Inheriting a marketing automation platform (MAP) is something I’ve seen many people stumble through over the last 7 years. I’m not going to sugar coat it here. It can be an incredibly painful position to be in. Your boss likely doesn’t know anything about the system you’ve been handed and has incredibly unrealistic expectations of you. This is one of your first challenges, making sure you never down-play the complexity of the system.
Complexity? I thought…
MAPs do a LOT more than just send emails out, so strap on your boots and tighten your belt. Oh, and if you haven’t already, you should read Part 1 of this series. It gives you a quick overview about the importance of data in marketing automation. I’ll continue that trend here because data is king in your world.
So, there’s a heap of data tables. Mind you, you cannot directly edit most of these tables, nor would you want to. That’s what your MAP is for. It automates the collection of data. Before you get overwhelmed, let’s start somewhere a bit more familiar: The Contact Table, also known as your contact list or your marketing list. Your MAP system keeps and stores your list.
The good news is these MAP systems also help manage your lists. Among many things, this keeps your company out of trouble with the law. CAN-SPAM compliance is very important. More on this in another post.
Once you’ve mastered data, you’ll start building out the tools you need to maintain your MAP. Without these tools you’re not going to understand lead scoring, lead management, segmentation, forms, or list uploads. You must learn these tools to gain control. Once you have control, you’re one step closer to becoming King of your data.
Contact Table Review
So, you have a contact table – it could have 30 fields, or 255 fields. It really just depends on what the previous owners did with it. You can usually find a few generic fields: First Name, Last Name, Company Name, Phone Number, Address 1, Address 2, Address 3, Zip/Postal Code, State/Province, Country, Industry, etc.
You’ll want to start becoming familiar with all the fields, even the ugly, odd-looking ones. Start taking notes. I recommend a spreadsheet. If you’re savvy enough, you should export your contact table to get a nice starting point for that spreadsheet.
Let’s review some field types that most systems usually have. For this series we’re going to assume your MAP was previously integrated with a CRM System. Given that, you’ll see some scary looking fields. They might look something like: SFDC Lead ID, SFDC Contact ID, SFDC Campaign ID, SFDC Last Campaign Status, MSCRM Lead ID, MSCRM Contact ID, MSCRM Campaign ID, etc.
These fields are your CRM ID fields, so the acronyms are usually the name of your specific system, in this example SFDC – salesforce.com and MS CRM = Microsoft Customer Relationship Management System.
Make note of which of these system fields actually have data in them. It will likely be the one that matches your CRM. It is possible that the other system fields have data in them too. It’s important to know how many integrations you have and if there are any legacy system data that is kept for any reason. You’ll likely need to ask around if this is the case— the CRM admin/team is a good place to start.
Get comfortable with these fields – you’ll need them when troubleshooting any integration issues that crop up.
A number of other fields probably still don’t make sense. Take a look for some of these: Contact Source, Contact Source – Original, Lead Source, Lead Source – Original, Lead Source Details – Most Recent, Lead Source Details.
These fields are used to capture the original campaign details that got a lead or contact to enter your database. Some attribute this campaign with any purchases the lead makes. We’ll expand on this concept in another post. Just know that if these are in your system, you need to get familiar with the data in those fields.
Contact Source/Contact Source – Original: Usually a smaller select-list of values to fulfill a reporting need.
Lead Source/Lead Source – Original: Usually a smaller select-list of values to fulfill a reporting need.
Lead Source Details/ Lead Source Details – Most Recent: Usually has a unique campaign name of sorts “Trade-show August 2011”
*If you have a campaign module, or are leveraging campaigns, it can replace these fields… I told you it can get tricky.
There is no way for me to know what other fields you have in your system. The next step might not make much sense if you’re new to MAP, but you need to review all of your web forms and internal forms. Make a list of all the fields you see being used. Include the check boxes and radio buttons. Make note of the contents of select-lists (these values are important).
Now put together an inventory of data. You need to know what is being used to make sure you don’t break anything. It also has a direct impact on your company’s revenue.
That’s right – your MAP will directly influence sales. The data you collect is used by your sales team to have conversations with their prospects. So, it only makes sense that one of your main jobs when owning a MAP is to maintain clean data. If these forms are pushing bad data it will make your job more difficult.
I hope you’ve been taking notes while you poked around your system. If not, you’ll need to get right back in there and start recording your observations now. This tool is important for a few reasons:
It records and tracks which fields should be used and how (forms/integration)
It shows your boss that you have been working
It displays how complex your MAP really is
It makes talking with sales/marketing easier
Troubleshooting will be SO much easier with this inventory
Keep this inventory up-to-date at all times – it’ll save you some sanity. Trust me.
I think that’s enough for one post. You have a lot to do. Go get your hands dirty—it’s time to become King of your data.