According to the Walker Sands 2018 State of Marketing Technology report, sixty-three percent of marketers feel the martech landscape has evolved rapidly or at light speed in the last year, while only 28 percent feel the same about their company’s use of martech.
As companies continue to see the value of and secure the budget for marketing technology tools, they’re also realizing that squeezing the full value of these tools can be difficult. In other words, they need help in order to see ROI from their martech spend.
We asked 9x Salesforce.com Certified Consultant and Torchlite expert Karl B. to discuss how marketing teams can get the most from Marketing Cloud, and how on-demand freelance experts can help marketers do more with the platform.
What is the most common issue you see when working with Salesforce Marketing Cloud customers?
The most common roadblock I see, especially with new Marketing Cloud customers, is the expectation that Marketing Cloud is like other marketing automation platforms—that new users can jump in and immediately leverage all the cool features Salesforce promotes.
That’s when you start hearing customer complaints about Marketing Cloud; how it’s hard to use and it doesn’t work like their old marketing automation platform. Especially if they’ve come from platforms like HubSpot, which are less powerful, but easy to use.
While Marketing Cloud has come a long way in simplifying complex functionality for users—take Journey Builder, for example—the real power lies in how Marketing Cloud allows you to build nearly any solution your business might need.
But that power has a price. Marketing Cloud requires training and a developer mindset to truly leverage the capabilities it offers. I often describe Marketing Cloud as a “marketing automation construction set.”
What do you predict will be a bigger problem in the next year for Salesforce Marketing Cloud customers?
Honestly, a shortage of Marketing Cloud professionals. Customer interest in Marketing Cloud is growing faster than the supply of experienced Marketing Cloud consultants and developers. Lack of training resources has been key to this shortage. Salesforce has created some Trailhead training modules for Marketing Cloud and I can’t help but expect that more are on the way. Trailhead has turned into an incredible learning resource for Sales and Service Clouds and Salesforce’s other clouds. I look forward to seeing how Trailhead training evolves for Marketing Cloud.
What is your most frequently shared tip for using Salesforce?
When in doubt—Google it! During training, I always tell my clients that “Google is their best friend” when using SFMC or the other Salesforce clouds. Chances are someone else has asked for help for the same problem in Salesforce’s own communities or on StackExchange. And then there are blog posts and, of course, Salesforce’s documentation.
On the flip side, what’s your “secret” tip for Salesforce success?
Education. Never stop learning when it comes to Salesforce—especially SFMC, which evolves so quickly. And don’t be afraid to tackle new areas, like writing SQL queries or learning AMPScript. The best SFMC users found out early on that the real power in SFMC comes from thinking like a marketer, but building like a developer. And that means getting out of your comfort zone and learning some tech.
What is your proudest Salesforce-related project?
Probably my second SFMC project. The client already had a very complex Sales Cloud org and needed to create dynamic meeting notification emails delivered by a Journey. That project pushed me to level up my SQL skills, dig deep into AMPScript and learn how to code API callouts from Sales Cloud to Marketing Cloud. That’s when I realized how critical developer skills are for accessing the power in SFMC.
What are you most excited about in the current B2B marketing scene?
Funny, but it’s been an ongoing issue for me since my days as a copywriter and marketing consultant that’s finally gaining traction. Marketers forget when selling B2B that they’re selling to people, not businesses. While the best B2B marketers have always known this, the rest are catching on and realizing that engaging with the person, not the business, is critical, especially in the first touches. I think social media has helped marketers embrace the human connection that’s essential in B2B marketing.
Personalization is key to establishing relevance, and I think AI offers enormous potential in helping marketers craft relevant messages to cut through the barrage of bland marketing that prospects face every day. Applying AI effectively and ethically is going to be an exciting challenge in the years to come.
Why do you think having an on-demand SFMC expert is necessary?
SFMC can be frustrating for marketers new to the platform and the learning curve is demanding. An on-demand SFMC expert accelerates time-to-delivery for your campaigns. And, quite simply, it’s the best way to unlock the power of SFMC for your business without dedicating your internal staff to many hours of training and the necessary trial and error experience.
Does your marketing team need help implementing or optimizing Salesforce Marketing Cloud? Check out our previous Q&A with Sean, another of our on-demand Salesforce experts, or browse our marketplace of vetted, certified Marketing Cloud experts and unlock the value of your marketing technology today.
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