Is It Worth Learning CSS and HTML?

Hi Joe,

I keep finding myself in situations where I wish I were proficient in CSS and HTML.

Instead of waiting for one of our developers to change something on a form or a landing page, I wish I could do it myself.

As a MOPs professional, do you think it’s worth learning these basic programming skills?

Thanks,

Technically-Inclined Thomas

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What a great question, Thomas!

The short answer is: yes, it’s absolutely worth learning basic programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Now let me tell you why. 

With the rise in popularity of AI programs, it may seem pointless to learn — there are even tutorials for building a website using ChatGPT.

But today’s MOPs professionals wear all sorts of hats — which means there’s value in having a robust toolkit at your disposal.

When it comes to building a MOPs skillset, I’m a big proponent of learning as much as one can about the things that happen in MOPs.

The reason? It’s a great way to comprehensively understand what’s happening at each stage of a process and why it happens. This way, if something breaks, you’ll also know ways to fix it.

 

3 reasons to learn CSS & HTML

Learning CSS and HTML can greatly improve your standing as a MOPs professional and make you more efficient. Here are three reasons to support that.

1. Reduces your reliance on IT

In most companies, since CSS documents are used to make changes to website colors, fonts, and other design elements, it’s usually owned by the IT or website maintenance team.

So if you’re looking to implement a fancy form in a landing page, you’d likely depend on this team to make those changes.

For big companies with many competing priorities for the website, this could mean a long wait time for a simple form.

With enough CSS knowledge, you can make the changes yourself without requiring the help of another team. 

2. Increases your technical knowledge

Most people know that an engine powers a car, so if the car’s not working, there’s likely something wrong with the engine.

But a deeper understanding of the engine’s workings and various components can help uncover the problem.

The same is true with CSS and HTML.

The more you know about these programming languages, the better positioned you are to take a look under the hood and find the issue that needs to be solved.  

As a bonus, you get satisfaction from adjusting the website and having it work the way you want.

3. Sets you apart

Having CSS knowledge — or even a certification — will be a big differentiator when you’re looking for your next role.

MOPs recruiters understand the value of this skill set, and they’ll be interested in bringing someone in that can reduce the time spent bringing something to life on the company website. 

 

Teach yourself to code

These three benefits are just some ways that increasing your technical understanding can help advance your career.

The best part? You can get started right now.

There’s a wealth of materials you can take advantage of and guide your learning.

For example, W3schools has free online tutorials with great examples and practical exercises to help you consolidate your knowledge.

Other resources include:

You can leverage these options to learn in the way that makes the most sense to you.

You’ve got this,

Joe Pulse

I Need to Build a RevOps Function—Where Do I Start?

Hi Jo,

I’m hoping you can help me.

My executives tasked me with building out the Revenue Operations function at our company, and I’m not quite sure where to start.

Should I be talking to my peers across sales and marketing? Or should I be doing a lot of external research?

I’m not even sure that all my colleagues know what RevOps is—and I really want to make sure they’re bought into the changes that will come down the line.

What should I do first?

Thank you,

Directionless Dana

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Hi, Dana. This is really exciting!

You’ve got the chance to define what RevOps looks like at your company and build out the capabilities that make the most sense for your teams.

How cool is that?

But you’re right, being successful will require thoughtful engagement and planning before you can make any changes. Checking in and asking for advice is already a great first step.

To help you make the most of that momentum, here are three other strategies you can use to set a solid foundation for your RevOps team.

 

1. Define RevOps

You mentioned that your executive team has tasked you with this initiative—but are you all on the same page regarding what RevOps is and what it looks like?

Setting a definition that everyone can agree on will help ensure alignment and prevent any confusion (and headaches!) down the road.

Let’s define RevOps: Revenue operations is a business function that’s built to maximize an organization’s revenue potential across the funnel. Instead of having your revenue operations capabilities live under sales, marketing, and customer success, you can have them operate as a single cohesive unit with accountability throughout the full customer journey. This centralized approach helps build a culture that’s intentionally focused on operationalizing revenue—rather than having it be a byproduct of other important work.

Once you’ve defined RevOps within the context of your organization, you can move on to the next step in the planning process. Read our post ‘How to Explain RevOps to Your MOPs Team‘ for more advice.

 

2. Identify your capabilities

Identify where your RevOps capabilities are—and where they aren’t.

