Explaining the Value of Agency Project Management to Your Project Teams

TLDR: Projects like marketing automation platform (MAP) implementations and migrations are often heavy to plan and coordinate. An agency-side project manager (PM) bridges the gaps between your organization and agency partners throughout a project, ensuring you’re on track to deliver the project on time, within budget and scope. During a project, an agency PM will help your organization plan deliverables and timelines, follow coherent processes, communicate effectively between teams, troubleshoot issues, and monitor and mitigate risks to the things you want to achieve.

Projects like marketing automation platform (MAP) implementations and migrations are often heavy to plan and coordinate. Migrations and implementations involve bringing many different stakeholders together throughout the project to share updates, deliverables, and decisions against agreed timelines and scope—a particularly complex task in larger organizations.

Before collaborating with an agency to deliver a migration or implementation, it’s easy to underestimate the demands of keeping communications and actions aligned between various accountable stakeholders. As a result, organizations can err away from involving an agency’s project manager (PM) to steer the progress of a project, a decision that risks a migration or implementation coming off track.Even if your organization has an internal PM assigned to the project, having an agency-side PM is essential to keep your internal teams and agency partners on the same page. In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn to explain to key stakeholders and decision-makers—Marketing, Sales, IT, Digital—how agency-side project management helps to deliver projects and how PMs work to keep the likes of migrations and implementations on track.

 

THE PM’S VALUE 

At a high level, PMs ensure that your teams work with agency stakeholders towards the same goals to deliver a project on time, within the budget and scope. PMs accomplish this by planning and setting up meetings between teams, coordinating the delivery of action items, raising awareness of risks and causes for delay, and pushing stakeholders to make timely decisions to keep the project moving as planned.

Stakeholder alignment is the key area where PMs make a constructive impact. Migrations and implementations involve many different tasks and decisions, and various teams in your organization, such as Marketing, Sales, IT, and Digital, may each have responsibilities and decision-making power. PMs track when input and decisions need to be received and connect these teams to provide timely and relevant updates. Without an agency-side PM to play this role, deliverables and decisions can slip under the radar and delay the completion of a project.

 

HOW PMS WORK

Involving a PM right from the beginning of a project maximizes your ability to succeed. During the initial kickoff session, PMs create the spine of a project by constructing a plan for deliverables, responsibilities, and timelines. A clear understanding of these pieces is essential for stakeholders to deliver and communicate as needed to progress the project.

PMs bridge the gaps between your organization and the agency throughout the project. Initially, they’ll ensure that the agency has captured all the relevant discoveries and established who, from your organization, is required to participate. PMs then follow up with stakeholders to ensure that input and decisions follow the agreed timelines, helping to identify, mitigate, and monitor delivery risks.
Through mediation, agency PMs help you achieve success. Stakeholders from your workplace can go to the agency PM to discuss and address feedback on the project’s progression. Should a colleague raise concerns about the project or develop new requirements, PMs work with agency teams to find solutions. Is your organization’s request in scope? How can we make this work? What impact will any changes have? How can we address any risks? Having a PM to ask these questions lets teams get organized, make improvements on the move, and solve potential issues as they arise.

 

ALLEVIATING PROJECT MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES 

PMs experience some persistent challenges when project managing MAP migrations and implementations. Timelines are often compromised when organizations lack the resources to participate and provide input as planned or juggle competing projects (e.g. a web launch) that are likely to interfere with the process. Unclear ownership o
f tasks and scope creep born from underestimating complexity can also cause disruption and delay.
In these scenarios, PMs proactively work to anticipate and minimize risks to project delivery. For example, an agency PM can help your organization involve the most relevant stakeholders and sensibly delegate tasks and responsibilities. PMs can also factor competing projects into the initial plan and continuously monitor the risk of interference.

To help PMs manage migrations or implementations as effectively as possible, encourage the relevant stakeholders in your organization to approach the project with a few considerations in mind. To avoid strain from scope creep, advise colleagues to take time before the project kicks off to go over the steps involved and the support viable for the agency to offer.
Entering a project with clear goals and priorities will help the PM organize stakeholders to deliver the most pressing items and achievements. And the clearer your organization can identify the people who need to be involved and establish ownership and accountabilities for the project, the better the PM can align these various stakeholders to deliver on track.

 

STEERING PROJECTS TO SUCCESS

MAP migrations and implementations are complex undertakings, and the agency PM plays an indispensable role in guiding them to success. From the start to the end of a project, agency PMs contribute effective planning, process management, risk mitigation, troubleshooting, and alignment between your teams and the agency to deliver results on time, within scope, and within budget.

