With Vish Gupta, Marketing Operations Manager at Databricks
Vish Gupta, Marketing Operations Manager at Databricks, speaks about successfully implementing a new tool, how she built a streamlined intake process that solves for multiple stakeholder needs, and the benefits of adding contractors to your team.
Vish Gupta is theMarketing Operations Manager at Databricks. She started her career in sales operations doing data hygiene. When it came time for her to find a full-time job, she decided she wanted something people-facing.
She started in marketing and was one of the first hires at a startup with a team of two. During that time she realized she loved the backend part of her job of looking at the data. She went back to school to get more training and eventually found her way to Marketing Operations, eventually joining Databricks in 2019.
Why should you identify stakeholders before implementing a new tool?
One of the biggest failures in my career is when I bought Marketo and I didn't consult corporate marketing about it. I managed to convince my entire team we should get the tool, then I went and told MOPs that we bought this tool and we needed their support to integrate it.
You don't want to do is don't work in a silo. Identify who your stakeholders are and make sure that you're capturing the requirements of your specific business as well as the broader business.
If you're in a small business, you might not have to worry about the broader team so much, but if you're in a large organization, you have to really think before you purchase a technology. Make sure you're not just buying something that's going to solve for your business. You need to get a lot more people on board with it.
When I bought Marketo, we were not getting the support we needed. We weren't getting emails. We weren't getting nurtures. The system that we had in place was not scoring leads at a marketing level. It was only scoring once they went into Salesforce.
We were in a very specific BU that ran businesses a certain way. After three years of being told, “no,.” I figured I needed to buy something and do it myself. I didn’t think about whether it was okay. I just thought, “If I buy this tool, I still have to get it integrated into the corporate Salesforce and I'm going to need help to do that.” In a big business, just make sure you're working really closely with your business partners, both in your org and outside your org.
After you've gotten that buy-in and you've made a case for the tool, maybe you have some internal champion, you want to make sure that you've done a thorough evaluation of what things can shut it down, including bringing security in during the process.
We had this tool that we implemented and the super successful people used it. There were definitely hiccups. There were some times when branding was like, “Hmm, we didn't look at this.” Then there was a big security issue. Now, years later after that tool has gone away, I'm like maybe if we brought security and from the beginning, we would not have decided to go with this tool and waste so many people's time.
How do you have the conversation with leadership blinded by a shiny new tool that doesn’t really solve a problem?
I'm not at that point in my career where I’m having those direct conversations, but as Databricks grows and we bring in new leaders, one thing I'm really learning is how to steer the conversation. You talk about the problem you're trying to solve, as opposed to the tool you're trying to buy.
I've definitely observed people are effective in this when they really position it as a problem solving solution. They present it as something that makes things better for everyone as opposed to one person. Even at a small company a solution might not solve for all the regions you’d like to use it for.
Ask more about the solution leadership wants to see and present options based on that outcome rather than a specific tool.
How can you create efficiencies by working with contractors?
One thing I experienced when I joined my current role is we were trying to get really efficient with how we scaled and we needed to do it doubling our costs. We were using an agency approach at the time. That got expensive for us pretty quickly as we started to have more customer requests and more back and forth. So we tried to really dig into why our costs were getting so high. Are we really getting the value that we need to get out of the cost that we're spending?
The programs have to drive pipeline. If we're not seeing pipeline growth at the same rate as expenses, it's something that might need to be investigated. In that process I found inefficiencies. I noticed that there was a lot of room for improvement in how we were as a company functioning and how the agency was working with us.
The first thing I looked at was the excess of meetings. There’s a lot of fat that you can shave off if you notice something like three meetings a day. Why do certain meetings happen when they could have been an email?
That led me to realize our stakeholders repeat the same thing on every single ticket that we receive. Why isn't the agency remembering this? A lot of this discovery led us to realize we were actually doing a lot of custom work. When you do a lot of custom work, it can become expensive to work with an agency. An agency typically works best when you have predictable processes and predictable templates that they can replicate over and over again. It wasn’t a great fit for us.
Ultimately my manager decided that it would be better for us to go with a contractor model that was in-house so that we could train contractors to do things in a specific way. That helped us control the number of hours that they spent on tasks and overall worked in a week.
Working with contractors makes you discover what is and is not working in your systems. I learned that we lacked documentation around what templates do you use when, what form to use when. I would have contractors that we onboarded and were really confused. They didn’t know when to use this type of ebook template versus that type of ebook template? If you're with the company a long time, you memorize these things. You don’t take the time to document them.
I got a lot of experience in terms of understanding how I can grow this contracting team by making sure my training is crisp and clear. You have to continue to grow your training and your documentation as the business expands, as well as your events and webinars and eBooks start to get more custom. Initially I thought we could just do the training one time, but things change quickly.
I've learned a lot about being flexible with the way that we do the training and making it simple to shift focus. I now have my builders document things when they're doing something new so I don’t have to go back and create the training.