Unlocking Salesforce: A Q&A with Marketing Cloud Expert Sean H.

Dec 12, 2018 Emily Brungard

Research from Salesforce suggests that customers now expect a more connected and personalized experience delivered to them in real time. In fact, 70% of customers say connected processes — like seamless handoffs or contextualized engagement based on earlier interactions — are key to winning their business. Marketers are expected to take data and transform it into an experience for customers. With tools like Marketing Cloud, the possibilities are endless, but if you’re not dedicated to learning the latest features of the platform, you’re only beginning to scratch the surface. That’s where Salesforce experts come in. One of the top benefits of working with an on-demand Salesforce specialist is that they’re true experts who obtain certifications, read the latest product release notes for fun, and are dedicated to unlocking the platform’s value. We sat down with Sean H., one of Torchlite’s on-demand Marketing Cloud experts, to talk about getting the most from Salesforce, and how experts can help marketers do more with the platform. What is the most common problem you see when working with Marketing Cloud customers? Underutilization. The marketing cloud is a powerful platform, but that can also make it seem overwhelming. Many clients don’t use newer features designed to make their lives easier and campaigns more impactful because there’s a learning curve associated, and they don’t have the bandwidth or the in-house knowledge to invest to really make the most of the platform. What do you predict will be a bigger problem in 2019 for Marketing Cloud customers? “Personalization” became a marketing buzzword a few years ago, and, at that time, many people didn’t understand how the idea of personalization applied to their businesses. Fast forward to now, though, and the best businesses are figuring out how to segment, target, and develop personalized content that is really driving results. For SFMC customers that haven’t taken the time over the past few years to dig into the platform and figure out how to put it to work to personalize the marketing experience, they may find themselves losing market share to competitors that are staying in front of the curve. They may find that the “batch and blast” strategy that served them well for many years just isn’t resonating any longer because Competitor B’s personalized multichannel campaign met their customer’s expectations that much better. What is your best tip for using Salesforce? How do you eat an elephant? A bite at a time. With a powerful platform, sophisticated data management, and a number of different ways to effectively execute each campaign you’ve envisioned, it’s easy to be intimidated by the Marketing Cloud. By breaking it down – Who do I want to reach with this? How do I want to reach them? When and how often should we talk to them? – you’ll find the right features and tools for the job, whether it’s a simple Guided Send or a cross-channel journey. What is your proudest Salesforce project? It seems quaint now, but when Journey Builder was still new several years ago, it was a really big deal to successfully build and begin firing those more personalized marketing experiences to customers. It’s not that we couldn’t execute similar campaigns at the time with available tools within SFMC, but the interface and experience was such a departure, really just the beginning of things to come, that you couldn’t help but be a little proud to be one of the pioneers. Why are cross-channel integrations so important for Salesforce customers? Cross-channel integrations are one of the biggest advantages of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud compared to some of the other platforms out there. In today’s information-overloaded, short-attention-span world, repetition is just as important as serving content appropriate to the channel. If you truly want your message to reach and resonate with customers, you have to be willing to take your message to where they are, whether they’re on email, social media, SMS or all of the above. Why is having an on-demand Marketing Cloud expert necessary? Because the SFMC platform is so powerful, and constantly evolving to boot, having an on-demand SFMC expert can be like having an on-call problem solver – you know that you want to reach high-value customers who bought Widget X the last time 12 months ago, for example, but you just don’t how to get there easily without a lot of trial and error. SFMC experts have taken the time to learn the ins and outs of the platform, know the shortcuts and the pitfalls, and can look at your problem and tell you, “This is the best route to get there.” In the end, this saves you time and money on internal resources and allows you to drive revenue on your new campaign that much more quickly. Have more questions about hiring an on-demand Salesforce Marketing Cloud expert? Tweet us, or request the help of a Salesforce expert today.

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8 Ways to Work Better With Your Freelancers

Mar 09, 2017 Beth Smedinghoff

You need to get more done and you’ve decided a freelancer is the person for the job. Good choice! Freelancers are a great way to fill skill gaps and extend your team. They bring vast experience and a deep knowledge of their specialty to the table. In fact, 33% of businesses today rely on freelance help to get more done. As with any hire, it’s important to understand how to best collaborate, communicate, and work with freelance talent. Freelancers aren’t full-time team members, and they’re often juggling multiple clients at once. This flexibility empowers them to be experts in their field, but it also requires that you manage them differently than your full-time staff. To help you set your extended team up for success, here are 8 ways to build a strong working relationship with your freelancers. 1. Don’t just communicate, over-communicate Clear communication is essential in any working relationship, but it’s especially paramount when working with freelancers. Your freelancer isn’t in the office every day so they’re not privy to water cooler convos or even major announcements, unless you share the news with them. You are their primary source of information on all things related to your business and your marketing initiatives. Don’t assume they have any insight into changes, progress, setbacks, or glitches, and always err on the side of over-communicating to prevent misunderstandings. 2. Manage expectations Out of the gate, it’s important to establish total alignment on what needs to get done, how, and by what date. Help your freelancer better understand your goals so they can better help you achieve them. Clearly define the project from scope to schedule. It’s important to set your freelancer up for success by providing clear guidelines and sharing your expectations from the start. 3. Trust and empower them to do their job Freelancers are experts at what they do, which is probably why you partnered with one. They help clients across a variety of verticals achieve marketing success in their area of expertise. Empower them with the tools, knowledge, and deadlines they need and then trust that they’ll get the job done – and get it done well. Make yourself available if they have questions (see #6) and be open to receiving their feedback. This type of mutual trust will only benefit your business. 4. Tap into their expertise Along similar lines, be sure to take advantage of their expertise. Freelancers are specialists with extensive knowledge and experience around a central topic. Ask for their advice and opinions whenever possible. Perhaps they’ve run into a challenge you’re facing before or have feedback on a better way to get something done. Ask them what you could do differently or where they see projects like yours typically go off the rails and then take their advice. 5. Treat them like part of the team Your freelancers will be more effective if you view them as a partner, not just a cog in the wheel. When possible, copy them on team communications or include them on conference calls. Get to know them personally and encourage the rest of your team to do the same. Helping them feel connected to the team takes little effort on your end and is sure to produce major results. 6. Make yourself available When you first start working with a freelancer ask them how best (and how often) to communicate with them. Once you understand how they work, make a point to regularly check in with them. If your freelancer can’t track you down for approvals or questions it can lead to delays or cause the final product to miss the mark. Provide feedback, answer questions, and listen to their concerns just like you would a full-time hire. Similarly, let them know when you’ll be out of the office or on vacation so they can play accordingly. 7. Plan ahead Provide your freelancers with insight into your goals for the entire year, not just for a specific project. Giving them a better understanding of the big picture allows them to produce work that scales and delivers long-term results. Planning ahead also means giving your freelancer a heads up about potential shifts in strategy or deadlines. Freelancers often work on multiple clients at one time and aren’t always able to drop everything to meet an urgent request. If you can anticipate when you’ll need more of their time, it’s always helpful to give them a heads up. 8. Provide valuable feedback Tell them specifically what you like and what you don’t like. Freelancers are experts in their field but they won’t be an expert on your brand overnight, especially if you don’t provide concrete descriptive feedback. Review their work in detail and provide suggestions on how they can improve and better support your brand and business objectives. Keep this productive feedback loop going and they’ll start to understand your brand just as well as you do. At the end of the day, remember that your freelancer wants to help you grow your business. If you can keep the lines of communication open and build a strong, collaborative partnership with your freelancer, the results will speak for themselves. Know you want to extend your team with high-quality freelancers but don’t know where to find them? Torchlite can help.

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