Data Privacy and Reputation: Protecting Your Business

TLDR: Data privacy regulations are evolving fast, and businesses in breach face harsh financial penalties and reputational damage. Bring RevOps, legal, sales, and marketing together every quarter to set the agenda for your data privacy strategy, review your processes, and plan around new compliance requirements. Hiring a data privacy officer and investing in cybersecurity are strong measures to properly process and protect customer data.

The data privacy landscape moves fast. As regulations emerge worldwide, businesses that collect, store, and use customer data face a complex web of compliance responsibilities.

Businesses that breach data privacy regulations, even unintentionally, face steep consequences. Regulators can place data handling restrictions on companies and issue sharp fines. To date, EU regulators have enforced over €1.5 billion in penalties to organizations in breach, with an average of €1.4 million per fine.

In a time when people are more conscious than ever about how businesses handle their data, falling foul of regulations is an easy way to shatter customer trust.

Now is the time to act. To stay compliant, your RevOps team needs to know how the interlocking data privacy regulations apply to the territories where you handle customer and prospect data. In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn to identify where the challenges and blind spots lie within your company, and the processes you should implement to keep on top of your responsibilities.

 

Challenges with data privacy

Companies tend not to proactively review their data privacy policy, which causes them to fall behind the times and incur fines. Many major markets (EU, Japan, India, Australia, Brazil, and some US states) have regulations that place responsibility on the organizations operating in these territories or collecting data on their residents.

While data privacy is more complex for organizations operating internationally, multiple regulations can apply even when doing business in one local market.

As the regulatory landscape evolves, it’s important to stay in the loop with how these frameworks shape your legal obligations and data practices. It’s particularly crucial if your business is considering expanding into international markets.

Organizations typically focus on online practices when designing a data privacy strategy, sometimes, to the detriment of offline behavior. The age-old challenge of sales and marketing alignment becomes relevant to compliance here.

Important: As Sales Ops and MOPs send customer and prospect data between platforms, both teams should know how they’re allowed to use and store this data to avoid taking actions that violate the privacy rights of people in the dataset.

 

Measures to take

To set the agenda for data privacy strategy, RevOps should get together with legal, sales, and marketing every three to six months. Across teams, you want everyone to have a good grasp of their responsibilities and have an eye on the regulatory movements that could impact their work.  

 

First, answer these questions during an initial meeting:

  • How are privacy and cookie policies evolving?
  • What are our regulatory requirements for each market we do business in?
  • How might our usage of tools and the web need to shift to meet new requirements?
  • What gaps do we have in implementing compliance policies?

 

Next, review your data processes:

From there, review your data capture, storage, and deletion processes. When capturing data, timestamp the date and time people submit contact forms, why they’re contacting your business, and whether they’ve opted in to receive marketing communications. For logging and auditing purposes, this creates evidence that you’ve lawfully obtained the authorized data.

For sales ops and marketing ops, set up filters to segment the people in your dataset based on the communications they’ve opted in or out of receiving. Read our piece on data hygiene to learn more.

For prospects who’ve unsubscribed from your communications, check in with legal to decide when to delete their data entirely. And it helps to test regularly that your measures are working as planned. Are your filters and timestamps working correctly? Are you deleting data when required? Are you storing it in secure places that don’t violate compliance policies?

 

Finally, hire a data privacy officer:

Hiring a data privacy officer is a smart move. DPOs are experts in:

  • keeping up with regulatory evolution
  • guiding policies and processes, and
  • educating people on the risks of non-compliance is a smart move to advocate.

 
If the budget to hire for such a role is a concern, it’s worth mentioning the penalties that regulators can apply. E.U. authorities, for instance, can enforce the GDPR with fines of up to €20 million, or up to 4% of a company’s global annual turnover.

For similar reasons, cybersecurity training and tools are worth pushing for. Data breaches decrease customer confidence and brand strength while making fines and legal action all the more likely—so by investing in data protection, you invest in protecting your customers and your reputation.

