this,

Joe Pulse

 

What skills should I be building as a MOPs professional?

Hi Jo,

I recently started a career in marketing automation, and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. It feels like I’m expected to know so many different things and I’m not sure I can keep up. I want to keep building my skill set and learning as much as I can, but I don’t know where to start. Should I prioritize soft skills or learn about as many automation tools as possible? 

Can you help me?

Thanks,
Learning Laura

Hey Laura, 

 

You’ve hit on a challenge that I think a lot of people face in marketing operations (MOPs). The marketing technology space is always evolving. In fact, it feels like there’s a new platform or solution every week. For MOPs professionals that are seen by the rest of their organization as the guardians of that technology (even if they’ve never worked with most of it before), there’s a lot of pressure to have an opinion about each and every tool. But that’s not really possible, is it? 

At the same time, MOPs covers such a large scope of functions—from content creation and campaign production to reporting, marketing automation, and even CRM management—and many companies are only just figuring out that they need multiple people to fill those different roles. This means that marketing ops professionals tend to be expected to have a large breadth of knowledge and, like you said, that’s overwhelming. 

So, how do you prioritize your learning and skill building time so that it’s most effective for you and your organization? I’ve come up with a handful of suggestions below. 

 

  1. Build on what you already know

Let’s make one thing crystal clear: you don’t have to be a specialist in every single automation tool. That said, there’s also no rule saying you can’t be proficient in more than one of them. If you want to expand your technical knowledge, I’d suggest sticking close to what you’re already familiar with. 

For example, if you’re managing Marketo for your company and you’ve been asked to bring on a cool new tool that integrates with the system, that could be a good candidate for you. If you’re interested, see if there’s a way to dive deep into that new solution and get certified in it. Trust me, your leaders will be thrilled that someone wants to build knowledge in a technology the company is using.

Another thing to remember is that automation principles are the same across all tools. So, if that is the part of the tool that you love, then you can likely be an automation expert across multiple tools.

 

  1. Lean on your community

One of the truly unique things about the marketing automation space is that there is a massive community of professionals that are all willing to share their knowledge. As the space keeps changing and growing, we all know that we don’t know everything, and that makes us eager to help others when they come up against a challenge we may have faced before. I for one love getting messages from people in my network and helping them navigate issues on Marketo or in any other aspect of marketing operations. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Check in with other people using the same tools. And if you feel you don’t have the network yet, start building it with the help of communities like MO Pros.

 

  1. Practice your soft skills 

Your technical skills will be key for succeeding in marketing ops, but there are also some really important soft skills that you should be honing from the get go. Among the most important is the ability to translate what you’re being asked to do into technical steps, and communicate those steps back in a way that’s easy to understand. Ultimately, you need to build common ground with your leaders and stakeholders so that there’s as little room for miscommunication as possible. My advice? A good diagram goes a long way. 

Another important skill to practice is puzzle solving. So much of marketing automation is built on logic, and you’ll be responsible for finding the easiest, most effective, and most scalable solution to any problem that arises. Part of that is about being curious and being open to exploring new ways of doing things—and the other part is tapping into your logical brain and uncovering the right patterns. So, if you don’t have a puzzle book on your bedside table, maybe you should put that on the wishlist for your next birthday.

 

You’ve got this,
Jo Pulse

How Do I Enhance Security in MOps?

Hi Joe,

I’m worried that we’re not doing enough when it comes to security in MOPs. There are some pretty big gaps and I’m not quite sure what to do about it. How do I go about asking for help? Should I create a plan beforehand? How transparent should I be with leadership?

Thank you,
Concerned Casey

Casey, I can’t thank you enough for that question. I don’t think we talk about security enough in MOPs—but we should. Our marketing automation software holds a ton of sensitive information, whether it’s user account details or some level of personal identifiable information (PII), and our customers trust us to keep it safe. Particularly now, where marketing relies so much on personalization and connecting the dots between what our business offers and our customers’ needs. 

