Sercante: Andrea Tarrell, on Marketing Automation Gone Overboard

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Andrea Tarrell, CEO & Founder of Sercante, joined us to discuss a common problem with businesses trying to break into digital marketing– namely, that they pay a lot of money and actually go a little overboard on the marketing automation.

Danny:

Alright, thanks for tuning in this episode of IndustrialSage it’s going to be a really great one. We’re going to be talking about marketing automation. So if you’re a company that is thinking about making that transition, you don’t have anything there, and you’re saying, I think we want to get into Pardot or Marketo or whatever that is. You really want to watch this episode. Alternatively, if you are a company that’s already done this and you have Pardot and Salesforce and you have a huge marketing tech stack that’s like this and you’re realizing, Oh my gosh I think we went in a little too fast, a little too quick and we feel like we are completely over our heads. This is a really great episode for you.

So for today I have a very special guest. I have Andrea Tarrell from Sercante, who specializes in this and she’s going to be sharing with us her best practices and tips and tricks and strategies on how to make sure you have a really successful rollout with it. If you’re evaluating it or maybe if you’ve already done that and you’re trying to figure that out. So, stay tuned it’s going to be awesome. Again, we’re in the beautiful Optimum Productions studios and I’m Danny Gonzales, your host, and this is IndustrialSage. It’s going to be awesome. You’re going to love it. So I’ve got Andrea here and Andrea has got a lot of awesome experience but before we really jump into this, just let our audience know a little bit about you. What’ve you got going on?

Andrea:

Yeah, thanks for having me. I’m really excited to be here.

Danny:

Of course, yeah.

Andrea:

So I’m the Principal at Sercante. We’re a consulting firm that specializes in marketing automation in Salesforce. So helping teams optimize their technology and their processes, basically at every step of their lead to revenue flow.

Danny:

Awesome, that sounds great. It sounds like it’s a kind of a very needed thing. So since you are an expert in this area, let’s talk those companies that have used that, I think sometimes there is a little bit of a I’m guessing here. Maybe there might be I don’t know I might know a few companies or so that said, Hey we need to do this. We need to go from no CRM. We’re sending emails through, I don’t know, maybe something maybe through Gmail, and we’ve got a CSV data list. But you know what, gosh, we need to go ahead and make that transition. Let’s go Salesforce. Let’s go marketing automation. Let’s you know, and then– and then, oh this is so cool. You can do all these different things. And the tech stack is like this. And then next thing you know, you’re like, Oh my gosh I think we went a little overboard and this is a lot more difficult than I thought it was going to be. But I don’t know. Does that ever happen? Is that like a thing?

Andrea:

A hundred percent. Yep, I see that all the time. Companies have made a huge investment in software. So platforms like Pardot, HubSpot, Marketo, Eloqua. And they’re investing time, energy, manpower in building programs on these amazing platforms, but they’re kind of looking around and saying, okay are we really getting what we were promised? And is this giving us the value that we need?

Danny:

Right, yeah.

Andrea:

So kind of connecting the dots between what’s happening on the marketing side and what’s actually translating into close one revenue, that’s a gap that a lot of marketers are seeing.

Danny:

So it’s interesting too. I always find that interesting because you know that’s really the unique value, one of the unique value propositions that they have is that look you actually have the tools now that you can tie all a lot of those marketing activities from a marketing automation platform, and because it’s connected to a CRM, that you could actually look at that and you can run it, and say, Hey, look we’re doing this activity and we’re generating X over here. Obviously it’s not as simple as it sounds. I mean what are some of those pitfalls that you’ve seen and you know maybe what are some things that some companies can do to try to avoid that?

Andrea:

Yeah. Yeah, I would say that in theory it’s simple, but it isn’t easy.

Danny:

It always is, right?

Andrea:

Yeah, so I mean you know the workflow that you want to happen. You want somebody to visit the website. You want them to convert to a lead. You want to nurture that lead and then hand it off to sales when you’re ready. But, all of the different technology pieces and all of the different process steps along the way there’s a lot of details to work through.

Danny:

Sure. But, I mean that whole area it can be a little maybe sort of subjective too. And I think that’s where some of that, you know, in theory like you said, you can kind of jump from the point of, “Here, we want to do this.” We get a lead. Here, we get– and we’re going to nurture. Lead score. All that good stuff, but then I think there is maybe a little bit of a challenge of like, Oh, we can measure this and then we can do this. And then there’s all these really cool tools that we could, you know?

Andrea:

Yeah, and I think a lot of marketers, they look at the number of leads that are coming in and they’re excited.