 

Create trust

People want to do business with organizations they trust.

By making a cultural and financial investment in data privacy, you get to:

  • keep your business from appearing under the limelight for the wrong reasons
  • avoid fines and restrictions on how your RevOps team uses data, and
  • better understand the processes to implement if you’re expanding into new markets.

 
Want to learn more about the actions you can take to remain GDPR compliant? Get in touch with us.

Beyond The Hype: What to Tell Your Marketing VP about ABM

TLDR: Account-based marketing (ABM) can help your business land lucrative deals, but does your marketing leadership know how to make an ABM strategy successful?

Account-based marketing (ABM) took the B2B world by storm several years ago and with tight economic times ahead, it’s being called the breakout star of 2023 by Adweek.

ABM gained recognition for its potential to land deals with high ROI. That’s a naturally exciting prospect for any business, but ABM gets results by execution, not magic.

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, we’ll help you talk to your marketing leadership about ABM. You’ll learn to explain how it really works, the circumstances in which it succeeds, and the preparation ABM takes to pull it off.

 

What is ABM?

ABM is a strategy for producing marketing campaigns that target particular accounts.

In doing so, ABM flips the traditional marketing funnel on its head. Rather than distributing your content and messaging far and wide to attract as many leads as possible, your first step is to narrow down a subset of customers and prospects to focus on with personalized campaigns.

The rationale is that dedication to specific accounts with specific personalization will yield more highly qualified leads and lucrative deals. If your broad-based marketing efforts are resulting in limited growth, ABM offers a fresh alternative with a trade-off: it takes work to choose the best accounts to target and find the most effective methods of engaging them.

Various models exist for targeting accounts and personas with just one universal truth to the process: marketing and sales need to integrate deeply together.

A more traditional campaign might see marketing and sales work as separate islands. With ABM, the focus on specific accounts demands joint strategic input. Although each sales rep would love marketing to increase their personal list of existing and new business, your team doesn’t have the bandwidth to support everyone with targeted campaigns.

Therefore, ABM begins with a conversation between your marketing and sales leaders. Your VP needs to sit with their sales counterpart and agree on a set of accounts to prioritize. A strong mutual directive is the first spark of life for any ABM campaign. From there, both teams should work together on more in-depth targeting.

 

Unlock the power of ABM

In planning the finer details of an ABM campaign, the idea is to replicate past successes with a fresh twist. To do this, marketing needs to determine how existing personas, content, and tactics can apply to each chosen account.

As with choosing accounts, the types of people you target in each account should share characteristics (e.g., job role, region, vertical) with stakeholders who responded positively to past campaigns and brought in business.

You’ll need data from sales and marketing to identify:

  • the decision makers at each account
  • any individuals who’ve previously interacted with your brand, and
  • the campaigns that got similar personas to sign on the dotted line.

This data is your guiding light for the best tactics to try.

Whether it’s a personalized web experience or a custom event invite, knowing what worked for comparable personas puts you in a good position to engage your chosen stakeholders. Your past campaigns provide a good basis to repurpose content, but the real task is to customize pieces to show an understanding of each individual’s interests and pain points.

In our post ‘The Principles of a Successful ABM Strategy,’ we highlight the platform considerations you’ll need to make as well.

The key to success here is commitment, data maturity, and inter-team communication.

For ABM to really work, marketing and sales need to collaborate closely on various campaign pieces, invest time and effort to research and develop your audience, and share insights about past account success.

Here’s what your team needs to execute ABM:

  • sufficient time resourced to do the work within their bandwidth
  • clear synchronicity with sales, and
  • a wealth of historical data available to cite points of success with similar companies.

Consider your business ready to try ABM once these elements are in place.

 

Continuous improvements

One thing ABM has in common with more traditional campaigns is you want to go the distance. For all your calculated targeting efforts, doing ABM for the first time is still an experiment.

