The Impacts of the Martech Landscape Explosion with Shikha Pakhide

Michael Hartmann: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to another episode of OpsCast, brought to you by marketing, powered by the MO Pros. I am your host, Michael Hartmann. Joined today by no other co-hosts, Naomi and Mike could not make it, and there’s a reason why. So our guest today is from India. So challenges with scheduling. Uh, as you’ll, as we get going, you’ll find out that we actually, this is our third attempt at doing this.

So, thankfully, uh, our guest Shikha Pakhide I still, you know, I practiced it over and over. I think I still got it. anyway, uh, is joining us. It is evening here in the US and, uh, more early morning in, in India for her. So thank you for joining us. And I guess she is here to discuss the impacts of ever growing Mar MarTech landscape.

And I think her perspective, uh, being in India is gonna be helpful. She is currently the global marketing director of zpa AI at B2B SaaS platform [00:01:00] to improve the hiring process. So prior to joining, joining zpa, She held several general marketing, product management and leadership roles. She is passionate about go-to-market strategy, brand awareness, account based marketing, account based experience, and demand.

Gen Sheika has been recognized as the most innovative MarTech leader by the World Marketing Con Congress. She is an active member of CMO Alliance Community and the CMO Council. So Sheika, thank you for joining us and my apologies. Messing up your name.

Shikha Pakhide: No worries, Michael. Uh, thanks a lot, uh, for having me, uh, on today’s shows.

Uh, sure. You know, I, I’m, I’m really excited, uh, to share my journey and, uh, my

Michael Hartmann: learnings. Oh, great. No, I think I, I think our audience is gonna be, um, Well, I love that we are, we have gotten a number of people over the course of the last year or so who are outside of the us. I mean, our, our audience is in, most of our guests are, are definitely US, north America, I guess I should say North America, cuz it’s Naomi who’s.

Our co-host is in [00:02:00] Canada, but um, yeah, it, it’s, I think it’s one of the things that I, I’m, I’m really excited about is that we’ve had guests from Europe, from India, from Australia, um, yeah, we just need a few other kind of locales and I think we’ll have more and more of the, the globe covered. So why don’t we, so you mentioned your journey, your career journey.

So why don’t we start there? Why don’t you share with our listeners your experience as a marketer and leader, um, and. really as part of this, one of the things I like to hear about, are there key people or inflection points in your career that you think were important in kind of getting you to where you are today?

Shikha Pakhide: Yeah, sure, Michael. I think, um, like any other, uh, you can say budding marketing, uh, professional, uh, so, uh, my initial years of journey was, uh, you could say a, a little similar wherein I was trying to go that where my interest areas lies. So, uh, you could say, Initially, for the, at least for the five to six years, I was doing a lot of sales and business development, a lot of traveling, [00:03:00] um, trying my hands with, uh, all the new things about marketing.

To be honest, I was unconsciously and subconsciously, subconsciously doing marketing. But I, to be honest, I didn’t realize that, okay, I’m, I’m actually doing marketing. Uh, but then after that, you know, uh, I took a pause and, uh, and I wanted to understand myself that, okay, uh, now. A lot of experimentation has happened.

So what next? You know, where I would like to, uh, l uh, spend most part of my journey, uh, to understand that, okay, this is, this is where I belong, right? So that’s how, uh, my journey began. Um, uh, in totally you can say, Core marketing. And then, um, uh, when I say co-marketing, so to be honest, I learn everything from A to Z of marketing when I started working with Ventil Systems, uh, which is a software solution provider for infrastructure industry.

So again, a very niche industry, uh, when we talk about infrastructure, uh, and, uh, when, uh, we are talking about, uh, The buyer persona, whom we were serving over there, because it [00:04:00] was all about, uh, architects, it was all about engineers. It was all about owner operators. So, so that was very interesting because again, that was very new for me.

And as you know, that the, uh, marketing team was always short stocked. We, we always have

Michael Hartmann: zero. I don’t, I have no idea what you’re talking about, .

Shikha Pakhide: We always have, uh, zero to no budget almost. And, uh, so of course then I, I was, you know, along with my manager and uh, I was handling South Asia and, uh, CPAC region, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand region.

So there, you know, again, you know, understood that how a campaign need to be built. You know, when we talk about from bottom. Top, you know, so first I understood that, but then later on it the, you can say the strategy funnel flipped. So then I started understanding, okay, you know, this is the business school, this is how marketing needs to fit in.

