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Getting Real About Marketing Automation Platform Migration Projects

Getting Real About Marketing Automation Platform Migration Projects

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Migrating from one marketing automation platform (MAP) to another can be nerve wracking. You are bound to be overwhelmed and not know where to start. But I once had a high school coach say “nervousness equals readiness.” And while that didn’t always ease the nerves before a big race, it has stuck with me all these years. So embrace the change as you prepare for your marketing automation platform migration!

I have been on both sides of a marketing automation platform migration project — both as a person who owns the platform and as a consultant. I want to share some of the learnings from those experiences to make the process a little less painful for anyone who’s just getting started. 

Remember the reasons you are changing MAPs

Since we work through so many marketing automation migration projects where we help our clients switch to Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (Pardot), we’ll use those migrations as an example for the purposes of this blog post. 

Marketing teams are usually migrating to Account Engagement for one of a few reasons:

  • It works better with Salesforce 
  • Their current MAP is not easy to understand
  • They are looking for better support
  • Budget

Migrating to Account Engagement means you get one unified platform for sales and marketing, which for marketers means one less system to have to log into! 

With Engagement History on leads, contacts, and accounts, your sales team has insight into engagement with marketing activities right on their record. And a lot of marketing technology (martech) integrates with Salesforce. 

That means you can, more often than not, pull that information into Account Engagement to use in your audience segmentation.

Account Engagement is not ‘Insert Marketing Automation Platform Name Here’

Regardless of the reason you are migrating to Account Engagement, you need to remember that Account Engagement might not be able to do everything the same way as your existing MAP — but that isn’t a bad thing! There is most likely a solution for it using native functionality or customizing code. 

I have seen clients say they want everything in Account Engagement to be how it is in their current MAP. This approach will most likely cause some headaches down the road. Take a step back and get an understanding of what the end goal of your process is today so it can be translated into Account Engagement, and then look at how it can be done within Account Engagement. 

Make sure you spend time on Trailhead to get an understanding of the basics of how Account Engagement works before you dive into migrating systems. 

Documentation will be critical for success — marketing ops rejoice!

The first step before starting to move over assets is to make sure that you have your processes documented. Not only will this help during migration but it will allow you to take a good look at how things are done today and try to improve where possible. 

Here are a few to make sure you document:

  • User management – Who needs access? What type of access do they need? 
  • Lead routing – When does a lead go to sales? What information is required before it goes to sales? Who is it assigned to? What happens if the lead is not ready? 
  • Reporting – What are your KPIs? What system does reporting need to happen in? How do you need reporting – by campaign, by channel, by quarter, by month? 
  • Lead and customer journeys – How and when do you engage with a lead? What about a customer? 
  • Legal requirements – Is there specific language on forms, emails, and landing pages that we need to have?
  • Overall martech stack – What tools are in your tech stack? How do they all work together? Do you have any new tech you are adding soon? 

Channel your inner Marie Kondo throughout your MAP migration

Regardless of how clean you think your current MAP is there will always be old assets and outdated processes. Channel your inner Marie Kondo and make sure you only migrate over what brings you joy — well, migrate what is still necessary for the future. Don’t worry you can always export reporting on old assets so you are losing that data.

This is not only about cleaning up your assets, now is the time to take a good look at what isn’t working well today and make improvements. This applies not only to processes but nurture programs and email and landing page experiences. 

Bonus: Account Engagement Cleanliness Resources

Marketing automation migrations take time

While yes, technically, you can do a migration in 30 days, I suggest taking as much time as you can. This is  especially true if you have lots of nurture programs, email templates, and complex processes to migrate to the new system. 

This is not always possible. There are so many factors that go into this — especially budget and resources. 

So, have an honest conversation with your team about the timeline. Don’t forget to factor in overlap with your current MAP (at least a month), and try to give yourself a little padding for the unexpected and time off. 

Something will not go as planned

No matter how much you plan and prepare for a migration, something will not go as expected. AND THAT IS OKAY!!! 

You might find some custom code on a form you weren’t aware of. Or you could experience sync errors with Salesforce due to a validation rule you didn’t know existed. 

Just take a deep breath and know that it can be fixed. 

You don’t have to go through a MAP migration alone

Again, migration projects are scary. But you can work with consulting companies that go through these MAP migrations every day. Not only do they know all the processes and logistics for migrating to the new platform, but they’ve worked with companies that weren’t fully utilizing their MAP investment and found ways to improve user experience and adoption.

Working with a partner, like Sercante, can help make it less scary and make sure you get the maximum value out of your tools. 

Reach out to the team at Sercante as you get ready for your marketing automation platform migration. We’ve seen it all, so bring us your juiciest challenges!

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  • Lauren is a Marketing Automation Strategist based at Sercante located in the Chicago suburbs. She graduated from Valparaiso University with her BS after studying sports management, business, and public relations, then with an MBA from North Central College. Shortly after graduating, she got a marketing coordinator job with a large data and market information firm. During her time there, she was introduced to Pardot and Salesforce. Several years later and 3 Salesforce certifications later, she has joined Sercante to help show others just how amazing marketing automation can be. As a former swim coach, Lauren values the importance of sharing knowledge to help others learn and maximize their own success. When she is not working, you can find Lauren spending time with her fiancé, Alex, and their Goldendoodle, Molly.

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