Episode 21 | Transcript

Pato Sapir: Founding Devs United, Finding Success in SFMC, and Marketing Cloud Growth

Anthony Lamot: Hey, Pato! Welcome to the show!

Pato Sapir: Hey, Anthony, thank you so much for having me.

Anthony Lamot: It’s an absolute pleasure. It’s very exciting for me to have the creator of the networking app for Dreamforce itself here on the show. So, thank you for making time. Pato! You’ve had a very interesting career. Can you share a little bit with our audience what your career has looked up to this point, and what drove you to establish Devs United?

Pato Sapir: Yeah, sure. So I started, I mean my career, I started when I was 18 years old working in software development, doing mobile apps for airports, mostly before the iPhone, just like pocket PC and handheld type things. So I learned a lot of like C and C there and then I started working on digital marketing in 2007, going into web development there. And then fast forward and moved to the US. I’m originally from Argentina and moved to the US. Still working as a web developer, a little bit of mobile app development. And then in 2012, I started working for a company that worked on projects with ExactTarget. So I served as a technical architect doing projects with the ExactTarget team, a lot of experience that I got there and then in 2015 I decided that it was time for me. I had accumulated a lot of experience in different areas of business, I guess, in my journey. So I thought maybe I want to try doing it on my own, so I decided to leave where I was working at and start my own consulting or professional services organization focused on Salesforce Marketing Cloud. And that’s how Devs United pretty much started.

Anthony Lamot: That’s so cool and clearly, you’ve worn many hats. So I’m kind of curious. What do you mostly enjoy doing nowadays?

Pato Sapir: Yeah. So I wore many, many hats. In 2019, we actually got acquired. So we are, you know, part of a bigger advertising agency here in Ohio. So that allowed me to kind of like, choose a little more what I wanted to focus on versus wearing too many hats. So now, mostly, what I enjoy doing is consulting, you know, just helping clients realize their strategy for implementing Salesforce and adjust it to their goals and use cases. And then while I am a coder by trade, I really love exploring that and finding creative solutions with code. So in my free time I develop. Well, the networking app for Salesforce was a joint effort with another trailblazer, Anthony Zupancic, and then developed MC Snippets, which is a playground to code in AMPScript or SSJS and SQL without the need of a Marketing Cloud environment. So I’ve been spending most time just adding features to it and making it nicer and cooler for the community.

Anthony Lamot: That’s great. Let’s talk a bit more about Marketing Cloud specifically, in the projects you’ve done. What would you say is your most or one of your most interesting projects to date?

Pato Sapir: That’s a question. I’ve definitely done a ton of interesting projects. I would say the most interesting ones have to do with integrations and thinking outside of the box a little bit. One that I can remember is we did this integration for a company that sold apparel for different teams in the MLB, NHL, and NBA. We integrated with sports statistics API, and we basically monitored the outcome of a game. Based on the outcome of a game, we could trigger an email within seconds to the people subscribed to receive news about the team to promote and capitalize on those micro moments of excitement. For example, if your team won, we’d send an email saying, “Hey, we have a sale on jerseys for this player,” and we could even track the most scoring player to personalize the message more. I would say that was a really fun project to work on.

Anthony Lamot: Yup, sounds like it. And being from Argentina, I can imagine that you really like football, slash soccer yourself as well.

Pato Sapir: I do. I really do love football.

Anthony Lamot: That’s great. Well, this might have been one of your more interesting and fun projects, but I would like to dive into the challenges as well. What do you see most often as the biggest challenge or challenges that Marketing Cloud admins face when they are onboarding teams for the first time?


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Pato Sapir: I think one of the greatest strengths of Marketing Cloud is the number of ways you can solve a problem, but at the same time, it can be overwhelming because you have too many ways to solve one problem. The main challenge is defining the set of best practices and how you’re going to teach people how to use the platform. Creating a path for adoption and learning based on industry standards and your own company’s way of doing things, tailored to the audience, is crucial. Ensuring that users adopt the platform and know how to use it is a big challenge.