It’s more than likely that your company already has some revenue operations capabilities distributed across your sales, marketing, and customer success teams.

Your job will be to:

  • look at these teams
  • identify where the work is happening, and
  • create a roadmap for how those siloed functions can move into your new RevOps structure.

This is also an opportunity to understand how tasks are currently completed. Our posts on finding the right reporting tools for your RevOps team and how to optimize content can help.

Ask questions like these to get started:

  • What tools are your teams using?
  • Are two teams using different tools for the same tasks?
  • How are your peers talking about revenue operations in each vertical?
  • What data are they looking at and how are they using it to make decisions?

 

With a clear picture of the current state, you’ll have an easier time mapping out the necessary changes to centralize your activities and align incentives across the board.

 

3. Build your RevOps network

Like with any big initiative that requires a lot of change, you will need stakeholders on your side.

My advice? Have one-on-one conversations with leaders across sales, marketing, and customer success to talk about the value of RevOps.

Talk to them about what they’ll get out of this new team, and paint them a picture of what the organization could look like over the next one to five years.

Don’t forget: you’re running a very strategic project.

You’re reshaping how your company thinks about revenue and creating a resource for making the data you collect more impactful.

So don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it and have important conversations with other leaders at your organization.

You’ve got this,

Jo Pulse

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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How Can I Avoid Having Dirty Data?

Hi Jo,

I keep hearing about the cost and risk of having dirty data in your MOPs systems, but I don’t know how to check if my company’s data is up to snuff.

Do you have any advice on rooting out dirty data and preventing it from happening?

Thanks,

Data-driven Dave

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This is a great question, Dave!

It’s one we should all be talking about.

Let me start by making sure we’re on the same page about dirty data (sometimes called rogue data).

The short version is that dirty data is any data with erroneous information.

The slightly longer version is that there are different types of dirty data, including:

  • duplicates
  • errors and typos
  • outdated information
  • prospects that don’t align with your target persona, and
  • incomplete entries (e.g., without an email address).

Examples of dirty data:

For example, you could have an entry from someone who no longer works at a company — so any email sent to them will bounce back.

Or you could have an entry with a typo, like an email address ending in “.con” instead of “.com.”

Duplicate (or triplicate) entries are another common data problem. I’ve worked with companies with thousands of duplicates in their database, which is not sustainable or practical.

 

Dirty data is a mess

Dirty data can indeed be costly.

Email reputation

Bad email reputation is a huge issue.

For instance, if you’re sending marketing emails to people who shouldn’t be in your database and they mark your email as spam, that counts as a ding against your email sender reputation.

Your sender reputation is a measure that internet service providers take to determine whether they will deliver your emails to the inboxes of the people on their network.

The lower your score, the lower the chance your email reaches your audience. It can be really hard to recover from a low score.

Database costs

Some martech databases will charge per the number of entries in your database.

For companies with thousands of duplicates, that can mean they’re spending way more than they should—which isn’t great.

The costs also add up when you have to spend on tools that clean that data.

Having that many duplicates also gives you a false understanding of how many people are actually in your audience. It can lead you to make decisions that don’t necessarily make sense for your business.

 

Steps to avoid dirty data

So, how do you stay ahead of dirty data?

You can do it in-house, but it does require some heavy lifting (which we can help with).

Here are my suggestions.

Create a data hygiene plan

Bloated, inaccurate databases cause all kinds of problems.

Data hygiene is a company-wide project that gets your entire team on the same page.

It will standardize how people collect and handle data across systems and conduct periodic audits to check the quality of your data and sources.

We wrote a Tough Talks Made Easy article outlining the steps you’ll want to take.

Build habits into your processes

Every six to 12 months, you should perform checks on your database to identify and remove any dirty data.

This process goes beyond just looking for duplicates and errors.

It requires a concerted effort to identify the people who:

  • no longer fit within your target persona, or
  • haven’t engaged with your content for a particular period.

Take proactive steps

Dealing with dirty data shouldn’t just be a corrective action.

There are also things you can do to avoid creating those errors in the first place.

For example, duplicate entries tend to happen when teams import lists from multiple sources (e.g., Marketo and Salesforce) without checking for repeat entries.

If you’re importing data, ensure there’s a check in place to flag duplicates.

You should also clean up any list (e.g., check if there’s a missing email address) before it gets migrated.

Lastly, building a process to identify and delete common bogus email addresses (like test@test.com or abc@xyz.com) can help keep your data clean.

