As lead consultant on a a large Fortune 500 client that was new to marketing automation, I was tasked with helping the client figure out the best way to structure their marketing processes and marketing automation platform to match their organizational structure. Their hobgoblin was a lack of clarity. They embarked on a journey to beat the hobgoblin. This particular client beat the hobgoblin and selected a model that was more on the decentralized end of the spectrum. Here is how we helped the client on their journey with best-practice gleaned from other Enterprise client engagements.
The client started with Discovery. The purpose of Discovery was to take the client through all the key marketing processes that would be touched by marketing automation. We would educate the client on what these processes were and we would look at how the client organization could be set-up to handle these processes.
What follows is a sample of the processes we considered.
Processes – High-level
High-level there are a set of key processes that touch marketing automation. Here are some key ones:
- Lead lifecycle – Is your joint marketing and sales process (aka. pipeline, revenue cycle etc.)
- Lead scoring – Lead scoring is the process to get a lead to the sales team (usually called marketing qualified)
- Marketing activities – These are all your marketing activities – what the marketing automation platform should be supporting!
- Sales visibility – Sales view into lead data and activity that is vital to them making good decisions
- Analytics – All the different reports related to marketing
- Testing – Anything built in the marketing automation platform needs to be tested
Note: this is a sample of processes – there are other processes.
Once we realized that parts of processes could be centralized while other parts could be decentralized, we needed to get a level deeper and look at sub-processes. We went through the sub-processes one-by-one and decided what should be centralized vs. decentralized. Here is a sample of these sub-processes:
- Lead lifecycle – sync to CRM – The decision on when to sync new leads that come into the marketing automation platform first to the CRM was a centralized decision as this decision would impact how the lifecycle is architected as well as marketing and sales process.
- Lead lifecycle – stages – The stages of the lead lifecycle include things like marketing qualified and sales qualified. Our decision was that the definition of these stages should be centralized. This way we could report on these stages across the entire organization.
- Lead lifecycle – sales notifications – Sales alerts were determined by the business units. One business unit might want an email alert at marketing qualified while another BU might have a different practice.
- Lead lifecycle – fast tracks – Fast tracks refer to actions leads take that would get them to a sales rep no matter what. Due to the varying needs of the different sales teams, different BU’s and different products, it was determined that fast tracks would be determined by BU.
- Lead lifecycle – fields – The client would have an overlapping database across BU’s and different BU’s might have a lead at a different lifecycle stage. As a result it was decided that there would be one lifecycle field for each BU to manage leads in their lifecycle.
- Lead scoring – overall architecture – The overall scoring architecture would impact everyone so there was centralized agreement on this.
- Lead scoring – models – By model I refer to the line-by-line of what will be scored and the value that would be applied to that item. It was agreed that there would be a scoring model for each BU since one BU might want to score a high value from something that was not important to another BU.
- Lead scoring – threshold – The scoring threshold is the value that a lead needs to score to get to marketing qualified. Giving each BU the power to determine their threshold value gives them the ability to control the flow of marketing qualified leads which is important.
- Lead scoring – fields – It was decided that each BU would have their own scoring fields. Therefore a lead would only get scored if we knew which BU they were associated with. I have had clients that shared a single set of scoring fields with multiple BU’s.
- Marketing activities – all except global event – The BU’s were running these activities so they were responsible for all aspects of these campaigns.
- Marketing activities – global event – Rarely the client would have a global event that was across many BU’s. These would be centralized and managed by Marketing Ops.
- Governance – centralized agreement – Governance was agreed centrally and for the most part the BU’s had to stick to the governance rules.
Note: Again this is a sample of the sub-processes – there are others.
In order to visually see these sub-processes across a few dimensions we created a table. Here is a table that shows where responsibility stood for specification, build, management and execution:
|Marketing automation sub process||Specification||Build/Manage/Execute|
|Lead lifecycle sync to CRM||Centralized all BU||Marketing Ops|
|Lead lifecycle stages||Centralized all BU||Marketing Ops|
|Lead lifecycle transitions||Decentralized by BU||Marketing Ops|
|Lead lifecycle sales notifications||Decentralized by BU||Marketing Ops|
|Lead lifecycle fast tracks||Decentralized by BU||Marketing Ops|
|Lead lifecycle fields||Centralized All||Centralized CRM admin|
|Lead scoring overall architecture||Centralized all BU||Decentralized By BU|
|Lead scoring models||Decentralized by BU||Decentralized By BU|
|Lead scoring threshold||Decentralized by BU||Centralized Marketing Ops|
|Lead scoring fields||Decentralized by BU||Centralized CRM admin|
|Marketing activities – webinar||Decentralized by BU||Decentralized By BU|
|Marketing activities – local event||Decentralized by BU||Decentralized By BU|
|Marketing activities – email send||Decentralized by BU||Decentralized By BU|
|Marketing activities – lead nurture||Decentralized by BU||Decentralized by BU|
|Marketing activities – global event||Centralized all BU||Centralized Marketing Ops|
|Governance – user access||Centralized all||Marketing Ops|
|Governance – naming conventions||Centralized all||Decentralized By BU|
|Governance – folder structure||Centralized all||Decentralized By BU|
|Governance – deployment process||Centralized all||Decentralized By BU|
|Governance – testing process||Centralized all||Decentralized By BU|
Note: Again this is a sample and is not meant to be exhaustive
Once all of the above was decided, it was fairly well determined where each element of marketing automation build would be located in the marketing automation platform. The next section shows where we built some of the key processes.
Where was build located in the marketing automation platform?
- Lead lifecycle was located in the platform where marketing ops could access it – The client had a centralized operations organization that would be responsible for the lead lifecycle build and management. This way the performance of the lead lifecycle campaigns would be managed by one team. The BU’s could request changes to the lifecycle.
- Lead scoring was located in the marketing automation platform where the business units could access their own scoring – Lead scoring build was distributed by BU since each BU would manage their own scoring models.
- Marketing activities were located in the marketing automation platform where the business units could access their own activities – Most marketing activities were decentralized. A global campaign could be centralized if it spanned multiple BU’s. Alternatively, a global campaign could be handled as a set of local marketing activities by the BU’s as well.
Lack of clarity was the hobgoblin and this client slayed theirs. Once their optimal organizational structure was clarified the client was relieved as they knew that had a solid architecture that would support their organization. There are many variations on this structure and no 2 organizations are likely to land at the exact same optimal structure. I hope you find yours!