It’s important to remember the results are unlikely to be instant, but instead a product of gradual discoveries and tweaks based on feedback from your campaign performance.

For that reason, frame your first outing with ABM as proof of concept. Your personas, tactics, content, and criteria for targeting accounts are all elements to refine as reports come in from your activity. For continuous success, everyone involved in your ABM campaign—from sales to your marketing VP—must share and respond proactively to feedback and make strategic changes to chase opportunities.

Both your marketing and sales leaders want growth. If the results from your traditional campaigns are tapering off, ABM can help you net those “white whale” accounts, but your leadership should facilitate the things ABM needs. Those needs include joint investment from sales and marketing, accessible historical data, and the will to keep refining it until you strike gold.

For any guidance you need with ABM, Revenue Pulse is here to help.

Multi-Touch Attribution: Measure Your B2B Marketing Impact

TLDR: Marketing aims to spend on the campaigns and channels that offer the most significant ROI. Discover why multi-touch attribution is vital for making those decisions.

Here’s a puzzle for you: Someone visits your website. Weeks later, a blog post shared on LinkedIn brings them back to your site, and they register for a webinar. Several emails down the line, this person becomes a customer. Congrats—now, how do you proportion credit for that deal?

We’re big advocates of multi-touch attribution because most customer journeys comprise multiple interactions with your brand. The prevailing view on attribution in B2B is to credit one single touchpoint with driving revenue.

If that’s your marketing team’s approach, then you need to read this Tough Talks Made Easy. Marketing spends on the campaigns and channels that give the best ROI, so we’ll help you explain to your team why multi-touch attribution is essential for making the best decisions.

 

Single vs. multi-touch

It’s important to note that both methods have unique advantages and limitations. The choice between them often depends on the specific goals and business circumstances. We outline the strengths of each below.

Single-touch attribution

Single-touch attribution is a method of crediting a conversion to the first touchpoint (e.g., an ad click or email open) that a customer had with a brand before converting.

It helps you answer particular questions about campaign performance, for instance:

  • First-touch attribution: Details which campaign sparked initial interest.
  • Lead-creation attribution: Identifies which campaigns get people into your database.
  • Last-touch attribution: Pinpoint which campaigns convert the most leads to opportunities.

Each method is effective at evaluating performance against KPIs, but no one interaction accounts for the sum of marketing activities that influence revenue.

A lead could have anywhere from 5 to 50 interactions with your company on their journey. Limiting your analysis to a single or handful of interactions means the vast majority of your activities have impacts that you’re not even measuring—and if you don’t measure it, you won’t optimize it.

Multi-touch attribution

Multi-touch attribution assigns credit to multiple touchpoints along the customer journey. It allows for a more nuanced understanding of how different touchpoints contribute to a conversion.

It responds to reality because there’s no one correct answer for where to spend your budget.

Multi-touch models assign dollars across different touchpoints, and by doing so, the analysis leads to insights that a single factor can’t explain.

Here’s a rundown of what some common models can answer for you:

  • U-Shaped: Assigns more credit to the first and last touchpoints in the customer journey and equal credit to all other touchpoints. Helpful for driving awareness
  • W-Shaped: Assigns more credit to the first and last touchpoints in the customer journey and less credit to touchpoints in the middle. Helpful for determining which campaigns turned leads into opportunities.
  • Full-Path: Assigns credit to all touchpoints in the customer journey, regardless of their order or importance. Helpful for measuring the entire funnel.
  • Sourced: Assigns credit to all touchpoints in the customer journey that originate from a specific source while giving no credit to touchpoints from other sources. Helpful in determining which campaigns helped to create new pipeline.
  • Accelerated: Assigns credit to touchpoints that occur in a shorter time frame and across fewer touchpoints. It prioritizes the touchpoints that are most likely to have driven a conversion. Helpful in determining which campaigns helped to close deals.
  • Influenced: Assigns credit to touchpoints that influence a customer’s decision to convert even if those touchpoints didn’t directly lead to the conversion. Helpful in determining which campaigns helped to source and accelerate prospects.
  • Time-Decay Assigns more credit to touchpoints that occur closer in time to a conversion and less credit to touchpoints that occur further away in time. Helpful in understanding the effectiveness of short-term marketing efforts.