For any further guidance with MAP migrations and implementations, Revenue Pulse is here to help.

Help Your Marketing Team Understand the Value of Your Core Client Base

TLDR: As a sales rep, your instinct might be to keep your core client base as far away from Marketing as possible—but that would be a mistake. From working together to define who these targets are and creating joint efforts to reach them, there are so many opportunities to have Marketing and Sales work together on reaching this key base. Here’s how you can start the conversation and foster that alignment.

Let’s face it, more often than not, sales reps are hesitant (at best) to share their core client base with marketing. We get it, you don’t want marketers to get in the way of your communication flows, or interrupt them with messaging that might distract prospects from your interactions with them.

However, there’s a lot to gain from having Sales and Marketing aligned and working together to meet your core clients where they are—and delivering a more optimized path to purchase. It’s a scenario that’s worth testing if only to see whether it fosters more engagement from your core client base. Try it out and keep an eye on your key metrics; that’s what should be guiding your decisions. And remember, just because one approach fails, doesn’t mean that a slightly different alternative won’t be effective. After all, it took Thomas Edison 3,000 tries before he landed on the theory that led to the light bulb.

So, if you’re ready to take that initiative and get Marketing on your side, here are some insights that might be useful as you talk to your marketers about core client bases.

 

SET A FOUNDATION

The first thing you can do is make sure you’re all on the same page around what the core client base is. If you want to use terms that resonate with marketers, consider the following definition.

A core client or customer base is a group made up of customer personas that the Sales team is targeting because they’re the most likely to need and purchase our products or services. They represent the deals that should be easiest to close, and are therefore a high priority for sales reps. This persona is defined with a set of parameters including the industry they operate in, the number of employees they work with, their decision-making abilities, and whether there’s an existing relationship with someone on your team.

Beyond that, the decision to add a prospect to the core client base is determined by the amount of time it might take to close the deal, the potential return on investment, and the profitability of the deal. Ultimately, if a deal isn’t profitable because you have to bring in a bunch of resources for just a tiny slice of the pie, it’s not worth the effort.

A big way you can bring your marketing team into the conversation is by getting their help in reviewing and refining the parameters that define your core customer. How close are they to the parameters they use for determining who to market to? At the end of the day, your core customer base should align with the target personas they’ve identified, as that will make it much easier for both teams to work together towards the same goal.

 

FIND THE POINTS OF ALIGNMENT

Beyond identifying the core client base, there are a number of places where Sales and Marketing can work together to make those interactions as effective as possible. Consider these as you talk to your marketing team about potential opportunities for collaboration.

1. Landing on collective timelines

When Sales and Marketing work independently, it’s far more likely that they reach out to the same people with different messages. This could mean that someone at a prospect’s company is in both a sales sequence and a marketing sequence at the same time, receiving emails on the same day that do little more than flood their inbox. In this scenario—which isn’t uncommon—Sales and Marketing get in the way of each other.

The alternative is to create an environment where there’s clear full transparency into who is talking to someone in the core client base when, creating clear handoff points for when marketing can step in if a sales conversation is paused, or vice versa.

2. Building a single source of truth

If you’ve built a robust sales and marketing tech stack, your customer and prospect data likely lives in a number of different places. That shouldn’t be the case. Instead, there should be a single source of truth for prospect information that’s available to both teams. For instance, if you’re logging your prospect data and key activities in Salesforce, any relevant fields should be made readable to your marketing automation platform and any outreach tools.

Taking a step back, Sales and Marketing are going to have to spend some time getting aligned on what fields you are using and the stages a lead should pass through to prompt a particular activity.

3. Capitalizing on personalization

Don’t forget that your marketing team has the skills and resources to help you be more effective in reaching your core client base. For starters, they can help you create collateral that showcases your understanding of the prospect and connects the dots on how your product or service can support them. They can also provide information such as whether your prospect has visited the website, and any other metrics that Sales can use in an automated approach to personalize messaging.

 

A JOINT EFFORT LEADS TO SUCCESS

Your core client base is a big priority for your Sales team, and it should be. Working with Marketing, and making sure your efforts are collaborative (rather than combative), can accelerate your success rate with these targets—but they’re not going to help you if they don’t know about it. Start the conversation with your Marketing team, and see how you can work together to strengthen your efforts.

Need help creating an effective, multidisciplinary program for reaching your core client base? We can help.

Guide Your CMO and CSO Towards a Successful ABM Strategy

TLDR: Accounts-based marketing (ABM) has rapidly become a staple in the marketing and sales space, but getting it right takes a lot of time and investment. You need alignment across your marketing and sales teams, the ability to target and build relationships with individuals, the support of a robust tech platform, and so much more. This leads to an important question: should you outsource this function to an agency?

