How do you get into Marketing Operations or Revenue Operations w/ Drew Smith

Michael Hartmann: [00:00:00] Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of OpsCast brought to you by the MO Pros. I’m Michael Hartmann joined today by my co-host Naomi Liu and Mike Rizzo. Please say hello? Hello.

Mike Rizzo: Hey everybody. It’s been a minute. It’s the year of the MO Pro just

Michael Hartmann: hello. It is. It is the year of the MO Pro. It’s been a minute.

It has been a minute for those listening. We’ve had technical issues. I’ve had technical issues. So hopefully this time I won’t stop recording accidentally, like I have in the past. Today we’re gonna be talking about so this is a, I think a special episode for those folks who are either interested in marketing ops or revenue ops, but not in it, or in say marketing ops or sales ops and wanna get into revenue ops.

So I think that’s really something to take note of here, or if you just wanna learn and today joining us for that is drew Smith, director of growth revenue operations at directive, a performance marketing. Prior to joining directive, he spent several years with lead MD now shift paradigm as a revenue operations consultant engagement manager.

Before that he helped positions in sales, [00:01:00] marketing, account management and inside sales at different kinds of organizations. Welcome to the show drew. Thanks for joining us.

Drew Smith: Thanks for having me appreciate it. All

Michael Hartmann: right. So let’s dive right in here. So this conversation started because of you had not too long ago.

Actually. I was looking back at it. This we’re recording this on March 21st. And the post that you put out there to the world was somewhere in early February, if I’m not mistaken and we’ll put a link to the blog post in the show notes, but yeah, you were, you posted in about how to, that you were hiring for revenue, operations folks.

And you had some lessons learned about. What it would take to get into revenue operations or marketing operations. And that’s really what triggered us to have this initial conversation. But one of the things I liked about this is you started out with a definition of, revenue, operations for marketing operations.

That kinda, so I think when don’t we start there, if you can walk us through what your kind of working definition of those roles are, [00:02:00] and then and then we’ll go from.

Drew Smith: Yeah, absolutely. So I think from a role definition standpoint, marketing operations, at least the way that I have always defined it.

And the way that it’s defined in my organization is it’s the art and science around facilitating lead flow through the marketing portion of the funnel. So usually the top of the funnel right down to like the middle of the funnel how do we, how do. Help move leads through that funnel.

How do we track the progress of leads through that funnel? And what can we do to try to accelerate leads through that funnel? Marketing operations also typically owns the marketing tech stack. They usually ensure that all the MarTech that’s in, in the organization is optimized, working properly, creating.

Good clean, actionable data. And then also usually owns the reporting and analysis function within marketing making sure that we can report on the performance of marketing a and particularly on things other than just, clicks and views and impressions and the things like the things that you usually get out of your advertising tools and your email [00:03:00] tools.

And then from a revenue operations standpoint, revenue operations is basically all of that. Plus that same function expanded into sales and the customer operations side of the world. So factors in that sales ops and customer ops. So you have all of that under one big umbrella. And the cool thing about that to me is that a lot of times you’ll have sales ops teams and marketing ops teams or sales ops teams and customer ops teams that, that.

Don’t necessarily see eye to eye on things or they have their own KPIs and performance metrics they hit that they’re responsible for. And so sometimes they can be at odds with one another and creating process and creating SLAs because they’re not, they don’t have a unified hierarchy and unified goals and KPIs and SLAs.

Michael Hartmann: So drew one of the questions I, or one of the things I’ve noticed is there’s still a, cause I like your [00:04:00] definition, but I, it feels like there’s inconsistency in particular about revenue operations, cuz I very often I see revenue operations roles that when I look at them, they are really.

Sales operations. Are you starting to, are you, do you see the same thing or do you see there, do you see more consistency in, in, in that’s happening over time, that revenue operations is really becoming more of a, across the whole kind of customer life cycle

Drew Smith: operations role? I think it’s trending in that direction.

I think I still see a lot of revenue operations roles that are glorified sales ops. I also see a lot. Folks that post revenue operations roles looking for more people with more of a sales ops background than a marketing ops background. But I think it is leaning towards that sales ops function, but trending to be more of that full umbrella.

Michael Hartmann: Gotcha. Yeah, I, yeah, that’s one of the things I think for our audience who are listening when you, if you’re interested in revenue [00:05:00] operations in particular pay close attention to what the job is, cuz I think drew is right on that. A lot of ’em are really either basically sales operations with a new title or are heavily weighted towards that.

So one of the things you, the other things you covered drew in your post had to do with like certifications training, things like that, what, what would, what’s your recommendation for people if they wanna. Either break into one of these roles or want to expand their current role to include some additional areas.

What do you recommend? Do you have any particular resources you recommend? Cause I think that’s one of the challenges and we’ll talk about this a lot and the podcast is like, it’s part of what the whole. The MO Pros community is about, is trying to provide at least be one of those kinds of resources.

Would love to hear your thoughts on where people, where you would recommend people learn.

Drew Smith: Yeah. And I think a lot of this comes back to the why behind why I wrote this article in the first place, which is I was trying to fill a role. And when I was filling a role. I had about [00:06:00] 400 resumes that I reviewed and of the 400 resumes that I reviewed.

There were just tons and tons of people that were, SDRs or sales reps or marketing generalists that were, that wanted to get into this industry. But they didn’t have the experience. They didn’t know where to go. And they thought that, Hey, I’ll just apply for the role and see what happens.

Because sometimes you get lucky and you get a break, for me. One of the things that I wanted to do is I saw all this interest. And so I figured, Hey, let’s create like one repository where people can go to find as many free or low cost resources as possible. And so that’s what I put into the blog.

And I think one of the really cool things about rev op is that there are, there is so much free learning opportunities out there. So many free learning opportunities out there. So where I recommend people start is start with the free stuff. So the free stuff is stuff. Salesforce Trailhead, where you can learn Salesforce and part op for [00:07:00] free.

It doesn’t matter if you’re certified just start learning. The HubSpot academy completely free of charge. Certifications are free of charge. Go start learning. And it’s all self-paced learning too. So you’re not sitting there in a classroom where you’re being asked to like, keep up with other people and how they’re, how fast they’re learning or what their pace is.

You just com it’s all completely online, all self pace. And it’s free of charge. Start learning those platforms, start learning how to execute things in those platforms. A great free, or I think sometimes it’s, sometimes there’s a low cost. Sometimes it’s free. I think it’s mostly free is the six bricks offering from my former employer lead MD.

Now shift paradigm six bricks is probably the best place to learn Marketo for free or for very low cost. So start with those things and learn what, learn, how to just push the buttons in the tools and what the tools do. now, as we all know, that’s, it’s not enough to just know how to push the buttons and pull the [00:08:00] levers and turn the knobs in the tool.

There’s a lot more to it than that. And so that’s where it comes into. How do you start learning the strategy behind how to implement the tool? And that’s where communities like MO Pros is a huge place. It’s part of the blog is go to MO Pro. If you wanna learn the strategy behind how to implement these tools, communities like MO Pros and mops pros and wizards of ops and rev genius.

Those are all out there as communities that people can go be a part of for free and learn. Just learn all the best practices that are out there. I think another thing too is just like I, I started with Marketo was my first platform that I started working in. And one of the best places for me to go was the actual Marketo community.

Every time I had a Marketo question, , that was my first place to go because somebody’s had this question before and somebody has answered it, probably Sanford. If you’re in the Marketo community, you probably know Sanford’s [00:09:00] name. Probably Sanford. Yeah. It’s either Stanford or Josh hill answers every question that’s in there.

And so somebody’s had this question and somebody has answered it and so you can go there to learn the strategies and the best practices as well. And then the last thing that I recommend that people do is go to. The agencies the big agencies, the big successful agencies that, that are, tied to these platforms and just go read their blog articles, subscribe to their blog, read their blog articles.

Cuz these agencies have the bene the. The benefit of having worked in hundreds or thousands of different platform ecosystems, and they’ve learned, and they’ve created best practices from all of those that those, years and years of experience. And so start reading those blog articles and that’s gonna help you understand the strategy behind how to implement the tool, not just which buttons to push, to get an email out the door, which is important though.

You still need that too.

Mike Rizzo: Drew thank you for providing some of the [00:10:00] ideas on free resources to, to go learn. I think. Those are tremendous assets and the strategy component of really just trying to understand the, how or why behind the deployment of a solution definitely takes time, right?

From what I picked up, on, on what you were sharing, just a moment I’m ago is at a foundational level, learn functionally what these tools can do. And then eventually start trying to subscribe to some of those agencies or some of those other thought leaders and consultants out there to understand the why or the how behind the strategy of what to do with that tool and how to deploy it to a particular business problem.

I think that actually pulls through in a lot of the content that we see in the world. Yesterday or a handful of days ago, Corey Bayless, who is a really advanced Marketo user actually suggested that if you’re gonna start interacting with the API of Marketo, for example, you actually need to know the interface of the Marketo UI and user experience itself.

And [00:11:00] foundationally understand that stuff. And he said, the reason for that is that you’ll see where the limitations are inside of Marketo and why you would wanna maybe tap an API to do things at scale. And I think it’s important for all of us to just understand foundationally how these platforms are supposed to work.

So getting into some of the other sort of commentary and questions that we wanted to dive into. So we had on here, how do you view the importance of the sort of like general knowledge and experience versus a tech vendor specific environment created by a platform, do you see there, there being value in those platforms, creating that knowledge? Or does it feel superficial in your experience? Is it useful to go to a, you talked about HubSpot academy cuz I think they do a good job. But what are your thoughts there? Just in terms of vendor agnostic versus vendor specific knowledge

Drew Smith: yeah.

I think a lot of that depends on what you wanna do with your career. , there are folks that are just absolute [00:12:00] wizards with HubSpot and Marketo and Pardot and Salesforce, and you can make an incredible career out of that. And so there’s a certain. Use case for specialization, I think.

And if you wanna specialize, go for it, you’re gonna have a great career if you do it. There’s also a really good use case for being vendor agnostic and learning multiple different vendors. If you wanna be on the agency side, like it makes a lot of sense for you to learn multiple different vendors and platforms because you never know, you may have a client.

That says this been on Marketo for six years, you’re a Marketo expert. And then they say, oh, Hey, we got a new CMO. The CMO hates Marketo. We’re gonna rip and replace and we’re gonna put in HubSpot. Now, if I know HubSpot, that’s not a risk to me as an agency, if I don’t know HubSpot, and I’m just a Marketo shop now, suddenly that’s a, to me as an agency that I don’t, I can’t just jump in and start working in HubSpot.

If you’re working client side, it’s perfectly fine to [00:13:00] specialize. Cuz there’s, you’re not gonna run out of clients that are using Marketo and HubSpot and Pardot and Salesforce you certainly can specialize. I think it there’s a certain, if you want to have a, if you wanna add some like job security, then go get some additional training and some other platforms, just in case. You’re on the client side and you have that same scenario happen where you get a new CMO and they’re gonna rip out Marketo and replace with Pardot. Suddenly you might, your job might be at risk, right? . But if you know that platform well enough, then you’re fine. So I think there’s a good use case for both, but for me, I think that if you.

It’s the same situation when it comes to the general knowledge, like the general knowledge, which is like the more strategic use cases for how to use these platforms. I. If you want to, if you want to grow in your career and kinda move up the ladder a little bit, then you certainly need to know the more the strategy around how to implement the [00:14:00] tools more than just how to push the buttons, to get an email out the door, right?

If you wanna move up the ladder and add more responsibility, you have to learn more of that strategy. You can’t stay, you can’t stay super tactical. If you wanna grow your career, move up the ladder. .

Naomi Liu: Yeah, it also depends if someone wants to be like an individual contributor or lead a team, sometimes people are really technologists at heart and, it’s definitely a struggle because the further away, the higher up you go in marketing ops, the further away you get away from the technology. And it’s the balance that you strike I think most of us in marketing ops, we if we’ve, especially if we’ve been in the industry for a little bit, like we stumbled and, fell our way into it. And it’s because we like to tinker it’s because we like to like we’re just very technical people and we love the technology. And then, and it’s not for everybody to, want to. Lead a team or provide the strategy piece necessarily.

And some of us just like to, I definitely struggle with that because I love just being in the weeds and in the tools itself. But there’s also, I just, I can’t do it all [00:15:00] the time and I can’t do it every day. It just it wouldn’t be scalable at all. I don’t know what your thoughts are around that.

Do you ever find, is that a question that you see come up, come. Should I be an individual contributor or should I lead a team? Or what does that look like on for you?

Drew Smith: Yeah. And before I really answer that question, let me just say very clearly like there’s no right and wrong way.

Like it’s up to everybody, what they want, how they wanna church a career path. We need people that are just absolute experts and wizards at the tools. That’s how we continue to build best practices and. Do new cool stuff in these tools that nobody’s ever done before, is by having these people that just love getting their hands in the dirt and doing the work in the tool.

And then you also need people that are, that want to move up and manage teams of people. So there’s no right and wrong way. Like we need both types of people in the world. I think I get that question a lot, particularly on the agency side. Spent my entire time in marketing ops and rev op is on the agency side is, do I man wanna manage a team of [00:16:00] consultants or do I wanna stay as a consultant or strategist?

And, Just have the opportunity to build really cool strategies and do all the cool, hands in the dirt work. But, eh, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna deal with hiring. I don’t wanna deal with, putting people on performance plans. I don’t wanna deal with that kind of stuff.

There’s certainly people that don’t wanna do that. And I don’t blame them cuz that, that can honestly be some of the most difficult parts of that job. . Yeah, we I get that all the time. When I have strategists and consultants on my team is helping them try to chart their career path based on what they’re interested in.


Mike Rizzo: totally. I think Those each present their own unique challenges. I will say that if you are someone that likes to tinker and you’re still thinking about getting into marketing ops or rev ops that’s a good, clear sign that maybe it is a good move for you. You see something new come out and you want play with.

And see what it does. That’s a good, probably a good sign. Also, if you’re just someone that likes to read the release notes, Hey look, the HubSpot API got an update. I’m gonna go check that

Drew Smith: out.

Naomi Liu: okay. I have to admit, I read. [00:17:00] End to end cover to cover all of the release notes.

Is that terrible? No, this is, and then I have questions too. I’m that person like I’ll email my CSM, that Marketo I’ll be like, so I notice it said, and I’ll like, I’ll call him on every single thing. I know it said this, but I don’t see it in our instance. What does that mean?

Michael Hartmann: yeah I don’t get to do that as much anymore and I feel guilty, so no,

Mike Rizzo: you shouldn’t see.

See, and that’s that right? There is proof that it’s part of, I don’t feel that bad. It’s proof that it’s hard

Naomi Liu: to walk away. I don’t really feel bad. Let’s be real right now.

Michael Hartmann: You beat you. So go ahead. So I think it’s interesting drew you bring up it’s, there’s a, one of the things that I’ve started noticing is also, again, going back to like job postings, things like that is, is.

Because some of these things are still relatively new, that there’s not a lot of consistency in titles to roles. I, so I see job titles as say director or senior director, [00:18:00] but when you read it, it’s oh, this is an individual contributor role. When I think of a director, I think of somebody who’s gonna be managing other people, probably managing other managers, but that’s not what I see a lot of times.

So I think that coupled with the idea that, the, it. Professionals are ahead of us. I think in the idea of there’s sort of two tracks, right? There’s a technical track. That you can progress in your career. And then there’s a management kind of track that you can progress in your career.

And ultimately I think that maybe is where we need to see all this go. But before that all happens, I think there needs to be more consistency in title to responsibility. Am I the only one who’s seeing that discrepancy here where like I always say there’s, I see a lot of what I call title inflation because.

The HR folks have no idea what the market actually is from a compensation standpoint. And so the only way you can get to the right people is to give them a title to give them the better, the compensation that they actually get for. Anyway. So it’s kinda. I think it’s a reinforcing negative loop here that [00:19:00] is going to, if we don’t get over it, we’re gonna, it’s gonna continue to be a real struggle for people who wanna try to

Drew Smith: figure out which path do they want to go on.

I think the other contributing factor to that, Michael is the fact that marketing ops rev ops is still criminally underfunded in most organizations. And I think what they’re true do that, why they’re trying to

Mike Rizzo: where’s the cheer emoji. Where’s the, just kidding.

Drew Smith: I think part of the, I think the challenge there is why you see director level roles that don’t have direct reports is because you have.

An organization. That’s basically trying to get both a strategic level person and a tactical person in one role because they don’t have the money or the budget to, to invest in both when both are really what is needed. So they’re trying to fill two roles with one person. And so they’re gonna, they’re gonna inflate the title a little bit to make sure that they can get the person that can think at that strategic level, but that can still get their hands dirty.

And so I think that’s more a problem of funding and budget [00:20:00] than it is just a problem with titles. Although we do have problems with titles because you still have like things like marketing automation, manager, marketing, automation, specialist, marketing, operations manager, marketing operations specialist.

What’s the difference between those right? Most of the time they’re very similar. If not the same role, they just have different titles, which might make you think that they’re different roles when they really aren’t.

Mike Rizzo: Yeah. We’re on a mission right now with where you will see an email hit your inbox tomorrow as of this recording date.

Anyway, so on the 22nd of March we’re gonna send out the second iteration of the state of the MO Pro research and that along coupled with some of the data that we got in the first round of that As well as some anecdotal stuff we’ll pull together is what we’re trying to then go push back out into the market to do what we talk about a lot, which is the manage up component and just advise leadership across the board HR teams on, Hey, what is semblance of some [00:21:00] guardrails for what really is a coordinator role versus a manager versus a director versus VP?

And so hopefully collectively as a community, the data we put together, this research, and then the data that we get back from everybody. And some of that other sort of ex going out to the market and saying, Hey what are the similarities between these different job descriptions? We’ll start to advise a bit of a standardization which is exactly why we’re all here together.

