How to Get Ramped up with Marketing Automation [Expert Interview]


Last week, our summer camp series touched on the intricacies of customer support and creating more effective B2B websites. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Susan Spicknall, Senior Implementation Specialist and a long-time Pardot veteran. At Pardot, Susan helps ensure that the client onboarding process runs as smoothly as possible — but outside of work, she’s an avid dancer and a self-taught mandolin player.

Let’s hear what Susan has to say about getting started with marketing automation: how you can prepare, tips for getting started, and ways that you can start taking your marketing to the next level.

Take it away, Susan!

So Susan, you’ve been guiding clients through implementation for quite some time now. How would you recommend that marketers prepare for their new tool so that they can begin seeing success right off the bat?

Make sure to identify your short-term goals for success. Based on your overall business and marketing goals, do you need to generate more leads? Are you more focused on increasing engagement with your existing customers for cross-selling opportunities? Both?

Once you know your goals, you’ll be able to set your priorities as a team. Then stick to them! If and when they change, that’s okay — just make sure everyone is aware of the new direction you’re heading. Be sure to communicate your goals both internally and to anyone who is guiding you through your implementation. You’ll find the most value in your onboarding experience when your implementation resource knows what you consider to be the most valuable.

For Pardot specifically, identify which team member(s) from your company will become your Pardot Power users. It’s incredibly important and valuable to have someone who takes ownership of the onboarding experience from your team. It’s great to have a lot of cooks in the kitchen, but without a head chef (or two) providing that guidance and vision for your team, you’re more likely to face internal confusion and frustration.

If you could only offer one piece of advice to marketers who are just getting started with marketing automation, what would it be?

Don’t get bogged down! There are so many features in marketing automation tools that people sometimes get overwhelmed trying to do everything at once. Yes, be sure you’re maximizing your efficiencies and value by using the tool extensively. Absolutely. But sometimes people can’t see the forest for the trees. Think like a prospect. This should always be your true north. It’s not especially profound, but I find the simple reminders to be the most powerful. This mindset can (and should) trickle down into every element of your campaigns.

For example, with your Marketing Campaigns, make sure you’re asking yourself questions like these:

  • How does this make my job easier? How is this going to help my team?
  • What do I want to know… and when… and in what format? What kind of questions will my boss be asking, and when?
  • When and how do I want someone to contact me?

That’s great advice. What about once users are ramped up? What are three ways that marketers can take their marketing to the next level with automation?

First — personalization is key. Your campaigns and content are going to be much more relevant to your prospects when they are personal. Use a prospect’s name, ask how things are in their city, call out their product interest specifically, and pull in data automatically from their prospect record. Tactically, variable tags are such an easy win for quick personalization. Dynamic content can save your team hours. Why create different emails when you can customize your messaging and blocks of content with three clicks instead?

Also, if you are using Pardot forms and haven’t implemented progressive profiling yet, be sure you do! This is such a great opportunity to acquire new, personal data about your prospects. I won’t preach about how valuable data is, but this really allows marketers to up the ante on their segmentation for more targeted communications. Plus, having this kind of demographic information allows you to do more advanced grading and qualification, which is a huge benefit to sales.

The next time you’re sending a list email, try out A/B testing. This will help you identify how to increase your prospects’ engagement with your emails. Again, think like them. I’m more likely to open an email that’s sent from Suzy Matus than, or to open an email whose subject line is more conversational than filled with jargon. But don’t take my word for it — let the results of your A/B test and the data speak for itself.

Second – get into scoring and grading your prospects. Pardot offers a baseline scoring system to give clients a head start on their scoring model, so you don’t have to recreate the wheel right out of the gate. Let the baseline run its course for a couple of months if you can. Then, chat with your sales team about whether those leads truly were qualified, and if their scores were a fair measure of the lead’s activity and intent to buy. After that, you’ll have more perspective on what makes sense to tweak.

For grading, Pardot also provides a default profile that clients can customize as they build out their buyer personas. You likely have buyer personas already created for segmentation and your other campaigns — but if not, go ahead and start working on those. That will also help make your grading setup incredibly easy.

Lastly – make sure you’ve trained your sales team on how to use the data that marketing is collecting and sharing in Salesforce. It’s pretty intuitive, but everyone has questions about new systems, and that’s understandable. Have at least a 30-minute training session for the team on what the data means and how they should use it. Start with the early adopters from your team who can also help lead and influence the rest of the team to find value and increase their efficiencies. And if you haven’t checked out Salesforce Engage yet, be sure to do that. It’s a game changer for sales teams.

Awesome tips! What would you say is your favorite marketing automation tip or trick?

Dynamic content is awesome. Everyone who is using marketing automation should have and use dynamic content. It’s probably the easiest and best way to make your messaging more personal for prospects. It will increase engagement for more effective nurturing and save your team a lot of time. We see clients use dynamic content for so many things — subject lines, body content, email signatures, and more. They basically use these building blocks to create far more tailored communications for one email, and can reconfigure them for follow-up emails.

Okay, now onto the fun part. Since we’ve been talking so much about summer camp, what would you say was the best part about being a kid?

Was? Pretty sure I still am! This is really timely because I absolutely loved summer as a kid. We had some neighbors and close family friends who had a pool. I remember learning how to swim and dive there, and unintentionally mastering the belly and back flops too. When I think of summer as a kid, I think of that, as well as watching my brother play baseball, sidewalk chalking our entire driveway, and staying up really late watching The Wonder Years on Nick at Nite. Wild, right? I’m pretty sure summer is intended to keep everyone a bit more child-like at heart, so I try to stick to that as much as I can.

[Editor’s Note: You can see Susan in her glory days in the image at the bottom of this page.]

That’s some advice we should all take to heart. Okay, one more: if you were a professional athlete and had a walk-out song, what would it be?

“Superstition” by Stevie Wonder. It’s a classic, and I get so pumped up just thinking about it! It would probably be less of a “walk out” song and more of a “dance out” song for me because I can’t hear it and sit still. But I also love to dance like a fool, and this song lends itself so well that. Yeah, I’m going to have to go listen to it right now.

And there you have it, folks! Be sure to start putting Susan’s tips to good use, and stay tuned for our next summer camp post on lead nurturing. 


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One thought on “How to Get Ramped up with Marketing Automation [Expert Interview]

  • On dynamic content, it is also super easy to use in most commercial and open source CMS systems. It only takes seconds to combine dynamic email content and web content to surround and target a prospect based on his/her specific behaviors, profile data and firmographic information.

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