Sales Ops and Sales Enablement, how to bring them together

Hi Joe,

My Sales Ops team has been growing rapidly over the past year or so. With that growth, we’ve also added a Sales Enablement team. But the problem is, I feel like our two teams just aren’t on the same page lately. There seems to be a lot of confusion about which team is responsible for what and things aren’t getting done.

How can I turn this around and make sure everyone is collaborating smoothly again?

Thanks,

Team-Player Taylor

 

 

Hi Taylor,

I’m happy to hear about your company’s recent growth! It’s always exciting when things are looking up and I want to congratulate you and your team on this success.

But with growth comes, well, growing pains. What works for smaller teams won’t necessarily work as you scale up your organization. Things can break along the way. So how do we prevent this from happening? Here are a few key points that will help.


Organizational Structure

As your teams grow, it’s important that at all stages of expansion (whether you have a sales team of 3, 30, or 300), there is a clearly defined vertical hierarchy or chain of command.

Of course, it is essential for teams to collaborate cohesively and support each other, as you know. But if your company lacks this vertical structure and the hierarchy is “flatter”, there will often be problems where team members don’t know whose job it is to do a certain task.

I’d also recommend the use of stakeholder maps to help all team members gain a clearer understanding of who is depending on them and what they’re accountable for. Stakeholder maps are not only very practical for refining and communicating the responsibilities of everyone involved in each project, but they’re also a great tool for guiding new hires on who can offer them support, who to approach with queries, and who can approve decisions to keep projects moving forward. 

 

Clearly Define Roles & Responsibilities

There can be a lot of confusion in a company – especially a growing one like yours – between Sales Ops and Sales Enablement. Many members may not fully understand the difference: Where does Sales Ops end and where does Sales Enablement begin?

This is common in my experience so don’t worry, you’re not alone. The two teams are closely related, but they differ in important ways. I would start by laying out a clear definition of the roles, responsibilities, and parameters of the Sales Enablement team in comparison to Sales Ops. If everyone can agree on this, you’re already halfway there!

One way I like to communicate this is to look at Sales Enablement as the “execution arm” of Sales Ops.

 

Here’s a quick example to illustrate what I mean by this:

Let’s say Sales Enablement realizes many leads become closed lost during the middle of the funnel. The buyer had the initial introduction and pitch, but then the proposal is sent a few days later and things fall through. Sales Ops receives this information and takes a closer look at the operational level – where they discover their sales reps don’t have enough content (case studies, whitepapers, etc.) to send proposals sooner.

This is where Sales Enablement comes back in and goes about producing that needed content (which could mean acquiring collateral from marketing, content creation, etc.). They are effectively enabling the execution of Sales Ops by making sure the buyer experience is everything that it can be – hence the “execution arm”.

 

Calibrate Expectations

Once everyone in Sales Ops and Sales Enablement is on the same page about their roles and responsibilities, it is crucial to set up continuous points of communication between the two teams to calibrate expectations.

At all times: Sales Ops must know what data they’re expected to report to Sales Enablement, and Sales Enablement must know the type of support they’re expected to provide so Sales Ops can execute at their highest potential.

At first, it might take some time for members to fit into their new teams, and that’s okay. With clear roles, responsibilities, and expectations defined through active communication, I’m confident that you and your teams will be more productive together than ever.

 

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

Can I Re-engage Closed Lost Opportunities?

Hi Joe,

 

I’m curious: is there ever a time when it makes sense to reach out to closed lost opportunities? Our team just launched some new features, and it seems like a waste to not reach out to people that we’ve engaged with in the past. What do you think?

 

Thank you,

Intrigued Ivan

 

 

Ivan, you hit the nail on the head. 

 

Your marketing and sales teams put a lot of effort into acquiring leads and their contact information across various channels, and this isn’t an inexpensive process. Collecting all of that information, categorizing it, and maintaining those records takes time and resources. Ignoring a large segment of that data—even if they are closed leads—puts a big dent on the return on that investment. 

 

The main thing you have to remember when it comes to closed lost opportunities is that just because a prospect isn’t interested today, doesn’t mean they won’t need your product down the line. With that in mind, here are some processes and methodologies that you can build into your marketing operations that might help you make the most of these leads. 