The risks of mismanaging this data are huge. For one, if a hacker or bad actor gets access to a pool of customer information, you better believe they’ll use it for nefarious purposes. Whether it’s selling that information to other cyber criminals or your competitors, using it to access your customers’ accounts on other high-value platforms, or blackmailing your company; there’s no shortage of ways your data can be used.

Beyond compromising your customers, a data breach is also bad for business. After they’ve been compromised, companies can spend millions of dollars addressing their security vulnerabilities and the loss of reputation that comes with a cyber attack.

The MOPs teams and businesses that are doing security right are focusing on the following areas: 

  • Data integrity: What data you collect, how you collect it, where you store it, and how you maintain it can all influence how secure that information is. For instance, there’s no need for you to have your customers’ social security numbers—so don’t ask for them. And if you do have passwords or PII on your marketing systems, you should look into encrypting or hashing them so that if a hacker gets their hands on them, they can’t read anything. You can also evaluate whether there’s even a business need for this sensitive information on your marketing system.
  • Controlled access to your systems: Security savvy teams ensure that only the right people have access to the right data—at the right time. It can be dangerous to have too many user accounts with permissions to access and manipulate the information on your systems. Instead, you should take a look at all your roles and permissions, and limit access to the people who need the data on a daily basis. Not everyone should be an admin. In addition, conducting regular scrubs on your systems to remove any old user accounts will also ensure you’re not at risk of a disgruntled employee compromising your data or your systems. 
  • Robust security policies: Good security should mean that you don’t have to think about security. With solid policies in place that let the right people in and keep the bad actors out, you and your team can focus on what you do best: marketing ops. 

If you’re seeing gaps in any of these areas, you should absolutely have a conversation with your security team (if you have one) and your executives. Be fully transparent about what you think is lacking, what the impact of those gaps are, and what the business should be doing instead. If they ask you whether this is an immediate need, the answer is yes. At the end of the day, securing your data is all about being proactive. You need to stay one step ahead of the bad guys—and avoid being the next big data breach in the news. 

 

You’ve got this, 

Joe Pulse

How do I help my parents understand what I do for a living?

Hi Joe,

I’m not sure if this happens to you, but every time I try to talk to my parents about what it is I do in marketing ops, I get nowhere. Regardless of how I describe it to them, they always seem to walk away from the conversation with more questions than they started with. Do you have any suggestions for how to make it easier to understand?

Thanks,
Tired Tim


Tim, don’t worry, we’ve all been there. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a conversation with a friend or family member where I start telling them about my job while secretly wishing that they’ll say something like “Oh, marketing operations! Yeah, I’ve heard about that.” It just doesn’t happen. Instead, I either get to watch their eyes glaze over as I dive into why marketing ops isn’t the same as marketing, or spend way too much time answering questions until they finally have a sense of what it is I do. Neither is particularly fun. 

With many of these conversations under my belt, I’ve managed to come up with a handful of strategies that seem to do the trick. Try them out and let me know how they work out for you.

 

  1. Keep it simple

Marketing operations is inherently a hard thing to describe—particularly to people who don’t have much exposure to this space. The fact that it’s a relatively new function, that it’s embedded in technology, and that it has so many moving parts makes it pretty hard to grasp at a surface level. That’s why I suggest keeping your descriptions as simple as possible. 

  • Avoid using jargon that might raise more questions. Remember, marketing ops is practically a different language, so you’ll need to use words that make sense to the person you’re talking to.
  • Try not to get too deep in the weeds. The more detailed you get, the more things you’re going to have to explain. 
  • Connect the dots between what you do and other business functions. If you tell people that you organize information, do the work to understand customers, and manage things on the back-end, they’ll be able to paint a clearer picture for themselves. 

With this in mind, I tend to say something like “I manage the software that allows companies to run their marketing” or “I help businesses understand how their investments in marketing convert to sales.” Simple, yet comprehensive. 

