Episode 06 | Transcript

Julien Coatelen: SFMC Consulting Projects and Being a Community Leader

Anthony Lamot: Hey, there, I’m Anthony from DESelect and in today’s interview, I will be talking with Julien Coatelen, practice lead at Bluewolf and leader of the Paris Marketing Cloud user group. We talk about how to deliver and be well while on challenging projects. We also cover many useful tools and remind ourselves to stay human in this ever-more digital context. If you have a question for us, just leave it in the comments meanwhile, just relax, sit back, and enjoy. Julien, welcome to the series.

Julien Coatelen: Nice to be with you today.

AL: Yeah, we’re very happy to have you. Thanks, thanks for making the time for us. Now. For those who don’t know you yet, could you please introduce yourself to our viewers?

JC: So my name is Julien Coatelen. I am the Salesforce Marketing Cloud practice leader at Bluewolf, an IBM company. I have been working on Marketing Cloud since 2013 when I built my first Marketing Cloud team at Deloitte Digital progressively over five years. In 2016, I created the Salesforce Marketing Cloud user in France which has now 500 numbers. And more recently, I have been elected Marketing Champion by Salesforce.

AL: That’s quite a background. One, thing stood out there for me. I think you mentioned you’ve been working with Marketing Cloud since 2013, you said?

JC: Yeah, exactly. So basically, I was, the first official partner at this time with another company where we used to work with ExactTargets before Salesforce in 2014. Yeah.

AL: That’s so interesting. Yeah, I remember hearing about ExactTarget when I was in a Salesforce project myself at a big pharma company and they were thinking about getting ExacTarget then they chose not to. And then two weeks later it was announced that Salesforce would acquire ExactTarget. So it’s funny how those things go.

JC: Exactly. Yeah. Furthermore, it’s a bit more strategic because, I used to work with Pardot and ExactTarget proceed products and Salesforce process, ExactTargets and they got both products and ExactTarget solutions in their industries. So it’s so interesting, to get the full story about marketing information solutions.

AL: Exactly. Yeah. It’s funny that you mentioned that I didn’t realize you were also familiar with that. This is how I ended up with Marketing Cloud. First. I went to the part route and then that’s cool. Now, you also mentioned that you know, you’ve become a Salesforce Marketing Champion this year. So congratulations, what does it mean to you to be nominated?

JC: Well, the Marketing Champions program is an amazing journey that allows marketing experts around the world to give back to the community. So… it is all about sharing experience and patience. These recognitions also help us to get more visibility and to exchange with other Marketing Champions first. But to be honest, you must be a Marketing Champion before becoming officially a Marketing Champion in this program. So it is a natural continuity in my investment with the French community of marketers and also a good opportunity to express my knowledge of digital marketing.

AL: Right. So it’s almost more like a recognition of all the work you’ve already been doing. It’s. Not now that you have, is that like this new title just gives you new rights, I suppose?

JC: Yeah. You find some Marketing Champions that get like a new status, for me as I used to be also the Salesforce Marketing Cloud user group. I already got some kind of status, in France, but with this new program coming, it’s also, yeah, new recognition which is also dissociated. And for me, it’s more like an opportunity to connect with other Marketing Champions because with, my head of user hope, it’s all about sharing with the community, and with the Marketing Champion, it’s more with like a more global network around the world.

AL: Indeed, indeed, yeah, that makes sense. Now, talking about your French user group, what kind of activities do you guys do?

JC: Yeah, I actually, I’m very proud of our French marketing community indeed. It has been a long trail to understand and Engage individual members about their expectations. I remember our first meeting about five years ago with only a few participants at the beginning and it took time to reach out… our first 100 attendees on-site tomorrow. For example, we had a webinar with the user group, and we managed to get very quickly our first 50 registered with active members only with a post on WhatsApp. So right now, the event is like 130 registered persons composed of Salesforce clients partners, and much more. So we propose exclusive content for marketing levels to improve their skills and also to enjoy some good moments with other marketers. So that’s the spirit of our user group, quality of content, focus on marketing, and also good lives. So, good exchange with each other.

AL: That’s great. And did I hear you say correctly that, you guys also use a WhatsApp group?

JC: Exactly. So it has been like some testing and learning to define which are the best channels to Engage our community. We started with the success group of Salesforce, like the official user group, on the website. And after that, we quickly created a LinkedIn page group community for those who are not usually going, to the success group on Salesforce. And after that, we wanted to be more real-time, you know, for you in an event and you want to push on real-time messages to interact with the community. We created this Whatsapp group which is also to propose some other kind of content and we try to push like more innovative and recent articles post on LinkedIn, more like our main communication on the user group and like help and support in there and realtime message, on Whatsapp. Also, we try to get an initiative on Slack during the lockdown. But yeah, just trying and testing everything, to get some feedback from the community.

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AL: Yeah. It’s that to me because, in the Dutch user group, we also use Whatsapp which, you know, it’s not per SE Salesforce technology. So it’s interesting that in different groups, they refer to the same technologies, but, we also typically use it not for general knowledge sharing or articles but it’s rather about like big community updates or maybe someone looks like maybe someone has a new job posting. That also happens.

JC: Yeah, more and more the community. So, we receive some requests about jobs, you know, like a marketplace where we can find offers on-demand around job needs and requests. So for diverse kinds of extra users, of the community. But yes, we are opportunists and we don’t want, to be close to where we have some specific requests not only about content and experience feedback but also around some kind of other topics.

AL: I’m also curious about Slack because we use it in our company all the time but I haven’t seen it being used in a user group. So how is that working out?

JC: Yeah, the Slack actually, I created some channels while you have some administration, the creative management, data management, tracking, and reporting. So you are a very dedicated certification and you, you’re supposed to find, the right channel based on recurring questions or specific questions that you could have as a member. And basically, the Slack channel is really to make people help with each other, but to help them to contribute as proactively with the community. And I found that more partners were engaged with that but less like daily users. So it was more about, yeah, some questions while you, so, the initial group, the success group is maybe redundant is maybe like duplicate platform, for this kind of use.

AL: Okay. It’s good to know. Yeah, I know there’s also this e-mail specialist user group. I might have the name a bit wrong, but I know there’s a very active community there, for the Marketing Cloud, right? Either way, we’ll make sure for the listeners and the viewers that we put all the links to, you know, the LinkedIn group, your own user group and DESelect channels. We’ll put it all in the resources of this video. Yeah.

Besides that, is there something that you feel like makes the Salesforce, the French Salesforce community unique or maybe different from other communities?

JC: Yeah. Interesting question. Actually, I think that the French people are somehow very reserved. I mean that marketing experts don’t expose their knowledge very easily by a certain person. And new users like not mature users could be very shy, in that. And so, but once we create confidence as a team, we manage to be very creative together and also together a large audience during our events. But what makes us so successful as one of the larger user hop over the world not owned by Salesforce because they are very big user hoops, is that we execute our own advice and we keep improving over the time trying new formats of events to find people to find what people really love.

AL: Yeah, it’s an interesting topic to me, you know, being Belgium, I’m right in the middle between Paris and Amsterdam. So, you know, sometimes you see the Dutch culture which is notoriously direct and indeed, the French culture tends to be more reserved and I think more built towards relationships and building trust, which is also a good thing, of course, but it’s just a different way of working.

JC: Yeah. So to be concrete, we have tried some, you know, some organization of the room with like something like which and there is a large audience in front of us like physically, we tried by group of people with like mini workshop where they can work together. We try to speed the room in three main parts inviting some sort is, or like external… pitcher. And basically, we got some very interesting feedbacks about the different organization where, we managed to get, the interactions, with people, and that’s why today we really want to make something oriented to workshop to make our members like more proactive and more engaged with our contents.

AL: That sounds really interesting. But, but, I do wonder now given the pandemic, how are you going about these kind of things?

JC: Yeah. So, so, the webinar that we’re making tomorrow which is like an online workshop. We get some time on demo and how to do how to process, and we keep some time for them, to do, the job by the, by their side. So, the goal is to have this interaction with us with them. So, we can show some nice content simple step by step… like tutorial. And after that, they have some free time where they can execute by their side. And we get some real time interactions about what you think about this. Have you managed to get that successful by your side, and what is some examples, of use of this feature for your own industry, or this kind of interactions? So we have, a headline and after that, it’s all about interactions.

AL: Yeah, we are currently doing a pilot, with a very large customer. And as part of the pilot, we’re setting all these success criteria and doing workshops. And actually it was a client who came up with this tool. I hadn’t heard of it before. It’s called mural. And essentially, they have this big whiteboard kind of thing. But digitally, are you using some tools like that yourself?

JC: Exactly. So mural is a good example of the way we are interacting with the community. And even on all the onsite events, we used to work with these kind of interactions with like a tool which is called… what’s the name again… Poll Everywhere. So Poll Everywhere is also an interesting tool where we can interact and make some real time poll integrated in the PowerPoint. So keep, the flow of the presentation and we get some realtime statistics in the screen integrated on the mobile device, or web device, some feedback from the audience. So it’s very interesting also to adapt for from the offline or online universe, the different tools and for the current context with the distance, then it’s very interesting to get this kind of mural tool and we use that a lot of course.

AL: Great. Yeah. I love these concrete recommendations. So we’ll make sure to put it all in the comment so people can find it, and try it for themselves. And yeah, I’ll try mural myself a bit more seems interesting. Actually, if you now shift gears for a second and go to your career, you’ve already mentioned you’ve for several consulting firms you’re currently at Bluewolf. So I imagine that throughout your career, you’ve probably done a few exciting projects. Was there one that stood out the most for you?

JC: Yeah, actually a Marketing Cloud allowed me to travel all around the world. And I have, a very good memories of a project in South Africa, which certainly interesting for the multi-cloud dimension, but also for the human experience. We often pitch, you know, the importance of customer experience, but we are the first concerned on our own projects regarding the delivery and the team experience. This project was a great success in all aspects, delivery, innovation, teams, commitment, human and controlled experience. And I recommend you wanting in your life to visit Cape Town, which is an amazing, it really love that.

AL: Okay. That’s great. I haven’t been there myself but my cofounder our CTO, Jonathan has been there and actually when he was there, he sent back a selfie with penguins. That’s actually how we got the idea of using penguins for DESelect. So I’ve seen pictures. I can tell you that much and what about challenging projects? Is there anything you can tell us about that?

JC: You know, we also often speak about digital transformation. My vision on digital transformation is… really challenging as it includes transformation in technology, business model, team, spirits, delivery, and like governance models, many aspects. So I remember a very challenging project where this transformation happened almost all at once. Like in every dimensions, I saw in one year, the full company transforming it’s rooms to welcome boards. We’ve posted like everywhere migrating from Adobe technology to Salesforce Marketing Cloud from like a very internal team to like an extended team with us. And also we’ve totally updated accelerated release management. You know, they were all dependent with each other with the different teams. So the change management has been very important and with a step back, I think that nobody were ready to such a big challenge, but we made it thanks to the right people around the table and a very good vision about what we wanted to achieve at the end.

AL: And, you know, it sounds like a lot of stuff is going on that project. Was it sometimes like hard for you personally? Where like was it personally challenging?

JC: Yes, my personal issue I would say is that sometimes your solicit, you have many solicitations in the same time. And, the real challenge is to bring the right quality and to get the right time for, the do mission that you want, to deserve. So, yeah, my personal point is that I’m very active and very active person and I want to be everywhere. So I mostly try to get my personal and professional life balance balanced. So, yeah.

AL: How does, how does that work? If you’re a consultant?

JC: It’s all about self limits, you know? And also, the patient, that you have with your work. I started as a consultant before becoming a manager and a practice leader and basically being a consultant. I used to do more than what my company expected from me because I totally love that. So it was all about research… eminence. It was all about like… organizing events, making the user group and making some relationship networking with, the community with our partners. And all that is not part of my initial job. It’s something that I wanted to do because, I love that. And it has, it also helped a lot for sure to create who I am today.

AL: Yeah, of course. And, and I currently don’t get me wrong. I mean, otherwise we’d not be doing this interview in the first place, but you’re also right? It’s all about prioritization if I can call it that. That’s one of my constant struggles as well. To be honest. Like in general, do you have some tips for maybe let’s say newer people in your team or at other consulting firms who are maybe having a tough time managing their time, and dealing with the personal stress even. Do you have some recommendations there?

JC: Yeah. For the joke, I would say to stress people that if you can’t met your performance of what you’re working on, then nobody will be able to speak about failure and the success. Of course, what I mean here is that stress is correlated to misunderstand the more you test. And the more you know about your projects, the less stress you have. And actually there is no way to stress as far as you follow best practices in our job. So, and you’re not alone, you can be helped by Marketing Cloud community, by myself as a marketing champion, by the sales force support also, which can help you in your daily life and daily work by your success manager, if you have any, on your project. So just have a deep breath, relax and find the reason why you’re stress and get rid of any entity because there is no reason but get people up as much as possible.

AL: Yeah, of course. And actually, I think, that tip is spot on. You just remind me of my very first Salesforce project ever. It was a Sunday night. I was super stressed about one of my first workshops ever as a consultant the next day and, you know, common sense would say relax have a glass of wine or something. But instead, I applied myself to studying and that actually gave me the knowledge and confidence the next day, to handle it.

JC: I mean, as far as you really focus on your objectives and you prepare your test lots, then it’s going all right. But sometimes stress is really linked to lack of anything. I made a study a few weeks before and one of my questions were related to your daily issues on Marketing Cloud. And I listed a lot of like lack of a technical expertise, lack of knowledge, lack of whatever, there was like 12 different issues. And basically what I found is that lack of technical experts. Also was one of the main aspects of anxiety, in the company. So, yeah, most of marketers are really anxious because they don’t have this technical skills internally or themselves. So for that, I think that we have some incoming questions that will be an answer also, for that kind of answer, for the stress.

AL: Yeah, right. Right. Yeah. I mean, the being dependent on technical expertise is of course, very stressful for nontechnical users like marketers typically. But before we dig deeper into that, as I was also wondering like on these projects, you’ve had best practices usually say stay close to out of the book, follow Salesforce guidelines. Nonetheless, customers come up with all kinds of custom requirements and sometimes for good reasons like don’t get me wrong. But what is like the most extraordinary or unique feature that you’ve ever had a customer request? You?

JC: I see recurring needs for my clients about features that are not yet existing in Marketing Cloud. And sometimes I request my team to build it. Some of our custom development has been released by Salesforce in the product role map like the release management or service that we created like years ago. But the kind of features before most of Marketing Cloud users can use it, in the Marketing Cloud. I saw many kind of extraordinary custom features built on Marketing Cloud like connectors with different path solutions. But what I find most impressive in is the adaptation of standard digital marketing assets applied specifically for Marketing Cloud. I can give you some example of that. For example, you can create a fully custom attribution model to measure the uplift of marketing initiatives regarding the global one of the company within Marketing Cloud. Or you can also build some kind of segmentation tool to be like four to eleven standard segments of customers based only on pros data and this kind of use, which are totally adapted like from digital marketing knowledge and best practices over, the tool. The technology is, what is the most impressive is how we can adapt this kind of digital best practices on the platform to create value.

AL: Yeah, I like that you pointed out. And we’ve also written about that. And with all the data that typical customers will store in Marketing Cloud, it’s definitely up there now as, you know, at least like we create an app to help marketers create those kind of advanced segments without SQL. For instance, to what extent has segmentation been a pain, on your projects? I mean, I’d love to hear, what challenges you’ve encountered.

JC: Yeah, advanced segmentation is really hard for not technical marketers as this SQL in Marketing Cloud. So that’s why a two like DESelect for me is really an advantage for functional teams that don’t have any technical architects or developers like internally offer more independence regarding them because sometimes you do have this kind of technical people in the team but they are, their velocity is fully committed to their own projects. So, you can’t really, but to them to create your segmentation, you’re supposed to be autonomous on your digital campaign, your marketing campaign. So yeah, it’s very much more nice to be autonomous and independent on your campaign and integrate this kind of advanced segmentation. So indeed, for more than 50 percent of marketers in the market, I would say that, the only way to operate advanced segment is to request for help or make it by themselves with a tool like DESelect.

AL: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for those kind words by the way. Yeah, we see a bit of both, right? We, we see, I would say especially in the mid-sized corporates like up to 5,000 employees, it will often be the marketers themselves who do that. But if you go beyond that for real enterprise, you know, the world’s biggest automotive companies or fmcg companies come to mind, they do typically have like a centralized marketing automation team with maybe five to 15 or even more people. And then, they also leverage this late just because it’s still a bit faster than doing SQL. But yeah, good stuff aside size Marketing Cloud, there’s so many new things being released. There’s so many modules. What are you still interested in learning? And also just for your own practice, what capabilities do you want to continue building in the future?

JC: This is very clean questions that we have with our partner manager in Salesforce because there is some kind of enablement and sometimes, you know, based on the last process of Salesforce as we have a lot of news regarding last prochese, we got in the past very last years like, the re process with, the DMP. We have that Rama, we have first standards and ever gauge. It was more ever gauge for the process that under head was more like a partnership, but we got meaning tools in the Marketing Suite to focus. And also some very interesting partner let’s say experience to create a round service cloud, Marketing Cloud and Commerce Cloud. So I would say that as marketing practice leader, I have to get some focus on some play to activate because we can’t invest on every module. And I have my own focus for sure. So interaction studio is really something that I want to get a huge expertise on because the commerce and we, the web is really a channel which has been released by, the context and… even the commerce cloud projects are still very well, in a good trend. So for sure, to keep this interaction between Web and Marketing Interaction Studio is something which is relevant for our future as market.