The takeaway for your marketing team: Both single- and multi-touch attribution have their place in your gameplan, but the latter leads to various discoveries that help you double down on campaign success.

 

Maximize ROI with multi-touch attribution

As a marketer, you’re a driver of revenue. One of the most important decisions marketing makes for the business is to allocate campaign dollars to the places that give you the highest return on investment.

Your company’s invested in martech to make sense of the data, but if you’re making that call without multi-touch attribution, then you’re spending in the dark.

Your marketing manager is probably focusing on cost per lead when making spending decisions.
If you pump more money into the sub-channels where you get cheaper leads and get more leads for your money. By that logic, organic SEO wins every time, then platforms with the next-lowest spend, and that’s where you’ll invest.

When you take a more gradual approach to the analysis and let lead data play out until you can calculate cost per deal.

Estimate revenue based on deal size, and you might see the picture shift.

Platforms like Google Ads and LinkedIn may be more expensive per lead but more efficient per deal, bringing in sales at much higher values than sub-channels with cheaper leads.

This is where ROI really comes from—revenue vs spend—and it produces a different decision than if you’d focused on cost per lead. The lesson for marketing here is that not all leads are created equal. If you reduce spend based on leads, you could lose out on deals in the long run.

Multi-touch attribution takes figures from across your brand activity and tells you what’s creating deals and ROI. That lets you double down on your strategy and determine how to max out spending at multiple levels:

  • channels (e.g., social, display)
  • sub-channels (e.g., LinkedIn, Facebook), and
  • tactics (e.g. whitepapers, webinars).

This is the essence of how attribution helps your marketing team succeed — from your CMO setting growth targets and strategic aims to your marketing manager running campaigns.

 

Drive better decisions

Multi-touch attribution connects the dots between marketing interactions and revenue, letting you accurately measure and spend on impact.

That understanding puts everyone on the same page about what campaigns really boost your bottom line, and it gives Marketing a more effective way to think about and surface value.

If you’re facing pressure to optimize right this second, just remember: this is an engine for long-term success. Take time to handle your modeling with care and collect the data you need as campaigns progress; you have more of both on your side than you think.

For any advice on succeeding with attribution, Revenue Pulse is here to help. Contact us to start a conversation.

Will the EU’s Ban on Google Analytics Affect Your Company?

TLDR: To date, France, Italy, Denmark and Austria have banned Google Analytics—a trend that could continue throughout the EU. If your business depends significantly on Google Analytics or EU markets, your analytics practices and revenue could be at stake. Wherever the ROI makes sense, focus on using owned data for the countries affected by the ban, explore alternative tools that are GDPR-compliant, and invest in the education of a Data Privacy Officer to adapt to new and emerging regulatory developments.

Several key EU markets recently moved to ban Google Analytics. Data protection authorities in Italy, France, and Austria have deemed the practice of transferring user web activity and IP data to the US a violation of data protection laws. The bodies found the US lacks adequate safeguards to preserve personal data anonymity.

Businesses whose products, services, operations, and infrastructure rely significantly on Google Analytics would do well to explore alternative strategies and software, planning around the likely consequences of the ban and potential developments in regulation. This also applies if your business takes significant revenue from EU countries.

A potential move away from Google Analytics could make your data less accurate and accessible. It would also require setting up alternative web optimization and tracking mechanisms. Therefore, your CMO and CTO are chief among the people who should know the score.

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, we’ll help you talk them through the impact and outlook of the ban, along with some solutions to consider. The better educated your leaders are, the better prepared you’ll be to weather any disruption.

