The Marketing Operations Playbook – aligning Sales and Marketing in one document

Alignment across the company is one of the most valuable and important elements to organizations succeeding. It’s just like the rowing team in the featured image of this post … if you don’t have the team rowing together you’re not going to win the race. I know this article specifically called out “marketing and sales alignment” in it’s title but in reality this is applicable to the entire organization.

Staying aligned within an organization is hard — particularly if you’re in a fast-paced environment where every day feels like a fleeting moment — and supporting alignment within a rapidly growing company (particularly the marketing and sales teams) can be extremely fulfilling and challenging at the same time.

One of my favorite activities to improve marketing and sales alignment is to build the Marketing Operations Playbook [MOP]. The remainder of this post is to share what that is to me and how I build them… let me know what you think in the comments!

What is a “Marketing Operations Playbook”?

The Marketing Operations Playbook is meant to serve as the organizations official document on the processes, procedures, and tools for handling all the people that move through the Marketing & Sales funnel.

The Marketing Operations Playbook should also act as an anchor for the organizations lifecycle program. This means all new and existing employees should be able to refer to the MOP to have a clearer understanding of how a record will move through the lifecycle stages of the business.

Tip: Because every business will have unique departments, roles, tools, and terminology it’s important to build out the MOP with stakeholders from across the organization to ensure nothing is missed.

Why Build a Marketing Operations Playbook?

One of the reasons I build MOP’s in my organization is to support employees. The Marketing Operations Playbook clearly defines all the tools, systems, and processes a new (or existing) employee should know. The clearer an employee is on the systems and processes that are in use, the easier (and faster) it will be for a the new employee to ramp up.

Ultimately, It’s all about ramping up with speed and efficiency. Any good manager or business owner will tell you to spend time training your employees and get them ramped up quickly. The sooner they are more autonomous the better.

What’s in a Marketing Operations Playbook?

There are some pretty common questions that come up when a company is growing, particularly if you are growing fast. Some of the ways a MOP can help is when employees need answers to common questions like:

  • What is the difference between an iMQL and MQL?
  • What tools do we use for CRM and Marketing?
  • How do we manage marketing campaigns?
  • How are lead sources attributed to records?

Although every organization is different, I believe there are at least 9 key elements that should always exist in the standard MOP.

  1. Demand Generation Tools
  2. Sales Tools
  3. Internal Communication Tools
  4. Lifecycle Management
  5. Lead Source Attribution
  6. Opportunity Source Attribution
  7. Marketing Campaign Management & Reporting
  8. Internal Document Management
  9. Definitions / Index

Below I’ve expanded on what goes into those 9 elements (in no particular order) that I have often placed in my MOP.

The Standard Marketing Operations Playbook Elements:

Demand Generation Tools

Use this section to define any and all demand generation tools your organization is using. Include as many tools as your organization has in place and be sure to ask your team and other colleagues if you have missed something.

Once you have them all listed, take the time to individually define what the purpose of the tool is and how your organization is using it.

Tip: If you have multiple tools and managers and maybe multiple stakeholders, it’s also helpful to add the Manager of the tool and the stakeholder(s) involved. Something like this:

[Name of Tool]
Manager: Mike Rizzo, Marketing Person
Stakeholder: Bob Smith, VP of Marketing

Sales Tools

Be clear about the tools you’re using in the Sales organization. This is the same methodology used in the “Demand Genration Tools” section but specific to the Sales team.

It’s extremely important to be thorough, so if you’re not sure what tools are being used by the sales team, ask the head of sales and any of the sales reps what they use to do their job.

Some examples of tools you might list are:

  • CRM (Salesforce, SugarCRM, HubSpot)
  • Prospecting Tools (Salesloft, etc.)

Tip: Even if you think you’ve covered all the tools, don’t hesitate to ask a few sales reps what they use. You might be surprised and discover some overlapping tools within the organization. Your technology budget will thank you when you find those 🙂

Internal Communication Tools

Although this doesn’t feel like something that should be in the MOP, I would argue that a full understanding of the ways people communicate is essential to aligning the team (and the company).

I personally like to list the tools used at my company for internal communications. Some of those tools that fall into this section might be:

  • Skype
  • Slack
  • G-chat
  • HipChat

Again, more clarity around what people should be using for specific actions means less friction between the organization.

Lifecycle Management

Be clear, be thorough. Explain each stage of the potential customer’s lifecycle like you were talking to a five year old…. okay maybe not 5, but try to make it really easy to understand. I like the way HubSpot describes their lifecycle stages so I often use their descriptions.