In a recent Tough Talks Made Easy, we talked about the value of accounts-based marketing (ABM) in landing deals with high ROI. The benefits are clear: ABM lets you be more efficient by focusing on a finite set of prospects, it fosters alignment between your sales and marketing teams, and it gives you more visibility into where your efforts are being spent.

Today, we’re taking a closer look at the principles that make a successful ABM strategy, as well as some key considerations that will help your CMO and CSO decide how best to implement it. Let’s dive in.

 

WHAT MAKES A SUCCESSFUL ABM STRATEGY? 

To reiterate, ABM is a strategy for producing marketing campaigns that target particular accounts. So, a big part of that process is determining which accounts you want to prioritize. This starts by going back to your target customer persona, the sweet spot for your product or solution. From there, your sales and marketing teams should work together to determine the parameters for prioritizing accounts. These can include the size or market share of the organization, how much influence the prospect has in the market, the strength of the existing relationship (if any), and whether they have money to spend.

You shouldn’t have too many or too few criteria. Basically, you need enough to ensure that both marketers and sales reps are reflected in the selection process, but not so many that it makes it difficult to find more than a handful of accounts to pursue.

Once you know who you’re targeting, you need to be able to create targeted messaging that speaks to the individuals you’re trying to reach. This can look like a two-pager that outlines what you know about their specific challenges and pain points, and how your solution might address them. Or it could be a targeted billboard that you know your prospect will drive by on their way to their office, calling them out to give you a call. (Believe me, I’ve seen it!) For that, you need marketers that work closely with sales to create these assets, with enough time to dedicate to these initiatives.

The other consideration is technology. As ABM has become a more mainstream function for marketing and sales teams, we’ve seen the emergence of various ABM platforms. This includes the likes of Demandbase, 6sense, and Triblio. Choosing the right platform comes down to whether it solves the problems you want it to, whether it fits in your budget, and whether it integrates with your existing solutions. But it’s also important to remember that a tool is only as good as the strategy that’s behind it—and the team that uses it. As such, any investment in technology also requires a lot of time and effort to craft a robust strategy that has a high chance for success.

Are these all things you and your leaders feel you can accomplish with the resources you have available?

 

TO WORK WITH AN AGENCY OR NOT TO WORK WITH AN AGENCY

This brings us to the age-old question that surrounds any marketing function. Should you get outside help? A lot of the considerations here will be familiar: can you afford to hire a full-time employee to drive ABM? Do you have the budget to spend on an ABM platform? Are you prepared to build the experience you need to get ABM right in the long run? What happens if your leaders try it out for six months and decide it’s not worth it?

When it comes to ABM, working with an agency is probably the right place to start. Here’s why:

  • An agency will come with a wealth of experience and perspective from designing and implementing ABM strategies with other companies around the world.
  • As agencies have their own technology partnerships, they can help minimize the spend that you would have to put towards an ABM platform. They’ll also have guidance on how to best integrate that tooling into your existing martech stack.
  • With their expertise and exposure to the space, an agency team will also help address any knowledge gaps you and your team might have, saving you from making mistakes.
  • An agency that’s entirely focused on your ABM strategy will help you get results faster, but they’ll also be easily decommissioned if down the line you and your leaders decide that ABM isn’t the right way to go.

To help your marketing and sales leaders decide: dipping your toes into the ABM pool with an agency will reduce your risk exposure and likely increase the return on your initial investment in this space. Plus, working with an agency has the added benefit of giving you access to all the knowledge and resources you need to bring the function in-house when and if it feels right to do so.

There’s a lot to think about, no question. But, with these points in your back pocket, you’ll be able to have a great discussion with your leaders about what your team’s next step should be when it comes to ABM.

Need more help figuring out how to successfully adopt your ABM strategy? Get in touch.

How to Help Your RevOps Team Find the Right Reporting Tools

TLDR: Data collection and reporting are a key part of decision making in RevOps, but do you have the right frameworks to help your team get that right? In this Tough Talks Made Easy, we’re going over how you can help your RevOps team align on the right metrics and KPIs, as well as the considerations you should make to choose the right reporting tools for your business. 

