Salesforce Trailblazer Spotlight: Jennifer Schneider
We were lucky enough to sit down and chat with Salesforce Trailblazer Jennifer Schneider. Jennifer is a vibrant member of the Salesforce Ohana and a total Pardot superstar. We learned how she landed in the Salesforce ecosystem, how her sales experience has shaped her marketing approach, and got her take on how companies can up their game using Salesforce Pardot and Conversational Marketing.
MR (Maura Rivera, Qualified Team): Let’s jump right in. Tell us about yourself!
JS (Jennifer Schneider, Cheshire Impact): I'm the Head Solutions Architect at Cheshire Impact. My role is to have a really good understanding of what our clients need, how they're using Salesforce and Pardot, and how they want to use them in the future. With that information I put together a plan and a roadmap for them to be successful on the platform.
MR: Where are most of your clients in their Pardot journey? Are you helping companies implement the tool or evolve their marketing automation programs?
JS: We have some clients that are absolutely brand new. They're coming in and getting an implementation and we have a really great training program for them. We're always using our CSI which is our Cheshire Success index. We can work with the client and rate where they're at today, where they might be tomorrow, and then we give them a list of the things we want to do and how we’ll do them.
The Pardot tool may be consistent in the way that we approach it, but the strategy is completely unique for each client.
MR: Let’s start from the beginning. How did you get involved in the Salesforce ecosystem?
JS: So all of this happened by accident. That’s almost everyone's story and I love that. I was working at a radio station and we were using Salesforce and that's when I really started to get a taste for it. I was in sales, so I started as an end user of Salesforce. I jumped in, started documenting things, and started thinking to myself, “If I had these pieces of information, I could do so much more. Why don't we have that?” I would work closely with our admin and we got into discussions about how we can change things inside of Salesforce. I started to really fall in love with the platform as an end user. I'm so glad that I did that. Having that sales perspective helps me so much today as a marketer.
MR: So that’s how you started using Salesforce Sales Cloud. How’d you get into the wonderful world of Pardot?
JS: In 2009 I was the Director of Marketing for an overseas business. I had the job of picking a marketing automation platform at my very first Dreamforce. (By the way, that was awesome and a total whirlwind!) This is back in the day where ExactTarget was hitting the market. That was the top dog. And because I had this intimate knowledge of Salesforce and how it worked, when I saw Pardot I thought “This just makes sense”. I shook the dice and my company went with it. That was the first time I'd ever implemented Pardot and we just dove right in.
One half of our business was a call center and the other was a startup workforce optimization platform. They only wanted to buy one instance of Pardot, but we had two different businesses. So I figure out how to do it. There was no such thing as business units back then and I didn't have enough admin experience to understand the ins and outs of selective sync. So I had to partition everything with folder structure and process. It was a blessing, because it laid a strong foundation for how I used Pardot.
MR: How have you seen Pardot evolve over the last decade?
JS: Pardot has always worked so well on the backend. Over the years, they’ve evolved the interface and they’re consistently improving the functionality. They trickle things out and all of a sudden you hit a new dropdown of your completion action and say "Whoa, look what I can do now!" In the last two years, it’s just been exploding. I love the interaction between Sales Cloud and Pardot. We can get amazing reporting because these two platforms are working so closely together.
MR: You say Pardot has always worked well on the backend. Can you elaborate?
JS: You can bring over so much information onto the lead and contact record. I never adopted the “put a bunch of people in Pardot, let them sit and then bring them into Salesforce after being qualified” model. From the get go, I knew that if I wanted to get the reporting I knew was capable, I needed to have all my data inside Salesforce. But I also needed to segment my data, to keep it away from sales and let marketing own it. It's really hard to show marketing attribution when you have a siloed group of people that you’re marketing to. And you don’t want to spend eight hours making your own PowerPoint and pulling data from four different places. I come from a sales background where I had my own dashboard and I knew what my KPIs were. I wanted the same visibility when I came into the marketing world. Right away I could get that with Pardot.
MR: How do you think your experience in sales shaped the way you approach marketing automation?
JS: Being a salesperson, I knew I had to document everything and clearly show my impact. Because I loved reporting, I would always create my reports and dashboards, that resulted in looking at data in different ways
On top of that, I would hear the rest of the sales team say “Why is marketing giving us that information, why are we using that, this is crazy” So I would create a report on my own slice data in a digestible format that bridged the gap for marketing and sales. and say, “Hey check this out”.