And then you know how we are talking about the campaigns, et cetera. So again, uh, there as well, uh, learn everything about, um, building up the [00:05:00] campaign pages, working along with, uh, sales leadership, which is again, a very, I think, fundamental when you talk about the alignment. Uh, and then

Michael Hartmann: again, so, uh, so I, you, you brought it up a second time, so I’m, I was waiting to interrupt or ask you a follow up, but now I, I feel like I want to interrupt here a little bit.

So, um, this is unscripted, so. Um, I’m really curious about, because you brought up sales and you said you, you sold for a while and traveled. And so, uh, I also, for a short period of my time, my career was in sales and it, um, it was really, really hard. Way harder than I thought it was when I, when I dis, I raised my hand to, to take a spot.

So, and, and I think it. it, it really changed how I thought about marketing when I got into marketing more as a core thing. So I’m curious, do, like, do you think it would be valuable for people who are in marketing and marketing ops to better understand what it’s like to be in the shoes of a salesperson right out there knocking on doors, [00:06:00] pick up the phone to call, getting hung up on, right.

All those kinds of things. I, I’m just like, what is your perspective and I’m, I’m. I, I’m gonna guess that the experience is fairly similar globally, but, um, I, I know I, I had times where I was hung up on and called names and things like that. I suspect it was probably like that. It is not an easy task. So for all you people out there who are in marketing and marketing ops and, you know, nay saying sales, I’m not saying there aren’t people who deserve that, but there are like, it is not the easy job that you might think it.


Shikha Pakhide: absolutely Michael. It’s, it’s not at all an easy job, and I have, uh, you can say huge respect for them, uh, because, uh, it, it’s hard. It’s very hard, uh, because here in, uh, they are, uh, most of the time they are dealing com, uh, with the sales of a productor service where they don’t have. , you can say most of the backing, or most of you can say, lack of the proper material back.

That’s why I think, [00:07:00] um, the misalignment comes into the picture because sales are out there into the market. You know, they, they’re actually speaking to a lot of accounts. They’re speaking to the prospects, so they really know the. Pulse that what exactly they’re wanting. But when they bring back that requirement to the teams, whether it’s the product team or whether it’s to the marketing team, I think that empathy, that thing needs to come out that, hey, you know, when they’re saying something, when they’re asking for something, so let’s respect that, uh, because they have got the, you can say they’re, they’re out there in the market.

They know that, uh, what thing will resonate with them, what kind of messaging will resonate with them. But here, and I think if marketing and product, you know what, what I also used to. Uh, no, before I, I’m guilty of doing that. So wherein when you are working in a silos and you say that, no, you know, this does, this doesn’t suit well, this doesn’t sound well.

We have to craft that message in that particular way. That is not something which you can say gives a tick. To the prospect to think about your product or about your service. [00:08:00] Mm-hmm. . So, uh, marketing a product, you know, is not only about marketers or, uh, you know about that, but then even for the product marketing team as well, or people who are dealing in the industry, marketing as well, they all need to work together.

The need to, you can say, come out of their own box and understand that let’s put ourselves in their shoes because that’s how they are pitching it. And to be honest, over the, uh, past, uh, so many years, Michael, I have realized that every marketer, if they don’t know how to pitch their product, if they have not picked the, picked up the phone and did a pitch like an s t r or went and then sat in those account discussions, I don’t think so.

They deserve to be in the marketing. That time, we don’t know what is the thing, how they need to design, what is the kind of strategy and execution plan they need to do that. So for me, understanding this pivotal role, how sales is made when you are working in any organization, yes. Any product service, I think it’s so, so

Michael Hartmann: important.

Well, and [00:09:00] I, I think you touched on something that, um, I think it’s particularly. Bad in B2B or for B2B companies is just the language that they use on their websites. You know, I, I cannot, I mean, it’s, it’s, it, it, it probably stands out when I run across a B2B company’s website where I read their homepage and it’s very clear, oh, this is what you do, right?

This is what you sell. Um, as often as not, I would say, That’s not the case, right? There’s a lot of words, beautiful pictures or whatever, but it’s. , what’s, what is it you do right in plain language. And I think there’s, there’s something about that that’s missing. And I, and I think that’s, I think so maybe where you and I both like having done that.

