Exciting News:
Madkudu lands $18M Series A led by Felicis to accelerate PLG adoption
Read Now!
Back to past episodes

Using Diverse Backgrounds to Strengthen Marketing Ops

With Abby Ryan, Head of Global MOPs at Nexthinx

Abby Ryan, guest speaker "Using Diverse Backgrounds to Strengthen Marketing Ops" episode


Having a diverse background can lend strength to your career and Marketing Ops team. Learn how to align Marketing Ops with customer success, key attributes of a MOPs function, and to whom Marketing Ops should report for maximum effectiveness. If you’re looking to grow your career in Marketing Ops, Abby covers the best ways to enable individual team growth and collaboration as well.

Meet Abby

Abby Ryan is the Head of Global Marketing Operations and Technology at Nexthink. Her strategy on the job is powered by the desire to enable organizations to move more seamlessly from ideation to reality.

Abby’s passion as a leader is to build the best possible environment for those around me to grow and move forward on their paths.

Her internal goal is to strive for openness and honesty, and to work toward becoming more self aware each and every day. 

Top Takeaways

To Whom Marketing Ops Should Report

What team or entity do you think Marketing Ops should report to?

Marketing Ops should have a direct line of report to your CMO or head of the overall marketing team.

Marketing ops needs to have someone who can sit at the table, push back and listen, and really understand the business. In general, I do not think that marketing ops should roll into a demand gen function. It’s been done in the past, but isn’t always ideal.

What tends to happen is demand gen says, we have to hit x number of MQLs and marketing ops is saying, “Hey, but that's not really a true engagement. I'm not sure.” It can be hard to have those conversations.

Our current setup at Nexthink is that Marketing Ops reports to our VP of Revenue Marketing, Claudia Hefner. We can have those difficult conversations with her. We can talk about whether something  is really an engagement. Is this appropriate for the business? Is this driving pipeline truly? And we can have a friendly argument about what makes the most sense and how we are looking at the reports.

Diverse Backgrounds in Marketing Ops

How can you use a diverse background in Marketing Ops?

A lot of folks in marketing ops come from very different backgrounds because there hasn't really been a college degree in marketing operations. So we have folks who come from demand. Or field or sales or something completely different.

I've found a diverse background makes for the best employees, the best teammates and the best peers. If we all come from exactly that same cookie cutter, we're going to have fairly similar ideas. If we have team members coming from all different places, then we have that broader understanding of the business and what really matters to each function, but also that difference of ideas of different ways to approach it, which can translate it to more creative, technical skills.

Aligning Marketing Ops With Customer Success

How do you align Marketing Ops with customer success?

It's easiest to think about the ways that Marketing Ops reaches out to the world and the ways that customers interact back with us. You’ve got to start having cross-pollination calls.

Cross-pollination is when we have marketing ops and we have sales ops. We want to have a set time where we're getting together and we're talking about the things that matter to both of our teams. So in that lead scoring example, I want to make sure that the Salesforce and the sales sales ops admins, really everybody that I'm working with, understand what we're changing in lead scoring. Here's how many MQLs are going to flow through. Here's what you should expect to see within the system. Alternately, I want to know, do you have any enablement sessions planned with sales upcoming?

Are there things that they're going to ask that we haven't thought of? What does your day-to-day process look like? Too often we make a lot of assumptions about what other functions do based on other companies we've worked at.

Key Attributes of a MOPS Function

What are the key attributes of building out a MOPS function?

The first place to start is a pretty deep dive audit on yourself, your team and the capacity you currently have. For example, I've been in places before where I was the only marketing ops person. I've built teams from two or three to 16 people. Teams can have different structures.

99% of the time there was care and intelligence and a lot of effort put into whatever you're seeing in your current team. Take the time to understand the current setup and environment. Why were certain things done? Really document that as the first place to start the strategy of building out the team at where it needs to head.

Enabling Individual Team Growth and Collaboration

What approach have you seen work for individual team growth and collaboration?

When I worked at SAP Concur, we did something called SAP talks. At least once a quarter, you have this check-in with your manager and it should be focused on you and your growth. At Nexthink we’re doing a much more consistent growth check in.

For example, I’ll do a growth check in with an employee. As a manager I then plan out the different ways over the next year of measuring growth and development.

The 360 traditional review is a great place to start for growth development. Getting that feedback of where your manager is and how they got to their position can be helpful in discovering next steps for yourself. 

You want to learn the things that your manager knows how to do really well that you haven't had the exposure to yet. A growth plan should include career path next steps. What would you like to be doing? Not necessarily in a five or 10 year particular timeline, but more like if you won the lottery tomorrow and you just spend your time on stuff that makes you happy, what does that look like? How can you find some sort of alignment with what your actual job is? Because I, as a manager, want people to be happy. We spend so much time at work and quite frankly, I work to live. I don’t live to work.