I learned a couple of things along the way:
MR: Who needs to be in a room when you’re kicking off a Marketing Automation project?
JS: Of course we’re going to need a marketer, because they need to connect their content with a reason to buy. We're going to need representatives from sales (or ops or mops). We will need IT in the beginning for the back end items like CNAME and email domains, And now that Pardot sits on top of Salesforce, we’re going to need a dedicated Salesforce/Pardot admin at our disposal.
MR: How do you define success when it comes to using Pardot?
JS: We need to show: of the people that bought, what stage they were they at in the customer journey and what content influenced their decision to buy? The first step is to understand what is important to the company and be able to bring in dollar value. If you are bringing in a ton of leads but can’t tie your marketing programs to dollars, you’re in trouble.
MR: Buyer expectations are rapidly rising. How can B2B companies keep up?
JS: We get so caught up in these definitions of people as either B2B buyers or B2C buyers. After 5 or 6 pm, B2B buyers are just people. As B2B companies, we need to market to people, not a segment of people that we think operate in a specific B2B way.
MR: What’s the key to effective B2B Marketing?
JS: There are two major things you can do:
MR: What trends are you seeing in the B2B marketing landscape right now?
JS: There’s a big push to have one platform that you use globally. The business unit functionality in Pardot is critical here. I’m really excited to see what is in store for business units, how it will continue to improve, and really allow those companies to be able to utilize a one-stop-shop.
But my very favorite thing? Connected campaigns. Connected campaigns are the glue that hold everything together. You used to have Pardot Campaigns and Salesforce Campaigns. Now, you have one campaign that’s created in Salesforce, and all the assets that you have created and associated now flow through that campaign, allowing you access to KPI's in Salesforce. In Salesforce you can tie activity and custom field information with a filter of the members in your campaign for deeper segmentation and reporting. In the end you can create amazing dashboards, like an ABM dashboard, for example. You can see the sales activity on your top 25 accounts, your engagement activity of your top 25 accounts, and for the very first time, you actually can see holistically what your entire company is doing to those top 25 accounts. That is the power of connected campaigns.
The biggest hurdle with connected campaigns is building your reporting strategy. You have to get your stakeholders in the room and say "How do we as a company want to report? What is important to us?” Once you figure that out, connected campaigns will change your life.
MR: We’re hoping Conversational Marketing (having real-time sales conversations with qualified buyers, right on your website) changes some lives as well. What are your thoughts on conversational marketing and why is it exciting for a B2B marketer?
JS: You don’t want to have to chase people. By the time a sales person gets in touch with a lead, they’ve already gone to their competitors site. The ability to connect with people instantly is a huge win.
It also allows your sales team to get more involved with what marketing is doing. And remember, your best people for content ideas are your sales team, those people that are on the street talking to clients every day. And so when they become involved in this conversational marketing strategy and they get a couple quick wins, they're going to come back to your table with some really good ideas. On the flip side, for marketers, conversational marketing allows us to show that we’re bringing value.
MR: Why is it so important and powerful to integrate your conversational marketing program with Pardot?
JS: Conversational Marketing fills in a gap in marketing automation, which is “How do I talk to my qualified website visitors, right now?”. It allows someone who is using the Pardot platform to have access to this advanced B2C-like functionality.
There are so many digital marketers out there that are so frustrated. They love Pardot but they need more information around how their digital properties are performing, and how they can better convert. Qualified fills a huge gap that we're seeing today. It's a no-brainer.
I also love that you can do Conversational Marketing on Pardot landing pages. Crazy awesome! You can talk with visitors throughout every Pardot asset, like a Webinar or Event landing page.
I’m telling clients to first start small and understand how people are browsing your site. Then, take your top performing campaigns and use them as launching pads for sales conversations.
MR: Cheshire Impact recently started using Qualified on your website. How’s that going?
JS: We eat our own dog food here at Cheshire. We have a dashboard set up and we're looking at some of our best performing campaigns and landing pages, and we’re talking with those prospects. It’s incredible!
MR: Let’s end it on a fun note. Who’s your favorite Salesforce mascot?
JS: Blaze because he’s loyal to his pack, he’s got a big Ohana, and he’s really excited about Analytics.
MR: It was fun talking to you today. Thank you, Jennifer!