Zack Blois is Senior Manager of Platforms and Automation on the revenue operations team at Jellyvision, the makers of an employee communications software that uses behavioral science, purposeful humor, and plain English to help people make better decisions about their insurance plan options, 401(k) and retirement savings, and financial wellness.
Read on for a transcript of his presentation from our April 16, 2019 Here’s How Startup Marketing Conference, where he talks through how Jellyvision extended automation beyond marketing to answer more data-driven questions for their teams.
Here's how we extended automation beyond "marketing." A lot of what this will be about is the term “marketing automation” or “marketing automation software.” [It's] been around for over 10 years now. It's pretty ubiquitous.
I think in a lot of companies and it has a lot of different kinds of flavors and functionalities. But a lot of times that tool doesn't quite get you into what we think are sales activities or routing activities for connections through emails and calls that maybe you're making from a salesperson themselves.
I want to talk about how we scaled some of those things beyond marketing automation into some other tools and activities.
For those not familiar with Jellyvision, I pulled this from our Twitter account: “We're the lovable nerds who make Alex and other decision-making, employee-helping software.”
We're based here in Chicago. We now have over 400 employees and counting. And we have over 1,500 customers and also counting. 120 of those are in the Fortune 500. So, as you can see, we're a 20-year company with a varied and storied history.
And for myself, I have about seven years of experience in the Chicago tech, rev ops space. I've used a lot of tools in that time: HubSpot, Salesforce, Marketo, all of those.
Marketing automation (or marketing automation software) is a powerful driver for us of top-of-funnel activity and data management from a marketing perspective for activities like direct mail, content syndication, events, webinars, etc.
But, and I already kind of sold the lead here, that set of information doesn't always deliver the best returns when you think about revenue-related outreach, which is like emails and calls directly from a salesperson to a potential buyer.
Our challenge here was threefold. We needed to be able to scale that information to our sales team without using things that were kind of depreciating in a lot of ways, and I'll explain what that is.
We needed higher accuracy, flexibility, and personalization to scale those activities. A lot of times when you use marketing automation, you're privy to the data that you have in the tool. And there can be a lot of issues with that, if you don't have eyes on that information.
Bad information can go out through mail merges. The wrong person can get the wrong thing from the wrong person on your org, so there's a lot of issues there.
Two, we found that personalized emails sent from our reps, business email clients receive better all over engagement rates than those that were sent from marketing automation.
We started out with a tool called Outreach that is moving automation into sales, that you typically see in a lot of marketing automation tools.
We started out with that in our business development group and we saw massive, successful numbers in open rates, click rates, and reply rates, which were important to us.
And third, we knew that we needed better reporting methods on the backend to help us track what sales was doing in our larger attribution model. We needed a tool that would give us a lot of that scale and functionality as it related for us, back to the Salesforce data that we use for attribution.
Alright, so how do we address those challenges? We needed to identify a strategy that would provide the scale and traceability of marketing automation. It's 10 years of marketing automation.
These tools have been refined and perfected in a lot of ways and we needed that personalized touch and extensibility that you get out of your reps' day-to-day email and calendar, where someone's dialed in on that individually one-to-one. They know who they're emailing, they know what they're emailing, and they know what their schedule is.
How do we do that? Enter sales automation software, which we talked about with Outreach, our marketing team, our sales team, and our rev ops team. This was quite a bit of alignment between these groups in order to figure out how we can, again, move this automation on this scale further through the buying cycle.
As you can see here on the left, this is our marketing team who are the main purveyors of Marketo. And then on the right, are part of our rev ops team who run our Outreach tool for the sales side.
Steps to scale for us were to, one – before all of this – we had to get buy-in between the different groups.
We were moving automation into an area that's typically controlled by a sales team. They want to have control, they want to understand who they're talking to, they want to make sure that, honestly, I'm not messing up any of their conversations with their potential buyers.
We had to buy trust. We had to buy understanding. We had to figure out a way that we were going to ensure that wouldn't happen and a way to ensure that results were reported back, things of that nature.
Build tech commonalities between Marketo and Outreach databases (through Salesforce) i.e. trigger Outreach sequences from Marketo via Salesforce field value changes
Once that buy-in was created, we needed to build tech commonalities between Marketo and Outreach – trigger Outreach sequences from Marketo via Salesforce so that there's a streamlined process. Make sure that there are fail safes so that people weren't getting multiple messages at the same time.
Sync all Outreach activities to Salesforce activity records to add to attribution reporting process
Take “wins” from Business Development’s experience with outreach and port to Sales/Account Management
Take the wins from that prior business development experience I explained and move that over to sales and account management to roll out this process for our entire revenue org.
Train, train, train… and then keep training
Train, train, train, and then keep training. Training never stops on our team. There's always improvements that you can train on. There's always base-level information for onboarding that you can train on, and everything in between.
Automate sequences based on marketing source, timeliness
And finally, automate sequences based on marketing source, timeline activity, and value to confirm you're going to get an individual fit to get that edge of personalization plus that edge of scale and automation. Overall, the results have been pretty strong.
As you can see here, we aligned business development, sales, and account management with a multitude of sequences. That's kind of a cool statement. That includes over 70 unique sequences created in this quarter alone. This quarter was the big launch for us.
There's 70 different paths and combinations of calls and emails that our team has created to enable our revenue org sales, business development, and account management. And these sequences are multifunctional. They can be triggered by a number of things.
That's campaign membership specific to a time-based thing that we're likely doing – web activities or other intent-based functions where people view a demo form or a solutions page that aligns directly with the value prop on our side.
Or just manually started by the rep or by rev ops or by marketing, based on info that we know from a database standpoint to say, "Hey, there's potential that this sequence would be valuable."
We now have a better view of how to attribute sales and account management activity as it relates to the larger attribution puzzle. There's always a challenge for us.
We're in a pretty good spot where we can line up a lot of our marketing activities and then attribute those to pipeline generation and revenue generation.
But we didn't have as much visibility down to the actual activity from the sales team, from the business development team, from the account management team in relationship to emails and calls, and how they related to the larger buying cycle.
Now we have that data via tasks in Salesforce where we can stitch that in through a tool we use called Visible to create attribution.
This is kind of the big flip side: 60 percent of our new business pipeline dollars created in this quarter were attributed to at least a piece of a sequence activity. That's a clicked email, a connected call, a replied email, etc.
So, it had a huge impact, right? We kind of knew that impact was there, but now we can quantify that and use that data to make improvements down the line.