 

The impact of the ban

The gravity of the situation depends on how much Google Analytics drives your business. If your MOPs and RevOps teams use it greatly, your data collection, reporting, and forecasting powers are at stake.

No longer able to track web activity and IP data created from top-of-funnel initiatives, MOPs and RevOps will need to refocus analytical practices exclusively onto data they already own (e.g., captured leads living inside their system with consent expressed in compliance with the GDPR).

For now, the Google Analytics ban applies only to France, Italy, Denmark and Austria. To keep doing business in these countries, you’ll need to adapt your website and introduce new processes and tools as necessary to comply with both the GDPR and any local requirements. If your business is based outside of these countries, the ban equally affects your ability to use Google Analytics to process data from users in France, Italy, Denmark and Austria.

The key thing to remember: to stay compliant with the GDPR, you cannot transfer web and IP data from these citizens and countries to the US.

Actionable takeaways

Your CMO and IT will need to investigate the changes required to your website, subdomains, and data analytics processes to stop the tracking and transference of website data for these countries and their citizens.

Your CTO should consider the ROI of tools that offer similar capabilities to Google Analytics. Examples include:

Any new tool you consider should allow you to process data from France, Italy, Denmark and Austria in compliance with the GDPR and any country-specific regulations. Your Data Protection Officer (or a consultant with GDPR expertise) is also a good source of counsel on potential changes to your tech stack and infrastructure.

Of course, these changes take time, effort, and resources. If your CMO and CTO need a hand assessing the ROI of making adjustments and implementing more advanced processes, look at how much revenue your business sees from the countries impacted. If less than 5% of gross revenue comes from France, Italy, Denmark and Austria (and their citizens in other countries), it might make sense to rely solely on the data you own.

 

Future EU bans?

While the ban currently applies to just three countries, it’s sensible for leadership to think about how the regulatory landscape might evolve.

EU countries could increasingly move to ban Google Analytics and restrict the transfer of user data from the EU to the US, potentially leading to an EU-wide ban to streamline regulations in the bloc.

A sweeping EU-wide ban would take considerable time to enforce, though it would be a massive blow to companies whose data storage infrastructure is based in the US.

As a means of ensuring GDPR compliance, US companies wouldn’t see much success from storing their user data in the EU.

Companies exempting themselves from transferring data back to the US would ultimately violate the CLOUD Act, which asserts that US businesses must, at request, provide authorities in the US with data stored in their servers, regardless of where those servers are stored.

One emerging piece of legislation to watch is the American Innovation and Choice Online Act. If codified, the bill would ban large tech companies such as Google from using non-public data generated by business users to benefit the covered platform’s own products. The enforcement of new antitrust practices in the US could result in data transfers to the US being deemed acceptable in accordance with the GDPR.

Amidst it all, businesses that prioritize EU markets or have a significant EU presence may increasingly turn away from Google Analytics and adopt tools that guarantee GDPR compliance. A resulting rise in demand and availability of solutions that ensure GDPR compliance can help your CTO identify an alternative that allows you to keep doing business in the EU in the most optimal way.

 

The bottom line

The Google Analytics ban in various European countries is likely not an existential threat to your business—but if your services, operations, and infrastructure relies on the software or you get a significant portion of your revenue from the EU, it’s a situation that demands building resilience.

Wherever the ROI makes sense, turn your focus towards owned data for the countries affected by the ban, explore GDPR-compliant alternatives to Google Analytics, and invest in the education of a Data Privacy Officer to adapt appropriately to new and emerging challenges with data regulation.

Get in touch for more guidance on navigating your RevOps team through the data privacy landscape.

How to Ask Your Boss for Help

TLDR: Asking for help shows you’re prepared to solve problems and get results, but it’s not always easy. Explore some of the arguments that can strengthen your case.

Let’s see if you can relate to the following scenario. Your leadership has made an investment. That is the investment in you, your team, your colleagues and your tech stack. The challenge is that your team is SO successful that you make it look easy. You’re like the surfer/musician/ballerina who moves so effortlessly that it’s hard to appreciate all the hard work that makes it possible. The outcome for many is that you’re drowning in work, requests, deadlines, and deliverables.

