As B2B marketers, we often buy technology to do one thing, and end up needing it to do something else. Or more realistically: we constantly uncover new tasks and challenges to solve with marketing technology.
But while more technology or newer technology can sometimes be the answer, just as often we can find a workaround or other path to get the result we need. Which is good, because no one likes to be accused of having shiny object syndrome.
As Courtney McAra said in her Marketing Ops Game Changers interview (the inspiration for this post): "Game Changers challenge the definition of what it means to be a Marketing Ops person. We’re not just data-dorks who sit in the basement with our staplers, taking orders and building webinar programs. We like using technology to do cool and innovative things. Maybe to do things that they weren’t intended to do. We’re MacGyvering the shit out of it to make it work to bring more revenue to the business."
Here are some responsible steps marketing operations practitioners can take when faced with a technology challenge or limitation.
Schedule Time with Your Tech Providers to Discuss their Product Roadmaps
Before you buy another piece of martech or try to build something to solve your gap, ask your technology providers to review their roadmap with you.
It’s possible they’re already planning to solve the gap you’ve identified, in which case you can shift your focus to determining whether or not you can wait, or whether you can get away with a temporary solution until it’s ready.
See if another part of your stack can solve it
It might be possible to simply relocate part of your process to another tool you already have. Not getting the reporting dashboard you need from your marketing automation? Perhaps your CRM is more flexible and you should run your calculations there. Unable to put enough governance on your forms? Maybe you can write a workflow – or even an “old-school” Excel Macro – to automatically correct common issues.
I reached out to our own customer success team to see if we could set up a fake campaign and use that to sort our leads for us. That paved the way for developing and using our event data management solution for any events where the lead quality was a concern.
Reach out to peers to Ask how they've solved it
Sending notes to people in our network is an obvious first step to gathering ideas, but often the challenge is so specific or unique that your own network is simply too limited. In cases like that, try some advanced Google searching. It might take you a couple tries to get your query right, but often you’ll uncover an answer or trick that someone else posted to a forum or wrote about on LinkedIn.
This spring I was wondering if it were possible to keep our website on the HubSpot COS while running a different marketing automation platform. All I kept hearing was “Probably, but we don’t recommend it.”
Eventually I found a forum where someone had asked if this were possible, and reached out to the author of the post. He confirmed he did it successfully, that it wasn’t a big deal, and walked me through everything I need to consider and how to get it to work. We haven’t gone that route yet, but now I have the blueprint if we want to. Shout out to marketers helping other marketers!
Implement a “Bridge” Solution or Process
When it comes down to it, a new technology might be the answer to bridge some specific gaps. If you’re encountering a number of little issues that make you wonder “Why doesn’t my CRM/MA/Reporting/etc. system handle this? Did they seriously not think to add this feature?” consider whether the additional cost of a bridge piece of tech is worth it to free you up. These mini time-sucks usually start off as a mere annoyance, but really start to pile up as you try to scale.
Last year I was shocked to find HubSpot doesn’t have the ability to export lists automatically on a scheduled basis, so if I wanted to send the sales team a report every Friday of who registered for our webinar, I had to head into HubSpot and export that list manually, then send it to sales.
Now I can just write a variety of set-it-and-forget-it workflows in Zapier, which made it possible for us to do 3 more events this quarter than previously planned.
Similarly, Salesforce makes it nearly impossible to automatically associate leads with accounts, and doesn’t offer any fuzzy matching capabilities. Our marketing coordinator, Hannah, was spending hours a day doing lead routing by hand, and sales reps were still having a hard time knowing which leads were in our database associated to their accounts.
Now the LeanData Lead2Account Matching Engine does this automatically with near perfect success, and Hannah can focus on managing our social strategy instead.
As the revenue mandate continues to evolve, winning marketing ops pros will continue to dig in and figure things out, bending MarTech to do stuff it’s not supposed to in order to meet the needs of our business.
Have you MacGyvered the the S#!T out of your MarTech to get more stuff done? Share how in the comments to help out your fellow marketers!