 

  1. Use a metaphor

Another thing you can do is use a metaphor that makes marketing operations more relatable to what they know. Here’s one that’s worked quite well for me. 

Marketing operations professionals are like the mechanics of the marketing world. Think about a factory line, for instance. The line is producing the different marketing materials (e.g. content and design) and there are machines (i.e. marketing automation software) that support that production. Those machines then need mechanics that set them up and fix them when they’re not operating properly. That’s what I do. 

 

  1. If all else fails, stop trying

It’s always great if you can talk about your job with your friends and family, but at the end of the day, it’s OK if they don’t fully get it. The only thing that’s truly important is that you know what your job is and that you love doing it. As long as you can showcase that, your loved ones will just be happy that you’re happy—and there’s not much better than that.

 

You’ve got this,
Joe Pulse

What’s my role in the shift to RevOps? 

Hi Joe,

I’m a marketing ops professional and I’ve just been told that my company is moving towards adopting a RevOps model. I actually think it’s a great idea—I’ve read about the approach and think there are a lot of benefits to bringing typically siloed teams together under a combined goal. However, I’m not quite sure how to help make it happen. Do you have any advice?

Thanks,

Helpful Harriet

Hi, Harriet. Let me just say: it’s so great that you’re asking this question. As things keep changing in the marketing ops world, we need people that are willing to put their hands up and be enablers. Thank you.

You’re right that, while still a relatively new concept, RevOps has a lot to offer. It’s the notion that marketing, sales, and customer success teams can operate better when they’re working towards a collective goal—helping their clients and prospects succeed—rather than as disparate silos. Plus, it relies on an integrated tech stack that easily shares customer data and lets prospects flow through the customer lifecycle with a personalized experience. Sounds great, doesn’t it? 

While it might sound easy, getting to this integrated place is a long-term project. First off, you need to do a lot of work to ensure alignment between these three teams. That means a lot of conversations around goals, metrics, and performance to get rid of any discrepancies. There’s also a technology and data aspect here. To build a RevOps tech stack, you need to look into where there are gaps or redundancies, and make decisions accordingly. 

All that said, there are also things you (as a MOPs team member) can do at an individual level that will make a big difference, and help things move faster. 

 

Expand your knowledge 

If you want your sales, marketing, and customer success teams to be fully aligned, it can’t just happen at the executive level—you need alignment on the ground as well. Start this off by learning more about how things are done in those teams, including how they communicate, what their metrics are, and how they measure performance. Talk to a colleague and ask if you can shadow them for a couple of days; you can observe them as they go through their daily tasks and join them in team meetings. 

 

Become a champion for the RevOps approach

You know it, we know it: Marketing and Sales aren’t always best friends. In fact, we often find ourselves in a rather antagonistic relationship. So, once you’ve taken the time to learn more about what your sales team does, and why they do it, share that knowledge within your team. These insights should help build comradery and make it easier to collaborate better down the line. 

You’ve already done the work to learn about the benefits of the RevOps model—so make sure you share that as well. People tend to be wary of change, but a lot of the time that comes down to a lack of understanding. Empower your team with the knowledge they need and it might make for an easier transition when the time comes.

 

Keep putting your hand up

As I mentioned before, rolling out RevOps is going to be a long process—and your leaders are going to need help. Talk to your manager about how you can actively contribute to the project. You never know, they might need someone to bring the MOPs perspective to the decision-making table, or they may be looking for someone to champion the project and help communicate it’s value. Good thing you’re likely already doing that last one!

You’ve got this, 

Joe Pulse

How Can I Avoid Having Dirty Data?

Hi Joe,

I keep hearing about the cost and risk of having dirty data in your MOPs systems, but I’m not quite sure how to check if my company’s data is up to snuff. Do you have any advice for how to root out dirty data and how to prevent it from happening? 

Thanks,

Data-driven Dave

 

 

This is a great question, Dave—and one we should all be talking about. 