Lead Source Attribution

Every lead comes from somewhere. Use this section to define how you’ll attribute leads to the source they were driven from. Each company will have a different approach to lead source attribution so it’s important to take the time discussing how leads will be counted against their source. You’ll probably want to involve a few stake holders to make sure this is accurately captured. Those involved are often leading Sales and Marketing and a few mid managers from each department.

Opportunity Source Attribution

Although this is more commonly outline in a Salesforce implementation, it’s still valuable to clearly define when an Opportunity should be left at it’s old originating source or changed to a new source.

Marketing Campaign Management & Reporting

I use this section to clearly outline where campaigns will be managed (in more depth than the “demand generations tools” if they overlap). I also cover the following:

  • Naming conventions
  • Conference and Event Lead Management
  • Multivariate Campaign Tracking
    (for later stage companies typically)

Tip: It’s never too late for a good naming convention. If you haven’t established naming conventions for your campaigns yet (or anything for that matter) I strongly recommend doing so.

Internal Document Management

I like to use this section to make it really easy for the organization to understand where to locate files within the Sales and Marketing org. Sometimes this section of the MOP is a more complex digram that explains when documents should and should not be shared with external vendors and customers (and how to do so). While other times this section can just simply outline where to find certain types of files for certain types of activities.

Some directions and links to the folders you might have in this section could be:

  • Dropbox
  • Google Drive
  • Box
  • etc.

I’ve been fortunate to use Google Drive for all of our internal file organization so internal linking between the Google Doc and the Google Drive file / folder has been a breeze.

Definitions/Index

This is probably one of the most beneficial sections out of the entire Marketing Operations Playbook. I leverage this entire section to place all of our definitions and links to important documents. I’ll even repeat the definitions I had previously placed in other sections like “Lifecycle Management” just to make it easy for anyone to jump in and find what they’re looking for.

In most word documents you’ll be able to have a Table of Contents at the top of the page to link to the elements within the document itself. If you’re using Google Docs it’s as easy as “Insert > Table Of Contents”

screencaptureproject6

Most importantly: Don’t forget to update the MOP!

Over time the MOP should be updated with any changes/updates to the processes and tools your organization is using. These updates are crucial to maintaining one source of truth for all employees to reference.If you have any questions or comments please let me know.

Tracking Sync Time In HubSpot and Salesforce

There’s a ton of research on how impactful ‘speed-to-lead’ is on the sales process. The faster your leads end up in the call queue, the more likely you are to convert them to an opportunity and customer.

Our team is always attempting to measure how long it takes our leads to make it to the sales team. So, I built a way to track that. If you want to copy what I’ve done feel free! Alternately, if you have suggestions on how to improve on this tracking or suggestions to improve the speed at which sync occurs between HubSpot + Salesforce please let me know in the comments or send me a message on my contact page.

Before we get started I think it’s important to note that our organization used the “inclusion list” functionality of the HubSpot and Salesforce integration. This causes additional snags in sync time so we wanted to measure what our average was…

In order to get this going you’ll need to setup some things in both HubSpot and Salesforce:

  1. Multiple HubSpot Workflows
  2. Custom Salesforce Fields (For calculations)
  3. Smart Lists (HubSpot)

Ready to track your speed to lead with HubSpot and Salesforce? Let’s go!

Step 1: Build Custom Field in HubSpot

First you’ll want to build a custom NUMBER field in HubSpot. You can call it whatever you like, but I chose to call mine “HubSpot to SFDC Delay”.

screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-1-11-17-pm

Step 2: Build Custom Lists in HubSpot

I built one list in HubSpot called “Workflow List | Leads Created Today – On Inclusion List – Not Synced”. We’ll call it “Workflow List” from now on.

The name of this list is pretty clear on it’s purpose but to break that down further here is what it does:

  1. It looks for leads where:
    • Create Date is less than 1 day ago
    • Is a member of the Inclusion List (the list where leads go to be sent to Salesforce)
    • The Last Salesforce Sync Time is unknown (this is a field provided by the integration)
    • The contact property Lifecycle Stage is not equal to Sales Qualified Lead or Opportunity. (I don’t need to find newly created contacts that have gone beyond MQL b/c MQL is the primary trigger for our leads to go to Salesforce. This could be different for your organization.)
  2. Once the lead makes it onto this list, the workflow I built will be triggered automatically. That workflow is called “Administrative | Step 1 Sync Delay Counter (0-5 minute)” As long as the lead stays on my list, they stay in my workflows.

