What skills should I be building as a MOPs professional?

Hi Jo,

I recently started a career in marketing automation, and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. It feels like I’m expected to know so many different things and I’m not sure I can keep up. I want to keep building my skill set and learning as much as I can, but I don’t know where to start. Should I prioritize soft skills or learn about as many automation tools as possible? 

Can you help me?

Thanks,
Learning Laura

Hey Laura, 

 

You’ve hit on a challenge that I think a lot of people face in marketing operations (MOPs). The marketing technology space is always evolving. In fact, it feels like there’s a new platform or solution every week. For MOPs professionals that are seen by the rest of their organization as the guardians of that technology (even if they’ve never worked with most of it before), there’s a lot of pressure to have an opinion about each and every tool. But that’s not really possible, is it? 

At the same time, MOPs covers such a large scope of functions—from content creation and campaign production to reporting, marketing automation, and even CRM management—and many companies are only just figuring out that they need multiple people to fill those different roles. This means that marketing ops professionals tend to be expected to have a large breadth of knowledge and, like you said, that’s overwhelming. 

So, how do you prioritize your learning and skill building time so that it’s most effective for you and your organization? I’ve come up with a handful of suggestions below. 

 

  1. Build on what you already know

Let’s make one thing crystal clear: you don’t have to be a specialist in every single automation tool. That said, there’s also no rule saying you can’t be proficient in more than one of them. If you want to expand your technical knowledge, I’d suggest sticking close to what you’re already familiar with. 

For example, if you’re managing Marketo for your company and you’ve been asked to bring on a cool new tool that integrates with the system, that could be a good candidate for you. If you’re interested, see if there’s a way to dive deep into that new solution and get certified in it. Trust me, your leaders will be thrilled that someone wants to build knowledge in a technology the company is using.

Another thing to remember is that automation principles are the same across all tools. So, if that is the part of the tool that you love, then you can likely be an automation expert across multiple tools.

 

  1. Lean on your community

One of the truly unique things about the marketing automation space is that there is a massive community of professionals that are all willing to share their knowledge. As the space keeps changing and growing, we all know that we don’t know everything, and that makes us eager to help others when they come up against a challenge we may have faced before. I for one love getting messages from people in my network and helping them navigate issues on Marketo or in any other aspect of marketing operations. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Check in with other people using the same tools. And if you feel you don’t have the network yet, start building it with the help of communities like MO Pros.

 

  1. Practice your soft skills 

Your technical skills will be key for succeeding in marketing ops, but there are also some really important soft skills that you should be honing from the get go. Among the most important is the ability to translate what you’re being asked to do into technical steps, and communicate those steps back in a way that’s easy to understand. Ultimately, you need to build common ground with your leaders and stakeholders so that there’s as little room for miscommunication as possible. My advice? A good diagram goes a long way. 

Another important skill to practice is puzzle solving. So much of marketing automation is built on logic, and you’ll be responsible for finding the easiest, most effective, and most scalable solution to any problem that arises. Part of that is about being curious and being open to exploring new ways of doing things—and the other part is tapping into your logical brain and uncovering the right patterns. So, if you don’t have a puzzle book on your bedside table, maybe you should put that on the wishlist for your next birthday.

 

You’ve got this,
Jo Pulse

How do I help my parents understand what I do for a living?

Hi Joe,

I’m not sure if this happens to you, but every time I try to talk to my parents about what it is I do in marketing ops, I get nowhere. Regardless of how I describe it to them, they always seem to walk away from the conversation with more questions than they started with. Do you have any suggestions for how to make it easier to understand?

Thanks,
Tired Tim


Tim, don’t worry, we’ve all been there. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a conversation with a friend or family member where I start telling them about my job while secretly wishing that they’ll say something like “Oh, marketing operations! Yeah, I’ve heard about that.” It just doesn’t happen. Instead, I either get to watch their eyes glaze over as I dive into why marketing ops isn’t the same as marketing, or spend way too much time answering questions until they finally have a sense of what it is I do. Neither is particularly fun. 

With many of these conversations under my belt, I’ve managed to come up with a handful of strategies that seem to do the trick. Try them out and let me know how they work out for you.

 

  1. Keep it simple

Marketing operations is inherently a hard thing to describe—particularly to people who don’t have much exposure to this space. The fact that it’s a relatively new function, that it’s embedded in technology, and that it has so many moving parts makes it pretty hard to grasp at a surface level. That’s why I suggest keeping your descriptions as simple as possible. 

