We asked Salesforce Marketing Cloud Project Managers to share insights and lessons they’ve learned from their most exciting projects, and here’s what we got from 5 Marketing Champions in SFMC. If you’re starting your career as a Project Manager or already working as one, this article is a must-read for you!
Digital Project Manager and Salesforce Marketing Champion
Amilcar Damian Salamao
The most exciting project I ever worked on was a client in a luxury market who had to migrate 20 customer journeys between another email marketing solution and Salesforce Marketing Cloud. The project had to happen without interrupting sales.
We had to create a data model across many data relationships, including sources from three different data warehouses. It was a huge challenge, yet working as a team, we have achieved it!
The main challenge was merging the information across the data extensions, identifying the Primary Key in each table. For example, with a unique client ID and from another table containing shops and tickets.
Amilcar also shared his top 5 qualities that a good Marketing Cloud Project Manager needs to have:
- Effective communication skills.
You must have a special gift to be able to understand the client’s needs and transfer them to your team.
- Strong leadership skills.
Natural-born leader to achieve the maximum efficiency of the difference to get the goals set for the project.
- Attention to Detail.
Always make your best with the client and the team and it will make your project a unique experience for your client.
Not everything goes as planned. We must be prepared to solve problems that were not in the initial scope and that the project will not suffer the consequences of bad management.
A good project manager must know how, when, where, and what always makes his best with the client and the team. In my experience, the factor that makes us different and exceptional is bringing value to customers. Although this is a concept that we hear everyday, putting it into practice with Marketing Cloud isn’t simple. Through the releases that Salesforce Marketing Cloud launches, we have the possibility that our projects are unique through new solutions that only Salesforce has and mark off us from the competitors. Being informed of Salesforce news will highlight our management and will always lead us to be number 1 # in our role.
Marketing Automation Manager and Salesforce Marketing Champion
My most exciting project was implementing a journey that encouraged certificate program applicants to enroll in their program. The problem to overcome was the long gap between prospective students’ applications and the registration deadline. We needed a way to keep our applicants engaged and for us to remain top of mind at the time of registration.
We also wanted to convince applicants who only make a small commitment of time and money when they apply to invest more significantly into enrolling in a certificate program. We were able to use Journey Builder to trigger marketing emails and registration reminders and ensure that certificate program applicants receive relevant messages from the moment they apply until the program begins, whether 300 or 30 days before a program’s registration deadline.
We launched this complex journey in November 2019, pausing for another six months as we tried to figure out why the journey wasn’t ejecting people once enrolled. After many trials and long hours, we successfully relaunched in May 2020. This project was so exciting because we solved a genuine business problem with Marketing Cloud. Creating all of the messaging and whiteboarding the journey experience was great fun.
According to Kendall, in order to succeed as a great SFMC Project Manager, you need to be able to distill a project with complex business needs and technical requirements into bite-size tasks that are accomplishable in a finite amount of time. This is certainly not easy to do!
Manager at Capgemini, Salesforce Marketing Champion
My most exciting project was with a large pharmacy chain integrating a Multi-Cloud solution with their external systems. This project gave me a good insight into how all the clouds connect to one other and the considerable advantages and disadvantages it brings).
What I found exciting is how all data is being handled and leveraged to customize the experience for the customers, going from single small sends to impressive journeys. My biggest lesson? ALWAYS synchronize all systems, so there is no data discrepancy. Make sure to target the correct objects/fields.
Philip points out 4 top qualities of a successful Salesforce Marketing Cloud project manager, and that is
- Have good communication skills
- Have good (conceptual) knowledge of the platform
- Ability to work in a team without being the center of attention
- Common sense.
He always puts these 4 abilities in this order because all adaptations/implementations begin with a business-related question. The most important aspect of being a project manager is to capture the key points and translate it to hands-on, technical requirements to adapt in the platform. As a project manager you don’t need to know every single technical aspect of the tool, but you do need to have a good view on what the capabilities are of all apps (both internal and external). Working in a team means that you grasp the knowledge on the implementation of the team, give them credits and stand up if something goes wrong. Lastly, common sense is that sometimes an ‘out-of-the-box’ solution works as good as a custom-built solution, but mostly takes only a fraction of the time to implement.