Gathering and reporting on performance is a key part of any marketing operations team. In fact, not having a baseline of reporting and analytics tools for MOPs and sales ops is like trying to fly a plane into Chicago without functioning instruments at night. You may land somewhere in the region, but you definitely won’t make it to O’Hare. Meanwhile, with the right reporting practices in place, you’re much more likely to reach your target.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges for RevOps teams that are bringing Sales and Marketing capabilities together under the same roof is finding alignment around what data to report on and why. For so long, Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success have operated in siloes that are almost at odds with each other—and that just doesn’t make sense when both teams are focused on the shared goal of growing revenue. While working together to find the right reporting tools will be a big part of finding that alignment, there are a number of conversations that need to happen before that point.

To help you guide your RevOps team through those conversations, this Tough Talks Made Easy takes a look at the value of reporting and having the right tools in place. Let’s get started.

 

FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU WANT TO REPORT ON 

The first step is going to be getting alignment on what your team’s key performance indicators (KPIs) are. These are metrics that should a) ladder up to your overarching business drivers, b) align your Sales and Marketing teams to pursue the same results, and c) facilitate the collection of actionable data that prompts decision making.

Make sure that this starts out as a collaborative conversation between Sales and Marketing, and involves Customer Success when it also makes sense. So often, these two (or three) sides of the RevOps coin fall into an unconstructive blame game when things aren’t performing as they should. Bring all teams to the table and have a mediator that can connect the dots between their goals and define what “good” looks like, collectively.

When we’re talking about RevOps KPIs, conversion should be at the heart of that conversation. At the end of the day, quality is more important than quantity: it doesn’t matter if you have 1,000 qualified leads if none of them become customers. Another important goal for the team should be around increasing customer satisfaction, as returning customers are another key source of revenue.

 

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT REPORTING TOOLS 

When it comes to reporting tools, there are as many options out there as there are constellations in the sky. Knowing that, and the fact that your business is unique in its needs and structure, it wouldn’t be useful for me to give you a specific set of tools to adopt. Instead, as you work with your team to figure out which tools make the most sense for you, here are some things to consider:

  • What role will that reporting tool play in your tech stack? Think about the data you need to help you make effective decisions, and what tool can help you collect and report on that data in a way that’s actionable.
  • What technology do you already have? When I help a customer build on their tech stack, the first thing I want to do is understand the native systems that are already creating data (e.g. a marketing automation tool, a CRM system, Google Analytics). The reporting tools you choose should be able to integrate with these systems and pull (or push) data as needed.
  • What output are you looking for? Whether you need detailed reports for your boss, or a simplified presentation to take to your executives, you should consider tooling that provides the outputs you need without adding unnecessary work to your plate.

Once you talk through these considerations with your team, you’ll have the right key criteria to identify and evaluate the reporting tool that makes the most sense for your business.

 

THE TAKEAWAY

I’ll say it again, reporting on performance is a key component of MOPs or revenue operations. Going back to the plane metaphor: today, we have so many teams missing their target destinations because they don’t have the right tools to direct them or tell them where they are in the first place. With the right insights in place, marketing and sales teams can continue to improve their efforts and meet their ultimate goal—delivering the best possible product and experience to their customers.

Need more help finding the right reporting technologies for your team? Get in touch.

How to Explain Stakeholder Maps to New MOPs Hires

TLDR: MOPs professionals interact with many different stakeholders across projects. Stakeholder maps are useful to help new hires learn how the responsibilities of different people in the organization relate to their work. For each project, stakeholder maps visualize how people around the organization exert influence over their workload or are impacted by their tasks. Encourage new hires to prioritize building relationships with the key people they’ll be working with on a regular basis, whose interests are closely tied to their tasks and whose responsibilities and decisions significantly influence their workload. 

If you’ve just hired a new MOPs team member, you’re probably thinking about the best ways to ease them into how things work in your organization. The first days and weeks in a job are all about learning new information, building relationships, and adapting to new processes and workplace dynamics. Newcomers naturally want to jump in and show the positive impact they can make, but in a fast-paced discipline like MOPs, it’s easy to get overwhelmed without some help to see the forest from the trees.

Among the resources you can use to onboard new team members, stakeholder maps are particularly useful for newcomers to identify their most important working relationships, learn the responsibilities of different people, and understand how they’ll interact when collaborating on projects.

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn how to explain stakeholder maps to newcomers in your MOPs team. Having this conversation will help your new colleagues to prioritize the most useful information to learn while settling into a new role.

 

STAKEHOLDER 101 

MOPs professionals are often spread across many different responsibilities, interacting with teams around the organization. Stakeholder maps visualize all the relevant stakeholders and categorize them based on their influence over and interest in each project. Project stakeholders will fall under one of four quadrants of interest and influence. Here’s how your new colleague can interpret them:

  • Low interest, low influence: Keep a minimal level of contact with throughout a project.
  • High interest, low influence: Inform with status updates as your work progresses. The project outcome impacts these people significantly, even if they don’t exert a great deal of influence over its direction.
  • Low interest, high influence: Anticipate and meet their needs as you work together.
  • High interest, high influence: Collaborate and communicate closely. Understand how their responsibilities impact the project and what they need to keep on track.

