No one could have predicted the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, the drastic impact on business operating environments, or the resulting economic downturn. However, as Charles Swindoll so aptly imparted, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
Box, a leader in cloud content management, is a prime example.
“We actually experienced a bit of an unexpected surge during the pandemic,” commented Glen Shillinglaw, Senior Director of Marketing Operations at Box. “Companies were quickly adapting to remote workforces and now needed to collaborate virtually 100% of the time now. It created a situation in which we needed to pivot our customer communication and quickly scale to meet an influx of demand.”
The ability to respond to quickly changing environments doesn’t happen by accident. In truth, Box’s preparations started long before the pandemic hit and included several key milestones. It all started with a realization that there was a need to make improvements to their marketing processes, and create more MOPS stability. And to do so, they honed in on four key strategies.
Strategy 1: Improve Team Capacity
It’s been demonstrated time and time again, especially within high-tech, that if you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind. “We can’t rest on our laurels, because the demands will just continue to increase– whether it’s in volume, the ability to evolve, or the ability to shift quickly,” Glen commented.“We can’t rest on our laurels, because the demands will just continue to increase– whether it’s in volume, the ability to evolve, or the ability to shift quickly,” - Glen Shillinglaw, Box Click To Tweet
As Box took a hard look at how they were operating, one glaring red flag stuck out: the marketing team struggled to get the necessary volume of campaigns out in an appropriate time frame. Organizational bottlenecks and inefficient, manual processes were holding up the pipeline. They weighed some of their options to self-correct, including the potential of hiring more people.
Ultimately, they felt that throwing more bodies at the problem wouldn’t yield a solution. In order to continue supporting company growth, they would have to evolve from being a manual team to becoming an automated team, or in other words, more effectively leverage Marketo.
“We struggled to demonstrate the value of Marketo, and we found we had a lot of broken processes. The missing piece for us was the ability to capitalize on a strong procedure,” Glen expressed.
Their objectives were straightforward:
- Simplify processes and remove complexities
- Make processes more efficient, thereby reducing SLAs
- Reduce the time spent on redundant, manual tasks
- Leverage marketing automation to their advantage
In their quest to make improvements and create more MOPS stability, the Box team went back and defined their business requirements, assessed how they were (or perhaps, more importantly, weren’t) delivering against business needs, and began to build plans to strategically address gaps in performance. Particularly, they knew that they needed to advance their usage of marketing technology, specifically Marketo.
Strategy 2: Kill the Tech That’s Killing You
Though many high-tech organizations are known for being early tech adopters, sometimes less is truly more when it comes to managing multiple tools. In fact, in Box’s case, a tech stack audit revealed half a dozen tools weren’t being utilized.Though many high-tech organizations are known for being early tech adopters, sometimes less is truly more when it comes to managing multiple tools. Click To Tweet
The audit helped to identify the most valuable (and used) tools, and, highlighted which tools were working for them– not the other way around. They scrutinized each tool in their stack, asking:
- Does it demonstrate ROI?
- Have the capabilities been fully utilized?
- Does it integrate well with the existing tech stack?
They cut the fat of unused tech, leaned out their stack, and decided to double down on Marketo as their central automation platform.
Strategy 3: Build Stronger Internal Relationships
It’s not uncommon that organizations buy new tech and assume existing staff will just jump on board or know how to use it effectively. Box was no exception. In particular, they had some troublesome technical silos that were slowing down the marketing team’s ability to execute efficiently.
When they took a more broad view of the company, they found some of the people that the marketing team needed were, in fact already internal employees…they just weren’t in the marketing department. As a result, the marketing team forged an interdepartmental alignment with IT. Through this established relationship, marketing was able to receive valuable support from IT with the technical and functional requirements of their tech stack, helping to create more MOPS stability. “It’s been a highly successful relationship for us. We treat our tech stack like a living organism— it’s never a finished product and continues to evolve. But before we bring on a new tool, we start by evaluating the business requirements, then have our IT team assess the technical fit,” Glen said.We treat our tech stack like a living organism— it’s never a finished product and continues to evolve. But before we bring on a new tool, we start by evaluating the business requirements, then have our IT team assess the technical fit. Click To Tweet
Strategy 4: Know When to Call in The Experts
You simply don’t know what you don’t know. The next step was to seek out more Marketo expertise than what they had in house or the agency partner they were working with at the time.
“It became apparent to us that we had a knowledge gap when it came to Marketo. We knew that seeking out a partner that worked exclusively in Marketo with a deeper knowledge could really bring a lot of value to the table,” Glen said.
When choosing an agency partner, not all agencies are created equal. In the case of Box’s previous partner, they had a broad range of knowledge across various platforms– which ultimately ended up becoming a limitation when it came to getting the most out of Marketo. In essence, their knowledge ran wide, but not deep, which was problematic when trying to improve platform efficiency and performance.
Alternately, a partner that has deep expertise in your specific platform will know how that platform will perform in all conditions, and how to best structure it to accomplish your use-case objectives. With as fast as marketing technology advances, it’s hard to be an expert in everything. (And a shameless plug, as it’s part of the story: Box ultimately chose Perkuto as their marketing operations agency.) “Bringing Marketo experts on board helped us to get more from Marketo at an accelerated rate, and in turn, helped us to create effective end-to-end processes that could grow and scale with us,” noted Glen.
The Business Impact
With a refined tech stack, expert Marketo support, and updated processes, Box experienced a 75% growth in the span of four years. Additionally, they:
- Quadrupled their yearly campaign volume
- Reduced SLAs by 30-50%
- Operated with greater efficiency, executing more volume with a smaller team
Box’s story is still evolving– and has to in order to compete successfully in a continuously changing, high-pressure, competitive market. While no one can predict what the future holds from here, as the Box story demonstrates, taking a hard look at your processes now and creating some MOPS stability within your team will better position your organization to respond adeptly when change inevitably happens.
To hear more about Box’s story, view the on-demand webcast, “Evolve, React, Innovate: Fueling High-Tech Growth,” as produced by the American Marketing Association. Alternately, if you’d like to discuss how to improve your own processes, create MOPS stability, and leverage Marketo more effectively, contact us to get the conversation started.