 

Categorize your closed lost opportunities

There are a number of different reasons for why a prospect might drop out of the sales process. They may not need your product or service yet, they may be limited by their budget, or they may want a feature that you haven’t built yet. A good practice here is to sort these closed lost leads based on the constraint that’s stopping them from making a purchase. 

 

This way, once you have your subcategories, you create a customized re-engagement approach for each one. With more focused communications and programming, you’ll be able to reach your prospects in a more meaningful way—and that can go a long way towards closing the deal.

 

Recycle your leads thoughtfully and proactively

Another thing to think about as you bring these leads back into the fold is that you want them to have a net new experience with your brand. Basically, you don’t want them to end up in the same campaigns, reading the same materials and the same sales pitches that they didn’t respond to the first time around. Instead, make sure that the content and information they’re receiving is fresh and new (to them). 

 

On the marketing side, make sure the team knows how to treat these returning leads—they should have distinct nurture campaigns with content that’s focused on a recent product feature or the low-cost nature of the product. For sales, they need to know that a lead has been there before, why they dropped off, and what brought them back. This is all information that should be available to them on your CRM system.

 

Choose your re-engagement channels wisely

Today, your best bet for re-engaging a closed lost lead is via email. It’s way less intrusive than a phone call—does anyone even pick up the phone anymore?—and it will be familiar to someone who’s seen your name in their inbox before. The other good thing about email is that you can take a customized approach, incorporating insights from past engagements with this particular individual. 

 

On a more superficial level, you can also pair this with a paid media strategy, running social ads or search ads that reach people who have engaged with your brand without converting.

 

These are all things that will take some time to set up properly, but once you have them in place, you’ll be setting up your team to be both proactive and targeted as they reach out to old new leads. 

 

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 Do I Show My Boss My Value?

 

Hi Joe,

I’m not sure what to do. As a MOPs professional, I do so much for the company and am always juggling a ton of things on any given day. My boss thinks I only work in Marketo, but I actually take care of so much more! What can I do to show them my contributions and how I’m actually spending my time?

Thank you,
Undervalued Uriel

Hi, Uriel. I wish this weren’t a common problem, but it is. So often, MOPs “teams” are made up of a small group of people that sit under Marketing or Sales, reporting into leaders that don’t fully understand what MOPs is and how much effort it takes to get it right. It’s a challenge, particularly for small teams that are left to manage multiple tasks and projects without much investment or support.

There’s hope on the horizon, though. The talent pool of MOPs professionals and leaders is growing every day, and that means that companies are far more likely to hire managers and directors that understand how many plates you have to spin in a role like yours. In the meantime, here are some of the things you can do to improve your current situation.

Have a transparent conversation with your leaders. Your manager doesn’t know what they don’t know. And while it’s not your job to educate them, what you can do is have a frank conversation about the different things you’re doing, and how you can’t do them all. Going into this conversation, take the time to list out tasks you do, how much time you spend on them, and prioritize them based on how much value you feel they add to the marketing team. If you feel that you need another person on the team, share your advice around how you would divide the tasks to make the most impact. At the end of the day, you’ll be the MOPs expert in that conversation, so make sure you show that expertise.

Take a forward-looking approach. Another important conversation to have with your manager is about the direction you want your career to take. As you know, there are so many paths and specializations to follow in MOPs. Choosing a path and communicating that to your manager will help them understand that you can’t be the “catch-all” for MOPs, and it will give them the opportunity to support you with the training and mentorship you need. Pair this with strategic thinking around where your organization can take MOPs moving forward, and a good manager will be even more inclined to crafting a role that is right for you.

Don’t be afraid to make a change. If none of that works, then it might be time to move on to greener pastures. You deserve to work for a team that gets how important your role is—so start looking for one. Companies that have built a strong MOPs culture will have various people in MOPs roles, including a director or VP that has years of experience in the space. The job descriptions will also be telling. If the hiring manager has written down a laundry list of tasks they want a specific MOPs role to fill, you can bet they don’t fully grasp what MOPs is all about.

Your future is in your hands—and it’s bright. As MOPs continues to grow as a space, there are going to be so many more solid opportunities for you to build your career with. Just wait and see.