Through this framing, stakeholder maps spell out the dependencies and accountabilities for each project; insight that helps newcomers learn what the people around them need and how each stakeholder’s deliverables contribute to projects. In large organizations in particular, it’s difficult for new hires to interpret the influencers, decision-makers, and advocates to know—a stakeholder map trims down the org chart and onboarding docs to the key people with whom to build trust and rapport. In a nutshell, it’s a practical guide to relationship management and the interaction of responsibilities on each project.

 

NAVIGATING THE MAP 

As new hires in MOPs start working on projects, from campaigns and reporting to migrations and implementations, they’ll need to know who to approach with queries, who can approve decisions to keep projects moving, and who can offer support and information. When these things are unclear, miscommunications arise and tasks fall short of deadlines, bloating the project scope.

The value of a stakeholder map, then, is to make transparent who does what on a day to day basis, who owns which responsibilities around the business, and the stakeholders people can expect to coordinate and collaborate with in various scenarios and across projects. By making this information accessible, stakeholder maps encourage people around the company to communicate fluidly and mitigate risks to project success.

For new hires in particular, having a resource to handily digest this information will help them quickly settle in and start making an impact. Your new colleague wants to know the most important people to meet and processes to learn first—encourage them to focus on the key people they’ll be working with on a regular basis, whose interests are closely tied to their tasks and whose responsibilities and decisions significantly influence their workload. Once new hires know their immediate surroundings, you can gradually build out and discuss more tertiary people and processes, but the most impactful and interested people on the map are the most helpful to prioritize.

 

CONFIDENT ONBOARDING

When you’re new to a role or workplace, it can be daunting to make sense of all the new processes and relationships. Stakeholder maps are a great source of guidance for any new MOPs hire, helping them navigate through the nuances and structures of your organization and build strong relationships around the workplace with the people most relevant to their work. By using stakeholder maps, your new colleague can settle in with confidence and start contributing to success.

Get in touch for more guidance with onboarding new hires or project managing for success.

What Your CIO Should Know About Your New Marketing Automation Platform

TLDR: Marketing automation platforms are difficult to insert and replace, impacting teams around the business. Your CIO can allocate personnel from IT and Data Science to help implement the platform successfully, but they need to know the investment makes sense. Gather the data to forecast the impact of the platform on revenue and productivity, accounting for costs and long-term personnel demands. Position this platform as urgent for survival, and back it up with a thorough cost/benefit analysis, and you stand a strong chance of getting your CIO’s support.

One of the most important skills of people in Marketing Operations is to read the martech landscape and identify technologies that can add real value to the business. While MOPs succeeds at intuiting the relevance and benefits of new technologies, it’s often trickier to translate industry know-how into persuasive arguments why C-Suite should invest in bringing tools onboard.

This is especially difficult when talking about marketing automation platforms—key pieces of infrastructure that impact teams around the business, integrate with many other tools, and require significant time and cost investments.

If you’re pitching a new marketing automation platform, that conversation will take you beyond Marketing and to your CIO; someone who can allocate technical personnel to implement the project successfully. In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn how to plan and present a case for a new platform that your CIO can get behind.

 

BUILDING YOUR CASE

Before putting together a plan, it’s worth reflecting on the scale and value of the implementation. Marketing automation platforms are difficult to insert and replace, with downstream impact on different teams in the organization; most notably IT and Sales. By nature, a platform implementation demands collaboration across disciplines; at a minimum, Sales, IT, and Data Science should support the project and contribute their expertise. Marketing might exclusively use and spend on the platform, but getting cross-departmental resources means selling the platform as a lift to productivity and/or revenue that boosts the business as a whole.

Crucially, you’ll need people outside of Marketing to handle the technical wiring and create training resources. CRM Admins, Developers, Data Scientists, and Data Warehousing Specialists are examples of key people who can bring the implementation to life, all of whom usually report to the CIO. Personnel contribution, rather than dollar investment, is why you’d approach your CIO.

To get buy-in, your CIO should understand that the platform you’re advocating is necessary for the organization’s success and survival. Obsolescence = lights out for any business, so frame this as a do-or-die opportunity: you can adopt this platform and transform your business, or fall behind.