Let me start by making sure we’re on the same page around what dirty (or rogue) data is. The short version is that dirty data is any data that has erroneous information in it. The slightly longer version is that there are different types of dirty data, including duplicates, errors and typos, outdated information, prospects that don’t align with your target persona, and incomplete entries (e.g. without an email address).

For example, you could have an entry that’s from someone who no longer works at the company they did when they downloaded your ebook—so any email that goes to them would bounce back. Alternatively, you could have an entry that wasn’t typed in properly, and has “.con” instead of “.com” on their email address. Another thing that happens all the time is duplicate (or triplicate) entries. I’ve worked with companies that had thousands of duplicates in their database, and that’s not sustainable or practical. 

You’re right that having dirty data can be costly. One issue is email reputation. If you’re sending marketing emails to people who shouldn’t be in your database, for instance, and they mark your email as spam, that counts as a ding against your email sender reputation. This is a measure that’s taken by internet service providers to determine whether they deliver your emails to the inboxes of the people on their network. The lower your score, the lower the chance that you reach your audience when you need to — and it can be really hard to recover from a low score. 

Managing dirty data can also be expensive. Some martech databases will charge per the number of entries in your database. For the companies that have thousands of duplicates, that can mean that they’re spending way more than they should—which isn’t great. (The costs also add up when you have to spend on tools that clean that data.) Having that many duplicates also gives you a false understanding of how many people are actually in your audience, leading you to make decisions that don’t necessarily make sense for your business. 

 

So, how do you stay ahead of dirty data? Here are my suggestions. 

 

  1. Build habits into your processes

Every six to 12 months, you should be performing checks on your database to identify and remove any dirty data. Beyond just looking for duplicates and errors, this requires a concerted effort to identify the people that no longer fit within your target persona—as well as those that haven’t engaged with your content for a particular period of time. 

 

  1. Take proactive steps

Dealing with dirty data shouldn’t just be a remedial approach; there are also things you can do to avoid creating those errors in the first place. When it comes to duplicates for instance, they tend to happen when teams import lists from multiple sources (e.g. Marketo and Salesforce) without checking for repeat entries. As such, if you’re importing data, make sure there’s a check in place to flag duplicates. You should also perform a cleanup of any list (e.g. to check if there’s a missing email address) before it gets migrated. Lastly, building a process to identify and delete common bogus email addresses (like test@test.com or abc@xyz.com) can also help you keep your data clean.

 

  1. Normalize your data

You’ve probably seen that some companies and teams use full country names (like Canada), while others use country codes (like CA). To keep your data clean, the best thing you can do is normalize your entries so that there aren’t any discrepancies in your data set. 

These might sound like small changes, but they’re important ones. Trust me, once you start doing these things, you’ll be able to have a lot more trust in your data.

 

You’ve got this, 

Joe Pulse

How Do I Manage New 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?

Thanks,

Clueless Corey

 

 

Hi, Corey, you’ve come to the right place. 

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.

Second, 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. Once you’ve done that, you then have to map out the scope for the project, while also understanding the value that will come from implementing it. Let’s dive into these two things a little more.

 

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. But 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, they exist in part because they realized that Marketo didn’t have robust email editing capabilities, and 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.

 

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 that 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”.

That all 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 yourselves as leaders within the space. 

 

You’ve got this, 

Joe Pulse

Should I Join a Remote MOPs Team?

Hi Jo,

I’m in the market for a new job, and so many of the MOPs positions out there are for remote-first or international teams. To be honest, I’m wary of joining a team where I don’t get to meet up with people in person (I haven’t had the best experience working remotely during the pandemic) and I’m not sure I have the bandwidth to onboard into a brand new company from afar. Am I making too big a deal out of this?

Thanks,

Fretting Frankie

 

 

Hey, Frankie. First things first: your job is a big deal, and you’re more than allowed to ask these questions as you try to find the right one. 

 

Looking at your question, I’m hearing you say that you don’t think remote work is the right fit for you. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why that might be? 