Danny:

Leads are great.

Andrea:

Yeah, leads are wonderful. But then if you ask their sales team what they think of them, they’re decidedly unimpressed. A lot of companies when they’re first getting started with marketing automation will go to sales and say, okay what leads would you like to see? Almost every sales rep that I’ve asked that has said, well give me all of them. And I’ll decide what I want to follow up with. But that’s a losing battle. So I would definitely caution companies against doing that. So being really thoughtful about when a prospect really is ready to buy, and when sales needs to get involved. It seems like marketers are owning more of that pre-sales process than they ever have before. And the lines between like what’s marketing and what sales is kind of becoming blurred.

Danny:

Very blurred, right. And, you know, rightfully so. And every day, I mean it’s getting more and more, I think those lines are getting more blurred because that gray area is there. So I think you mentioned it: sort of a key point there. You’re saying that I think it’s interesting when you go and you talk to the sales rep and say, Hey which leads do you want? Well just send them all to me. I think that kind of speaks maybe back to a little bit of strategy, persona development, all that. And you’re saying that, Hey, when marketers say, look we’ve got all of these leads, this is great. But I think the big key question here is, are they the right leads? Are these people that are returning? ‘Cause yeah you can fill leads all day long. You turn a PPC campaign, and sure people are clicking on your website, people just, you know, doing form fills and all this. But, is it like, are these key client– are these the personas that we’re looking to develop and sell to?

Andrea:

Yeah, that’s a great point. And I think that’s a judgment call that sales is trying to make every day. They have an unlimited number of people they could follow up with. So they’re tasked with where am I going to spend my time? And if your leads don’t fit their high value profile, they’re just not going to pick up the phone and call them.

Danny:

Yeah, right. No exactly.

Andrea:

So I think kind of the next frontier is like how do we get tools into our sales reps hands so that they get the right prospect at the right time with the right content.

Danny:

Gotcha. Yeah, I knew that. So maybe, you know, let’s speak to that company that is maybe thinking about investing. Saying, okay, you know what we want to go ahead and jump in this marketing automation. And maybe they don’t even have a CRM, maybe they do. But they’re saying, Hey, we want to do some of this. What are a couple of steps or a couple of key things that they could do on the front end before they go and make that investment to be able to really maximize that and making sure that they’re set up for success.

Andrea:

Yeah. I think the first key is that it’s not a marketing decision or an IT decision. It has to be the sales, whoever’s your VP of sales, sales director, whatever that title is. They have to be a hundred percent bought into the concept of online lead generation and lead nurturing and see the same vision that you do or it will fall flat every time.

Danny:

Okay. Interesting. That makes sense. You brought in another key point that I kind of forgot about, but IT. But it’s interesting. So making sure that it’s set up. Okay what other things are there that, you know, that would help them to make sure that they can roll out that successfully?

Andrea:

I think there also needs to be a constant dialogue. So having that conversation about, what are the right leads to pass along? And not taking that first answer of, “Well send me all of them,” as the bottom line. But, kind of negotiating a shared vision of success. Like, what do we expect to happen with these marketing efforts? How do we measure it? And then having that conversation over and over and over so that everyone’s on the same page about how we’re tracking, what’s really happening, and you can address the strategy as needed.

Danny:

Yeah, and I think that that makes– a key thing that I could pick out is making sure to have that conversation over and over again. Sometimes that conversation will change a little bit and I think that it’s important because if you’re doing it right, you’re kind of measuring it. You’re looking at things you’re saying, Hey, we’re we’re measuring this and we’re seeing this over here. You know what? We just discovered something that we didn’t think about. Maybe we need to make an adjustment and that’s okay. But if you’re not analyzing that and looking at that and then having those conversations, then you can miss that.

Andrea:

Yeah, that’s a great point.

Danny:

The other great point is just communicating that. And making sure it’s like, Hey, let’s have the come to Jesus whatever with everybody like look, this is the goal. This is where we’re going. Let’s not forget like this is what we want to do. Because I mean it’s so easy to be like, Oh wow, all these amazing things. Let’s go this way or that way, you know, and just being grounded.

Andrea:

And part of that grounding exercise as a team is sitting down and mapping out, okay what does lead nurturing look like for my company? So if we had the perfect sales process that we could make fully automated, what would that be? If you don’t have an answer to that question it’s really hard to automate a process that doesn’t exist.

Danny:

Yeah, and I think again I mean it’s kind of like putting the cart before the horse or the, yeah, that’s right. Did I say that right?

Andrea:

Yeah, cart before the horse.

Danny:

I get those so confused. Right. But you know that saying right?

