Should I Take the MCE?

Hi Jo,

I’m in the early stages of my career in MOPs, and I’m wondering if I should take the Marketo Certified Expert (MCE) exam. Many people in the industry have this qualification, though I’m not entirely sure what doors it can open. My role now is mostly about supporting campaigns, but I could see myself heading down a path that’s more hands-on with tech.

Is taking the MCE a smart decision for me? If so, what can I do to make sure I pass the exam?

Thanks,
Excited Ellen.

 

Ellen, it’s great that you’re considering how the MCE can support your career. The MCE is like a badge of honour; it tells employers, clients, and the MOPs community that you’re someone they can trust when it comes to Marketo. Obtaining the qualification can be beneficial in various ways, but its relevance ultimately depends on your goals.

Passing the MCE helped me progress from a campaign operations role into Marketo consultancy and negotiate a higher salary. Like the idea of moving towards strategy or systems operations? If you’re interested in, say, designing the sales, data, and reporting processes in Marketo that allow others to run campaigns and get performance insights, the MCE can give you that momentum.

That said, not taking the MCE isn’t a hard stop on career development. If you become interested in a more generalist marketing role or a discipline that’s less about managing tech, like field marketing, then you’ll use Marketo in a less administrative capacity.

n that case, you might want to look at the Marketo Certified Associate (MCA) qualification, which validates the functions and skills you need for running campaigns.

Taking either the MCE or MCA lets you practice and prove your skills with Marketo. While you’ll never use all of Marketo’s features, I find getting either certification helps people in various roles to speak the same language about this vast and important piece of tech. From my experience taking the MCE, here are some tips I can recommend to ace it on the first try:

– 1 year’s experience as a system admin is a good estimate for the time it takes to pass the MCE. If you don’t have admin access, practice processes like implementations, migrations, and integrations in a sandbox until you’re confident in your skills.

– Try out features that you’re less familiar with. You likely have a good grasp of campaigns, so branch out into functions like reporting and databases.

– When Marketo’s your day job, you’re effectively preparing for the test by going to work. Think about the test-relevant functions you can implement into your day-to-day workflow.

– Practice exams and sample questions, like these, are close to what you’ll see in the real exam. Do a few of these and you won’t have any major surprises.

– Marketo product documents are a great resource for checking the finer points of how things work; Marketo user groups and MOPs community channels are also active spaces for support.

Whichever exam you decide to go for, you want to gradually expand your use of Marketo until you’re comfortable with the fundamental skills tested in the MCE or MCA. Try not to rush or stress through your prep; slow and steady wins the race.

You’ve got this,
Jo Pulse.

How Can I Figure Out the Martech World?

Hi Joe,

I want to understand more about marketing tech, 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 out 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. 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, 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.

Treat each resource like a sandbox; you’ve got free reign to mess around, trial and error.

Once you get going, document all the things you do and hear that are useful to your learning; the observations you have, how using a particular tool benefits your work (does it make a process faster? Improve analysis?). Even if the tool you’re learning doesn’t quite help you meet certain goals, note that down too—it’s a lesson the whole team can learn from.

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 to 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,
Joe.

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

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

What you’ll learn in this article: 

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

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

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

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

 

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE PLATFORMS

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

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

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

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER AS YOU MAKE YOUR CHOICE

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

1. For your CIO: Your existing tech stack

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

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

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

2. For your CMO: Your products and customer audience

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

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

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

3. For your CEO: The maturity of your team

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

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

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

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

 

MAKING THE RIGHT DECISION

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

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

 

What Sales Can Gain From Marketo Sales Insight

TLDR: Marketo Sales Insight provides easy access to deep intelligence that helps Sales close deals, but the value is only apparent when Sales and Marketing work well together.

If your Marketing and Sales teams don’t collaborate closely with each other, it’s likely that Sales underestimates just how much Marketing’s data and technical knowledge can help them perform. For the various ways that Salesforce and Marketo integrate, there’s one particular feature of Marketo that can set Sales up to succeed, but siloed work environments often cause it to fly under the radar.