This list is really valuable for both our Sales team leads and Marketing Managers / Ops Managers. They can use this list to quickly view who is still not synced with Salesforce and either use manual triggers to push leads that seem to be stuck or troubleshoot what might be causing the problem.

The other day I actually caught an integration error before HubSpot had time to publish any alert about it…. I know because I was on the phone with support when they told me a bug had been found during our call. 🙂

Step 3: Build Workflows in HubSpot

I have multiple workflows built to calculate how long a record is on my Workflow List. I did this to limit the number of steps in each workflow because it’s much easier to see the performance of a workflow when there are fewer steps.

The workflow uses the “increment a numeric property” functionality to incrementally count how long the lead is a member of the Workflow List. I set 1 minute delays between each step starting at 0 up to 5 minutes. After the completion of that workflow the lead will be enrolled into the next workflow and continue incrementing numerals of 1. I repeat this process through 9 workflows. This takes me all the way to 45 minutes. In the 10th workflow I increase the delays to 5 minutes and stop counting after 70 minutes.

So this means I have the following workflows active:

  • Administrative | Step 1 Sync Delay Counter (0-5 minute)
  • Administrative | Step 2 Sync Delay Counter (5-10 minute)
  • Administrative | Step 3 Sync Delay Counter (10-15 minute)
  • Administrative | Step 4 Sync Delay Counter (15-20 minute)
  • Administrative | Step 5 Sync Delay Counter (20-25 minute)
  • Administrative | Step 6 Sync Delay Counter (25-30 minute)
  • Administrative | Step 7 Sync Delay Counter (30-35 minute)
  • Administrative | Step 8 Sync Delay Counter (35-40 minute)
  • Administrative | Step 9 Sync Delay Counter (40-45 minute)
  • Administrative | Step 10 Sync Delay Counter (45-70 minute) | 5 Minute Intervals now

Can you tell I’m a fan of naming conventions?

Step 4: Build Custom Email Alert

Once a lead reaches the 15 minute mark on the third workflow, I built an automated email alert to tell the team we may have a problem with sync delays. This email allows the team to quickly jump to the Workflow List in HubSpot and manually sync records or troubleshoot any problems.

screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-4-13-08-pm
Sample of the email alert we send to the team. Hint: It has a GIF.

Step 5 (optional): Build Formula Fields in Salesforce

If merely alerting the team isn’t enough, you can also build a calculation field in Salesforce to produce average speed-to-lead dashboards. To do this consult your Sales Operations Manager to help or if you’ve got an inquisitive / adventurous side give it a shot yourself… I did!

Here is how I’m calculating the values with a formula field in Salesforce:

Field Name:
“HubSpot Created to SF Created Delay”

Formula:

IF(HubSpot_Create_Date_Time__c = NULL, NULL,
IF(HubSpot_Original_Source__c = “OFFLINE”,NULL,
IF(CreatedBy.Id = “[USER ID GOES HERE]”,
IF(CreatedDate<HubSpot_Create_Date_Time__c,NULL,
IF(HubSpot_First_Conversion__c=NULL,NULL,
(CreatedDate – HubSpot_Create_Date_Time__c)*1440)),NULL)))

This essentially calculates the difference in minutes between when the record was created in HubSpot vs Salesforce. Calculated when create date in HubSpot is known, lead source is inbound (meaning generated by our marketing team), and Salesforce Created Date is after the HubSpot Created Date. (which means the lead was new)

Field Name:
“HubSpot MQL to SF Minute Delay”

Formula:

IF(HubSpot_Became_MQL_Date__c = NULL, NULL,
IF(HubSpot_Original_Source__c = “OFFLINE”,NULL,
IF(CreatedBy.Id = “[USER ID GOES HERE]”,
IF(CreatedDate<HubSpot_Became_MQL_Date__c,NULL,
IF(HubSpot_First_Conversion__c=NULL,NULL,
(CreatedDate – HubSpot_Became_MQL_Date__c)*1440)),NULL)))

This essentially calculates the minutes it took to be created in Salesforce after being created in HubSpot. Calculated when the minutes are less than one day, when the record is generated by an Inbound Lead Source (not imported from our APP), and first conversion is known.

The HubSpot dashboard I built looks like this:

screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-4-51-22-pm

Using HubSpot’s Reporting Addon, I am showing the average time (in minutes) it takes to create a record in Salesfore when the lead becomes a Marketing Qualified Lead broken down by the month they became an MQL. Cool huh?

More Help:

Looking for more help on managing the HubSpot + Salesforce integration? Jump over to some of these help articles posted by the HubSpot team: