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2019

The new year is a great time to think about adding capacity to your team, and it’s often easier to get budget to hire a consultancy than to hire in-house. Bringing in outside help is a great way to add capacity to your team, tackle complex projects, and get access to a team of experts. However, hiring consultants is no different than hiring employees—you need to find a partner that fits your team’s needs. And just like managing employees takes time, managing consultants also takes time. Here are my top 10 tips for hiring Marketo pros.

 

1. How long has the company been working in Marketo?

You want to hire a team with extensive experience in not just marketing operations but Marketo specifically. If they’ve only recently expanded into supporting Marketo, they’re not going to have the internal resources to support you on complex projects or tricky issues.

 

2. Who will be assigned to your account?

At a minimum, your consultant should be a Marketo Certified Expert several times over. If they’ve been at this for a while, expect that they have been certified as a Marketo Certified Solutions Architect. You can check their credentials at the Marketo Certified Professional Locator. Bonus points if they are a current or former Marketo Champion.

 

3. How many team members do they have that are Marketo pros?

One of the biggest advantages to using a consulting agency is that you have access to not just your assigned consultant but also their colleagues. If your assigned expert is the only Marketo pro at their company, you’re at a disadvantage because they don't have internal resources to lean on when they run into something new or tricky.

 

4. Do they build everything from scratch or import templates?

An experienced consultancy brings their own best practices to your marketing organization and your Marketo instance, including their road-tested Program Templates and common operational Programs. They can import their customizable Programs in your instance and tweak them for your needs, saving a ton of time (and billable hours) and reducing errors.

 

5. How do they structure the SOW, and do you understand it?

There’s no right or wrong way to put together a Statement of Work, but you want to make sure it works for your company’s needs—and that is has the information that your Finance team needs to approve it. Make sure to drill down into the details to understand exactly what’s included in the project so there are no surprises down the road. If they prefer to do a retainer-based SOW, it should outline priority projects with projected timelines. They should also be sending you weekly or fortnightly updates on how you’re progressing through projects and billable hours.


6. Can they pivot when needs change?

Even the most well-structured SOWs will fall by the wayside when your company’s needs shift. You want to work on projects that are going to move the needle. Ask about their flexibility to shift priorities as business needs change.

I’ve seen this kind of flexibility structured in several ways. Some companies will have very structured project-based SOWs but also a bucket of flex hours that can be added to those projects or used for ad-hoc requests. Some operate on a monthly retainer model and can quickly change gears as needed. I personally prefer the latter, but it can be harder to get approved by Finance.

 

7. How do they communicate and how responsive are they?

You need to make sure that their communication style works for you. Find out how easy it is for them to schedule meetings—if you have to wait several days to get on their calendar for an urgent issue, your progress will be slowed. Bonus points if they use Calendly or another self-service scheduling app, which reduces the dreaded email chain.

If your company relies heavily on Slack, consider getting approval to add your consultant as a Guest in your Workspace so you can have quick chats instead of long email threads.

 

8. Can they meet your security requirements?

The last thing you want is to go through the vetting process and pick a great partner only to get roadblocked by your own internal team. Work with your Information Security and Legal teams to find out what their process is for vetting third-parties and what their requirements are (background checks, encrypted computers, etc.), and make sure the partner can meet those requirements.

 

9. Do they have references for clients that are similar to your team?

Ask to talk to happy clients—and here’s the key—whose organizations are similar to yours. If they’re much larger or smaller or have different needs, you may not get a good feel for how the consultancy will work for your organization.

 

10. What is the escalation policy and out clause?

Hopefully, if you follow steps 1-9, you’ll pick a partner that’s a great fit for your business. But you should always prepare for the worst so that you can right the ship if things go astray. What’s their internal policy for escalating issues? And will they put an out clause in the contract in case you decide that they’re not a good fit for your organization?


Whether you’re looking for a team to handle your Marketo implementation, need help on specific projects, or just need some extra highly-skilled hands, hopefully these tips will give you a framework for finding a great partner for your team.

Do you have plans to add consultants to your team in the new year? Any tips or pitfalls you want to share? Comment below!

When stepping into an admin role in an unfamiliar instance, the most important first step is to understand how that instance is set up. This post walks through the admin section of a Marketo instance and points out some best practices and red flags to look for as you start to audit your inherited instance.

 

Reviewing the Admin Section

Once you’ve logged into Marketo, click on the “Admin” tab at the top of the screen to find the Admin Settings. The easiest way to check on these settings is to work your way down the list.

Admin Section

What To Look For

Tips

Users & Roles

·       Which roles are there and what are the permissions? 

·       Are there users in there that shouldn’t have access?

·       Are there employees who should have access but don’t?

You can create custom roles with high levels of granular permissioning. If you do, be sure to add descriptions so it’s easy to understand the purpose of that role.

Workspaces & Partitions

  • Are your workspaces partitioned or do you employ a shared database?
  • How is the data in each of these spaces controlled?

Smart Campaign Settings

  • Is there a limit set on the number of leads that users in your instance can run through a batch campaign?

Setting this can help prevent accidental sends to the entire database (yes, it’s happened before)! 

Email Settings

  • Is SPF/DKIM set up? If not, partner with a member of your IT team and learn more about the setup process on the Marketo Product Docs.
  • If SPF/DKIM are set up, are they set up correctly? Be sure to double check for typos!

You can test your deliverability with third party tools like Litmus or Email On Acid and ensure you’re passing spam checks.


Want to improve your deliverability even further? Consider setting up your DMARC! If you haven’t heard of DMARC, check out this
blog post to learn more.

Communication Limits

  • Are there communication limits set? If not, it’s a great idea to establish limits to ensure you don’t over-email your database.

Tags

  • Which tags, channels, and statuses do you have? Are they being used? 
  • Do you have success statuses properly noted?

Having your tags and channels properly in place will help you effectively use out-of-the-box reports like Program Performance Report and add-ons like Opportunity Influence Analyzer

Field Management

  • How many fields exist in your instance? To find this, click Export Field Names. This will download an Excel file with SOAP API, REST API, and Friendly Label field names.
  • How many fields are actually being used in your instance? To find out whether a field is in use, click into the field and check the Field Used By line.
  • Are there any fields currently in your CRM that need to be synced to Marketo? Are there any fields in Marketo that need to be synced to your CRM?
    Note: Keep in mind that it’s recommended to add new fields to Salesforce CRM first and have it automatically sync to Marketo. If you have a field in Marketo that needs to be added to Salesforce, you’ll need to reach out to Marketo Support and provide them with the API and Friendly Label names.

·  Tip: Any changed info in a synced field is synced over regularly. If you have a lot of fields being changed constantly, it can slow down your sync, so it’s a good idea to audit all your Salesforce and Marketo fields and check to see what needs to be synced and what can be skipped over.

·  Tip: In some cases, Marketo Support can export a list of the 50 most updated fields in your instance. This can help you determine whether the fields that are taking processing power to update are actually being used in your marketing programs. 

·  Tip: You can only change the field type on a custom field that is NOT in use. For example, if you’re trying to change a field from a string field to a boolean field, you’ll need to go to each program that’s using that field, remove the field from those programs, make the change to the field, and add it back into your programs.

CRM

  • Are you on the native connector, a custom connector, or a third party data connector? 

Sales Insight 

  • Do the scoring systems make sense?
  • Are there any Email add-in licenses issued?

Landing Pages

  • Do you have a Fallback page and a Homepage set up? If not, any failed links will go to the default Marketo 404 page (which, admittedly, is pretty rad). 
  • Is your instance set up with SSL certification for both LPs and forms? if you don’t know, contact your CSM or Customer Care (customercare@marketo.com) and check out this Marketo Product Doc.

Munchkin

  • Make sure you have the Munchkin code set up on your site so you can track lead activity. Not sure how to do that? Check out the Marketo Developer Docs.

Web Services

  • How many APIs are making calls against your instance per day? Are you close to your daily limit?
    Note: The API Call Information provided here is only for REST API calls. Marketo no longer supports SOAP API. Find out more on the Marketo Developer Docs.

Launchpoint

  • Which Launchpoint integrations are set up, if any? Are any set to expire?
  • Are there any tools that are no longer in use that you should clean up?

If you have any social media pages connected to Marketo, make sure you’re using a general email address for the company and NOT a personal email address. Otherwise, you’ll lose access to that integration if the person who owns that email address leaves the company.

Treasure Chest

  • All the features here have a use and a function. Read the description of each to determine if it is a fit for your organization.

 

What interesting things have you seen in your admin settings? 

Are you stepping into a currently running Marketo instance with no documentation in sight? There are a lot of helpful resources in your Marketo instance, on your Marketo support team, and within your own team that you can reach out to for insight into what exactly is going on in your inherited Marketo instance. 

 

Inside Marketo

There are some great resources right in your Marketo instance that you can dig into.

 

The Campaign Inspector can give you insights into which trigger and batch campaigns are currently running in your instance. If the Campaign Inspector is not turned on, you can enable it in the Admin section under Treasure Chest.

 

The Admin section is also filled with ways to see what is currently set up and running in your inherited instance. You can look into Custom Services, Additional Integrations, Users/Roles and more. Brooke Bartos has a great post all about Navigating and Auditing the Admin Space.

 

Adobe Status Page

The Adobe Status page is a great place to learn about current issues Marketo is experiencing including minor issues, maintenance events, and more. Check on Adobe Marketo Engage under the Experience Cloud tab to find a timeline with status updates. Be sure to subscribe to updates by clicking on Manage Subscriptions in the upper right hand corner so you’re always kept up-to-date on all the important issues that could face your Marketo instance.

 

Marketo Customer Service Representative

There’s a couple of key Marketo contacts that can be key in helping you dive a little deeper into your specific Marketo instance. Your Customer Service Representative can answer many important questions about what’s been purchased (including any add-ons), your database limits, key contacts at your account, and can also help set-up any additional training for your or your team. To find out who your Marketo contact is, email the Customer Care Team at customercare@marketo.com.

 

Marketo Support

Make sure you’re an authorized Support contact either on your own or by contacting Marketo Support. Marketo Support can also provide insight on previous cases your organization had submitted which can shed light on where potential issues may lie. They can also share who else is an authorized Support contact at your organization and you can add them to your list of internal stakeholders to contact. 

 

Internal Teams

Perhaps your greatest resource when diving into an inherited Marketo instance is your own internal team. Whether or not you have a large Marketo team, there are several resources within your own organization that can give you insight into what is happening in your Marketo instance.

 

Web Development Team

●     Are the proper security protocols in place, such as SPF, DKIM, and DMARC?

●     Is Munchkin Code implemented on your website?

Marketing Team

●    Does the team use any tokenized Program templates or a Center of    Excellence?

●     What is the campaign creation process (including intake and quality assurance/testing)?

●     What on-going campaigns are running in Marketo?

CRM Admin

      ●     What’s syncing between your CRM and Marketo?

●     What is the CRM structure (Leads vs. Contacts, Accounts, Opportunities)?

●     Are add-on features integrated (e.g. MSI, Sales Connect, etc.)?

●     What other data sources are connected to the CRM?

●     Are there other parts of the tech stack?

Sales Team

●     What is the Lead Qualification process including lead scoring, hand-off, and SLAs?

●     What is the Lead Lifecycle?

●     What are Sales’ expectations of Marketo?

●     Who are the key Sales stakeholders?

Leadership

●     What was the motivation behind implementing Marketo?

●     What are important KPIs/metrics?

●     Who are the upper-level stakeholders (who are they, who should you contact, etc.)?

●     What are the business goals for Marketo?

 

By setting up a series of fact-finding meetings with the appropriate internal stakeholders, you’ll begin to shed light on everything at work in your Marketo instance. Ashley Langford’s blog on starting in a new instance has great pointers for the questions you should ask in these meetings.

 

What are your go-to resources when you come into a new instance with no documentation? What key stakeholders do you turn to for help?

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