Andrea:

Same deal.

Danny:

So if I’m hearing it correctly, having that process mapped out ahead of time before even saying, Hey, let’s figure out which platform is going to work well for us. Let’s look at the sales process, but also the nurturing process. And like, what does that look like? And what are the steps? ‘Cause maybe I guess you maybe work a little backwards from there and say, okay, now let’s find a tool, the right tools that fit that need versus the other way saying, well, this is what we have. How can we make this work with what we’ve got?

Andrea:

Yeah. So taking the process that you want to replicate and using technology to support that. Not using technology to try to sub in for a process that doesn’t exist.

Danny:

That makes a lot of sense. So bringing in the right people, the decision ahead of time, making sure that you have a clear understanding of the objectives where you want to go, and then really mapping out that process ahead of time. So don’t buy the stuff, you know, don’t buy the tools and get all that. It’s really, Hey, let’s figure this out, and then that should influence that purchase.

Andrea:

Yeah. And if it’s sort of like a half baked idea in your head, like, okay, we know we want to call webinar leads and send them three email touch points. Before you roll out a huge automation program for that, try it with a handful of leads and see what happens. Like make sure that it’s the right process to automate before you go through all that legwork.

Danny:

Before you go whole hog on that. Okay, yeah that makes sense. What else? Are there any other tips for those companies that are saying that they’re thinking about making that investment, but they haven’t done it yet? We’ll get to those who have, and see there, but…

Andrea:

Yeah. Yeah, I guess for companies that are considering making an investment in marketing automation another piece to consider is, do we have the content to support this? Like what are we going to be sending people? Do we have white papers, blogs, videos, things that we can get in front of people in an automated way because the process, the content, and the technology are kind of the three things that come together to make a successful program.

Danny:

Process, content and technology. Okay I like those. Those are great three key points. Yeah, good point about the content. Sorry.

Andrea:

If I had to throw a one fourth one in there, just mixing it up. Data. So do you have clean prospect data? We also can’t email people who we don’t have email addresses for.

Danny:

We can’t? Oh okay. Alright, can we spam people?

Andrea:

Hopefully not, hopefully not. But going through your Salesforce data or whatever CRM you’re using or Excel spreadsheets if you’re still in that place. But doing an audit of that, using a tool like Brave Verify, Never Bounce to scrub any bad emails off of the list. To start with clean, fresh data when you get going.

Danny:

That’s a great point there. Yeah, clean, clean data. ‘Cause you can get in some trouble when you don’t do that.

Andrea:

Pretty quickly.

Danny:

Yeah very quickly. So we might’ve had a few experiences with that in the past. That was great. So we’ve got, gosh, I’m trying to remember to recap this. Making sure you’ve got the content, which I think is an overlooked thing a little bit too. It’s like, oh good let’s go ahead and buy this thing, but then you’re kind of missing like, okay what are we actually going to send in it? There’s a lot. It takes a lot to develop the right content. Obviously it’s a question of budget. It’s a question of resources. A big question is, is this content actually relevant and really helpful? I think also making sure that, is it actually working? Making sure that the content you’re going to put in there is measurable to, you know, as much as you can make it. Which I mean obviously not just getting it into a system like this is necessarily going to make it automatically measurable. There’s so many little tips and tools and tricks and you know, all kinds of things that you have to do to be able to do that.

Andrea:

Yeah, and another thing to think through is like what is the content that your sales reps are actually asking for? Sometimes as marketers we can get carried away with all the content we could create. So the blogs and explainer videos and things that are more like ready for the top of the funnel. Whereas sales might be looking for something that’s a little more geared at, okay what do I need to get in front of this prospect that I want to close?

Danny:

Right, yeah. So something a little bit more it doesn’t have to be as flashy, but maybe something a little bit more, you know, more informational.

Andrea:

More action-oriented. Yeah.

Danny:

Great point. So I mean, honestly, really at the end of the day we say this a lot here on IndustrialSage, a lot of it just goes back to strategy. Instead of just saying, look, let’s put together a plan. Let’s figure all this out. What is this going to look like? Let’s pretend that we don’t have this. And let’s kind of, like you said, build out that process. Let’s talk to the right people that need to be involved in this, certainly IT, sales and let’s figure out like, Hey, who do we need to really attract, like what kind of leads? What do they look like? Persona, you know, verticals, all that good stuff, because all that’s going to flow backwards. We can kind of work backwards from there. Right? Content and the data making sure that you’ve got– a, that you do have data that you can use or you have access to it. And it’s clean, all that good stuff. Okay.

