As part of our Marketo Power User Series, we sat down with Morgan Hausauer, VP, Talent & Training at Elixiter, to learn about her unique experience training a team of over 40 Marketo dedicated consultants, along with her expert perspectives on Marketo best practices.
Zak: Can you start by telling us about your company, Elixiter.
Morgan: We were founded in 2011, and we have been a dedicated Marketo partner since then.
We’ve found that Marketo has the most robust functionality of the technologies in this market, and as consultants we didn’t see another platform that we’d recommend ahead of it, so we decided to double down on Marketo. I was the second employee and we have grown rapidly since then to now over 40 Marketo certified consultants, nearly all of whom are based in our office in Bozeman, Montana.
As a business we help customers implement and manage Marketo. New customers often reach out to us when they have inherited a system and they are trying to assess what they have on their hands and how to get it working well for them. We help customers solve complex problems with Marketo, and optimize it. Getting closed loop reporting setup is also a key theme for our customers.
Zak: How have you gone about growing the team to over 40 Marketo certified consultants?
Morgan: So first off, we’ve never hired someone with prior Marketo experience.
Zak: Wow, that is incredible. I’ve got a bunch of questions for you then on how you find people and how you train them? Let’s start with – if you aren’t hiring based on Marketo experience, what then are you looking for and what is your hiring process?
Morgan: We always start with a phone interview, and the candidate needs to be articulate and enthusiastic over the phone. We look for people who are interested in technology, are excited to learn new things and can demonstrate that they can constantly adapt to new things.
We are working with a software that is changing all the time, so they need to be not only open to change, but excited by change.
We also do personality and technology tests, and we end with a group interview for culture fit. We are a very collaborative culture, with over 40 people in one office, all working 40-60 hours per week.
Zak: Given that you have 40+ Marketo experts, how do you organize the team?
Morgan: We’ve built specialization around key areas including integration, data analytics, nurturing, account based marketing, real time personalization and creative/content creation.
We then have a services delivery account management team who pulls in resources as needed. Every single person on the team, including the account managers, are Marketo certified experts as well as Marketo certified consultants.
Zak: And what was your background and how did you get involved with Elixiter?
Morgan: I was working for RightNow when it got acquired by Oracle, and at that point Andrew Hull left RightNow to found Elixiter. I started as a consultant in March of 2012 as the second employee.
Marketo has come a long way since then. Back then Marketo had just come out with programs; it was so new that you couldn’t even rename a program! The community wasn’t very well developed, it wasn’t gamified, there weren’t a lot of resources.
I remember when we sponsored the Marketing Nation Event in 2012, we had a little fold out table from Costco with a tablecloth. There must have been no more than 20 sponsors.
Zak: At that point when you joined Elixiter, were you experienced in marketing automation?
Morgan: I had worked for RightNow and had experience with that system, as well as tools like Vertical Response and MailChimp. So when I joined I could appreciate that Marketo was really the Cadillac of marketing automation systems. And it’s been exciting to see how it’s evolved over the past five years.
Zak: How has your role evolved over the past five years?
Morgan: Today I’m the VP of Talent & Training, responsible for recruiting, onboarding and training. We run a three-month training program for our new hires; the first two months is understanding Marketo and the third month is our internal training methodology – how we view Marketo, and a client’s optimization path.
I’m also responsible for internal collaboration and knowledge sharing. We run a lunch-and-learn every Tuesday, and a ‘Thirsty Thursday” every Thursday to share information.
I am also responsible for our team of client-facing trainers who train our customers on operating Marketo.
Zak: You mentioned training your team around the Elixiter perspective and point of view around Marketo. What are the key elements of that?
Morgan: We have three keys – the first is making sure the tool is setup and configured correctly – does the tool reflect your organization? The second thing is making sure there are the right connections between marketing and sales in the system. And the third is ensuring that you can report on what you need to. We want our customers to be able to pull reports they can trust out of the system, reports that will help them make true business decisions.
Zak: What is your approach to reporting?
Morgan: Most clients are doing some level of reporting out of Salesforce or their CRM; we push clients to use the Revenue Cycle Modeler and Revenue Cycle Explorer, using the standard channels and tags, and getting reporting on your funnel, velocity reporting and opportunity influence.
If you are fully leveraging the Revenue Cycle Explorer, you are in the top tier of companies using Marketo.
We also use custom fields to extend the reporting. For example we may create a last touch field to capture the last activity that moves a prospect from MQL to SAL, or other key stages.
Zak: To wrap up, do you have some additional tips you’d like to share with other Marketo users?
Morgan: Yes I’ll share a few. #1 – start with reporting in mind. You need to have a good idea of what you’re going to want to see from the system, to ensure it’s configured and operating correctly. #2 – consistency is key. However you choose to do things, you’re going to want to drive consistency across different individuals, groups and divisions when using the tool.
And #3 – never stop learning. Marketing automation is always evolving, so you are never going to truly master it - it’s always changing. You need to be excited by that change, and not get overwhelmed.
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