What Your CRO Should Know About Data Privacy Compliance

TLDR: Data privacy regulations are evolving fast, and businesses in breach face sharp financial penalties and reputational damage. Bring RevOps together with Legal, Sales, and Marketing 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 ensure you’re properly processing and protecting customer data.

 

The data privacy landscape moves fast. As regulations emerge around the world, businesses that collect, store, and use customer data must get to grips with a complex web of compliance responsibilities.

Businesses that breach data privacy regulations, even unintentionally, face steep consequences. Regulators have the power to place data handling restrictions on businesses 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 look after their data, falling foul of regulations is an easy way to shatter customer trust.

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

 

Challenges with data privacy

Companies tend not to review their data privacy policy proactively, which causes them to fall behind the times and incur fines. Major markets like the EU, Japan, India, Australia, Brazil, and certain US states all have regulations that confer particular responsibilities onto organizations that operate in these territories or collect 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—particularly 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 behaviour. The age-old challenge of Sales and Marketing alignment becomes relevant to compliance here. 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 quarter or 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.  

Some questions to answer: 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 our implementation of compliance policies?

From there, review your processes for data capture, storage, and deletion. When capturing data, timestamp the date and time that 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 SOPs and MOPs—set up filters to segment the people in your dataset based on the communications they’ve opted in or out of receiving. 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?

Hiring a Data Privacy Officer to keep up with regulatory evolution, guide policies and processes, and educate 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 our experts.

How Strategic Changes Impact Tech: What Your CEO Should Know

TLDR: Whether leadership is looking to grow or expand into new service areas, new goals can change the tools that are relevant to your business. Early into planning, they should speak with people in MOPs at all levels to assess if a proposal demands more time or budget than first anticipated, along with any new hires or pieces of tech.  Before any strategic shift, visualize how each piece of your tech stack fits together (and why) to gauge the impact of a strategic change on technology. If a new tool is the way to go, allow for overlapping contracts, time to map out new processes and changes to data architecture, and for training people on a new system while they’re still using the current one.

 

The link between strategy and technology is essential for any leader to understand. Strategy sets the direction for the business and shapes your goals; your tech stack is the means by which you achieve them. 

Easy as it is to get attached to particular tools, strategic intent gives purpose to each piece of tech. Your stack is fluid, evolving to solve problems and provide capabilities as your business needs change—a quality that’s especially clear when strategic change is on the way.

Whether leadership is looking to grow or expand into new service areas, the establishment of new goals can potentially change the tools that are relevant to your business. If Martech leadership is working on or has recently announced a new strategy, this Tough Talks Made Easy is for you. You’ll learn how to discuss the impact that strategic changes have on technology, so you can invest the time and budget you need to get your team and stack in shape.

Fitting the pieces together

First, your boss should consult with people around the business to better understand the impact of a proposed change, from Director-level and management to the people in MOPs handling tools on a day to day basis. Having these conversations early into the planning phase can reveal if a proposal demands more time or budget than first anticipated, along with any additional hires or new pieces of tech.

While putting together a plan, leadership needs to know exactly how your tech stack works across the whole organization; changes to technology can reverberate across the ecosystem and cause unexpected trouble. If your new strategy entails using a different marketing automation platform, for example, you then have the task of replacing a platform with lots of data tied into it and integrations with many other tools. Certain tools you’re using might not integrate smoothly (or at all) with the new platform—and that means new problems.

Message to impart: hit pause on a big shift until you’ve mapped out the tech stack across your business. Visualize how each piece fits together to establish the tools you have, why teams use the tools they do, and how each tool integrates. By doing so, you’ll better gauge the impact of a strategic change on technology. As an added bonus, you can spot opportunities to consolidate tools with overlapping use cases and save on budget.

Before surveying the market for new tools, ask your leadership to lay out their specific needs. Is there a particular problem you’re looking to solve? New capabilities to add? Integrations that a new tool should have? This promotes intentional, goal-driven tool adoption. Sometimes, the trial period for a new tool isn’t enough to accurately determine the fit for your business; limitations can become apparent after the demo and trial are complete. The clearer they are at establishing the necessary components of a new tool, the better equipped you are to find a tool that’s fit for the strategy.

The human touch

For the time and effort it takes to craft a strategy, punctuate it with clear goals, and make the appropriate changes in technology, the plan risks coming off the rails without a human touch. You need people with the right skills and time allotted to make sense of any new tools and use them constructively.

When scoping out new technologies for the business, you’ll find that salespeople often understate the difficulty of learning a new tool and the time required to see real results. The learning curve for the likes of a CRM, CMS, or a MAP is steep—realistically, it’s a job for multiple people. Adding a complex, foundational system onto the plate of a two-person MOPs team, in addition to their current responsibilities, is a recipe for burnout. If your boss’ new strategy requires significant extra work or a new set of skills, the most sensible step they can take is to budget for new hires or an agency’s help.