AL: Yeah, absolutely. Though, I think, I mean just being familiar with all of these tools to some extent things like crooks, the DMP nowadays that’s such a different beast altogether from like the normal Marketing Cloud even with the Marketing Cloud mobile studio is, you know, very different from e-mail studio, how do you pick your battles?

JC: My choice. You mean, how I select my place? I would say that is part of maybe half some interaction that I have with solution architects and people that are very close to the roadmap and product team in Salesforce. And although so, you know, Sean it will be linked deeply linked to the demands of my own clients. As I have a lot of interactions with my own clients. Salesforce partners also to the marketing ecosystem with the different interactions that will get, with the users. Yeah, it’s like a own maturity, on the matter. And then I would invest more in some part and less in other ones. Yeah, for sure.

AL: Of course, of course, that makes total sense. In general. This may be a hard question to answer because, you know, we can’t look into the future but what do you think would be the next big thing in the Salesforce ecosystem? And let’s say, the, in the coming trees, let’s say.

JC: There is a huge, you know, I got a very interesting meeting with a key man in the Salesforce company, based in the U.S. and he was speaking about the few years back about, the Salesforce stuck. And today, it’s clearer than ever. And, we know a conversion, of many aspects of what he said. So it’s not about the interface but also, the platform for me. The, the one strategic play today would be on Customer 360 because it’s a really powerful solution which is also aggregating many issues and on so, too many concerns today. So, yeah, it could be central tomorrow on the CRM projects. And by CRM, I mean, customer relationship management, which could be a Service Cloud, Community Cloud, Commerce Cloud or Marketing Cloud. And this Customer 360 could be like a central vision about starting point on the data quality and on many aspects to begin with.

AL: And potentially even the orchestration of journeys the way I see it because all the data will come there though. I think the challenge will be like finding, the people in your organization who can be the orchestrator. Of course.

JC: Yeah, data is really key. It has always been key more than other marketers and companies do have to leverage their mentality and their skills on the data. And I think that this technical issue that we mentioned earlier is really linking as, the art of the possible because when I start to Marketing Cloud project, most of the time we set up Marketing Cloud and we try to start on quick wins. And we have two options here. The first option is that they have, the right people in their team and we can leverage the solution. And by the right people, I mean, most of the time technical people. And if they don’t have technical people, then they are more dependent to us as a partner. And if you want to create value in terms of segmentation, patalization, genealogic, it’s very important to get some quick wins, really quick after, the setup is done and, the majority of their team is part of, the success, of the project. So also, I mean not speaking about platform but also speaking about knowledge or expertise. It’s really important to get the rights team and, you know, we used to speak about marketers, but for me, it’s just finish today. We are speaking about data marketers. And if as a marketer, you don’t have any data knowledge, then it’s really hard on this kind of advanced solution like Marketing Cloud to really get 100 percent of its capacities.

AL: Right. Absolutely. I think that’s a really powerful recommendation and a piece of advice from someone with the experience to back it up to close down this episode. However do you still have any closing thoughts that you would like to share with the audience? Or any message you would like to share?

JC: Actually, I think that, we spoke about a lot of different topics but I would only add that in this changing world, we need more than ever, to remain vigilant to secure this inbetween phase. We are currently living as a marketer, find people where they are, your clients, your partners, et cetera. With the right message, which is also something that we keep repeating. But what is new is that being human over companies, one trick is, very important showing that life keep going and that you can help them in this transition as a company. So, yeah, my advice would be that the last word would be on this human interaction which is not only between the mark and the customers with less pressure, less social citation and more personalization, but also with our teammates and our teams to be also more human. In this context. We speak about… simple things but like switching on the camera and getting some interactions altogether. So, yeah, I think that as far as we don’t get, the last word of this transition, we need to stay human which is maybe, the best thing, in this time.

AL: Stay, stay human in a digital era. I think that’s a great message, Julien. It was an absolute pleasure having you on this episode. Thank you so much for your time.

JC: Thank you. Bye.

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