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, we’ll help you explain to Sales the value of Marketo Sales Insight (MSI)—and how both teams need to work together to get the best from it. This is a conversation that can help you to lift up Sales, demonstrate credibility, and influence a greater appreciation from Sales towards the value of Marketing’s work.

 

MSI: A WINDOW TO MARKETO

Marketo Sales Insight is an application that runs directly in your CRM. MSI effectively gives Sales a direct portal to Marketing’s analytics, with a range of features that allow Sales to better understand how leads and prospects respond to campaigns and engage with your brand.

Among the capabilities that MSI has, there are a couple to call out that really drive home the benefits. Best Bets provides an at-a-glance ranking of leads scored by recency—the most powerful indicator for propensity to buy. Sales can use this to prioritize the best leads and strike while the iron is hot.

Reps can then view activity history for each lead, which includes a set of Interesting Moments as defined by Marketing—engagements like form fills, webinar attendance, and links clicked. Based on this, Sales can personalize their outreach with knowledge of each lead’s interests and needs.

The headline news to share with Sales: MSI provides easy access to a depth of intelligence. Using it regularly can make Sales more productive and enhance their ability to close deals—but, as with all tools, the benefits don’t reap themselves. Before you get started with MSI, it’s important to address any structural issues that have prevented your teams from already using it.

 

PARTNERS IN GROWTH

Where Marketing and Sales work as a well-oiled machine, the value of MSI is clear as day. That means the integration between Marketo and your CRM is set up, Marketing punctually updates MSI with the latest campaign response data, and Sales then uses it to have timely and engaging conversations with leads.

On the ground, the reality often differs. MSI is notably underutilized for a default Marketo app, partially due to confusion around licensing. Teams often mistake MSI for a Salesforce plugin that renders Marketing emails in Outlook. A useful point to clarify for Sales: unlike this plugin, MSI doesn’t require a separate license from Marketo (and extra expense) to use.

The organizations that use MSI do so to varying degrees of competency, which brings up a deeper problem. Comprehensive lead scoring and prioritization models, buyer activity tracking, and customer engagement monitoring are just a few examples of powerful capabilities in MSI that are lost on teams who lack the maturity to execute them.

If your Marketing and Sales teams work in a siloed environment, without the mechanisms or appetite to share data and knowledge with each other, then using MSI is only viable if your teams treat it as the foundation on which to build a collaborative relationship.

The key to getting Sales on side is to make sure your house is in order. Marketing should be properly set up to capture and report on customer behavior across your website, email, and other online channels, and prepared to define elements in MSI like nurture program reporting and Interesting Moments from each customer’s engagement history.

If you have that figured out, frame MSI to Sales as an opportunity to create a partnership that helps their performance. Offer to train Sales on MSI, and you’ll encourage them to consider how Marketing’s efforts, and collaboration with Marketing, ultimately aid the pursuit of growth.

 

THE TAKEAWAY

In summary, MSI makes Sales’ lives considerably easier. It allows them to prioritize the most urgent leads, drill down into their historical interactions with your brand, build compelling stories that produce more effective outreach communications, and save time otherwise spent digging through tools and waiting for reports to get the most vital information.

That said, MSI demands that teams resolve their maturity issues. For one, Marketing’s data collection and reporting should be robust enough to feed Sales with the most useful information. Both teams should prepare to overcome friction and work together, which, for Sales, means being receptive to Marketing’s guidance towards interpreting the numbers. When that agreement’s in place, MSI helps both sides of your revenue operation to perform.

Need some Marketo advice, MSI or otherwise? Revenue Pulse is ready when you are.

Explaining Marketo to Your CEO

TLDR: Marketo helps you save time, increase efficiency, and grow revenue. Communicate these outcomes and the value of your CEO’s investment in Marketo—and your team—will be undeniable.

 

YOU KNOW YOUR WORTH

You’re great at your job. You’re working hard to demonstrate the value that marketing operations brings to your organization. Now you’re on the hook to explain the value of Marketo to your CEO. What do you do next?