Like we are trying to standardize some stuff. And I hope to see that all come together, but, drew you and I have been talking a little bit about, more recently about how to get higher education involved. And I think you have time in higher ed, you spent time in higher ed. And so I just love to, to hear sort of your thoughts on, for our listeners, that are gonna hear this episode. What would you say would be valuable to bring to higher education? so whether they’re in that role functionally or they think, yeah, I could introduce someone at the community level to my college. [00:22:00] What would they, what do you think would be something that would be valuable to bring to higher education as it relates to trying to create that sort of bridge between I’m gonna graduate college and I maybe am interested in marketing or rev op.

Drew Smith: I think the first thing is that people that graduate college need to know the marketing ops and rev op is a thing. Most people when they come outta college they’ve never heard of marketing ops are rev op or if they have, they just associate it with, oh, you’re the people that do like the HubSpot stuff in the company.

Or whatever, because when it is taught, it’s taught as a very tactical executional discipline, as opposed to, that more strategic partner type of discipline in the organization. I think. There’s also a lot of just positioning of how marketing ops and rev ops would be positioned.

You have a lot of people that come out of marketing schools that are like, I wanna do social media marketing. I wanna do graphic design. I wanna do creative. I wanna be a copywriter. And it’s because those fields are all positioned in a way [00:23:00] that makes them sound fun and entertaining and unique, and that, you’re gonna, it’s the same, it’s the same marketing role on the TV shows and the movies, whereas marketing ops, like there’s no.

There’s nothing exciting about marketing ops in the way that it’s taught in schools. Cause it’s just basically taught as, you’re the person that pushes the buttons to get the email out the door, like that’s it. And so I think there needs to be some work on just education that this is a thing in the world that there’s a roles titled marketing ops rev ops.

They’re in huge demand right now. You can go from entry level to six figures in marketing ops and rev op in no time. Yeah. Much faster than you can in social media or copywriting or graphic design, because those fields all have. Millions of people graduating from school every year, going into those fields, like they’re super saturated, whereas market ops rev op [00:24:00] like there’s no pipeline.

And then that last piece is the positioning of it. Don’t the positioning of it is just like somebody that’s an order taker that just pushes emails out the door is the wrong positioning. And so it’s also making it so that people don’t want to go into it because. It’s being positioned as an undesirable position.

And I just don’t think that’s the case.

Mike Rizzo: Totally. It’s ironic. Maybe we could take some of those college grads that are really interested in branding and copyright and graphic design, and then help us do a positioning exercise for marketing operations in

Drew Smith: college. . Yeah, exactly. Exactly. I love that.

Bringing a full, yeah, I had a group of interns at directive that We did a big meeting about an hour long meeting about marketing ops and rev ops with this group of interns. And, they were all interns. And so they’ve all at least heard of marketing ops, right? This wasn’t their first time learning about it, but they certainly had no idea what the role was.

They thought again, it was just the people that pushed the buttons in HubSpot and. [00:25:00] By the time I got done with that, my one hour conversation, I had half the interns asking their bosses Hey, can I go shadow drew for a little while and see what rev ops and marketing ops is all about? Cause he, he made it sound pretty interesting.

Like I might be interested in that. And so I think if we could just get people exposure to what it really is, that’s gonna help. Generate that, that interest and that pipeline of people coming outta school, wanting to get into marketing ops and rev ops.

Mike Rizzo: Yeah. Yeah. I totally agree. I think that the college, at least at my business school that I went to, which is Cal state Fullerton.

We’ve failed to recognize some of the principles that, marketing and rev op are built around, right? They’re the semblance of life cycle management. And whether that’s B2B or B2C, it’s not talked about. And that there’s a handoff between marketing and sales and dogs barking and all kinds of things.

But. I think that if the college could just start focusing in, on some of those sort of core principles, like that [00:26:00] alone would be a win, right? like just educating it. There is a whole operation that happens at the college for matriculation behind the scenes. Like you would not get into the courses that you are getting into, unless there was ops behind.

And so it’s like, why is ops missing from the collegiate sort of discussion? Like we don’t know, but one of the things is this episode and more effort is coming from this community to try to bring it to the colleges. So call out to the wild. If you can help us bring marketing ops and rev ops to your Alma mater, please reach out.

Michael Hartmann: I love that. So let’s say we can figure out how do we generate more of that pipeline. I like that term true that you threw out there, but yeah. So we get, if you had those conversations with those interns, they showed some interest. Yeah. For those that were serious about it and wanted to break into marketing ops or rev op.

What, like, [00:27:00] where would you point them to as a first step towards, towards that, would you say, go find, a real job doing that? Would you go to some of the same educational resources we talked about? Or what would, like, how would you advise those interns or, people looking to break into it?