Assume that your CIO isn’t plugged into the martech space; meaning, your observations about how the platform fares in the industry and with competitors won’t persuade alone. Instead, numbers speak louder than words. What are the hours saved and efficiency gains per month? What revenue increase do you expect? How does the platform make personnel quantifiably more productive?

When it comes to revenue projections, you might not have the data on-side to create a solid forecast. This is where you reach out to Sales—it’s equally in their interest to have a platform that brings in the dollars. Projections from Sales like opportunity and win rates, lead types and quality gains, and conversion rates for the highest-scoring leads can help to frame the revenue opportunities on offer with the platform.

Gather the data points you need to forecast the impact of the platform on revenue and productivity. Then, accounting for the costs of implementation, walk your CIO through the hours and dollars that the business can expect to save or gain by implementing the platform. Even when working with estimates, a thorough cost/benefit analysis is exactly what your CIO wants to see.

 

THINKING LONG-TERM

Even after digesting the benefits of the platform, one key question remains from your CIO: How is this going to be a permanently successful venture? To answer this, you want to factor in post-implementation planning. Users and people who experience a downstream impact from the platform need to clearly understand how it works, so account for any training sessions, change management, and the creation of educational resources that personnel under the CIO need to lead.

Realistically, the ways your Marketing team uses the platform will evolve over time. This means increased support should be available from technical staff long after the implementation. Let’s say your current platform requires the support of two admins from IT. You might budget for a surge of 10 system administrators to implement the platform; after working at this cadence, the demands on your business will change.

Rather than scaling back down to two admins post-implementation, you might need four admins permanently to manage the platform. This is especially likely if you’re scaling upwards to a more robust platform.

Your CIO wants this platform to succeed on a long-term basis. The more precisely you can account for the investment of personnel, during and past the implementation, the more accurately your CIO can size up the investment and commit the resources you need.

 

SELLING YOUR VISION

Cross-departmental support can be tricky to secure, but it’s crucial to successfully implement a new marketing automation platform. Come prepared to pitch the platform to your CIO as a vital and sensible move for the business—necessary for survival, with a thorough forecast of the revenue and productivity gains against costs and long-term personnel requirements. This is how you build a persuasive case for buy-in.

Need some support with implementing a new marketing automation platform? Revenue Pulse is here to help.

MOPs and Data Science: How to Get the Green Light on Collaboration

TLDR: The need for MOPs to surface dollar values, improve processes, and validate ideas makes Data Science a natural ally. When MOPs and Data Science work together, revenue and lead generation become easier to predict, benchmark, and grow. But Data Scientists work their magic using emergent technologies that are expensive to deploy, and your CFO will only approve the budget for projects where the ROI makes sense. In any project proposal, focus on how the results can benefit the business and help Marketing boost ROI, and you’re likely to get the green light.

Marketing is now a data-driven discipline, where a top priority is to understand what generates revenue and drives growth. Data literacy is crucial for MOPs to handle data, structure their systems, and answer decisive business questions. Unfortunately, teams often lack the skills and resources to manipulate and turn data into an asset that generates value. Data Scientists are the ideal collaborators for MOPs to validate ideas and improve processes, but they’re hot commodities in every workplace. 

When budgets are tight, it’s easy for C-Suite to overlook Marketing when approving spending for Data Science projects. So if you want the green light on a collaborative project with Data Science, show your CFO and CIO that the ROI makes sense. 

We’ll guide you through that conversation in this Tough Talks Made Easy, with some help from Rachik Laouar. As the Head of Data Science at the Adecco Group, Rachik spent the last three years building a full-stack data team and making the business a predictable machine. Rachik contributes his personal views to this piece and does not represent the Adecco Group.

 

HOW DATA SCIENCE ENRICHES MARKETING 

One of the most persistent challenges Marketing teams face is proving their success. If you’re in a low-margin business in particular or otherwise facing cost strains, there’s extra pressure from your CFO to show your contributions to the bottom line. 

Marketing as a space also has many “common sense” generalizations of best practice floating around, but the likes of “Never send an email on a Friday” don’t hold water for your business without evidence. Without the data or the know-how to interpret it correctly, your team is validating decisions and measuring success in the dark. 

The need for MOPs to surface dollar values and make good judgement calls makes Data Science a natural ally. MOPs collects lots of data from campaigns, which Data Science can turn into detailed customer profiles and identify purchasing behaviours. Data professionals connect and map the entirety of your business’ data to spot patterns and understand how to optimise processes. Where Marketing generates leads, Data Scientists automate changes to the lead journey to trigger positive engagement behaviours. When MOPs and Data Science work together, revenue and lead generation become easier to predict, benchmark, and grow.

