To be the best, you have to learn from the best. For that reason, we profiled Kaleem McGill, who became one of the illustrious Salesforce Marketing Champions back in 2020. More on this later.
Currently an Implementation Specialist, Kaleem has over a decade of experience working with CRMs and Marketing Cloud. We talked to Kaleem about his unconventional start to Marketing Cloud, how that led to some of his career highlights, and how others can advance their careers in a similar manner.
How did you start your journey with SFMC, and what’s happened since?
My journey into SFMC started unconventionally, much like many others. While working in a full-time client success role managing digital marketing campaigns, I realized the need for hard skills in digital marketing.
To gain these skills, I enrolled in a 6-month marketing program offered by Kenzie Academy, a coding school. Through Kenzie’s partnership with Pep Up Tech, I became a member of their Marketing Cloud Cohort and underwent 8 weeks of intensive training to achieve my Email Specialist Certification. I successfully acquired the Email Specialist and Marketing Cloud Admin certifications and landed my first role working in Marketing Cloud.
My hard work and dedication paid off when I was nominated to be part of the Salesforce Marketing Champions program, where I received valuable mentorship from some of the top professionals in the field. I worked in that role for almost a year before transitioning to a full-time marketing strategist position.
Currently, I am working as an Implementation Specialist at Fast Slow Motion and I am thoroughly enjoying my experience here. I aim to hone my skills and advance my career with the organization for many years to come.
What’s your favorite Marketing Cloud project you’ve worked on?
One of my most rewarding experiences thus far has been my involvement in a project for a prominent barbershop franchise, where I was tasked with implementing Marketing Cloud in conjunction with Community Cloud and Distributed Marketing. Throughout this project, we encountered a multitude of complex issues that required careful consideration and strategic solutions.
Notably, I was given the opportunity to take a leadership role in implementing the Distributed Marketing solution, which proved to be particularly challenging due to the vast amount of data involved – the organization had over one million contacts to manage. It was truly an eye-opening experience to witness seasoned consultants design comprehensive architecture and problem-solve with such expertise.
As the SME for the Distributed Marketing connection between Marketing Cloud and Community Cloud, I took great pride in deep diving into the product and sharing my knowledge with my colleagues. All in all, it was an immensely gratifying project that allowed me to contribute to the success of a large-scale initiative.
What is the biggest issue you see the Salesforce community facing right now or in the near future?
I believe that the Salesforce Community is eagerly anticipating the impact of AI on Marketing Cloud consultants and developers. This has been an ongoing challenge for the broader tech community as we have learned to integrate AI into our work rather than fight against it. As Marketing Cloud professionals, we must also adapt and determine how AI can be utilized to support us in automating recurring tasks.
By doing so, we will free up time and mental space to delve into more innovative strategies for our clients, which often require both creative thinking and complex architecture. It is only by embracing AI that we can fully leverage its potential to enhance the quality and efficiency of our work in the Marketing Cloud space.
What advice do you have for Marketing Cloud newbies trying to learn the platform?
For those just starting in Marketing Cloud, my advice would be to approach the tool with an open mind and a willingness to learn on the fly. It is impossible to know everything about the platform, and you will undoubtedly encounter issues along the way.
I had been a Salesforce user for most of my sales career, and I initially wanted to become an admin in Sales Cloud because that was all I knew. When I started my Trailhead journey, I didn’t know how many tools were available under the Salesforce umbrella. I was on the Trailhead site and found the Career Path page. I immediately lit up because I saw there was a path for Marketers. I studied marketing in college, and it aligned with my career aspirations.
I immediately started taking Marketing Cloud trails and realized they spoke my language. A few months later, the Pep Up Tech opportunity arose, and it truly felt like the stars aligned for me to dive into Marketing Cloud head first. I later discovered that Marketing Cloud practitioners were in high demand, and I just fed my fire to remain on the Marketing Cloud path.
That said, aim to gain a solid understanding of the entire tool so that you can speak to it confidently and know where to turn for support when faced with unique challenges. It is also valuable to specialize in an area that particularly resonates with you – whether it be data, email creation, or cross-cloud integrations – and to develop expertise in that area.
By doing so, you will be able to identify the skills that your team is lacking and contribute in a meaningful way. Ultimately, it is the combination of both breadth and depth of knowledge that will make you a valuable asset to any Marketing Cloud team.
What is your experience (if any) with DESelect?
I’ve referred DESelect Segment to several clients who wanted to do advanced segmentation beyond our engagement but did not have the coding knowledge.
Salesforce Marketing Champions must obtain significant product skillsets and rigorous community involvement. These maestros hold expertise in automation platforms, complete numerous Salesforce Certifications, and consistently share knowledge via the Trailblazer Community, workshops, and User Group Meetups.
As Kaleem mentioned, finding ways to automate repetitive tasks actually helps your career, as you can shift bandwidth to tackle more strategic challenges. If you want to better understand how DESelect provides that type of automation for audience segmentation, get certified in our Academy courses.