  • Avoid using jargon that might raise more questions. Remember, marketing ops is practically a different language, so you’ll need to use words that make sense to the person you’re talking to.
  • Try not to get too deep in the weeds. The more detailed you get, the more things you’re going to have to explain. 
  • Connect the dots between what you do and other business functions. If you tell people that you organize information, do the work to understand customers, and manage things on the back-end, they’ll be able to paint a clearer picture for themselves. 

With this in mind, I tend to say something like “I manage the software that allows companies to run their marketing” or “I help businesses understand how their investments in marketing convert to sales.” Simple, yet comprehensive. 

 

  1. Use a metaphor

Another thing you can do is use a metaphor that makes marketing operations more relatable to what they know. Here’s one that’s worked quite well for me. 

Marketing operations professionals are like the mechanics of the marketing world. Think about a factory line, for instance. The line is producing the different marketing materials (e.g. content and design) and there are machines (i.e. marketing automation software) that support that production. Those machines then need mechanics that set them up and fix them when they’re not operating properly. That’s what I do. 

 

  1. If all else fails, stop trying

It’s always great if you can talk about your job with your friends and family, but at the end of the day, it’s OK if they don’t fully get it. The only thing that’s truly important is that you know what your job is and that you love doing it. As long as you can showcase that, your loved ones will just be happy that you’re happy—and there’s not much better than that.

 

You’ve got this,
Joe Pulse

What’s my role in the shift to RevOps? 

Hi Joe,

I’m a marketing ops professional and I’ve just been told that my company is moving towards adopting a RevOps model. I actually think it’s a great idea—I’ve read about the approach and think there are a lot of benefits to bringing typically siloed teams together under a combined goal. However, I’m not quite sure how to help make it happen. Do you have any advice?

Thanks,

Helpful Harriet

Hi, Harriet. Let me just say: it’s so great that you’re asking this question. As things keep changing in the marketing ops world, we need people that are willing to put their hands up and be enablers. Thank you.

You’re right that, while still a relatively new concept, RevOps has a lot to offer. It’s the notion that marketing, sales, and customer success teams can operate better when they’re working towards a collective goal—helping their clients and prospects succeed—rather than as disparate silos. Plus, it relies on an integrated tech stack that easily shares customer data and lets prospects flow through the customer lifecycle with a personalized experience. Sounds great, doesn’t it? 

While it might sound easy, getting to this integrated place is a long-term project. First off, you need to do a lot of work to ensure alignment between these three teams. That means a lot of conversations around goals, metrics, and performance to get rid of any discrepancies. There’s also a technology and data aspect here. To build a RevOps tech stack, you need to look into where there are gaps or redundancies, and make decisions accordingly. 

All that said, there are also things you (as a MOPs team member) can do at an individual level that will make a big difference, and help things move faster. 

 

Expand your knowledge 

If you want your sales, marketing, and customer success teams to be fully aligned, it can’t just happen at the executive level—you need alignment on the ground as well. Start this off by learning more about how things are done in those teams, including how they communicate, what their metrics are, and how they measure performance. Talk to a colleague and ask if you can shadow them for a couple of days; you can observe them as they go through their daily tasks and join them in team meetings. 

 

Become a champion for the RevOps approach

You know it, we know it: Marketing and Sales aren’t always best friends. In fact, we often find ourselves in a rather antagonistic relationship. So, once you’ve taken the time to learn more about what your sales team does, and why they do it, share that knowledge within your team. These insights should help build comradery and make it easier to collaborate better down the line. 

You’ve already done the work to learn about the benefits of the RevOps model—so make sure you share that as well. People tend to be wary of change, but a lot of the time that comes down to a lack of understanding. Empower your team with the knowledge they need and it might make for an easier transition when the time comes.

 

Keep putting your hand up

As I mentioned before, rolling out RevOps is going to be a long process—and your leaders are going to need help. Talk to your manager about how you can actively contribute to the project. You never know, they might need someone to bring the MOPs perspective to the decision-making table, or they may be looking for someone to champion the project and help communicate it’s value. Good thing you’re likely already doing that last one!

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 have just tasked me with building out the RevOps 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 of 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 

 

 

 

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 a lot of thoughtful engagement and planning before you can make any changes. You 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 things you can do 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 when it comes to 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. 

 

One definition you can use is that RevOps 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 that has 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.

