With Angela Cirrone, Senior Director, Marketing Operations at Sauce Labs
Angela Cirrone, Senior Director, Marketing Operations at Sauce Labs, speaks about how participating in communities can build your confidence, onboarding multiple tools at once, when you become strategic, and key things MOPs professionals should know.
Angela Cirrone is the Senior Director, Marketing Operations at Sauce Labs. She is a passionate person with a desire to inspire and motivate others. Angela is a driven marketing leader specializing in: marketing operations, marketing automation (Marketo), technology, demand generation, lead nurturing and Salesforce.
What did you learn from joining a community early in your career?
When I joined a community early in my career, I didn't have anything to share. I didn’t know anything. It was intimidating going to Marketo user groups being surrounded by all these people that know all this information. Then I changed my perspective on it and realized, wow, like I get to sit next to these people and learn from them. That changed the intimidation factor to something that I could really embrace.
Back when I first started there wasn't this amazing group of online communities that we have now. I'm so grateful for MoPros and Marketing Ops Professionals and Pavilion, to name a few. Back then, you relied on Marketo user groups and the Marketo community.
Earlier in your career you don’t know what to share or what value you can bring to the community. I know I was hesitant to comment at that time. I really leaned into the expertise of others. It's a natural progression of building confidence in yourself and what you know. You start to realize that your perspective is valuable.
As a community, we've gotten more vocal. I’m not a massive poster on LinkedIn but I’ve earned so much and shared so much with my team from other people on LinkedIn.
Embrace the journey even though sometimes it feels intimidating or overwhelming that all these people know so much. Don’t internalize that you know nothing. That's the wrong dialogue to have with yourself. You’re on the right journey.
What’s been your experience in onboarding multiple tools at once?
I started at Sauce Labs about nine months ago. As part of onboarding at a new organization, you do an analysis of what’s currently going on. At least that’s my approach. I look at the current MarTech stack. The health of the data. Do that full analysis, then sit back, take a look and observe. Observe for a period of time before you make changes.
When I joined Sauce Labs, we had a few technologies that were coming to the end of their contract at the end of the year. We knew that those technologies were no longer serving the business the way it needed to. We had to make a decision on replacing those two technologies because we knew we needed the functionality. It turned into replacing two technologies with three, because we wanted to break apart the functionality into two technologies.
The fourth technology that we wanted to bring on at that time was not a replacement for something else. It was MadKudu. As a team, we had made a decision to try to use some budget from 2021. In doing so it led us to signing contracts for four technologies at the same time. I do not recommend that to anybody.
The first kickoff was in December, but then the second and third were in January, one day apart. The challenges that we faced at the time included having an open position on my team that we were in the process of filling. It was myself and a marketing ops manager initially launching these new technologies.
We still had to keep the day-to-day going and implement technologies. In addition, we had to remove the old technologies. That was a lot of project planning. One of the things that I thought was really helpful was assigning a project lead of the team. We also had an analytics manager or senior manager that was heavily involved with the process of some of these technologies. Each one of us took point and were responsible for scheduling the meetings.
One of the challenges that I've faced implementing technologies is keeping up with the project plan that the implementation team has for you. You have a well laid out project plan, and you need to do your part to keep on target. Had I known things would have shaken out the way they did, I would have probably pushed back to push things more into 2022.
You need to be careful about adoption when you onboard technology. When you take on multiple new technologies at once like we did, you risk your adoption because you're trying to check boxes and get it implemented. You may not really embrace the technology or have the space to think about how the team's going to use it and really enable the team on how to use these technologies.
I'm very consciously aware of adoption. Adoption is important internally in your own team, but also with the other teams that you need leverage from. How do you get that leverage? To start, for me to properly educate other leaders in the organization, I really need to understand the technology and be able to speak intelligently to the ins and the outs of how things are connected.
What is this technology looking at? What data does it provide? Is it surfacing? I have found that diving in and really understanding that helps me have those conversations with the appropriate teams to be able to get them to buy into the technology. At first it's just a bunch of numbers and then just a bunch of information that they see with no context. I’m able to explain what's in it for them and what they are going to get out of it. That's what's going to boost the adoption.
When in your career do you start to become strategic?
I became strategic later on in my career. It was not my first role because I was more tactical in building programs and Marketo. Even in those earlier roles there was an element of strategy that had to be part of those conversations to understand what the marketer was looking for and the goal of their campaign. You need to know the expected outcome.
I suppose there’s always been a little bit of the strategy even earlier on in my career, but it wasn't until I was further down the line and owning the marketing function at an organization that I needed to go deeper into strategy and really tie that strategy back to the overall marketing goals.
Having a really solid understanding of the strategy above you helps to frame your strategy.
What’s on your list of ten things MOPs should know?
These aren’t in any particular order because everyone’s experience is unique.
One, there’s no “right way” to approach marketing operations because the way we enter Marketing Ops is unique to everyone.
Two, it’s okay not to know. Don't judge yourself because you don't know the answer to something.
Three, know where and who to look for answers. Be resourceful. If you don't know, at least know where to look and try to figure it out. Be dedicated to trying to figure it out.
Four, just start. So many of us tend to be analytical. Analysis paralysis is the root of our failure. We never start because we're trying to get it perfect. So just start.