As part of our Marketo Power User Series, we sat down with Justin Norris, Solutions Architect at Perkuto, to learn about how he got into marketing automation and get his perspective on Marketo best practices.
Zak: Can you start by telling us about Perkuto and what you do?
Justin: Perkuto is an agency focused on supporting the needs of marketing operations. We stand out because of our laser focus on the marketing operations function, including processes, systems, campaign operations and marketing best practices. Marketo is the system central to that, along with CRMs, usually SalesForce or Dynamics, plus other tools including software for account based marketing, lead routing, video marketing, content platforms, reporting and analytics.
Zak: How did you get into the field of marketing operations and marketing automation?
Justin: I started out as a jack-of-all-trades marketer. I went to work for a startup called ClearFit in 2011, we were a transactional eCommerce sale, it was B2B but felt like B2C. I was responsible for marketing, sales and customer success – doing it all.
We knew we needed a way to scale volume without a high touch sales approach, and we were looking to automate the entire lead funnel. We looked at the marketing automation players, some of which aren’t even around anymore, and we selected Marketo. A key criteria for me at that point was providing Marketo with the process flow we were looking to drive and have them show us how that could be setup in their system.
That was in a way a moment of fate for me.
As we grew, we then brought in a VP of Marketing, which allowed me to become more specialized around our sales and marketing systems. I became the Director of CRM, running sales and marketing operations.
Zak: I like that phrase "sales and marketing operations", it implies integration and alignment.
Justin: Absolutely. Revenue operations is the way of the future, where there is convergence of sales and marketing as an operations function. In a smaller company, that is one person filling that role. And for larger enterprises, that plays out as an intra-departmental council of some nature.
You want to keep those groups as aligned as possible. You never want to hear a marketing ops person say “I wish I could do XYZ, but it would take way too long to add a field to our CRM to do it”. That happens all the time, and not being able to modify a system that your company owns just because of politics or red tape is a horrible reason to not do something.
And then bigger picture it means a single owner to own the technology and process across the funnel, and own making improvements across the funnel.
And it ties to what Bedrock Data does for customers, because you need aligned systems and it’s very likely you will have best-of-breed systems in different categories. But data has to flow together and can’t be siloed.
Zak: How would you describe what your customers are trying to get from Marketo?
Justin: Functionally, they are looking at it as their database of record, and the means for them to orchestrate their marketing efforts, and scaling their reach to talk to their customers at scale in a personalized way.
Zak: What advice would you give to Marketo users and marketing operations professionals out there, in terms of how to reach that goal?
Justin: The challenge many marketing organizations face is they get stuck in being too ad hoc and tactical, so they aren’t moving the needle in terms of setting up the machine they need to support their marketing growth.
So to address this the first step I’d take is to make sure you have mapped out your revenue funnel. What is the process through which you convert a prospect’s interest into money?
Once you have the process well defined between sales and marketing, you can automate it, optimize it and enhance it.
And then it allows you to be methodical in stating your marketing goals – what funnel conversion improvement are you looking to drive? It’s very different to look at a tactical universe vs. building out a robust evergreen process to make your funnel perform more effectively, which is the goal.
Zak: We are compiling tips from the power users. What are some of the tips you’d share with other Marketo power users?
Justin: A big focus for me is controlling your order of operations. I find 90% of problems occur due to order of operations issues. It’s important to think about your automated activities such as data updates, lead routing or email campaigns as a system, and control the right sequence you want things to happen.
A good symptom that your setup has holes in it is you are band-aiding your process by guessing at wait step times. That’s not a predictable way to manage your process.
Also a common pitfall I see involves when you send alerts to sales reps. Don’t trigger your alerts when a lead is created, because the sales rep probably isn’t assigned at that exact moment. Setup your alert triggers based on when the lead owner changes.
Zak: That’s a really helpful tip, what else do you have?
Justin: I can’t emphasize enough the value of program tokens. Program tokens allow you to launch new programs very quickly, with very little risk associated with editing assets. You might say it’s how you make your programs “idiot-proof”.
Another piece of advice is establish your processes. You are never too small for process. For example, create a pre-flight process of tests before you send a new campaign. This will eliminate or reduce errors and help you step away from the sometime carefree abandon upon which last minute, untested changes can cause issues.
My last piece of advise is to test things. Use your A/B testing. Evaluate your metrics. Actually loop back and see if your stuff is working. That’s hard for all of us because we are moving on to the next thing. But you need to do this so you can quantify the value of what you are doing.
Control groups are also great, because it helps you quantify the lift of something that you’re doing. That ties back to the importance of your defined revenue stages, because ideally what you want to do is state your goal around a conversion improvement, and then measure that in your test group vs. your control group.
Zak: Thanks Justin, this has been extremely informative for me and I'm sure also for Marketo users out there.
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