 

  1. 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 take a 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 will also be an opportunity to build an understanding of how these tasks are completed currently. 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 changes that need to happen to centralize your activities and align incentives across the board. 

 

  1. Build your RevOps network

Like with any big initiative that requires a lot of change, you’re going to 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: this is a very strategic project you’re running. 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 Show Your MOPs Value to Sales in a Constructive Way?

 

Hey Joe,

I’m really frustrated with Sales right now! They just aren’t understanding what we do and how MOPs can really help them. How do I express my frustration without getting emotional? I want to share my thoughts, but need to do it in a constructive manner. How do I go about that?

Thanks,
Frustrated Frank

Frank, this is a great question. The fact that you’re looking for a constructive solution to this challenge speaks volumes. So often, we see Sales and MOPs teams at odds with each other, even though they’re meant to be working towards the same goal: bringing in more qualified leads and new customers. Taking the time to ensure your teams are on the same page and understand the value each of you bring to the table is a great first step.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had conversations with Sales team members who don’t have any insight into what we do and how we do it. Just trying to get them to input data in a consistent way so that our marketing automation tools can work properly can feel like pulling teeth. This is particularly frustrating when you feel it’s your role to connect the dots between Sales and Marketing, and it doesn’t feel like you’re being heard.

When it comes to sharing these thoughts with Sales in a constructive way, there are a couple of things you can do. The first is to remember that your Sales team is likely dealing with their own frustrations and challenges—and it’s worth knowing what these are before having a conversation with them. They may be facing pressure from their director or have KPIs that run against your team’s, although that shouldn’t be the case. All Sales and Marketing metrics should ladder up to a joint revenue goal, and if you feel that’s not happening or that your KPIs are at odds, then that’s an important conversation you should be having with your leadership.

Another big thing you can do is talk to Sales about your processes and how they align with theirs; but be careful with how you address this. One thing I’ve learned in my years working with different teams is that any time you question a process, people are bound to get a little defensive. So, instead of asking ‘why aren’t we doing XYZ?’, you can reframe the question to ‘are we able to do XYZ?’. This will open the door to a much more constructive and collaborative conversation—and it’ll inspire your Sales team to ask your team questions in the same way.

Lastly, remember that sometimes actions speak louder than words. You know that MOPs can be a valuable partner to your Sales team, so show them. Consider building out scoring models where Sales can identify prioritized personas and automatically receive the leads that are the most likely to convert. Establish an automated system for passing on the right content at the right time to leads that are already engaged. Develop processes that help MOPs and Marketing bridge the gap for MQLs during the nurture stage, without overwhelming them with information. Showcase the different tools (e.g. social, targeted ads, event invites) that MOPs can deploy for engaged leads. These are all things that will help build the partnership across the customer journey.

At the end of the day, it’s all about teamwork.

You’ve got this,
Joe Pulse.

Sales Rejects My MQLs

Hi Joe,

Sales and I are at a real disconnect. They keep rejecting my MQLs, and I’m not sure why. The leads I’m passing over are all showing interest in our brand—downloading our campaign assets, visiting our pricing page—but Sales doesn’t seem to think they’re valid. If that engagement isn’t valid, I’m not sure what is.
How can we get to the bottom of this? How can I make Sales understand that my MQLs are valid leads?

Thanks,
MQL Max.

 

 

Max, I get that this is frustrating. My Marketing team spent months in a similar dynamic with Sales. We had what I considered sensible criteria for an MQL: active interactions with our campaigns, job titles and industries that line up with our target buyers.

Many of those leads would get rejected, which took me by surprise. Those leads seemed like golden opportunities for Sales to close deals; we drum up interest, they bring it over the finish line.

Turns out, after talking with Sales, they had quite different expectations of what “qualified” means; ready to sign. Here’s when we figured out the problem: between us, we had two different definitions of a qualified lead, and no one talking to each other to establish common ground.

That joint conversation is crucial. You both need to agree on definitions; what makes a lead null, ready to nurture, qualified, and ready for Sales.

Figure out your processes, too; at what stage you’ll hand leads over to Sales, and how long Sales should take to give you feedback.

Open dialogue is the name of the game. Sales’ expectations might have risen without you knowing it. Encourage people in both teams to explain their rationale for passing over, accepting, or rejecting leads. What’s the criteria? Why is or isn’t this lead valid? What’s missing?

