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Building the MOPs Professional Funnel

With Chris Willis, Senior Manager, Marketing Operations at Trimble

Chris Willis, guest speaker "Building the MOPs Professional Funnel"


Chris Willis, Senior Manager, Marketing Operations at Trimble, speaks about the importance of building out the MOPs professional funnel. Hear more about how managers should train new MOPs hires, and mental health for MOPs professionals.

Meet Chris

Chris Wilis is the Senior Manager, Marketing Operations at Trimble. At the time of recording he was Global Marketing Operations Manager at Trimble. Chris is an experienced Marketing Operations and Demand Generation manager, specializing in aligning Marketing with Sales to drive high ROI campaigns, measurable pipeline growth, adoption of marketing to sales lead hand-off processes, and relevant buyer-cycle driven Marketing.

He is a Marketing Automation expert (Certified in Marketo in 2014, 2016, and 2019) and  breakout speaker at 2015 Marketing Nation Summit. His goal is to help marketers leverage their tools and processes to gain an ROI. 

Chris is an MBA graduate from the Kelley School of Business (2004) specializing in Marketing and Finance.

Top Takeaways

Building Out The MOPs Professional Funnel

How can we build the top of funnel to draw in people who don’t know about Marketing Ops but would be interested in it?

If you're going to grow in your career, ultimately you need to find a way to replace yourself. You need to transfer your knowledge to newer people in the marketing ops function. In the beginning they can handle a lot of the day-to-day tasks that you started out with, like managing the campaign, doing the campaign ops, managing the life cycles, managing the scoring programs, and the other tactical stuff that we do.

One thing I see in a lot of the team of ones is that you juggle everything. If you're going to grow, how do you negotiate for additional headcount? That's a very important piece of the puzzle. How do you convince senior management that they should spend X number of dollars bringing in new headcount to the organization.

I've grown from a team of one to a team of two. You generally find people who accidentally ended up in marketing operations because they meet certain criteria that makes them good candidates for marketing operations. They've got to be inducted into the role. We need to let them enter the marketing operations role and see everything underneath the surface.

When you’re trying to grow your team, you should look for people to go into marketing ops that have technical aptitude. They should understand process and how to build things that are repeatable and scalable.

Training New MOPs Hires

How should managers train new MOPs hires?

Training a new MOPs hire gives you two benefits: one, you get to train somebody and help them understand how the system works, how your processes work, and help them also understand the “why.” You also get good documentation as a by-product.

The other piece of advice I would give is don't train them. Let them train themselves. If a new hire comes to you with a question that you don’t have time to break down for them, ask them how they would solve the problem.

Our tendency is to just regurgitate information back to them of how it's ‘supposed’ to work. Ultimately you want them to own it. You want them to think for themselves. It's going to take longer to train them this way, but the benefits far outweigh the upfront costs. Ask them good questions. Ask them how would you do this? What is your thought process ? Help them learn from their mistakes so they can grow into their role organically.

MOPs and Mental Health

What are some of the biggest challenges to the mental health of someone in MOPs?

You need to to set boundaries for yourself, um, to maintain your mental health. I look at it from an “I'm not doing my duty” perspective. I'm only doing my duty to the organization if I’m able to bring my full self to work.

There’s a downside to that grind mindset. If we work ourselves really hard and we don't take time for ourselves and we don't take time to unplug, then we will experience burnout. We're asked to do twice as much. We're on six hours of zoom meetings. We’re working ten, twelve, fourteen hour days to try to get our day job work done.

It takes a toll. believe very strongly that we were not designed as humans to do that. We were designed for this cycle of work and rest. A lot of us think that the ‘rest’ part is optional, but eventually it is going to catch up to us. Setting those boundaries of work and personal time and sticking to them will help prevent burnout.