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Utilizing Salesforce Marketing Cloud as a Shared Service

Cloud for Good 2023 Blog - Utilizing Salesforce Marketing Cloud as a Shared Service

Lately, Cloud for Good has been hearing from many clients as they discuss the advantages and challenges of utilizing Marketing Cloud as a shared service.  These clients are asking important questions related to the skills needed on Marketing teams, the number of qualified people necessary to leverage Marketing Cloud solutions, and how to ensure all users across an organization or institution are supported properly.  If you too are asking questions such as these, you’re already on the right track.

Cloud for Good is here to help you dive deep into Marketing Cloud as a shared service and illustrate how to best leverage the multi-faceted solution by putting the best people in the best positions to succeed.  Read on if you’re looking for recommendations on how to create a structure that protects your brand, helps your users engage with your constituents and community members in innovative and efficient ways, and creates a collaborative community surrounding Marketing Cloud.

Key Roles for Success

If you were to ask us the top roles you should make sure to fill to support your enterprise Marketing Cloud account, we would recommend beginning with a Marketing Cloud Architect.

The Marketing Cloud Architect is a hybrid of a business and technical resource with the ability to operate as a marketing and communications technical lead for Marketing Cloud. This individual:

  • Owns the Marketing Cloud solutions for your organization and is responsible for technical direction.
  • Works as a liaison between business stakeholders and IT to design and deliver high-quality technical solutions that are scalable and efficient.
  • Is capable of managing cross-division, cross-functional teams to drive the creation of marketing and communications solutions, campaigns, reports, and data integration.

Marketing Cloud Architects are likely to become busy quite quickly as needs arise, and they will likely need additional support to hit goals.  To help empower these architects, our next recommended role is that of a Marketing Cloud Administrator.  These administrators will be responsible for, you guessed it, the day-to-day administration of your account.  This individual:

  • Has experience translating business requirements into data-driven solutions using a variety of Marketing Cloud products, including, but not limited to, automations, API integrations, dynamic content, AMPscript, SMS messaging, and multi-channel journeys.
  • Can leverage a highly technical mindset with a creative and analytical approach to problem-solving.
  • Provides ongoing support to other users and stakeholders as it relates to:
    • Account & Business Unit Administration, User Management, Journey Builder & Automation Studio, Email & Template Creation, AMPscript Solutions, Report Creation & Analysis, Integration & Data Management, Subscription Center Management & Enhancements, Release Management, and more.

Finally, if you notice that your Architect and Administrator need some additional technical expertise, it may be time to consider hiring a Marketing Cloud Developer.  These developers:

  • Are experts in creating advanced SQL queries.
  • Can translate business requirements into solutions using Automation Studio, API, AMPscript, Server Side Javascript, GTL, and Journey Builder.
  • Provides ongoing support to other users and stakeholders as it relates to:
    • Journey Builder Customization, Email Consultation & Customization, SQL & AMPscript Solutions, Automation Expertise, API Consultation, Third-Party Application Integration, CloudPage Development, Advanced Technical Support.

We’ve seen success with these roles reporting through the Information Technology or Central Marketing and Communications Departments either as individual or shared department resources, but head to the section below for more information on the importance of a relationship between IT and Marketing.

Before you start writing up a request for new full-time employees, consider leveraging Cloud for Good’s Digital Managed Services offerings!  With Digital Managed Services, you and your team can utilize a Cloud for Good team member to handle some of the responsibilities that the roles above would typically own.

At Cloud for Good, we understand that Marketing Cloud talent can be hard to find, so if you are looking for long-term support, reach out to us about adding a Digital Services team member as an extension of your team.

Creating a Collaborative Shared Service Structure

The roles listed above will definitely help you administer, maintain, and innovate in Marketing Cloud, but how do three people (or less) even begin to support an entire organization or institution in their use of Marketing Cloud across many users and business units?  We have a few tips for how to do this.

Solid Central Marketing & Communications <> Technology Relationship

When it comes to managing Marketing Cloud, we typically see two key players: Central Marketing & Communications—who own the brand and communication best practices and strategy—and Information Technology (IT)—who own the CRM supplying Marketing Cloud with the data needed for email personalization, email deliver, and overall security of that data.

These two teams hopefully have collaborated on the selection of Marketing Cloud technology to ensure it meets your integration, security, and communication functionality requirements, and it’s important that collaboration and close relationships continue.  Because these two systems are integrated, it’s also important that the Product Owners (and the product team members) for Marketing Cloud and Salesforce are in regular contact about upcoming changes, releases, priorities, large initiatives, etc., to mitigate any impact to each other’s tools.  Set up a monthly meeting for planning purposes and collaborate frequently between meetings through Zoom, Slack, or other forms of communication.

Build a Robust Training Program

As employees on teams across the organization or campus start their onboarding and their new manager indicates they need access to Marketing Cloud, enroll them in your Marketing Cloud training program before giving them full access to their Business Unit.  Beyond just how to build and send emails out of Marketing Cloud, make sure they are up to speed on branding best practices and guidelines, data protection and security, and how to get additional help.

Make Room for Self-Service and Collaboration

The more users you train and add to Marketing Cloud, the more users you have to properly support.  Build out a knowledge base for common questions or issues to allow your users to answer their own questions without needing to reach out to your Marketing Cloud team.  Take it a step further by creating a Slack channel or a monthly user group meeting for your users to share successes or failures so that everyone can learn from one another and celebrate with each other.

Provide Continuous Support

Even with your knowledge base and Slack channel, there are going to be questions from your users, and you do not want those just being emailed directly to you.  Set up a support case and queue structure for your Marketing Cloud team to manage smaller requests that come in regarding existing functionality (this is key!).  This will allow them to gather information about the question, issue, or request and then work with the user to resolve the case.  It also will hopefully allow you to report on the volume and type of cases you are receiving for hiring requests down the line.  It may be possible that you need multiple Developers or even a Marketing Cloud Specialist.

In addition to reactive support, it’s also important to make time for proactive support.  Login to the account and see what emails are being sent and by whom.  Are there any best practices that aren’t being followed?  Are there improvements that could be made?  Take the time to coach your users and provide feedback as necessary.

Leverage a Steering Committee and Value/Goal-Based Prioritization

More users in Marketing Cloud will also mean more innovative ideas and large-scale requests.  Via your support case structure, you may receive these types of requests.  You may also receive them from department leaders themselves.  Rather than have your Marketing Cloud team members take this on as they come in with the limited hours they already have in a given week, it’s important to establish a Salesforce Steering Committee and a value or goal-based prioritization process.

Your Salesforce Steering Committee should include your Salesforce and Marketing Cloud Product Owners, representatives from IT and Marketing (if they are not already represented as product owners), and key business/Salesforce/Marketing Cloud stakeholder representatives from across your organization or campus.  The Steering Committee will meet regularly to review large-scale initiatives or projects proposed to the Marketing Cloud and/or Salesforce teams and prioritize based on how they align with organizational/institutional values and/or goals.

Projects that are prioritized are then routed to Project Managers in IT and/or Marketing for upcoming planning and work.  You should also notify your users and stakeholders of which projects were prioritized or de-prioritized.

Remember that Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a foundation for success that must be properly staffed and maintained for it to reach its full potential.  If you’re looking to create a structure at your organization or institution capable of leveraging Marketing Cloud properly, contact Cloud for Good today.

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