Normalize your data

You’ve probably seen that some companies and teams use full country names, like Canada, while others use country codes, like CA.

The best way to keep your data clean is to normalize your entries so there aren’t discrepancies in your data set.

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

You’ve got this, and if you need more advice, let us know.

Jo Pulse

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Does It Make Sense to Build an International MOPs Team?

Hi Jo,

I’ve been trying to decide whether I should take a different approach to hire for our marketing operations team.

I’ve spoken to recruiter friends, and many are taking a remote-first approach and considering international candidates.

Does that make sense?

Thanks,

Hiring Henry

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Hi, Henry. Thanks for raising this question.

The way I see it, you can’t afford not to make your MOPs team remote first. This statement may sound bold but bear with me.

The global MOPs talent pool is small. There are some pretty big gaps between the number of people companies need to run marketing operations and the people available to take on the jobs.

As MOPs recruiters, we really need to think about how we can find, attract and retain the right people. A flexible, collaborative work environment can go a long way to achieving that.

 

Change your hiring approach

There are many benefits to hiring a multi-location, remote-first team, including:

  • a broader hiring pool so that you can better find the right people for the job
  • access to better MOPs candidates, many talented MOPs professionals prefer to work remotely
  • cost savings from hiring people that live in places with a lower cost of living, and
  • more flexibility means your team can hand off responsibilities and address issues across time zones.

The reality is that MOPs professionals can perform their roles entirely online. You can track an employee’s performance regardless of whether they’re in the office or not. Plus, many professionals in this space prefer to have their own space for problem-solving and optimizing their marketing automation efforts. You need to be able to give them that option if you want them to accept your job offer.

 

Putting it into practice

Building a remote team may seem like a daunting task. But it relies on many of the same best practices you’re already using to hire people.

Think about how you communicate the role to people.

  • Are you highlighting that it’s a remote opportunity?
  • Have you thought about compensation and whether it’s dependent on the person’s location?
  • Are you targeting people that live outside of your company’s headquarters?

These questions will help you tell MOPs professionals that you’re open to building a team that makes sense to them.

Consider how you can set these people up for success.

  • Are your current professional development and reporting structures appropriate for a remote-first environment?
  • Do you have tactics for identifying the people who might be struggling and recognizing the people that are succeeding — even if they’re at a distance?
  • Showing your team members that the company supports them will encourage trust.

Ensure that your remote team has the right tools for collaboration and communication.

Even if they prefer working remotely, people still appreciate having points of connection with their peers so that they can get the work done effectively — and build a strong team culture at the same time.

Have you and your leaders thought about how you can standardize your company culture in both in-person and virtual instances? This will be an important consideration for many potential hires.

Remember: Recruitment isn’t just about getting people through the door, you also have to set them up for success. You can’t just hire people remotely, you have to be able to retain people remotely as well.

 

I know this is a lot to think about — but you’ve got this.

Jo Pulse

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.

How Can I Show My Leaders the Strategic Value of MOPs?

Hi Joe,

I love my job in marketing ops, but I constantly feel that my time is spent on tactical tasks and putting out fires rather than more strategic initiatives.

I know I have a lot to offer, but unless we hire more people to run our marketing ops efforts, I’m not sure I’ll be able to share those insights.

What are the conversations I need to have to ensure that MOPs is seen as more than just a tactical function and brought into the fold more strategically?

 

Thanks,

Strategic Stacey

 

I have to tell you, Stacey, you’re not alone.

So often, marketing ops folks are seen as doers instead of thinkers. Since they’re left to focus on executing tasks, they don’t have the bandwidth to play a more strategic role in their organization.

This decision is to the detriment of the company.

 

The strategic value of MOPs

As a MOPs professional, you have a unique perspective on the organization and any gaps it might have.

You can add valuable insights that inform:

  • how your business moves forward
  • what tools to invest in, and
  • who to hire.

But that hardly matters if you don’t have the time and space to think about these things.

In our latest article, Joe Pulse offers three steps on how to enhance the value of your MOPs team.

 

Follow these steps

What are the steps you can take to maximize your MOPs team’s efforts and showcase your strategic value?

I’ve thought of three that you can consider.

 

1. Get buy-in from your manager 

If your direct lead isn’t a marketing ops professional, they might not realize all the ways you can add value.

Start by getting them to approve a certain amount of time a week that you can spend on strategic thinking for your team.