The solution? You need some help.

This Tough Talk Made Easy looks at some of the arguments that can support your request for help.

This is not an exhaustive list.

Our team has worked client side and agency side. Not only does this give us empathy for your current challenges, but we understand how to position the rationale and benefits of some outside help.

Let’s get started.

 

Speed

The first and easiest argument is one of speed. You need someone fast.

Agencies can deploy resources faster than hiring. Depending on which market you’re in, and/or flexibility in remote work, it can take a long time to hire someone.

If you’re in the crunch with timelines coming fast and furious, this is one easy argument to get some help.

 

Experience and perspective

There are knowns, unknown knowns, and unknown unknowns when it comes to MOPs.

Bringing in an outside perspective can give you experience in areas that you’re not familiar with or feel like you’re not optimizing.

For example, take attribution. We’ve seen all kinds of implementations that are not working, or worse, collecting dust. Attribution reporting to leadership can be extremely powerful. Getting expertise can improve your marketing automation’s performance by complementing your skills with others.

An outside perspective in the form of an audit is a place that we’ve seen pay instant dividends. Another benefit of an agency providing help is that you have the benefit of their consultants’ collective experience.

 

Time and volume

You don’t have the time to do everything.

This is a harder argument to make when your leadership doesn’t fully appreciate MOPs.

However if your team can do 50 programs a week and there is a need for 100, the time argument can work. The smaller your team, the easier the argument that you can’t do everything.

Increasing volume is a better argument than time. Keep time in your back pocket. It is better as a supporting argument than a leading one.

Leadership sometimes can hear that everyone is busy and be perfectly fine with that.

 

Skill gaps

We’d like to be good at everything, but there can be times when you just don’t have the skills to execute.

We see this with analytics and dashboards all the time.

You can be a Marketo genius but are you also super savvy with Snowflake and Tableau? (If you are, contact me, we love unicorns like you!).

Your team might have some gaps that outside help can fulfill. The best part is that maybe you only need 15 hours a week in that role. A consultant can save the hiring of a full-time resource for part-time needs.

 

Test your needs

This one is straightforward. You may not be able to accurately estimate the skills and time you need with support.

If you start with a base number of hours, you can decide whether you need more time or build the case to hire your own resources.

 

Off books

This one is interesting but it’s more common than you would think.

Clients often look to consultancies to assist them for the simple reason of not increasing payroll/headcount.

This is a financial hygiene decision. An expense to a consultancy looks better than a salary in valuations.

You could do some probing to see if this argument would fly, but it’s generally one that your boss’ boss might be more concerned with.

 

Neutral/unbiased

A consultant can really help when there are tricky dynamics at play like introducing change within an organization.

The perception of a neutral/unbiased perspective can go a long way in bridging divides and finding common ground.

It could also just help you make your case.

If an outside audit gives weight to the point you’ve been making for months, this can really help move things forward.

 

Accountability

Possibly the best part of having outside help is their accountability.  They have timelines, deliverables and outcomes to get done for you.

They are responsible for creating a plan and executing it.

Need something done for the end of quarter? Done.

That type of accountability can go a long way in delivering what you need against your leadership’s asks.

 

Costs

This is always part of the equation. You will have to present the numbers.

Many of the points made above validate the costs you have to present. The magic is if you can equate the cost of help and the return on investment. ROI doesn’t always have to be dollars in business closed. It can be a better alignment between sales and marketing. It could be reducing the costs of dirty data. It can also be the costs of moving with speed and predictability.

These are just some of the arguments that you can make in building your case for help. It isn’t always easy to ask for help.

Some people see asking for help as a sign of weakness or failure.

We couldn’t disagree more.

Asking for help is a sign of wanting to get things done. Period.

As always, we’re here to help when you need it.

