What Keeps a CMO up at Night: 7 Tools The Marketing Operations Team Can’t Live Without

Micheline Nijmeh
Micheline Nijmeh
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Micheline Nijmeh is the Chief Marketing Officer at Xactly Corporation. She is an innovative and proven marketing executive who possesses a balance of strategic thinking and data-driven decision making with proven results. In 2015, Nijmeh was named among Tech.co’s top “50 Women in Tech Dominating Silicon Valley.” And in 2016 she was named one of the “100 Most Influential B2B tech marketers in North America.”

This post is the second in an ongoing series, “What Keeps a CMO up at Night?” In this series I’ll cover challenges that the modern Chief Marketing Officer faces in the dynamic environment that is today’s business world.

In my last post, I reflected on what it takes to build a well-oiled marketing machine, and I noted that a critical part of that machine is building the right toolset. My prior post named a few of the applications in our martech toolkit, but I felt it would be helpful to do a deep-dive into many of the solutions our Marketing team uses, and how they benefit us.

There’s no one better to give a run-down of all the tools in our arsenal than our Director of Marketing Operations, Hanné Venables. Venables began her career in Sales and Marketing at Innotas and is an expert in the field with over ten years of her career working in Operations. Last week, I sat down with Hanne to get granular on many of our all-time favorite tools and why we use them.

Hanné: I have worked on some of the main marketing automation tools over the last eight years, but I have spent most of my time in Marketo. There were a couple of things that I liked about each one, but Marketo had the best overall platform. The UI is very easy to use and easy to pick up for anyone. Marketo is effective for both big and small companies. It is simple enough for the needs of a smaller company, and has the ability to do anything you need for the bigger, more mature companies and Marketing departments. Every lead that comes in to our database comes through Marketo, and it’s very easy to set up and manage all of our marketing programs. We are able to get clear, fast results on how they are performing and they sync great into Salesforce for Sales to follow up easily. Another benefit is that you don’t need to know CSS for email and landing page creation. They have built in templates and a library for downloadable ones as well.

Micheline: As your company begins to grow, it becomes an old age dispute between Marketing and Sales in terms of Marketing attribution of first touch and last touch. I’m a believer that Marketing influences a deal across the sales cycle (multi-touch approach) but, at the end it’s up to Sales to close the deal. How do you track a multi-touch attribution model?

Hanné: To do this accurately, we use Full Circle CRM, which sits in Salesforce and tracks the actions of every lead and how they interact with us. Whether they went to a show, attended a webinar, or read a blog we can see their journey with us. Instead of just seeing how they entered our database, this allows us to see how all activity plays a role in the opportunity cycle. We are able to build out different models that allows us to look at campaign attribution among all programs from 3rd party to website and tie opportunity dollars to those programs.

Micheline: What are some of the trends you’re seeing in Marketing?

Hanné: Predictive capabilities are becoming increasingly necessary in this competitive market. We use Infer and 6Sense, two lead scoring solutions that look at demographics and predictive behavior to score our leads, contacts, and accounts. Both solutions look at our customer base, and then compares them to our leads, contacts, and accounts by different kinds of variables. Infer looks are the demographics of the account and lead, industry, size, location, job title and more. We are able to prioritize the leads for lead gen to follow up and ensure we are talking to the right people. 6Sense develops a behavior pattern that follows them from our website to searching off our website. When it detects a spike in behavior it ranks them on how big of spike and type of behavior that puts them into a buying category. It allows us to see how likely they are to buy an ICM tool and we alert sales to follow up.

Micheline: It’s not always easy to understand charts and spreadsheets, especially for people that aren’t diving into Marketing metrics every day. How do you share your findings in a way that the rest of the team can understand, and get it in real-time?

Hanné: That’s where Domo comes in. It helps us to visualize metrics in a way that’s graphically easy to understand and it allows us to display information in a way that makes it simple to analyze. Domo pulls data from Salesforce, Marketo, Social Platforms, and more. We are able to see trends in lead flow by lead source, sales team, and more. This used to be kept in spreadsheets and a manual month-end process. Now we can act faster and make adjustments. We are able to do this with opportunities too, to see what is converting and what is not. This allows us to make quicker decisions on Marketing spend.

Micheline: With so much data available at our fingertips, Marketing is now able to provide ROI on our spend so much more easily. What tools do you use to help track ROI?

Hanné: We use Allocadia for managing our marketing budget and spend. Before we just used spreadsheets and relied on Finance to do the calculations. Now, we are able to categorize it by department and assign objectives and activity for each line item to see what percent is going to what type of activities. We are able to manage it monthly to make adjustments and ensure we are aligning with our marketing goals. We can quickly look at our overall lead gen budget and compare it to what leads and opportunities Marketing has brought in for a quick ROI number.

Micheline: What reports in Salesforce do you build and utilize in managing lead flow and ensuring the Marketing to Sales hand-off is smooth and timely?

Hanné: We have a dashboard within Salesforce that we look at on a regular basis with the lead gen team. We look at lead flow daily and weekly, lead statuses (are they following up in a timely manner), quality of the leads (infer score), and SAO (sales accepted opportunity) by lead source and sales team. We also discuss current and upcoming programs to arm the team with all the information they need to be successful in their follow up.

It’s so important for Marketing leaders to talk about the tools they are using so that we can learn from each other and ensure we always have the best solutions available to continue to inspire each other to be better at the always changing endeavor that is modern marketing. I’m interested in hearing from other Marketers: What’s in your Martech Toolkit?

Tweet @Xactly to hear about your favorite Marketing tool!


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What Keeps a CMO up at Night: 7 Tools The Marketing Operations Team Can’t Live Without

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