You’ve got this,
Joe 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.

Why RevOps Should Look Under the Hood of Seismic

TLDR: Seismic is a boost to RevOps teams who’re looking to surface content more efficiently and better understand how content contributes to revenue. But the platform is most successful when paired with ongoing efforts to produce and organize content to a high standard.

Content lets organizations tell the story of their value to customers and prospects, but RevOps teams often struggle to surface the value that content provides and double down on what works. Without reliable insights into how content performs with its audience, Marketing leaders find it difficult to prove how content contributes towards the bottom line. 

Sales also needs content analytics to determine how best to personalize their story for each prospect. Without a well-organized system to categorize and manage content, Sales risks sinking hours into searching for and sending out pieces that are outdated or ill-suited to the customer.

If your RevOps team struggles to optimize content, this Tough Talks Made Easy is for you. With a single source of truth to categorize and analyze content, RevOps teams can make decisions that help to close deals—and prove it. That’s the essence of what Seismic offers, and this piece will help you discuss the need-to-know aspects of the tool with RevOps.

 

SURFACE YOUR BEST CONTENT 

Seismic is a sales enablement platform that provides automated content management and analytics, and there are a few notable ways that it makes RevOps’ lives easier. 

Admins can set permissions so that sellers only need to search through the content relevant to their accounts and campaigns. Then, Sales can identify which pieces of content to deploy based on a series of categorizations that describe the properties of each content piece at a glance (e.g. asset types, relevant personas and products, sales stage to be deployed).

If you have a well-developed content library but lack the processes to efficiently surface the most appropriate pieces, Seismic will save Sales a few headaches. Rather than clinging to a few pieces of content and deploying them past their expiry dates, Sales gets an easy way to explore the deep bench of your library and engage prospects creatively with a variety of pieces. 

Seismic also cuts down the significant amounts of time that reps spend just trying to get their hands on content. No need to trawl through a disoriented database or chase Content people to ask for pieces; just search for content via client type, topic, and other customizable relevant filters. This allows teams to actively surface the most relevant, useful content to prospects.

 

CONNECT CONTENT TO DOLLARS 

The platform also tracks and reports on how prospects and opportunities engage with the content your team sends them. Seismic’s analytics let Sales and Marketing gauge how well each piece resonates with recipients and draw a direct line between content interactions and deals. 

For Marketing, Seismic clears the uncertainty of how content contributes to the bottom line. Marketing can map content engagement stats onto close rates and gain a stronger grasp of what types of content win deals from different prospect segments. 

With clear insight into how content provides value, RevOps teams can rethink for the better how they create content and personalize their outreach to each prospect.

 

BEFORE YOU SIGN 

For the ways that Seismic helps RevOps, the platform isn’t a silver bullet for poor organizational systems. Seismic will be organized in a similar way to your source information on SharePoint or Drive, meaning that the platform’s presentation and categorization of content will be just as clear as your original folder structure. In other words: if you’re in a mess, clean it up before you get Seismic. 

To do that, RevOps needs to answer a few questions. What are your naming conventions? How will you tag and categorize content? Where will content live depending on its category—e.g. persona groups, internal or external. 

Your team should work through these details until you’re able to confidently identify content by three key properties: what each piece is, who it targets, and the situations you intend to use it.

From there, Seismic allows RevOps to categorize, present, and analyze the performance of content—but it isn’t going to boost the underlying quality of that content. If your bottom-of-funnel pieces aren’t inspiring opportunities to buy what you’re selling, then your RevOps team should consider doing an audit for quality. Are pieces well-written and presented? Relevant to your persona and industry groups? Conveying the right level of information for the stage in the sales cycle? 

As much as Seismic’s analytics let RevOps spot trends and steer the direction of content to capitalize on engagement, the execution of those insights is always going to split the difference between landing a deal or not.

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

Ultimately, Seismic is a boost to RevOps teams who’re looking to surface content from their libraries more efficiently and better understand how content contributes to revenue. As long as RevOps puts in the work to organize content and produce it to a high standard, teams can use the platform’s analytics to create and deploy content in a way that wrings more dollars from customer engagement.