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4 Steps to Explain Technical Debt to Your CMO/Marketing VP

TLDR: Technical debt arises from rushed responses to problems created by poor planning. Think long-term about your projects, and you won’t have to choose between speed and execution. 

Technical debt describes the implied cost of making “quick fixes” to your tech stack or IT infrastructure.

Technical debt accumulates when the people building your software take suboptimal shortcuts to complete projects over more effective approaches that take longer. Doing so entrenches flaws into your tech that become more troublesome to fix as time goes on, leading to higher rework costs later.

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn to discuss the causes and consequences of technical debt with your CMO and suggest cultural changes to prevent it from building.

 

Why technical debt builds

During projects like platform migrations and implementations, a CMO and VP generally focus on contract negotiations.

Their efforts to get the best deal. This focus can, inadvertently, eat into the time needed for the technical work.

When projects start too late, those responsible for building the project will face pressure to make up for lost time and choose “quick fixes” to hit deadlines and achieve results.

While CMOs aim to make the most cost-effective decisions, they often account just for the purchase cost of a new application or platform.

For instance, your CMO may choose a marketing automation platform license cheaper than its competitors without considering the extra admin, consultation, and custom development necessary to make it work.

Add in the cost of training personnel and additional support, however, and you could well face a higher total cost of ownership. Especially if you don’t plan from the beginning to bring these resources on board, or if the project is already running behind schedule.

Short-sighted thinking leads to these negative outcomes:

  • compressed timelines
  • bloated costs and scope, and
  • increased project vulnerability due to mistakes and substandard workarounds.

These decisions compromise a project’s execution and encourage technical debt, making subsequent improvements more challenging to make.

 

Preventing technical debt

Influencing upwards is an impactful approach against technical debt.

Depending on the dynamics of your organization, a direct line to your CMO or Marketing VP might not be possible. In that case, look to your Operations Manager or Marketing Director as allies with the access and technical expertise to impart the urgency of starting on time.

While it’s impossible to identify every gap a solution has until it’s in-house, you can confidently speak to the consequences of a late start.

Here’s how to sell your boss on the respect the project deserves:

“If negotiations drag out and leave us behind schedule, it will impact our ability to deliver this project on time, on budget, and to the level of competency you want. X will happen if we don’t start as planned, and it’ll take Y additional costs to fix.”

 

Implementations and migrations

Implementations and migrations are demanding initiatives. The planning phase is crucial to map out all your anticipated costs and labor needs.

Your CMO/Marketing VP can’t expect key contributors to carry their full workload and give their all to an implementation or migration—people who are stretched take shortcuts, and that just leads to technical debt proliferating.

Freeing up key team members to commit and provide the necessary focus to the project gives them space to contribute to the best of their ability, without incurring rework costs.

For instance, sales and marketing leadership could reduce the quarterly targets of the sales reps involved, or lessen the day-to-day campaign execution responsibilities of contributors from marketing.

 

Create a change management team

The creation of a change management team is a particularly progressive solution to technical debt.

Technical debt arises from rushed responses to problems created by short-sighted planning.

Advocate for a dedicated team of people to support the project from conception, mapping out the ramifications of any change in:

  • costs
  • timelines
  • resource requirements, and
  • post-implementation training.

This increases the project’s resilience to disruption and lessens the risk of technical debt.

 

Long-term thinking

If projects are delayed at the early stages, you’ve ultimately got a choice between paying upfront or later on.

Do you use the most effective methods to build a new implementation or migration, accepting you’ll be up and running later than planned? Or do you take shortcuts to make your initial launch date, at risk of introducing flaws into the project that carry large rework costs and compromise how effectively it works?

Between the two, it’s not an even trade.

The cost of technical debt often outweighs the agility of completing a project as fast as possible.

Steps to avoid technical debt:

1. Reinforce the importance of making a plan and sticking to it with leadership.

2. Scope out your timelines, labor needs, and total cost of ownership upfront—when things need to progress to meet your deadline, the people you’ll need to be involved in the project, and its real financial cost.

