Those of us that have been working in Marketing Operations for a long time know the feeling of being seen merely as the Marketing Process Enforcement department. When I first started working in Marketing Operations, I felt like most of my time was spent trying to get marketers to “follow the rules” on specific processes, including campaign setup, list uploads, and pulling data for reporting. It seemed like most of the time I just ended up doing it for them to make sure it was done right.
While process and data standardization are very important goals, limiting marketing operations to just those functions causes the rest of the team to undervalue what the operations function can truly do to add value for the marketing organization as a whole. Below are five ways that the marketing operations team can drive revenue and create efficiency for their organizations. All of these, by the way, come from my own personal experience, and I will admit that I learned most of these lessons the hard way.
#1: Streamline Processes
One key thing to remember is that most marketers primarily focus on planning and executing successful campaigns, or on producing the content that is utilized in those campaigns. Because of this perspective, they may see technology and process as cumbersome obstacles that get in their way. Reducing steps and clicks to streamline key processes will help alleviate this concern. For example, integrating the marketing automation platform with the tool used for webinars will eliminate the work of manually passing registration and attendee lists from one system to the other. It also will allow the use of the marketing automation tool’s feature set to automate the invitation, reminder, and follow-up processes.
#2: Find a Balance between Technology Enablement and Service Delivery
Marketing automation tools are very complex, and usually a lot is going on in them at any given point in time — so that even a small change can have major ramifications. Fear of unleashing havoc sometimes drives a tendency among marketing operations teams to keep a tight rein on who uses the system. While governance and user management are very important, keeping this type of strict control sometimes creates a request bottleneck inside the marketing automation function.
One way to relieve some of this burden is to find tasks within the system that other marketers can be trained to perform. You may be able to train some of the more tech-savvy marketers to upload lists, build simple segments, or execute simple batch-and-blast email campaigns. MOPS teams can also create specific locked-down program, email, and landing page templates in order to enable marketers to work independently without incurring too much risk. This approach is especially helpful in organizations that lack a centralized demand center.
#3: Don’t Always Accept System Limitations
When managing a marketing technology stack, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the complexity of it all. Having all that power at our disposal might also lull us into a sense of security and keep us from exploring new technologies. We should always keep abreast of new technologies that are available and seek out solutions that can help our marketing team improve efficiency, drive more and better leads, and enhance our ability to attribute pipeline and revenue back to marketing activities. Taking a problem-solving approach (rather than a “shiny new toy” approach) can help keep us focused on finding better solutions that address key business issues.
One example of a problem-solving approach is lead-to-account matching. Most of us have dealt with the issue of how to handle new leads that come in from existing accounts. In the past, the solution was to train inside sales or lead development teams to manage these leads manually. Solutions like LeanData and Engagio, however, now allow a lot of that work to be done automatically. Finding these types of solutions can improve rep efficiency and help accelerate account prospects’ journey down the funnel.
#4: Effectively Manage Data Cleanliness
Effective data management provides a myriad of benefits to marketing teams. It improves campaign segmentation and targeting, improves conversion rates, and allows for more efficient follow-up. And most importantly, a strong data management strategy improves marketing analytics and marketing’s ability to prove their worth. In a nutshell, good data means good campaigns, and the ability to effectively measure those campaigns.
Check out my colleague Rick Segura’s post on effective data management strategies.
#5: Train Marketers to Design Campaigns That Are Measurable
At the end of the day, marketing operations’ most important functions are to design processes, provide technology, and analyze data so that the marketing organization can prove its worth to the company. As I mentioned above, marketers are very focused on their ability to execute campaigns — so it’s ironic that sometimes marketers, in the quest to build a successful campaign, forget to enable the campaign in a way that its success can be measured!
It’s important, then, for the marketing operations team to build a water-tight process, train the team on the process, and train marketers on how to set things up. It may even be more important to also remind them of the “why” in all of this: “We have this process, we have these systems, in order to help you effectively measure your campaigns and see your overall success level.” Campaigns should be built with specific quantifiable goals in mind, and then marketers should be trained on how best those goals can be achieved. My colleague Sarah Wight wrote a great post about the relationship between process and measurement that provides an excellent reminder of this point.
Consider applying these concepts to help the marketing operations department rise above the role of process enforcer to a role of truly driving efficiency, and in turn, revenue, for their marketing department. Drop us a line or visit us at DemandGen.com if we can help.
Mike Wallgren, Client Engagement Manager at DemandGen, helps clients see the vision of how solid business process and marketing technology solutions can help them succeed at demand generation. He has worked with CRM and marketing automation solutions since 2005 and has helped build solutions at companies of all sizes. He firmly believes that a data- and process-driven approach helps marketing demonstrate their value to the organization.