Drew Smith: Yeah, I think. I think the first thing that I would recommend is just go start the free education and particularly just go get one of the early easy HubSpot certifications, because that’s gonna get you a foot in the door. I do a lot of interviews for people getting into to that, that I’m trying to hire people in marketing ops spread ops.

And if I see somebody has any certification. In any platform, it’s an automatic interview. 100%. Now that doesn’t mean that people that don’t have certifications, aren’t going to get an interview. Like they certainly could, but they’re gonna have to show me in their resume. Some other [00:28:00] way of letting me know that they know some of these skills, they know some of these principles that that we need them to know to be successful in the role. But if you show me that you’ve got a certification on your resume, like boom instant, I. A hundred percent. I’m gonna interview you. So I’d say, just start with that. And then, keep going down the path of earning more certifications and getting more ingrained in the communities.

Because if I’m in an interview with somebody and they say, oh yeah, I’m also a member of MO Pros. And I’m going to the summer camp this summer. And the highlight of my week, two weeks ago was Mike Rizzo retweeted. Something that I put out there okay, good.

Now I’ve got someone’s weak. After you read the release notes. Yeah. After I read the release notes, that’s somebody that, again, that’s gonna get my attention that they’re in the right communities. They’re engaging with the right people. They’re learning the right information.

Those are the things that are gonna get my attention during an interview. Sure. Sure. So do you think

Naomi Liu: particularly if somebody named

Drew Smith: that’s the most important I’m laughing about? So

Naomi Liu: outta C, so outta curiosity, do you think that’s something that’s have you found that makes a huge difference, like post [00:29:00] hire, like after you’ve been working with them for a while, do you find that the people that if you look back and you say, okay, the ones that have certifications and are very actively involved in the community are the ones.

Been, the most impactful in terms of hires is that. What you would, is that kind of what you’re

Drew Smith: saying? I think so. Yeah. I think those are gonna be the folks that are gonna have the biggest impact on my organization because they’re gonna, they’re gonna learn all the new best practices instead of me having to learn it and then train them.

And a lot of times. They’re gonna bring those particularly in an agency environment. Like when we have new best practices that are developed or new things that we can do, that’s our IP, right? It’s a differentiator between us and other agencies. And so if I have somebody that’s active in communities and I have somebody that’s continuing to be a continuing lifelong learner, they’re gonna be the ones that are also creating best practices and creating IP for my agency.

And that’s huge for. The folks that aren’t involved in, the communities, the folks that aren’t, continually [00:30:00] learning, those are the folks that I’m gonna have to continue to train, which I’m totally fine with that. That’s part of my role and my responsibility. I signed up for that, but they’re not gonna be the people that are bringing that are creating new IP for my organization.

They’re not the people that are gonna be creating new best practices and helping us differentiate ourselves from other agencies.

Naomi Liu: I think that, and the reason I asked you that question is because if I were to look back and I’ve hired and trained countless numbers of marketing ops folks and people who have gone on to have, what I would think are very successful marketing ops careers, like all of the ones that have been like the, I would say the top five.

Did not come with any type of certification. Initially now they, have tons under their belt. And I would say personality wise, I think that plays a part into it too. I would say personality wise, some of the best marketing outs folks that I’ve worked with tend to be a little bit more on the quieter, reserved side.

And it’s maybe not in their personality to, put themselves out there or tweet at people or be retweeted or even be [00:31:00] on Twitter. Do you know what I mean? They definitely tend to be like more introverted and I think it, it depends on it depends on the role. Are you like very customer facing or are internal customer, like internal clients?

Like what does that look like and what does their role on the team look like? But I think I just I wouldn’t. Want our listeners to think that they need to be social media stars in order to be like successful. Marketing ops, right?

Drew Smith: Oh, totally. Totally let, yeah, let me clarify like that’s not the only path.

When I started at lead MD, I didn’t, I had never even seen Marketo. I had no idea what Marketo did. Lead MD took a chance on me because I had a lot of other experience that they thought would carry over really well to a marketing ops role. They also, at the time had the band with available to teach me Marketo.

That’s not the only path, but if you’re somebody that doesn’t have experience in marketing ops and you wanna get a foot in the door, like getting a certification is a guaranteed foot in the door. It’s a guaranteed interview. Now. To your other point about social media? Just because what I’m saying is active in the [00:32:00] communities.

I don’t necessarily mean they’re out there networking with everybody and they’re, a social media star or a social butterfly or anything like that. They’re in the communities they’re reading, what’s going on in the communities. They may not be even following up.

They may not be posting their own stuff, but they’re reading and they’re learning while they’re in the communities, not somebody that is a member and has it on their slack, but never pulls it up on their slack, to read through it, like at least be active in following the community and actively paying attention to what’s going on.