This strategic thinking time can be spent:

  • mapping out the future structure for MOPs at your organization
  • redesigning a process between MOPs and sales that could be more efficient, or
  • having conversations with other technology owners (e.g. Salesforce) to better learn how they integrate with your marketing automation tools.

Once you can think more strategically, you can approach your manager with specific recommendations on how they can boost the role of operations at the organization—and the resulting value of doing that.

Here’s a tip: remember to delegate.

A big part of showing that you’re ready to take on more strategic thinking is removing some of the more tactical elements from your plate and upskilling other members of your team to take them on.

This leads me to my next point.

 

2. Make sure your MOPs team is the right size

For your MOPs team to really deliver on its potential, you need to have a team of people you can rely on.

Beyond the standard daily tasks, there needs to be room for when things go wrong and for thinking about the future.

Day-to-day projects shouldn’t fill 100% of your team’s time.

This is an important consideration that you should bring up when you’re talking to your leadership team.

I know this is a tough one. It can be hard to make the argument that things could be better when they’re already running well.

After all, people don’t notice when MOPs is running properly, only if it’s broken.

But you shouldn’t let that stop you from having the conversation.

Map out where your team is spending time now—and then talk about where you could offload some work to better spend your time by driving more value for the organization. That’ll get their attention.

 

3. Set real metrics for MOPs

You know this, the performance metrics your marketing and sales teams use aren’t the right way to evaluate MOPs performance.

You need a specific set of metrics that are tailored to what your team is doing and how it truly provides value to the business.

To get this right—and better show your value to the rest of the organization—take the time to collaborate with the teams you work with to set up a framework that makes sense.

 

You’ve got this (and if you need more help, let us know),

Joe Pulse

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 Can I Figure Out the Martech World?

Hi Joe,

I want to understand more about marketing technology, but I don’t know where to start.

The tools we use at my company, like Salesforce and Marketo, have so many functionalities and data that I feel like I might break something if I start playing around.

The martech space moves fast and it’s hard to get a handle on where the industry is going.

I’d feel more confident in my job if I knew how to get the best out of the tools we use, and understood the outlook of martech as a whole.

How can I start to build that knowledge? Where do I find the time?

Thanks,

Martech Mark.

That drive you have to learn is a great thing, Martech Mark.

When I first started using Marketo, I wanted to be productive from day one. At first, I thought that meant sticking just to what we knew at our company. Like you, I thought experimenting would lead to “breaking” things beyond repair.

I’m happy to say that wasn’t the case.

 

Understanding martech

Tools like Marketo don’t have the easiest learning curve, so you might not get it right away. That’s not the end of the world.

Take a few hours each week to read up, play around with tools, post in communities, or whatever grabs your interest. Here are some places to start:

 

Free trials and versions

Many tools out there have free versions (e.g. Hubspot, Salesforce Lightning Platform) or at least free trials (e.g. SAP Marketing Cloud) to experiment with.

So if you’ve got a certain piece of tech in mind, check out what build you can get on the house.

 

Online courses

LinkedIn, edX, Coursera, and other learning platforms have a mix of free and paid courses to try out, covering a breadth of technologies.

 

Product spaces

Official company spaces provide a range of free resources, from the videos and courses on Marketo University to the forums in Salesforce’s Trailblazer Community.

 

Online communities

Chances are, the tool you’re learning has active communities on Github or Reddit—and dedicated MOPs communities can help you steer your course.

 

News and blogs

Sources like MarketingTech and ChiefMartec publish news and analysis of the latest movements in the martech world.

 

Use resources as sandboxes

You’ve got free reign to mess around. It’s all about trial and error.

Once you get going, document all the things you do and hear that are useful to your learning including:

  • your observations
  • how a tool benefits your work (does it make a process faster? Improve analysis?)
  • where a tool falls short of helping you meet certain goals.

These notes are lessons that can help the whole team learn.

As you say, the martech space moves quickly. Trends rise and level out, upstart tools get acquired, and if you’re exploring a new capability area, there’s no guarantee the tool you learn will be one the industry settles on.

For that reason, don’t stress about where the market’s heading. Focus on the tech that interests you and helps you achieve your goals.

You’ll pick up transferable skills that apply across technologies. Like learning a language, it gets easier after the first one. Just keep going.

You’ve got this — if you need any help, drop us a line.

Joe.

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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