Andrea:

One hundred percent agree.

Danny:

So, alright. Let’s jump to the– what about those companies that might’ve already done this? And they’re like, yeah you know we went from literally– I know a few companies who may or may not have done this, but so yeah we’ve got a website it’s like from the 80s and we don’t have a CRM. We’ve got a bunch of Excel spreadsheets we’ve got a CSV and that’s where everyone’s at, but yeah, gosh darn it we need a CRM and we need marketing automation, so we’re getting Salesforce and we’re getting Pardot and we’re going now. Boom, let’s go. And then we need all these other tools and all these other things. And then, you know, they’re like, Oh man there’s a lot here. This isn’t working as much as I thought. What do you recommend there? In that situation.

Andrea:

Definitely recommend the crawl, walk, run approach. So after you implement a big platform like Salesforce or a marketing automation tool, set quarterly goals of what you can– like bites you could actually chew. Because otherwise a year later you look at your contract and you say, okay like what have we really done with this thing? We’ve paid twelve plus thousand dollars and have we really seen the value?

Danny:

Right, yeah. Yeah. So otherwise you might be doing the opposite when you’re running and then you’re walking and then you’re crawling, ’cause you’re just like, crushed. Like, “Oh my gosh, this thing’s so busy.”

Andrea:

Yeah and a trap that I see a lot of companies falling into is using their marketing automation platform like a glorified email marketing tool. So just using it to send like ongoing list emails which it’s great at, but there’s so much more that it could do.

Danny:

That’s what MailChimp’s for.

Andrea:

Yeah.

Danny:

I love MailChimp, they’re great. Actually, they’ve got quite a bit of automation tools and stuff in there but anyways, you know, Constant Contact maybe. I don’t know.

Andrea:

Yeah, you don’t need to pay a marketing automation price tag for like, MailChimp level functionality.

Danny:

Exactly. Not downing MailChimp. We like MailChimp.

Andrea:

Yeah we love MailChimp.

Danny:

It’s just different tools, right?

Andrea:

Yeah.

Danny:

So, okay.

Andrea:

Yeah, so at least on a quarterly basis, I would say reviewing the functionality that you’re not using and kind of just doing a high level state of the account audit can be useful. Especially with new features coming out and integrations improving new connectors being released. It’s important to stay on top of that stuff.

Danny:

No, that totally makes sense. What about that company that– so, I mean those are really great tips here, but what about the ones that are just realizing like Oh man, we are way over our head like in this. Maybe they’re eight months into it, or like you said the renewals coming up or something and you’re just like, ah, geez. You know what steps do you think at that point to say, Hey, look, we’ve got to figure this out ’cause we were just, I don’t know.

Andrea:

Yeah. Yeah, I mean definitely considering a partner and being realistic about what your internal capacity is, is important I think.

Danny:

That’s a good point. Yeah, yeah.

Andrea:

Another thing to consider is like how can you move the ball? I’m going to use two metaphors in the same sentence, but how do you move the ball without trying to boil the ocean? Like how can you make progress without feeling like you have to tackle everything in the world that could possibly be automated? One way that I’ve seen people successfully do this is by running like pilot programs. So picking like three to five sales reps who… not necessarily your top dollar sales reps, but the ones that are the hungriest. The ones that actually care to follow up on leads that marketing has generated. So work with them to build a little pilot program. Design a follow-up process that they can test and give you feedback on, and use that to kind of springboard what you do next.

Danny:

No, this is such a great tip. I mean that’s– you know, and I think that’s the beauty of the product, ’cause that’s really what it’s built for. Is to be able to help. And once it’s actually functioning and working well it’s amazing. You know, the sales teams they’re all excited because they’re actually providing really qualified leads and really helping them on their job. You know, it’s essentially you can kind of like take your Salesforce a little bit more and flip it all to a little bit more, you know of an inside sales type approach. And it’s exciting once that is there. So, yeah.

Andrea:

Yeah, the way you put it: helping sales do their job, that’s what it’s all about. I also think it’s worth sitting down with your reps and just watching them do their thing for a while. Like see how they use the system, sit in on their pipeline meetings, ride along with them to a sales call and just see what their day-to-day workflow looks like. I can guarantee you we’ll see like five to ten opportunities for automation right out of the gate.

Danny:

That’s a really great point. Actually, oh wait– there was a couple of episodes we had, they were talking about basically the same thing. Saying, look you know, they spent, I think maybe it was once a week or once a month, but they would do that spend time with the sales team just to get an understanding. Just to, you know, get in their shoes and just you know be that fly on the wall and say, Oh, you know, how can I help make your job a little easier? Let me think you’re doing this thing over and over and over and over. Maybe there’s a template or something we can quickly make that you could use when you respond back to people or maybe there’s, you know, some sort of trigger that we could use that.