Not necessarily being the one that’s out there posting eight times a day. That’s not a requirement. Absolutely not. And if you’re not on Twitter and not on LinkedIn and active on those, like I couldn’t care less. I think, I don’t think that’s, I don’t think that’s a requirement for sure.

Mike Rizzo: Yeah. I think, and my, my take on the certification stuff is, there, there are a handful of ’em that are pretty easy to go get. And on paper, if you’ve got a certification and someone else doesn’t yeah. You’re probably [00:33:00] gonna get that phone call. You’re probably gonna have a higher chance of having that interview than somebody that just has zero experience.

Or hasn’t even really seen the platform before. And so I think it is a good jumping off point and it’s. It sends a signal that you’re interested that you’ve tried. And then there are certifications that you can’t get until you really get into the weeds on some of these tools. And so those certifications become even more indicative of the fact that you’re becoming more and more of an expert and the tools, and then inevitably you’ll, climb sort of the The salary ladder, like you’ll, you’re, you’ll be able to go get interviews that are for jobs that compensate you even more than the entry level role, which hopefully we will establish a baseline for at some point

But but yeah I agree with you not a requirement to be a social butterfly, yeah. I’m people don’t realize that I would actually prefer not to be the one hosting events or being on stage. I would very much like to just be doing my thing behind the scenes. So if that’s [00:34:00] you. Yep. I totally get it.

Like you do not need to be a social motor. So

Michael Hartmann: I’ll just, I’ll I guess I’m gonna echo a little bit of Naomi and Mike, cuz like the way you described it drew I was like, thinking like, I wouldn’t get an interview with this guy cuz I don’t have any certifications. Actually I have one now, so which I did over the course of last year.

But but I think what Mike and interview got to was a little bit of my take on this now. Cause I’ve had gone through like I. Group discussions, things on this before is the someone, especially, I think for someone who’s trying to break into it, I do think that there is value in pursuing those certifications because it will make you stand out because not everybody is willing to put in that effort and even an, a quote, easy, right.

An easy certification still requires time and effort. And you do have to, you actually have to put in the work to do it, even if it doesn’t, really. To me always make a difference. And I think that’s, it’s not you got your CPA license, which there’s a whole there’s a very rigid process.

So I [00:35:00] think my take on it is it’s gonna, it’ll help you through the process and it will make you stand out. I don’t know that it I’m curious. Naomi. I’m gonna turn that question back around to you, I guess you answered it, is if you were to actually look back at the data, like people who came in that you hired that had certification of those, that didn’t, which ones actually ended up performing better and doing better over the course of their career.

I think that’s I actually have never paid attention to that. So I don’t even have a way to answer that question myself.

Drew Smith: I mean

Naomi Liu: for the, for me, I guess like the ones that were the most, and we’ve talked about this on previous episodes, but the ones that asked the most questions and were the most curious were the ones that performed the best certification or not?

To be honest, I can’t even remember at this point now, like what certifications they came in with, if any, because it all came out in the wash. If that makes sense. I’m not trying to discount like certifications at all. Like I’m certified in the tools that I use. No. And I’m working towards like Salesforce certification, things like that.

Like they absolutely have their place in our [00:36:00] industry for sure. It’s just, getting in the door for me maybe. And it’s just, it’s different for everybody. For me it’s not necessarily going to. Prevent someone from getting an interview, if that makes sense.

Drew Smith: Yeah. And I think yeah, I think the, this kind of goes back to the whole reason why I wrote that blog article, which is so I had an open position and I got about 400 applications for that open position and 400 resumes I had to sift through.

And of the 400 resumes that I had to sift through. There was probably 390 of them were from people that had never worked in marketing ops and rev ops. And so that doesn’t mean in, in the position that I’m in. I don’t have to hire somebody that has experience. I could hire somebody that doesn’t have experience and train them.

But the thing of it is if you need, if you’re gonna stand out. In that group of people, there has to be something that makes me think I should call this person. I should get [00:37:00] this person on a call and find out what they’re about. Now, if you have marketing ops experience, that’s one of the things that would’ve stood out in the group of 400 resumes that I was reviewing.

If you didn’t have marketing ops experience, but you had a certification that would differentiate you from the other 390, that also didn’t have the experience. And so it’s about having something in your resume that separates you from the other folks, particularly because you’re trying to get into a field you don’t have experience in.

So how do you do that? There’s gotta be some way to do that. And I think a certification is one of the ways that you can do that. So it in you. I’ve hired plenty of people that didn’t have certifications, but they had experience that told me that like they knew what they were doing, even if they didn’t have the certification.