 

COLLABORATING WITH PURPOSE 

Data Science teams work their magic using emergent technologies, like machine learning and AI, which are expensive for companies to deploy. Collaborative time with Data Science and new tools, therefore, require a budget for development, which involves your CFO and CIO. Considering the costs, C-Suite’s looking to allocate Data Science resources only to teams that can justify the investment with impactful results.

There are a few points you can make to leadership in response. By modelling the business end to end, Data Science can see what brings in the most revenue, and as one of the most commercially-minded teams, Marketing should be at the top of the list. The more you invest in making campaigns compelling in response to audience data, the more likely the business will win deals. In other words: investing in Marketing boosts the whole organisation.

You might want to work with Data Science to better a product’s audience and attract more customer segments to it. Alternatively, you might want to streamline operations through automation and cut processes to achieve better outcomes. Whatever your proposal, frame it to C-Suite with intended results and impact in mind. 

After all, you’re not running experiments for their own sake—you’re working with Data Science to help Marketing make or save more money than you spend, investing less per lead generated than you bring in. That’s the language your CFO and CIO speak. 

Leadership can be adverse to risk or expect quick results, which means your CFO or CIO might be hesitant to play the long game. A dose of reality: if you’re trying something new, you need time to ride it out, make sense of findings, and realise the benefits. Suggest running campaign experiments with small subsets of your audience first, as a proof of concept, to make the idea more palatable to a hesitant CFO. 

On the whole, explain the analysis and modelling you want to do, limitations included, and what you’re trying to achieve with revenue when testing certain actions. Focus on how the results can benefit the business, and if you can estimate the ROI at roughly 1.5-2x what you spend, you’re likely to move the dial in your favour.

 

INVESTING IN SUCCESS

MOPs and Data Science together can be a force of nature, making the wealth of data that Marketing collects actionable and steering better strategic decisions. Come to any conversation with leadership with a clear plan of action and a confident sense of how collaboration with Data Science can boost the bottom line, and you stand a good chance of getting the green light. 

Need some help with data? Drop us a line to chat.

MOPs, Here’s How to Explain Your Value in Career Conversations

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 MOPs 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 MOPs 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 in a new workplace, you’re going to find yourself in conversation 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. This piece will help you prepare for and handle these discussions like a pro.

 

RESEARCH AND REFLECTION

Interviews are like two-way sales calls; just 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 and call out 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

MOPs 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. So in conversation with your hiring manager or boss, 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 with leadership what success looks like in each month, quarter, year of your role and identify the performance metrics that matter to the business and connect to revenue—this 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 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 line 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 a promotion internally 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 MOPs? Revenue Pulse is here to help.

How to Explain Ideal Customer Profiles to Sales and Marketing

TLDR: Ideal customer profiles (ICPs) are characterizations of the customer groups who best fit your services. The objective of ICPs is 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. MOPs helps Sales and Marketing evaluate whether the data supports the personas created and guide them to refine the ICPs with each reporting cycle.

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

ICPs 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. Using a variety of behavioral (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 can then personalize content, messaging, and processes to attract increased business from these groups. 

The objective of ICPs is to help businesses sign as many deals as quickly as possible, 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.

There’s no magic recipe for crafting ICPs, 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 coalesce 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 the only reliable basis for your ICPs is data. 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’s targeted campaigns generate MQLs, and Sales develops these 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. 

Consulting Sales and Marketing at regular intervals, with the latest data, can help answer a range of decisive questions, big picture and granular. How are particular ICPs performing at different stages of the sales cycle? 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.

How to Help Your C-Suite Choose Between Marketo and HubSpot

TLDR: Marketing automation platforms play a really important role in the way today’s businesses engage with their audiences. Leading the pack are Marketo and HubSpot, but which one should you choose? In our latest Tough Talks Made Easy post, we’re giving you the tools to help your executive team choose the right platform for your business. Take a look.

What you’ll learn in this article: 

  • When choosing a marketing automation platform, Marketo and HubSpot are leaders
  • Where HubSpot is a centralized inbound marketing platform with multiple functions, Marketo is focused on moving leads through the marketing funnel 
  • You can help your C-suite choose the right solution for your business by exploring these three considerations: 
    • Your tech stack
    • Your products and customer audience
    • The maturity of your team

Marketing automation tools are changing the way businesses operate. On the one hand, they make marketing and sales teams more efficient and productive. On the other, they’ve made it easier for marketers to provide tailored, personalized experiences that meet their target audiences where they are.

At the top of the marketing automation charts are Marketo and HubSpot, two platforms that have led the way in revolutionizing the marketing space. But, which of these tools is best for your business? 

