As Chief Experience Officer at Tegrita Consulting Group, my role is centered around ensuring our clients have the best customer experience working with Tegrita. To do my job successfully, I must first understand the current customer experience and actively develop and manage a plan to improve it. My experience with Eloqua began on the client side as an Eloqua power user and a user of another Marketing Automation Platform (MAP). I have learned that the customer experience begins during the pre-sales process. Regardless of MAP selection, it is vital to have a skilled and knowledgeable implementation partner who can grow with you, allowing your organization’s marketing automation strategy to succeed. If you are in the process of choosing a MAP or realize your partner choice wasn’t the best for your team, this blog post will guide you through the process from pre-sales to on-going growth using your MAP.
Choosing the right MAP is key. You not only have to think about what your organization needs today but also about how your marketing will evolve over the next few years. First, consider the features and functionality that are important:
- Do you have multiple audiences and need to offer different subscription options? If so, can you custom build using the MAP you are considering?
- Do you have multiple brands, divisions or regions with unique requirements? If so, can the MAP support the needs of each team?
- Can your CRM and the other tools that are a part of your technology stack be integrated with the MAP?
- Does the MAP have advanced functionality like Dynamic Content, Signature Rules, and Data Tools?
Once you have narrowed the selection to 2 or 3 vendors based on the required features and functionality, look at the data structure and analytics capabilities. Big Data and Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) are not just industry buzz words. To effectively segment your Contacts and personalize your communications, your MAP must support not only your current data structure but also the ability to store additional data points. Once your Campaigns are up and running, you will need to understand which of your Campaigns are effective. Key questions to consider related to data structure and reporting include:
- Does the MAP support your current data structure?
- Can the MAP align to your current Lead Management process?
- Does the MAP allow customizations and expansions?
- Can you store data that is not 1:1 (such as purchase history or opportunities) in the MAP?
- Does the MAP offer the right out-of-the box reports to support your business needs? Can these reports be customized?
- Can the MAP easily integrate with your Business Intelligence tool?
Finally, examine the MAP partner and customer ecosystem. The best-in-class Marketing Automation Platforms have both a strong partner ecosystem and user community. It is important that you have continued support and resources throughout your Modern Marketing Journey!
- Are there many partners supporting the MAP and integrations?
- How many app providers “plug in”, and what is the customer feedback consensus?
- Is there a user community?
- What live and pre-recorded training options are available?
Once you have chosen your MAP, the next step is to look for an implementation partner who can not only get you up and running, but continue to help you grow in your Modern Marketing Journey. Many factors contribute to who you choose as your implementation partner, but experience has taught me that one factor that is the least important is price. The right partner will understand your needs, listens to your pain points, strategize with you, and share their knowledge and experience with you and your team.
Choosing an Implementation Partner is like choosing a life partner. Trust, transparency, and synergy are essential. Does your team struggle with meeting deadlines? Then choose a partner that can hold your team accountable. Do you have internal politics that may derail the implementation? Choose a partner who can be an objective 3rd party and serve as the voice of reason. Is your team highly technical and require direction without hand holding? Or less technical and need more guidance? Choose a partner that can align to the temperament of your team. Most qualified implementation partners have similar experience levels, so finding the right fit for your organization leads to a successful implementation.
Here are some key questions to ask the implementation partners you are considering:
- How do you establish and manage your project timelines and budgets?
- How do you ensure that our team is learning and will be able to maintain Eloqua after the implementation is complete?
- How do you organize your project teams? Who will be my main point of contact?
- What experience do you have working with clients like us?
- How would you describe your approach to working with your clients?
IMPLEMENTATION (NOT ONBOARDING)
“Implementation” is a loaded word that includes the configuration, customization, and testing of your MAP. However, not all Marketing Automation implementations are created equal. Some vendors offer a basic “onboarding process” that focuses solely on the tasks required for set up. Others offer a more traditional, but generic, implementation process. The best Marketing Automation vendors, like Eloqua and Responsys, provide a robust and customizable implementation that include an adoption plan for long-term success.
At the start of your implementation, you will need to establish and review the timeline and milestones with your partner. This timeline should account for your organization’s internal deadlines, competing projects requiring the same resources, and other key factors that will impact the overall implementation. Following the project kick-off, you will need to gather the prerequisites and, if your organization chose Eloqua or Responsys as your MAP, start your training by taking the Oracle Academy Fundamentals Training courses. Learn the basics on your own so that your implementation consultant can focus on use-case training that is applicable to, and useful for your organization.
Depending on the size of your organization, it may make sense to create an internal review and approval process as you lay the foundation. Confer diligently with your objectives, validate often, and ensure that the “now” will make sense for the “later.” As you reach each milestone, do not forget to celebrate. Congratulate yourself and your company!
Finally, have faith in the process.
Tegrita’s Implementation methodology has been created (and refined) based on over 80,000 hours of consulting and feedback from clients. This ensures the process works for all organizations, no matter where they are in their life cycle, and for all levels of technology maturity. Tegrita’s approach to our clients’ success is what sets us apart from others in our industry. Client Enablement and Knowledge Transfer are two of our core pillars of success. We have valuable experience that can help your organization succeed, and it is our goal to share everything we know to ensure your growth and succeed.
Go live is the “official” day when all the core objectives and training from your implementation are completed, reviewed and approved. By this point, you have at least built an Email, a Segment, and a Campaign. You may have even created a field merge or some dynamic content. Celebrate!
Your marketing automation product is something that you grow into (and not out of). This means your organization is not likely to be using all of the functionality at go live. I prefer the “crawl, walk, run” (or phased) approach.
Now that you are up and running with a firm grasp on the fundamentals, scaling back support makes sense. You may feel like you understand all the basics, and you may feel as if you do not need continual support but you still have objectives remaining from your pre-sales process. How will you accomplish the next set?
It is important to think ahead and focus on your long-term goals. Not all Implementation partners focus on the “what next?” right at the beginning of the project but we find the most successful clients are always forward looking. As your knowledge of the MAP grows and your organization evolves, there is always “more” to do. You may be asked to accomplish new goals by your higher-ups, or automate more of your manual processes, or make your Campaigns more personalized. Whatever that next step looks like, your implementation partner should support you as you grow.
The need for ongoing support from a partner can vary greatly from one organization to the next. Some companies need light handholding and only need their partner to review Campaigns and assets before going live, answering questions, or simply to discuss and review the proposed steps to accomplish the next set of objectives.
Other organizations need more support. A trusted partner can also be the extension of your team. Your implementation partner has been instrumental in implementing your MAP so they know your objectives and can operate as part of the team for ancillary support to help your organization grow even faster.
Most important of all, you should feel confident in your MAP technology and partner selection. You should feel supported and enabled through every step of your modern marketing journey to achieve your objectives faster. Ultimately, this partnership should aid your growth and lead to increased adoption within your organization. The Tegrita team is available to you at any time to discuss how we can help you successfully implement Eloqua or Responsys. For more information, contact us.