That’s the challenge is anytime you’re trying to get into an industry that you don’t have experience and the challenge getting that first piece of experience, how do I get experience? If I have to have experience to get the job, right? Yeah. And marketing, you solve [00:38:00] that

Mike Rizzo: paradox.

Yeah. Marketing in general is one is just it, is that exactly that right? You typically have to take an internship or something to be able to show that you got the experience to be able to get the first job that is your baseline salary, et cetera. The nice thing about like marketing ops is that you can show intent signals through some of these programs and that you’re interested.

And that you’re not just another graduate who just wants to get into any other field of marketing. And I will say that in my experience, having graduated with a business degree, with an emphasis on marketing, knowing since I was 12 or 13 years old, that I wanted to be in marketing.

Not knowing at all that I would not be good at design or creative or copyright. I was a decent copywriter, but still not knowing exactly where I would go. I was really STR like, how do you get into that role? And I will tell you right now for all of the listeners. [00:39:00] the ability to have an intense signal that says, Hey, I’m interested in this thing.

That is MarTech. That is marketing operations. That is marketing automation. That is gold. That previously didn’t exist. It really didn’t you can go get a Hootsuite certification. Sure. But like really still at the end of the day, that’s not probably gonna show enough signal that you’re like necessarily the next ready for the next thing.

So I would say take it for what it’s worth and, try to go get those entry level certifications and. And show your interest, cuz it is something that didn’t previously exist for a lot of us coming up in this field. And it’ll be really helpful since we’re on the topic. And I know we need to wrap this episode.

We’re on the topic of certifications drew. I’m gonna ask you the question that we think is a fun one. What if there was a certified marketing operations, professional credential that’s tech agnostic. What would that mean [00:40:00] to you and what would need to be included in it?

Drew Smith: Yeah. Good question. And I think for me a certified marketing ops professional what that would tell me is that somebody understands some of the basic principles.

Of the marketing operations profession, meaning you, if I asked you what the acronym MQL stood for, you’d know what that means. And you’d probably also know not just what it means, tactically, but what it means strategically for an organization, right? That a marketing qualified lead is a lead that marketing believes should be sent to sales because they think that this is somebody that sales can sell to.

They should also know. Most of the time an MQL is gonna be based off of a lead score. Or some other type of intent signals. And that, that should include things like how interested that lead is in us, through their behavior and how interested we are in that lead through their demographics and firmographics, regardless of whether you’re using.[00:41:00]

MQL in a traditional demand gen sense, or MQA in an account based sense. There’s some sort of intent and fit that goes into that, right? That’s an, and that’s just an example of what that would mean to me is that somebody can, that understands those basic general principles. Somebody that knows like what is a lead life cycle and what is, why is it important to have something like a lead life cycle?

What can you do with it? Somebody that understands those basic principles regardless of the technology platform that you might implement those basic principles into. I think that would be a solid contributor to our industry. To again, also help people get access to the industry without necessarily having to go through the process of getting a tech certification.

Because if you do wanna be a more tech agnostic kind of person on the operations side, then you could go get a certified mopped professional certification and say that would transfer across all the different tech platforms. That’s somebody that and if somebody had that certification, but didn’t have certifications in technologies.

[00:42:00] And was in that group of 390 resumes that I, reviewed for a role that I had open. That would be somebody that would get a phone call that would get an interview because they may not have that HubSpot certification or that Marketo certification, but they understand the concepts.

So I, I think that would be a good door opener

Mike Rizzo: for sure. That’s what I would love to see. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Michael Hartmann: I love it drew. It’s I’m sorry to say that we are probably past our time here, but if folks wanna connect with you or follow you. Sounds like you’re on Twitter, but what’s the best way for them to keep up with what you’re doing or to connect with

Drew Smith: you?

Yeah. LinkedIn it’s incredibly difficult to find drew Smith on LinkedIn, cuz I mean there’s about a million of us it’s by LinkedIn is drew Smitty. It’s like the Smitty. And then I’m also on Twitter at Smitty marketing. So either one of those you can connect with me either one of those.

Mike Rizzo: I love it.

Michael Hartmann: Fantastic. Good drew. This has been, it is been a fun conversation and we appreciate it. [00:43:00] Everyone else Mike Naomi, thank you for keeping this thing going what the listeners don’t know,

Mike Rizzo: we alluded to it.

Michael Hartmann: yeah. Yeah, I probably missed it anyway. So thank you to all our listeners as well for continuing to support us as always.

Continue to share this, give us your feedback, let us know what topics you want to hear about or other guests you want to have on here. So until next time.

Drew Smith: Bye everyone. Bye Ron. Bye.