 

For generations, we’ve been conditioned to believe that we can only be productive in the office, surrounded by our colleagues. But is that really true? For me, the fact that I can more easily weave in and out of my work and home lives makes me much more productive in both areas. If I ever get five minutes between meetings, I can put on a load of laundry instead of just waiting around at my desk. 

 

Another concern might be the social aspect—and I hear you. It can be hard to imagine how you replace casual water-cooler conversations with text on a screen, but just because it’s different doesn’t mean it isn’t effective. Slack and all its various integrations (does anyone else use the giphy randomizer?) make it easy to communicate your insights, share style of humor, and meet new people on other teams. Every day, I see people take advantage of these tools to build relationships both within and outside the professional setting. Not only that, joining a remote team helps you expand your network outside your region. That’s particularly valuable for the marketing operations industry, which has such widespread expertise.

 

Now, if you’re someone who just can’t imagine working at home because you live in a small apartment with your very loud roommate, who also works from home, that shouldn’t stop you from looking at remote positions. Companies taking a remote-first approach are really looking for the best possible candidates, and if that means providing a stipend so that you can rent a small office, I’m sure they’ll find a way to make that happen. We’re in an unprecedented time in the workforce, and you should never be afraid to ask for what you need to have an optimal work experience. 

 

Another important thing to remember is that your aversion to remote work might be based on working with your current employer, who had to scramble to figure out remote work during the pandemic. For a lot of companies, the shift to remote work was messy (at best) and it left a lot of people disillusioned with the idea of joining decentralized teams. Consider this: leaders today have spent a lot more time thinking through what they can do to empower their distributed teams, supporting them with the right tools, policies, and processes. Don’t let that one experience put you off from testing out something different.

 

You may be saying to yourself “OK, you’ve addressed a lot of my concerns, but am I equipped to join a new team remotely?” I think you are. The skills you need to succeed in a remote team are the same ones you need to be a good MOPs professional: proactivity, accountability, problem solving, and good communication. As long as you’re able to proactively think about solutions to any problems that might arise, and communicate those solutions effectively, you’re golden. 

 

You’ve got this, 

Jo Pulse

How Do I Help My Parents Understand What I Do for a Living?

Hi Joe,

I’m not sure if this happens to you, but every time I try to talk to my parents about what it is I do in marketing ops, I get nowhere. Regardless of how I describe it to them, they always seem to walk away from the conversation with more questions than they started with. Do you have any suggestions for how to make it easier to understand?

Thanks,
Tired Tim

 

Tim, don’t worry, we’ve all been there. 

 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a conversation with a friend or family member where I start telling them about my job while secretly wishing that they’ll say something like “Oh, marketing operations! Yeah, I’ve heard about that.” It just doesn’t happen. Instead, I either get to watch their eyes glaze over as I dive into why marketing ops isn’t the same as marketing, or spend way too much time answering questions until they finally have a sense of what it is I do. Neither is particularly fun. 

 

With many of these conversations under my belt, I’ve managed to come up with a handful of strategies that seem to do the trick. Try them out and let me know how they work out for you.

 

  1. Keep it simple

Marketing operations is inherently a hard thing to describe—particularly to people who don’t have much exposure to this space. The fact that it’s a relatively new function, that it’s embedded in technology, and that it has so many moving parts makes it pretty hard to grasp at a surface level. That’s why I suggest keeping your descriptions as simple as possible. 

 

  • Avoid using jargon that might raise more questions. Remember, marketing ops is practically a different language, so you’ll need to use words that make sense to the person you’re talking to.
  • Try not to get too deep in the weeds. The more detailed you get, the more things you’re going to have to explain. 
  • Connect the dots between what you do and other business functions. If you tell people that you organize information, do the work to understand customers, and manage things on the back-end, they’ll be able to paint a clearer picture for themselves. 

 

With this in mind, I tend to say something like “I manage the software that allows companies to run their marketing.” Simple, yet comprehensive. 