To help you guide your exec team in their decision on which software to adopt, here’s an overview of each platform and the considerations you should make as you evaluate them.

 

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE PLATFORMS

HubSpot is an inbound marketing platform that has four functions: marketing, sales, customer service, and customer relationship management (CRM). This means that users have the ability to operate their email marketing, CRM software, contact management, and help desk automation from one place, with a well-designed user interface. While many teams appreciate the centralized experience, HubSpot also offers extensibility that allows you to integrate with third-party apps, including Salesforce. This flexibility makes it easier for companies to customize the experience to what makes sense to them.

Marketo Engage, meanwhile, is a robust marketing automation platform that focuses exclusively on moving leads and customers through various stages of the marketing funnel, in a way that’s customizable to the organization’s processes and structures. It does this by offering marketing automation, email marketing, and lead management capabilities. This focus allows users to create highly personalized content to tailor marketing campaigns to specific audiences.

The truth is, this isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison. When it comes down to it, these tools serve different functions and have to be considered within the broader scope of your tech stack and where your business is going. So, the question you and your C-suite should really be asking is whether you need a centralized marketing and sales hub, or a robust marketing automation platform that integrates with other best-of-breed solutions. 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER AS YOU MAKE YOUR CHOICE

As you engage with your leadership team to determine which platform makes the most sense for your business, here are three non-technical considerations that will help guide your conversation with them. 

1. For your CIO: Your existing tech stack

As mentioned above, HubSpot is a centralized solution for sales, marketing, and customer engagement functions. It continues to expand the offerings on its platform, making it a great place to start if you don’t have any technology serving those verticals—and don’t have the budget to invest in multiple integrated solutions. The other benefit here is that it reduces complexity for your team, as they only have one tool to learn, and this also makes it easier to transfer data from one function to another for accurate attribution reporting.

However, if your company is building a tech stack with best-of-breed solutions that lead their verticals then Marketo is the right choice. The tool makes up for the fact that it’s not an all-in-one solution by integrating seamlessly with other leading solutions like Salesforce, Drift, and Bizible. In fact, Marketo was originally designed with Salesforce in mind, and they still operate seamlessly together today. That said, it’s important to remember that each platform has its own price tag, so you need to have the budget available to build and run this integrated ecosystem. The other consideration is that Marketo is less prone to evolving its software, making it a more predictable investment. 

Your CIO likely has a strategy or roadmap for what your company’s tech stack will look like. Talk to them about it and use the points above to determine which platform fits into that strategy.

2. For your CMO: Your products and customer audience

Businesses that are only marketing one product to one or two audiences will naturally have fairly simple customer journeys. This reduces the need for complex workflows, persona building, and robust attribution models. HubSpot does a good job of addressing this use case as it easily connects the dots between each step in a single customer journey. 

Meanwhile, companies that have larger, more complex product catalogs require more specialized tools across every part of the path to purchase. That’s especially the case if they have a number of customer segments to meet with the right messaging at the right time. This is where teams can make the most of Marketo, accounting for multiple considerations and customer behaviors.

These are points you can raise with your CMO so as to advise them on where a product like Marketo or HubSpot can be more productive. They’ll also be able to tell you if there are any anticipated changes in how your business plans to market to new or existing audiences, which will also dictate which platform makes the most sense.  

3. For your CEO: The maturity of your team

Is your business new on the scene? Or have you been around for decades? Wherever your team sits on the maturity spectrum should inform how your executives decide on a marketing automation platform. 

For growth-stage startups that are prioritizing their product development, HubSpot tends to be the platform of choice. A centralized, easy-to-use solution can make it easier for the individuals running your marketing, sales, and customer engagement functions to work towards the same goals in a quick and scalable way. In addition, since HubSpot is continually innovating its platform, it’s an appealing digital solution for companies that are also evolving within their own markets.. There hasn’t been significant innovation with Marketo Engage in some time.

Meanwhile, larger enterprises that have invested in building a robust marketing team filled with seasoned MOPs professionals are more likely to have Marketo at the heart of their marketing operations efforts. With the right combination of tools and people, these companies can get creative with how they reach their vast audiences.

This is the type of insight that will matter to your CEO. So, as you’re walking them through the platforms, contextualize them within a conversation on where the company is now and where it’s going next. 

 

MAKING THE RIGHT DECISION

With so many marketing automation tools on the market now, it can feel overwhelming to find and pick the right one, but it doesn’t have to be. The three considerations outlined above should help you and your executives weigh one leading product against another.

If you’re still not sure which way to go and would like to continue the conversation, Revenue Pulse is here to help.