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Building a PLG Tech Stack

With Jacob Levinger, Marketing Operations Manager at Retool

Jacob Levinger, guest speaker "Building a PLG Tech Stack" episode


Jacob Levinger, Marketing Operations Manager at Retool, speaks about the importance of getting buy-in from your end users, the tools he uses for implementing a product lifecycle campaign, and why Retool is consolidating OPs roles to bring more customer value.

Meet Jacob

Jacob Levinger is the Marketing Operations Manager at Retool. He has experience in growth and marketing operations and sales development. Before joining Retool he worked at Carta as the Email and Marketing Operations Manager.

Top Takeaways

Lessons From End User Buy-in

What did you learn from getting buy-in from end users?

This example involves attributes when I worked at Carta. They were always a tricky thing to get right, mainly because of just the way the sales cycle worked. We also didn't have a ton of standardization around opportunities or contact role standardization. Contact roles are where we tracked attribution data at the time, which isn’t the best way to do it.

I made it so you couldn't move an opportunity to Stage Two without it having a contact role on it. That meant if you were in SDR trying to hit your quota and create stage two opportunities you were suddenly blocked by this thing that you'd never seen before.

Within twenty minutes I was getting peppered with messages on Slacks. The manager told me we need to get on a call now. I got on the call and explained why I set things up that way. I got a response of, “That would have been nice to know before implementing the change.”

I made the change because I thought it was the right thing to do, but I neglected to put myself in the shoes of the people actually using the systems every day and dealing with the processes.

Tools To Build a Lifecycle Campaign

How do you build lifecycle campaigns and what are some of the big tools that you have in place to do that?

What's great about the segment HubSpot sync is that to trigger a trial onboarding drip, you really just need to sign up and be designated as a trial by way of segment. That was always kind of in place. HubSpot was able to port our existing onboarding drip one to one.

Any PLG company collects a ton of product usage data. The tricky part with HubSpot is that we ingested all of our track calls. Track calls for us would be like creating an app, saving a Retool app, or connecting a database to Retool. Also in that bucket was just someone logging in.

HubSpot was able to see all of those actions in binary (did it happen or not). That was then tied into an individual record, which is great. For the purpose of triggering stuff, we wanted to get more granular. Connecting a resource piece is super valuable for us to know, like a product milestone. It's even more valuable for us to know which resources are connected.

Google sheets is, you know, intrinsically less valuable than someone collecting their Microsoft MySQL or their PostgreSQL database to Retool. That metadata was kind of trapped in the track calls. It didn't really persist in the HubSpot at the time.

That data all lived in the big query warehouse which existed from day one. That created an opportunity for a reverse CTL tool to come in and bridge that gap. Now when someone connects a resource to Retool, it gets tracked into the data warehouse as what it was (PostgreSQL, etc). We have a job running in Hightouch that just says, “Hey, you know, whenever this field, whenever someone connects a resource and that field becomes popular in the warehouse, just map it back to HubSpot.”

We passed a user ID in there so it's really easy to get the primary key and the mapping. Based on that, we're able to start distilling that information and using that information to trigger branched onboarding experiences or product actions.

You can pull queries like that in the warehouse really easily, run them back to HubSpot by way of Hightouch and create these super targeted lists as a supplement. In the past you were limited to what, what high-level information you have in your go to market systems.

Consolidating Ops Roles To Bring More Customer Value

What’s next for Marketing Ops and Revenue Ops at Retool?

It’s not uncommon for Ops teams to get absorbed into or restructured into a rev ops, and we're no different. I’m excited about it because it's not just doing it for the sake of bringing all the Ops teams under the same roof. It’s being done in a way that allows us to align from a systems first approach to optimizing for the customer.

I’m excited about figuring out ways to align Marketing Ops and Demand Gen strategy so it’s optimized for the customer experience and making sure that the handoff is smooth. How can we make sure that the SDR AE handoff is really enabled? That’s not just to make sure that our internal teams don't have a lot of administrative headaches, but just so that our customers are getting value.

It’s all heavily aligned with our customer and their entire customer life.