Continuous feedback makes for better collaboration. It’s easy to forget this when you’re not communicating, but Marketing and Sales are part of the same growth engine. You bring in leads for Sales to close deals—when the business brings in revenue, it’s a shared win for both of you.

All the more reason to meet in the middle. Sales typically wants leads that are BANT qualified—the right budget for your pricing, decision-making authority, relevant needs, and the timeline to make a purchase in the near future. It’s not always viable for Marketing to tick all four boxes, so talk with Sales about how to make each other’s lives easier.

How can you optimize your campaigns to reliably gather that information? Which, of those factors, are the “must haves” and “nice-to-haves”? When can Sales continue the conversation? These are all points to establish to bridge the gaps.

For extra assurance: check out your reports. Look at where leads are progressing, getting stuck, and dropping out of the funnel. Those patterns of behavior are good guidance for where to switch up your criteria for qualifying and passing over leads.

Ultimately, you want to have a formal conversation between Sales and Marketing at least once a month. The idea isn’t to change your lifecycle every time—that’ll throw your reports and processes into disarray—but to solve any problems with leads together and make sure you’re both on the same page. After all, you’re both on Team Growth.

You’ve got this,
Joe Pulse.

How Can I Get My Teams in Sync?

Hi Jo,

My Sales and Marketing teams aren’t working well together. People from both teams aren’t really talking to each other or sharing information that could help them both to succeed. As a result, we work in an environment where processes are slow, communication is tense, and Marketing and Sales don’t understand one another.
How can I make my teams collaborate like partners? How can we bridge the gaps between us?

Thanks,
Out of Sync Sally.

 

Sally, it’s good that you’re asking how to fix things. When disconnect is the norm, it’s impossible for teams to work effectively together. In a past workplace, my Marketing team would publish whitepapers and run events as a separate machine from Sales; likewise, they’d turn down the majority of our leads without giving any feedback.

From a distance, you’d have no idea that we both shared the same goal: drive revenue for the business. We were completely misaligned, and worse still, Nobody felt they could speak up. That was ‘the way things were done’, with little hope for dialogue or change.

Strong purpose, shared understanding, active listening—all those things were missing. Now that I’ve moved on to manage teams, I realize just how essential these components are to bring people in the workplace together. Here are some tips to create an environment where teamwork actually makes the dream work:
– Have someone representing each team attend the other team’s meetings and presentations.
Having a representative to share feedback and updates, to show interest in helping and understanding
each other — will help both teams to work more considerately.

– Encourage transparency around data, goals, and knowledge. If Sales shares where they need help
fulfilling quotas, Marketing can help them size up the impact of campaigns. Which Marketing webinars
are valuable to particular prospects? Who can Sales pursue based on event attendance? How can Sales
and Marketing line their activities up?

– Invite teams to share their updates on a monthly basis. Common dashboards that visualize key
performance metrics, project presentations from people in various different roles—these initiatives
help everyone to demonstrate how their work connects to the bottom line.

– Consolidate your teams on one project management tool to show how each person’s activities contribute
towards a shared outcome.

– Create open channels for people to share their successes or ask for help. The mindset you want to
promote is: “how can we celebrate or solve this together?”

– Ask people what they see their purpose as, and accept honest answers. If someone doesn’t know their
purpose in the company, encourage them to think about the bigger picture and show them the true
impact of their contribution. Whether it’s press coverage from Marcomms or products from
Merchandising, quality work in every role plays a part in the company’s growth.

– Get people moving around and talking to each other. Hotdesking, catch-up calls, open invites to
knowledge-sharing and brainstorming sessions; all of these help sociability and belonging as a team.
Ultimately, people want colleagues and leaders they can trust. Make clear that Marketing and Sales
are on the same side, and that you’re here to help and encourage them to perform at their best.

You’ve got this,
Jo Pulse.

How to Explain Ideal Customer Profiles to Sales and Marketing

TLDR: Ideal customer profiles (ICPs) are characterizations of the customer groups who best fit your services. The objective of ICPs is to help businesses sign more profitable deals, with shorter close times. Sales and Marketing create ICPs by analyzing data from past customer engagements and deals, coalescing around a shared set of customer profiles to target. MOPs helps Sales and Marketing evaluate whether the data supports the personas created and guide them to refine the ICPs with each reporting cycle.