 

  1. Use a metaphor

Another thing you can do is use a metaphor that makes marketing operations more relatable to what they know. Here’s one that’s worked quite well for me. 

 

Marketing operations professionals are like the mechanics of the marketing world. Think about a factory line, for instance. The line is producing the different marketing materials (e.g. content and design) and there are machines (i.e. marketing automation software) that support that production. Those machines then need mechanics that set them up and fix them when they’re not operating properly. That’s what I do. 

 

  1. If all else fails, stop trying

It’s always great if you can talk about your job with your friends and family, but at the end of the day, it’s OK if they don’t fully get it. The only thing that’s truly important is that you know what your job is and that you love doing it. As long as you can showcase that, your loved ones will just be happy that you’re happy—and there’s not much better than that.

 

You’ve got this, 

Joe Pulse

How Can I Show My Leaders That MOPs Has More to Offer?

Hi Joe,

 

I love my job in marketing ops, but I constantly feel that my time is spent on tactical tasks and putting out fires rather than more strategic initiatives. I know I have a lot to offer, but unless we hire more people to run our marketing ops efforts, I’m not sure I’ll be able to share those insights. What are the conversations I need to have to ensure that MOPs is seen as more than just a tactical function and brought into the fold more strategically? 

 

Thanks,

Strategic Stacey

 

 

I have to tell you, Stacey, you’re not alone. It’s not unusual for marketing ops folks to be seen as doers rather than thinkers, and that’s not fair at all. As a MOPs professional—one that’s likely running the show on their own—you have a unique perspective on the organization and any gaps it might have. This means that you could add valuable insights that inform how your business moves forward, what tools to invest in, and who to hire. But that hardly matters if you don’t have the time and space to think about these things. 

 

I see this all the time. MOPs teams get stuck in a cycle where they’re constantly jumping from one executional task to another, and they don’t have the bandwidth to think about the future. So, what are the steps you can take to maximize your MOPs team’s efforts and showcase your strategic value? I’ve thought of three that you can consider. 

 

  1. Get buy-in from your manager 

If your direct lead isn’t a marketing ops professional, they might not realize all the ways you can add value. Start by getting them to approve a certain amount of time a week that you can spend on strategic thinking for your team. This time can be spent mapping out the future structure for MOPs at your organization, redesigning a process between MOPs and Sales that could be more efficient, or having conversations with other technology owners (e.g. Salesforce) to better learn how they integrate with your marketing automation tools. Once you have this space to think more strategically, you’ll be able to go to your lead with specific recommendations on how they can boost the role of operations at the organization—and the resulting value of doing that. 

 

Here’s a tip for you as you take this on: don’t forget to delegate. A big part of showing that you’re ready to take on more strategic thinking is removing some of the more tactical elements from your plate and upskilling other members of your team to take them on. This leads me to my next point. 

 

  1. Make sure your MOPs team is the right size

For your MOPs team to really deliver on its potential, you need to have a team of people you can rely on. Beyond the standard daily tasks, there needs to be headroom for the times when things go wrong and for thinking about the future. Your day-to-day shouldn’t fill 100% of your team’s time. This is an important consideration that you should bring up when you’re talking to your leadership team.

 

I know this is a tough one. It can be hard to make the argument that things could be better when they’re already running well. After all, people don’t notice when MOPs is running properly, they only notice if it’s broken. But you shouldn’t let that stop you from having the conversation. Map out where your team is spending your time now—and then talk about where you could be spending it better to drive more value for the organization. That’ll get their attention.

 

  1. Set real metrics for MOPs

You know this, the performance metrics that your marketing and sales teams use aren’t the right way to evaluate MOPs performance. You need a specific set of metrics that are tailored to what your team is doing and how it truly provides value to the business. To get this right—and better show your value to the rest of the organization—take the time to collaborate with the teams you work with to set up a framework that makes sense. 

 

You’ve got this, 

Joe Pulse