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.

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