Ideal customer profiles (ICPs) are sketches of the buyers who best fit your services. ICPs are very similar to personas, though they tend to characterize groups of customers rather than individual buyers. In theory, these groups are the easiest to close deals from and the most productive ones for Sales and Marketing to focus on in their initiatives.

Accurate ICPs help Revenue teams do more deals in larger sizes and with shorter times to close. But when Sales and Marketing teams create ICPs in poor alignment with each other, guided by personal biases over data, they risk approaching the wrong prospects with disjointed campaigns and processes that don’t attract business.

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn to explain to Sales and Marketing what it takes to create ICPs that work—a data-driven approach with 100% alignment.

 

ICP 101

ICPs begin with data. By analyzing past customer engagements and deals, Sales and Marketing can identify the most common traits of customers interested in your products and services. Using a variety of behavioral (e.g. types and topics of content engagement, webinars and events registered) and demographic identifiers (e.g. job title, region, company, industry) to craft ICPs along with sales data, Sales and Marketing can then personalize content, messaging, and processes to attract increased business from these groups. 

The objective of ICPs is to help businesses sign as many deals as quickly as possible, as profitable as possible. Factoring in additional metrics like monthly recurring revenue, time to close, retention rates, and deal size can help Sales and Marketing succeed by focusing on the prospects most likely to engage positively with the business and return sustainable profits over time.

There’s no magic recipe for crafting ICPs, but if Sales and Marketing are coming up with many disparate profiles, it suggests that your targeting efforts aren’t specific enough. To get results, both teams should coalesce around a shared set of ICPs. Without close alignment, Sales and Marketing might have completely different ideas about which customer groups to pursue. When Marketing’s campaigns and messaging aren’t in sync with Sales’ processes and understanding of the buyer journey, it’s unlikely that your efforts will strike a chord with any particular customer profile.

Between your Sales reps and Marketing colleagues, your Revenue team might be a broad tent of past experience and expertise with different industries and customer segments. Personal experience can lead your team to infer the best customer traits and groups to target, but the only reliable basis for your ICPs is data. Past success stories and sector-specific knowledge can be helpful starting points for creating ICPs, but Sales and Marketing need to validate any assumptions by looking at past engagements and deals.

The overall theme with creating ICPs: more alignment means more success. Sales and Marketing should use the same bedrock of data to target shared customer groups with campaigns and processes that complement each other.

 

CONTINUOUS SUCCESS 

Ideally, ICPs lead Sales and Marketing to meet and exceed their targets—Marketing’s targeted campaigns generate MQLs, and Sales develops these into higher rates of opportunities, conversions, and accelerated conversations. To validate that your ICPs are working, encourage your team to think of ICPs as projects of continuous refinement, where each new reporting cycle is an opportunity to reevaluate if the data justifies the personas that Sales and Marketing have created.

MOPs comes to the table as a valuable source of guidance. By analyzing the composition of your database and where deals come from, MOPs can pinpoint the percentage of leads, opportunities, and closed sales that meet your teams’ profile criteria and advise on the most optimal ways to segment your customer base. 

Consulting Sales and Marketing at regular intervals, with the latest data, can help answer a range of decisive questions, big picture and granular. How are particular ICPs performing at different stages of the sales cycle? What profile characteristics can you tweak? How might you account for ICPs in industries (e.g. government, education) that are significant seasonal buyers? Are there any metrics not currently accounted for that are emerging as influential? 

Whatever your reporting cadence—weekly, biweekly, monthly—a continuous process of analysis and adaptation is how your ICPs stay relevant. Sit down with Sales and Marketing regularly to go through the reports, and you can encourage a well-informed and agile process of decision-making, where teams can pivot fast in response to ICPs that aren’t yielding results.

 

THE TAKEAWAY 

ICPs are valuable for Sales and Marketing to identify and refine how they target customer segments, but executing them effectively requires 100% alignment between teams and continuous analysis of engagement and deal data. By working closely with MOPs to arrive at data-driven decisions, Revenue teams can create campaigns and processes that win more lucrative deals with shorter close times. 

For any guidance with creating and executing ICPs, Revenue Pulse is here to help.

Sales and MOPs: How Your CMO Can Bridge the Gaps

TLDR: Sales and MOPs sit a few degrees of separation away from each other, but MOPs’ deliverables have a vital impact on Sales’ ability to pursue leads and close deals. That’s why it’s vital for both teams to understand clearly what each team needs from the other to work together well.

