No matter what marketing channel you choose to connect with your prospects or clients, Salesforce Marketing Cloud has a tool for you. Sometimes the sheer number of tools at your disposal may overwhelm you and make you wonder where to begin with. Thankfully, like a ball of yarn, once you get the starting point, unraveling the implementation strategies for Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) makes the process easy. We aim to make this article a walkthrough guide that shares valuable strategies to make you capable enough to implement Salesforce Marketing Cloud successfully. So let us begin.
1. Migration is Time-consuming but Important
Assuming that you are shifting to Salesforce Marketing Cloud from an existing ESP, you need to make sure that the migration process is smooth and seamless. This means ensuring that
- Your email templates are compatible with SFMC, or you create new ones
- Your landing pages & corresponding forms are integrated
- All the PPC display ads are migrated
- Automation workflow logic is maintained post-migration
- Any scheduled messaging is not disrupted
This takes time, and rushing to getting it done can result in a threat that may emerge in the longer run. So, it is suggested to set up timeline goals and work towards sticking to them.
Moreover, training your staff to learn the tools will be a challenge as everyone will have an individual learning curve.
2. Work ‘with’ your implementation partner & not ‘depend’ on them
Implementation partners can smooth out the entire process, but you should never hand over the task and sit back waiting for the results. Understand what they have done, ask them to walk you through the entire process, and tell them to provide documentation for reference in the future. (for learning the importance of documentation refer point no. 7)
3. Begin small and Grow later
While you have finalized Salesforce Marketing Cloud as your marketing assistance tool, you may not be using all the associated features at the beginning itself. Understanding your primary business goal and communicating internally with your team will help identify which tools to start with. Gradually, as you and your team get accustomed, you can expand based on your needs.
4. Draw your Customer Journey
While you may already be following your marketing efforts based on the existing customer journey, the implementation can be an excellent opportunity for you to head back to the drawing boards to revamp it. Factor in the new tools at your disposal, the different channels of communication your team may use, individual touchpoints for data collection to identify the critical challenges faced at every stage, and compare it with the capability of Marketing Cloud products that you aim to use. This way, you can match customers’ expectations with the Marketing Cloud products you need.
5. Plan your data collection points
Your campaigns will be as rich in personalization as the data you feed it. So, establish a data model in the early stages of implementation and analyze the data you currently have, what information you need, and what data you will collect to fill the gap. Also, be prepared to include the flexibility to add/remove any data points in the future.
6. Perform IP warm-up
Every email is sent via a particular IP. Unless the Internet Service Provider (ISP) is acquainted with your email sending frequency, it will reduce your email deliverability. Initially, if you send the same number of emails, as you did earlier with your old marketing platform, the ISP may suspect you of spamming. As a best practice, it is advised to conduct an IP warming process, where you start with sending a small portion of your daily volume and gradually ramp it up over a few weeks in the beginning to avoid any deliverability issues.
7. Document Every Process and Implement Standardization
Whether you work alone or as part of a team, it is essential to maintain standardization to avoid things running into chaos in the later stage. Make sure that you document every process even if it seems evident and unforgettable at the moment. By documenting what decisions were made and what work was completed, you can easily track the progress of the implementation. Some of the most important things to document are:
- Your existing data model,
- List of API connections (this should be updated continuously)
- Your data flow mapping (different data sources, flow of data between integrations, data silos)
- The folder hierarchies for content and asset management
Standardization in terms of maintaining file name, folder structure, and the hierarchy will significantly help you wade through your content and asset pool in the long run when it starts to pile up. Additionally, including the year in the file naming nomenclature will greatly help you gauge the age of the content.
8. Keep all the key players in the loop
Running a business is a joint effort by all different departments, each fulfilling an individual purpose. Make sure that the key players who shall be directly affected by this implementation, are informed about it and are trained for it. This means you need to encourage communication, creating transparency and accountability within the data team, creative team, customer care personnel, sales team, and anyone else who interacts with the customer.
9. Set clear goals for the first campaign from your team
For the first marketing campaign that you set from Marketing Cloud, it is crucial to define a clear goal that matches your business objective for measuring success. Combine this with point no. 3 and designate key responsibilities and allocate necessary resources to individual team members. This way, you can understand the gaps in implementation and the needs of the future.
10. Bon Voyage but Do track your progress periodically
As soon as your first marketing campaign is live, you have successfully implemented Salesforce Marketing Cloud, but the learning doesn’t end there. Based on the performance of the campaign, ponder on what worked, what crashed, and what variation can be done next time.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud is an ever-evolving playing field. Once you (and your team) have successfully implemented the Marketing Cloud as your primary marketing tool, you have become accustomed to the basic features. Your next goal should be introducing the advanced features of the platform to remain updated on the advancements in the marketing realm.