Likewise, leadership wants to achieve a particular result as fast and cost-efficient as possible. Throughout a tool’s implementation period, allow for overlapping contracts, time to map out new processes and changes to data architecture, and for training people on a new system while they’re still using the current one. If budgeting several hours a week out of 40 for your MOPs team to learn a new system, the timeline to understand how a new tool works and integrate it into the team’s day to day workload is naturally going to take several months—something to consider when setting strategic targets.

And while your boss sets the strategy, the tactics are best left to the MOPs team. The learning process is all about trial and error; experimenting and finding out the best ways to use a tool to do the things you need. The people using the tool will eventually understand better than anyone which methods work and what results are realistic—leadership should trust them to feel out how to execute on a daily basis and encourage their feedback to shape performance goals. 

The takeaway

While strategy is your guiding star, the capabilities of your tools and the people in your MOPs team are what make achieving goals possible. Plan for changes in technology and human resourcing as early as possible when developing a new strategy, and leadership can expect success.

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.

 

How to Talk With Your Boss About Learning Martech

Martech moves fast. As more and more tools enter the space every year, it’s increasingly a priority and a challenge to spot the best ones to adopt. Access is another barrier to navigate; many tools are too expensive for individual learners to experiment with, and when businesses have limited licenses to distribute, your ability to learn a new tool comes down to resourcing. Even when you’ve settled on a new piece of tech to learn, it can be tricky to structure your learning into realistic, achievable goals, with many features to explore, high expectations from management, and competing projects to juggle. 

MOPs people have a hunger for knowledge and a keen understanding of martech, but the above factors often complicate the learning journey. If you’re having trouble with learning tools purposefully, this Tough Talks Made Easy is for you. We’ll help you sit down with your boss and come up with a development plan for learning; one that focuses on the right tools to make an impact, with intentional and realistic goals to work towards.

Choosing tools

The martech boom has given businesses new and evolving options to solve problems and create efficiencies. Your boss or team might be excited by particular pieces of tech taking the industry by storm, but the best tools to learn are always the ones that address your business goals. Therefore, you’re looking to answer two questions: What does the business need, and what is the most effective tool to meet those needs?

First, chat with your CMO, CRO, or direct manager about goals. What does the business want to achieve with Marketing Operations? What problems or opportunities exist with the MOPs team? What functions can you perform in your role to contribute to big-picture performance outcomes, like increased revenue, productivity, efficiency, or lower costs?

Once you understand the intended outcomes of adopting a new tool, suggest surveying your company’s tech stack first—it’ll save time and money to adopt a piece of tech your company already uses over onboarding a new tool, even if it means purchasing an additional license. If you find a tool internally that could fit the bill, chat with your colleagues who use it. Does it perform the particular function or get the results your team needs? Does it have the potential to do so?  

If you’re unsure, vet this tool against other solutions on the market. Get a sense of pricing, reviews, demand and discussion in MOPs spaces (forums, channels, job postings). Once you’ve narrowed down 3-4 top contenders, suggest trialling each of them and measuring the results to investigate how each tool impacts performance. Present the relevant data to leadership, whether it’s ROI or productivity gains, and you’ll have made a strong case for your tool of choice.

Setting learning goals

Now you’ve got the right tool for the job, how should you learn it? Your boss has likely given you specific KPIs to meet; contributions to revenue or efficiency you’ll make from performing certain functions. Perhaps leadership wants you to generate a certain number of MQLs from the campaigns you build, or increase conversion rates by using a data enrichment tool to deepen your lead scoring.

Leadership may want fast results, but rushing through your learning to meet these goals quickly is an easy way for things to break, particularly if a tool has particularly complex features to master. Realistically, it’ll take months to learn the capabilities you need, gather performance data, and illustrate the business impact of your activities with the tool. A point your CMO and CRO would agree with: if it’s a choice between doing things fast and doing them correctly, choose the latter every time.

Here’s a game plan that works: break down any big-picture achievements and complex projects into attainable, gradually paced milestones. Many commonplace tools and platforms have different certification levels to obtain. Even if you’re not taking a certification exam, the curriculum provides a framework for learning a tool, from foundational to advanced levels. There’s a logical progression to this structure that will help you identify specific features to learn and understand how long it’ll take to learn them.

Exam curricula and other official learning resources are endorsed by the tool creators themselves, so they’re compelling pieces of evidence to back up your learning goals. Here’s how you articulate this to leadership: “Based on the official resources, I’ll be able to do X in three months; let’s set Y as a goal for six months’ time. When I’ve sufficiently learned these functions and allowed several months for reporting, I’ll show you how my work has contributed to Z outcome. From there, we can see what ongoing goals make sense.”

Purpose makes an impact

Learning is continuous in an evolving space like MOPs, and martech in particular demands a constant finger on the pulse. Measure and share the impact of your learnings with leadership as they progress, listen to emerging issues in the team, and keep an eye on developments in the martech space. Doing this will help you set fresh and relevant goals to pursue by using tech impactfully—because when it comes to getting results, purpose wins over speed.

Need a hand with martech? Get in touch for a chat.

How to Pitch a New Marketing Automation Platform to Your CIO

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.

 

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.