 

The dynamics between Sales and Marketing attract a lot of attention. Businesses rightfully stake importance on solving historical tensions between the two halves of their revenue machine, but discourse often overlooks one of the most decisive elements of how well Sales and Marketing work together.

Marketing Operations isn’t often perceived as an authoritative force in the Sales-Marketing relationship; MOPs is typically a few extra degrees of separation away, but the team’s deliverables have a vital impact on Sales’ ability to pursue leads and close deals. As such, Sales’ needs can exert considerable influence over MOPs’ workload and priorities. 

That means it’s in the best interest of both Sales and MOPs to understand clearly what each team needs from the other to work together effectively. If you don’t frequently interact with Sales in your role, it’s especially important that your Marketing leaders grasp how Sales and MOPs impact one another and can encourage Sales to understand the practicalities of how MOPs works to support them. This Tough Talks Made Easy will give you the guidance you need to sit down with your boss and have that conversation.

 

Bridging the gaps

In many organizations, MOPs is perceived as part and parcel of the Marketing team. As a result, Sales might not wholly understand how MOPs as a function differs to more generalist Marketing roles with its focus on tools, platforms, and systems, or the extent to which their demands cascade onto your workload.

Essentially, MOPs glues Sales and Marketing together. Sales expects to receive correctly qualified leads from Marketing in a timely manner, so they can strike while the iron’s hot and close deals. Behind the scenes, MOPs creates all of the technical infrastructure to make that possible, setting up campaign programs, alerts to Sales, data delivery systems, and capturing all the relevant information about how a lead has previously engaged with the business.

To execute this effectively, with fewer miscommunications around deliverables and expectations, Marketing leadership should bring MOPs into any conversations with Sales about lead qualification criteria and process adjustments. Sales will want any changes in direction to be implemented as soon as possible; at this stage, whoever represents MOPs in that conversation needs to provide a healthy dose of realism. 

 

Setting realistic expectations

Sometimes, Sales sets the bar for lead qualification no lower than bluebird opportunities which take minimal effort to close. And despite the urgency on Sales’ end for quick adjustments, MOPs will often need to balance their requests with tasks like platform operations, executing campaigns, and reporting.

Real alignment between Sales and Marketing occurs when both teams discuss the realities of their work and agree on outcomes that are actually possible. Depending on the size of your organization and the practicalities of how teams come together to make decisions, encourage leadership to share MOPs’ processes, deliverables, and updates, or invite someone from MOPs to partake in these discussions. 

Sales should understand what MOPs can and can’t do, and the practicalities and trade-offs of fulfilling requests. What time and resources does MOPs need to set up auto-notifications for MQL delivery? If it’s a priority to complete this request, what other projects need to sit on the backburner? By having a transparent dialogue around priorities and bandwidth, MOPs and Sales can devise a plan of action with clear and realistic deliverables: X number of leads delivered in Y time frame, based on Z qualification status.

 

Maintenance time

“No news is good news” is a common state of affairs in MOPs. It tends to go unacknowledged when all your processes and data flows are running smoothly, but all hell breaks loose when something goes awry. If qualified leads aren’t reaching Sales on time, campaigns aren’t visible or don’t have the correct people attached, the lead’s engagement data is incomplete or inaccurate, or leads are being sent without meeting the agreed qualification criteria, MOPs is left scrambling to make fixes on top of all other tasks.

There are a few points of discussion you can bring to your boss to help ensure everything is in good order for Sales. The reality of looking after processes like lead scoring models and lifecycles is such that, after monitoring them heavily for the initial weeks and months with no signs of trouble, it seems safe to leave them alone and turn your attention to other responsibilities.

Ideally, though, you’re able to reevaluate and test processes on a regular basis to proactively detect and prevent errors. To keep on top of this, leadership should prioritize hours for maintenance in your schedule if you’re short on the time to look after elements of the system that impact Sales—lead lifecycles and scoring, campaign and lead data. For each campaign, suggest a dedicated sync with Marketing to clarify the finer points—target audience, how to access and update it, how to add the correct prospects—so all the information’s in the right place.

 

Connecting the dots

There might not be a direct line between Sales and MOPs in your workplace, but the work of both teams has a profound impact on the other. Making space to communicate what MOPs can realistically deliver, and carving out the time to perfect the processes that power Sales’ success, are two key initiatives you can advocate for to support Sales effectively and contribute to the achievement of revenue and productivity.

For additional guidance on bringing teams together, 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.