Andrea:

Yeah.

Danny:

All kinds of great things like that.

Andrea:

Yeah, and what parts of the system do they get excited about? Like, are the lead revisit alerts? Is that making their day? Or what functionality can you roll out to help them get excited about what you’re trying to do?

Danny:

That’s a really great tip. I’m going to ask you this other question. Do you sense sometimes that there is– I mean data is awesome and you’ve got all the analytics and all kinds of stuff. At what point do you feel or do you feel that there is too much data or too much analytics, too much information? I mean, does that, can that be a challenge?

Andrea:

Absolutely. Yeah. I mean as marketers there’s all kinds of data points we can look at. I mean like number of website visits, number of visitors, time on site, bounce rate, conversion rate, all of those numbers don’t mean a whole lot to people outside of the marketing department. We need that data to improve what we’re doing on the marketing side. But when it comes to like reporting that out and sharing that information, information overload is a good way to have everybody tune you out.

Danny:

That’s true. That’s a really good point. And to the point to kind of circle back to that conversation we had before making sure to communicate the results and the things that are going on there. Do you have it like a list, like maybe a top whatever, as far as metrics like here are the ones that you should really be caring about and looking at, and these are the ones that we should be focusing on.

Andrea:

Yeah. I think the ultimate goal is to get to the point where you can say marketing contributed this much to pipeline. This is a dollar sign of number of opportunities we sourced. And a dollar sign of number of opportunities we influenced. That’s the perfect place to get to.

Danny:

Absolutely, yeah.

Andrea:

If you can’t quite get there, if your data’s not in a place where you have that information, reporting on lead metrics is kind of the like the next best thing, but would definitely definitely encourage you to look at your process so that you can track lead to revenue the whole way through and report on those numbers.

Danny:

Actually I’ve got another question. As far as reporting are there any other tools that you might recommend? I mean just outside of, you know, tools that are built in specifically within like your part out of your Marketo are there other tools that are more helpful with that or you know?

Andrea:

Yeah. When it comes to bottom of the funnel reporting, Salesforce is really the powerhouse there. That’s where everything comes together and we connect all those marketing dots to the ultimate dollars. In terms of other reporting platforms, to be honest I do a lot of reporting in Excel.

Danny:

Hey, it’s a great tool.

Andrea:

And some of the native reporting in marketing automation platforms isn’t anything to write home about.

Danny:

Sure, yeah.

Andrea:

But yeah once you come up with a great dashboard template, it’s something you can reuse over and over.

Danny:

So just downloading CSVs and different, you know, different lists and different things and kind of meshing all that data together. Okay, perfect. No, that’s great. So, alright. Well Andrea thanks so much for that. That was a lot of great information out there. And so if there’s anybody that has any questions how could they reach you? What’s the best way?

Andrea:

You can find me online. Twitter, it’s at Andrea Tarrell. I also have a blog called TheSpotforPardot.com.

Danny:

Perfect, alright.

Andrea:

Post content there about weekly.

Danny:

Okay. Excellent. Alright, well, thanks again. And yeah, Hey, listen, as always, thanks for joining us on IndustrialSage. A lot of great information here. Look if you’re one of those companies that have gone ahead and made that big investment into you know Salesforce or a Pardot, Marketo or whatever, and you’re realizing, oh my gosh this is completely over our heads. Look, take a step back. Really kind of break things down, you know, focus in on some of these pilot programs and really get traction there. You know, it’s okay it happens.

For those other companies that are thinking, hey, we need to make this transition, we haven’t done it yet, make sure that you plan ahead of time. Make sure you talk to the right people ahead of time. Make sure you have a really good understanding of the leads that you need to be generating. Really looking at those personas, looking at those verticals that you want to get in front of. Looking at what success is going to look like. Making sure that you have content ready to go. Make sure you’ve got data. I know it sounds like a lot. It is a lot, but it’s going to be amazing once you have that set up. And so it’s going to be successful, you can make it make it successful. I am butchering my words, but it’s okay. We’re going to keep going.

So as always, thanks so much for watching this episode. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. We’re answering your questions every week. IndustrialSage.com/questions. And on social media please share this, like this. You know do all the things post content, ask us questions. If you’re listening on iTunes, we’d love a review. That’d be awesome. And as always again, thanks so much for watching. I’m Danny Gonzales and this is IndustrialSage.

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