Marketing & CX Solutions Manager at S4G, Salesforce Marketing Champion
My most exciting project was for a large international fast-food company—consisting of several Clouds in the initial phase (Service, Marketing Cloud, Social Studio).
Many people with different skills and from various countries came on board. System integrators, other vendors, and customer teams worked and solved together.
But the best and most impactful thing was to see how and what you build changes the people, how the company works, and customer relationships. For me, the most exciting part of our work is transforming people’s experiences.
Alvaro has also prepared his top 5 skills that a good project manager needs to have. Here they are:
- He/she must be an optimistic and positive person. With a collaborative approach and who knows how to communicate and relate with the rest of the team.
- Related to the above, conflict management. It is normal that during the creation and execution of projects problems and mismatches arise and a good project manager must be able to solve them. Spending time on communication is not tidying up, but putting yourself at the service of the team. Knowing what they need and how to manage situations.
- A good project manager must be empathetic. He/she must be able to understand the different qualities and skills of each person in the team and align them with the objectives of the project; he/she must have a complete vision of the project, precise detail is not necessary (it may be enough to know who in the team has it).
- It is necessary to know that everything that is being developed is aimed at the project objective. Therefore, it is very important to be very clear about the objectives and to understand if each development is on target. (being orderly helps to have vision)
- And finally, a great capacity to learn and reinvent oneself. Learn from each person in the team, from each client of each project …. and of course, from the technological solution.
Marketing Automation Strategist, Salesforce Marketing Champion and ‘ParDreamin’ Speaker
My first large Marketing Cloud team project introduced me to the importance of IP warming. While creating the plan and building the associated data extensions, I remember being so excited to learn the “magic formula” to a successful IP warming. I also learned the importance of communicating audiences clearly to the client, avoiding dual-sends between their current platform and from Marketing Cloud the same day. I fell in love with the process and knew I wanted to support a team as a project manager as the next step in my career.
For Ashley, the main component of becoming a great SFMC Project Manager is excellent communication and ability to listen, both internally and externally. This helps with so many core responsibilities as a PM, from resourcing to setting initial expectations, effectively managing scope and budget, sprint planning and requirements gathering, mitigating issues and risks and approaching them appropriately when needed, and delivery. I’ve found it to be a single contributor that can make or break a successful project and relationship, and it’s one of the things I love most about being a Project Manager.
The conclusion is that challenging and complex tasks make their work all the more exciting for project managers. Applying this to the Salesforce Marketing Cloud framework, you see that it always entails understanding the data. So, being a good SFMC project manager means knowing how data sets from various data sources work together. To deliver advanced journeys, you must fully understand how it all connects. So, keeping your data clean and integrating it right is paramount.
10 Skills to crush it as an SFMC Project Manager
1. Communication Skills
You must have a special gift for comprehending then communicating clients’ needs to your team.
2. Leadership and working well with a team
Natural-born leaders achieve maximum efficiency for the project.
3. Attention to detail
Never lose focus on quality. Check, check, and check again.
4. Problem-solving and conflict management
Not everything goes as planned. We must prepare for all problems, including those out of scope, ensuring the project never suffers the consequences of poor management.
5. Competence, good (conceptual) knowledge of the platform
A good project manager must know how, when, where — and what is best for the client and team.
In my experience, what makes us exceptional is driving value for customers.
6. Distil a project into bite-size pieces
A good SFMC project manager should distil a project with complex business and technical requirements into bite-size tasks, accomplishable in a finite amount of time. Not always easy to do!
A good project manager should know how to communicate and relate positively with the rest of the team.
8. Common sense
The most important aspect of being a project manager is capturing and translating key points to hands-on, technical requirements, adapting to the platform. You don’t need to know every technical aspect of the tool, but a good view of all the applications’ capabilities (internal and external) is essential. To apply the knowledge into practice and choose what works best, common sense is vital.
9. Empathy and the ability to listen
You must understand the different qualities and skills of each team member, aligning them with the project objectives. You must also have a complete vision of the project; precise detail is unnecessary, provided the team collectively has what’s needed.
10. Learn to reinvent yourself
Learn from each team member, each client, and each project. Learn also from the technological solution.
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