Anthony Lamot: And so you’ve already highlighted the specific standards that might apply within your company. Now, throughout an implementation project, the onboarding, and even the support afterward, there’s usually some form of collaboration needed between the more marketing/business side and the more technical teams. What are some of the best practices, tips, and tricks you can give for collaborating between these two sides?

Pato Sapir: Aligning first on what success looks like, which has nothing to do with the technology or the marketing strategies, is crucial. Sitting down with the team and mapping out the use cases we want to solve for our customers and organizational goals is important. Understanding each other’s KPIs, indicators, and motivations helps. It’s also important to recognize past challenges, as IT might want to control certain aspects based on previous experiences. Getting alignment on organizational and departmental goals and use cases is key. When challenges arise, they come from a place of understanding where the other team is coming from.

Anthony Lamot: Absolutely. And it’s actually very recognizable to me as well. We also try to set very clear success criteria or map out the use cases when we start working with our clients. I’m curious if you ever also see some alignment around KPIs, even if the marketers themselves are typically held up to things like engagement metrics or marketing-generated revenue. Sometimes technical marketers or IT are indirectly responsible for enabling these. Is that something you have seen in projects?

Pato Sapir: Yes, I think so. From the IT side, usually what’s thrown is technical debt. It’s not a measurement or a KPI, but it’s more like a consequence. I think what I see is more behaviors or standards that need to be followed, like keeping a log of all active journeys and automations, storing important code in repositories, and documenting functionality. These practices ultimately affect the bottom line, as reworking functionality can delay new campaigns and impact organizational goals.

Anthony Lamot: Absolutely. And I think it’s really interesting where you highlight the importance of avoiding technical debt and how automations running without being useful can impact performance. Let’s talk about the biggest challenge in the Marketing Cloud community that nobody is talking about.

Pato Sapir: I think learning continues to be the biggest challenge, partly due to the lack of access to tools for trial and error. Unless you pay for a license, it’s hard to learn Marketing Cloud. This was one of my motivations for creating MC Snippets, to give developers a way to learn. I would also like to see more content around strategy, like mapping out use cases and journey experiences, rather than just technical how-tos.

Anthony Lamot: Absolutely. What do you think are some of the best topics to follow in the Marketing Cloud ecosystem? What’s developing rapidly and interesting to follow?

Pato Sapir: I love seeing new perspectives and documentation on solving issues, like activating audiences from Data Cloud or extending the platform with WhatsApp. Seeing new faces contributing to the community with content, like mini-courses on SQL or using WhatsApp, excites me.

Anthony Lamot: That’s really nice to hear. Specifically, do you have thoughts on the recent announcement for the Marketing Cloud Growth edition?

Pato Sapir: It’s exciting that Salesforce is taking steps to unify the experience in one core platform, especially with Data Cloud. However, it seems like it will take a long time for Marketing Cloud Growth to match what Marketing Cloud Engagement can do. There are many steps to implement it, like setting up Data Cloud and updating permissions, which makes it feel like an initial MVP. I’d like to see a roadmap at Connections to understand where it’s headed.

Anthony Lamot: For sure. It’s always interesting to see how new products pan out. Lastly, what advice would you give to new marketers or trailblazers in the ecosystem?

Pato Sapir: Find support in the community. Connect with trailblazers, attend events, and join community groups. Don’t wait for a client project to get hands-on experience. Create your own use cases and practice on the platform. Making mistakes is the best way to learn.

Anthony Lamot: I totally agree. Getting your hands dirty is essential, especially with complex marketing automation. It’s often underestimated how complex it is. Pato, it’s been super interesting. Can’t wait to meet you again at some Salesforce events. Thank you for being on the show.

Pato Sapir: Awesome. Thanks, Anthony. See you soon.

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