For any advice with assessing sales enablement platforms or connecting content to revenue, 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.

 

Explain the Platform Implementation Process to Your CMO

TLDR: If you’re considering a new marketing automation platform, learn the processes, goals, and challenges to plan around before you make a firm decision.

No matter your organization’s maturity, implementing a new marketing automation platform is a significant undertaking. There’s a tendency for C-Suite to believe that getting off the ground with a new platform is as straightforward as flicking a switch, but in reality, there are processes, goals, and concerns your Marketing team should establish before deciding on a platform and continue to account for during the implementation process.

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, we’ll break down the considerations and challenges that arise at different stages of the process. This will help you talk with your CMO and encourage them to arrive at clear motivations for implementing a new platform, get a sound grasp of what the implementation process demands, and establish realistic performance expectations. 

 

THINKING THROUGH YOUR DECISION

As a growing business, making that first leap to a marketing automation platform can provide powerful features and data management capabilities that facilitate you scaling upwards. For more established organizations, the decision to implement a new platform can correct the course of a tech stack mismatched with your strategy.

If you’ve reached a point of momentum where you need to attribute the value and ROI from marketing activities, or you’ve found it difficult to consolidate data from disparate sources and act on insights with your current platform, then a new marketing automation platform is a reasonable step forward.

Still, it’s crucial that leadership thoroughly understands the current state of your marketing machine and what you’re looking to gain by onboarding a new platform. Beyond the financial cost of running a platform, the real investment here is time; once marketing activities, data, and integrations start flowing through the platform, it becomes increasingly difficult to untangle yourself over the years.

With that in mind, your CMO needs to have full confidence in your chosen platform’s trajectory. Challenging as it may be to predict how you’ll use the platform five years down the line, leadership should at least be able to identify how it supports your Marketing team’s current and near-future ambitions. Encourage them to set out how platforms with good momentum or established status in the market can help the Marketing team to address its performance needs.

 

GETTING OFF THE GROUND

All tools come with a learning curve, and marketing automation platforms like Marketo have particularly steep gradients to conquer. Besides pushing for additional help and support from the vendor, your Marketing team should meticulously plan all that you’ll use the platform for. 

Processes ultimately underlie every decision you make to get off the ground. Make leadership aware that, before you really get up and running with the platform, your Marketing team needs to clearly establish how to improve existing processes. As an example: if your team has been sending lead lists manually to Sales, Marketing and Sales need to agree on a point in the lifecycle where Sales can take over before automating the handover. 

Organizationally, your CMO should be prepared to define processes centrally. Each member of your Marketing team doing their own thing without a consistent methodology or shared set of definitions can scramble your reporting, and when processes are disparate or data potentially missing, it’s difficult to verify the efficacy of your data or insights. It can be as simple as standardizing fields and fonts in list uploads, but having your CMO advocate for clear and established ways of using the platform can help to preserve the integrity of your data and encourage clarity in the team.

Breaking down the sweeping task of implementation into smaller, achievable goals is crucial to see success from the platform; make this argument to your CMO to incentivize them to work with the Marketing team and define action items at various intervals of time (e.g. Day 1, 30, 90, Year 1). These action items should be need-based yet realistic, so while leadership might have their eye on a new lead scoring model, you’d be wise to prioritize the likes of creating templates for emails and webinars and lead lifecycles for SQLs.

After you work towards your chosen milestones on Day 1, take stock of whether you met them. If not, it’s likely because the experience of using the platform is more complicated than you thought. Remind your CMO, if their expectations are still riding high, that the demo viewed during the selection process presents a simplified version of using the platform, where the technicalities are already fine-tuned. For your Marketing team to develop a comparable level of efficiency, it’s going to take time using the platform to really optimize your processes and understand how to optimize different features.

 

BEHIND THE SCENES

For the ways that a marketing automation platform can make your life easier and improve your performance, “automation” is somewhat of a misnomer; there is always more work to do. You’re never going to flip a switch and have everything run like clockwork, and years into using a platform, your Marketing team will still be learning on the go. Through consistent processes and realistic goal-setting, each milestone will see your Marketing team achieve more with your platform.

 

For any additional guidance with implementing a new platform, Revenue Pulse is here to help.