That’s where the Tough Talks Made Easy series comes in; we’re here to arm you with everything you need to maximize your minutes with the C-suite and leave an impression along the way. That means you need to get out of the weeds, get away from the buzzwords, and focus your approach in a language the C-suite speaks on a daily basis: outcomes.

 

SPEAK THE LANGUAGE OF OUTCOMES

Your CEO needs to worry about the bottom line without being bogged down by the minutiae along the way. And when we talk about speaking in outcomes? We don’t mean increased clicks, better open rates, or the things that only get Marketers excited. The kinds of outcomes your CEO is interested in are positive impact to pipeline… improved lead conversion by stage… the ability to enable your existing Sales force and help them achieve quota. Outcomes that lead directly to increased revenue.

The value of Marketo speaks for itself—but it’s up to you to communicate the myriad of uses into outcome-focused conclusions.

 

OUTCOME 1: What does marketing automation do for us?

Marketing Automation allows you to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks to save time, increase efficiency, and grow revenue more quickly. (Pretty good outcomes!). Marketing Automation takes every aspect of your existing campaign management and marketing programs and allows you to run them ‘lights out,’ with real-time data on what’s working and what isn’t, and a comprehensive scoring system to strategize new leads as you get them.

Your CEO knows what Salesforce can do; Marketo is to Marketing what Salesforce is to Sales. It boosts pipeline while providing insight into the customer journey, allowing for more targeted, relevant communication as relationships progress.

 

OUTCOME 2: Enhances doesn’t replace talent

Marketing Automation isn’t about making humans obsolete—it’s about giving your talent the data and feedback they need in real time to flex their marketing muscles in the right direction and do what they do best.

Marketo isn’t some set-it-and-forget-it approach—far from it. Marketing Automation is only as effective as the marketers who implement it. Campaigns are at their best when the creativity of your talent is able to thrive. Marketo provides digital experiences that weren’t possible before, but to be successful marketing ops need the right support, funding and data to make it all work.

 

OUTCOME 3: Actionable Data

Marketo isn’t about creating a deluge of information—it’s about telling you precisely which strategies are working and which aren’t, so you can react accordingly. The insights delivered by Marketo are focused on efficiency, scalability, and ROI. Without Marketing Automation, you simply aren’t measuring these things effectively—if you’re measuring them at all. With Marketo, everything is tracked and displayed, providing a comprehensive analysis that allows you to compare every facet against others—and keep constant track of how much everything costs.

 

OUTCOME 4: Enhanced Relationships

Marketing Automation has been exploding for a reason. Amazon and Microsoft have made big investments in Marketo and the teams that run them. Buyers have the ability to google every option, consider every purchase, and compare every choice in spending. In order to make a sale, relationships need to be fostered, nurtured, and brought to fruition. This requires personal, targeted communications that don’t push for sales until the customer already feels confident in their decision to buy. That’s where Lead Scoring identifies the best incoming leads for your sales team.

 

OUTCOME 5: Sales and Marketing Sync

There isn’t a CEO who wouldn’t love to have their Marketing and Sales teams on the same page, working in the same direction. The real time, first-hand insight into customer behaviour and the ranking of leads means your Sales team will receive a comprehensive list of the ‘hottest’ leads the moment they come in. And once they’ve received the lead, they won’t only be armed with what they need to react immediately; they’ll know how to react in a relevant way.

Your Sales team will receive the same deep, actionable insights regarding which content has the most immediate, positive impact on conversion rates and closed sales—and they’ll receive instant notifications when it’s time to leap into action.

That means your Marketing team will be doing the same thing upstream that your Sales team is doing downstream… and that’s a harmonious tandem that spells success–and it’s the type of outcome that CEO’s dreams are made of.

 

BOTTOM LINE:

Marketo helps you save time, increase efficiency, and grow revenue. It enhances your talent by arming them with actionable data and it deepens and nurtures relationships with your leads. It enables your Marketing and Sales teams to align with a shared strategy, working for the same goals, with the information they need to succeed.

Communicate these outcomes and the value of your CEO’s investment in Marketo—and your team—will be undeniable. And remember: if we can help prepare you in any way, let us know. That’s what we’re here for.