3. Advocate for a change management team to reinforce the consequences of starting late or making changes, and to find solutions in a proactive, planned manner.

4. Take the demands of your project seriously, and you shouldn’t have to choose between speed and execution.

Need more guidance? Get in touch — we’re always here to help.

 

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

TLDR: Marketing automation platforms play a significant role in how businesses engage with their audiences. Marketo and HubSpot are leading the pack, but which one should you choose? Our latest Tough Talks Made Easy post gives you the tools to help your executive team choose the right platform for your business. Take a look.

 

What you’ll learn here:

  • When choosing a marketing automation platform, Marketo and HubSpot are leaders.
  • Where HubSpot is a centralized inbound marketing platform with multiple functions, Marketo focuses 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, and
    • 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.

 

Marketo Vs. HubSpot

HubSpot

HubSpot is an inbound marketing platform that has four functions:

  • marketing
  • sales
  • customer service, and
  • customer relationship management (CRM).

Users can 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

Marketo Engage, meanwhile, is a robust marketing automation platform.

Marketo focuses exclusively on moving leads and customers through various stages of the marketing funnel. It does this in a way that’s customizable to the organization’s processes and structures.

What Marketo offers:

  • 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, both 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: Do you need a centralized marketing and sales hub or a robust marketing automation platform that integrates with other best-of-breed solutions?

 

3 non-technical considerations:

When making this choice, you’ll need to 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

HubSpot reduces complexity for your team

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 HubSpot reduces complexity for your team, as they only have one tool to learn. This also makes it easier to transfer data from one function to another for accurate attribution reporting.

 

Marketo helps you build a best-of-breed tech stack

Marketo is the right choice if your company builds a tech stack with best-of-breed solutions leading their verticals.

The tool makes up for not being an all-in-one solution by integrating seamlessly with 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.

 

How to help your CIO: 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

Small product catalogs:

Businesses that only market one product to one or two audiences will naturally have relatively simple customer journeys.

It 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.

 

Large product catalogs:

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.

 

How to help your CMO: Raise these points with your CMO 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.

 

Startups:

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.

 

Enterprises:

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.

 

How to help your CEO: This type of insight will matter to your CEO. As you walk your CEO through the platforms, contextualize each within the current and future states of the company.

 

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.

We help companies around the world with marketing automation platform setup, migration and optimization.

If you’re still not sure which way to go and would like to continue the conversation, Revenue Pulse is here to 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. Successful ABM requires alignment across your marketing and sales teams, targeting and building relationships with individuals, supporting 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 discussed the value of account-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
  • fosters alignment between your sales and marketing teams, and
  • 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, and some key considerations that will help your CMO and CSO decide how best to implement it.

Let’s dive in.

 

A successful ABM strategy

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 studying your target customer persona.

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.

 

There is no magic number.

You need enough parameters to ensure that both marketers and sales reps are reflected in the selection process, but not so many that it’s 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 people you’re trying to reach.

It could be 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.

Any investment in technology also requires a lot of time and effort to craft a robust strategy that has a high chance of success.

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

 

ABM: In-house vs 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?

 

How agencies can create a successful ABM strategy

There are several reasons why working with an agency can create a successful ABM strategy:

  • 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 spending 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.

 

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.

 

Start a discussion

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 Ace a Career Conversation in Marketing Ops

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

 

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

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

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

Your power as a candidate comes from:

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

 

Research and reflection

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

Perhaps the most crucial question to answer is this:

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

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

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

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

Internal career conversations can be a touch more delicate.

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

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

 

Show and prove

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Your value explained

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

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

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

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

 

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How to Gain the Trust of Your Leadership Team

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Talking impact

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

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

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

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

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

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


Win greater investment into the team

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

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

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

 

Educate upwards

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

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


You are your best advocate

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

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

 

Get on the map

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

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

 

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