Like when you’re out there talking to customers right? And you’re, you, you have to figure out the language to use with them that may or may not match what. Product marketing or the marketing, you know, content team would like it to be. [00:10:00] Um, so there’s this, I think there’s a balancing act, right? So, uh, particularly a challenge probably for companies where they’re, it is, they’re, they’re kind of breaking new ground, right?

A new market, a new kind of product. So, all right, so I, sorry I totally derailed your story about your career, but I was That’s okay. Fascinated. I’m always look like it catches my ear. Um, all the time when I hear about people who are in marketing who’ve actually been in sales shoes. Cause I think their perspective on, uh, uh, marketing is different in a lot of cases.

Um, and I generally would say in a better way. In a good way.

So do you, was there more to your story? Let’s, let’s, so let’s keep on going there if you want, and, or we can switch to switch gears. ? Uh, no,

Shikha Pakhide: no, I’m totally okay. As I said that, uh, over the past, uh, you can see when I talk about the experience and then, uh, uh, the points which were like, uh, enlightening for me.

One was definitely [00:11:00] the alignment piece because, uh, there was a particular project when I was working at Bentley and then I had to work very closely with sales and producting, and then make sure that we all are talking the same language and I have to. Give them the trust that I’m your enabler. You know, I’m not on the other side.

We all on one side, there’s no, there are no two sides when you are working in one organization. So that was one of the pivotal point. And second point was, uh, wherein I worked closely with my IT team. On all the collaboration of the tools. Uh, so those are, you can say two highs, uh, wherein, uh, lot of, um, uh, revolutions about, uh, the marketing concepts came into the Bing.

And then, okay, there is a total difference between what goes in the theory and what is there in the prac, prac, practicality.

Michael Hartmann: Oh yeah, definitely. I mean, it’s, it’s, uh, there’s a, one of my favorite business books is one called Execution, the Discipline of the Subtitles, the, the Discipline of [00:12:00] Getting Things Done.

And it was co-authored by an academic and a, and a seasoned business professional. And I thought it had a good balance. Uh, so the academic is rom sheron. And the, the, the business practitioners, Larry Bossy and the, the combination of those two was really, I think I’ve not run across another book that was not either just someone owns someone’s own story about their business success or an academic one where, where it combined those two.

So I think that. that point of is, is well taken. Um, so you, you said, you mentioned it that you worked with at that spot is, is that when you started getting exposure to marketing technology platforms as well and that the landscape there, cause I know that was one of the things that you, we talked about, um, kind of prepar preparing for this is, and I think you used the term like the, the, um, the marktech space is coming up and I don’t know, I can’t remember if, if, um, if you’re talking about the, the sort of the explosion.

Marketing technology platforms and [00:13:00] tools? Uh, uh, in general, or if you were talking about in, in India, in, in that area of the world in particular. Yeah,

Shikha Pakhide: Michael, I think, um, when I was, uh, when I was involved in that particular project, because one of the main part was, which I think every management suffers, is that they do have a lot of tools, but they don’t talk to each other.

That’s such a pain point because you are investing so much, but again, you have to take. The help of so many business analysts or marketing operation team members to make sense out of all the data, which is coming from all the different sources. So that was one of the points you can say the key objective of this particular project, wherein I have to make sure.

The systems which we have, the tools which we have specifically in marketing, in sales, and in with the inside sales team, how we have to make sure that they are talking to each other, they’re integrating well, and the data is coming out right because. [00:14:00] How we define as a lead in one particular system, that’s exactly not equal to another tool, right?

Michael Hartmann: So for, for our, listen, for our listeners, I’ve got this, I’ve got this silly grin on my face because like, I totally agree with this. Like the word lead it, the word customer, the word campaign, right? They’re all ones that have. different general meetings to different people as well as if you get into systems and they have specific meetings in those cases too, and they’re always the same.

Uh, anyway, sorry to interrupt.

Shikha Pakhide: No, no, that’s okay. Because I think that’s one of our, uh, holy grail kind of stuff, right? Wherein we are always trying to achieve. But yeah, we need tools, but yes, we also need them to be integrated. Well, and, and then, uh, I think, uh, one of the point which, um, marketers are the person who’s involved.

Valuation and implementation of the particular tool. The myth that is that whenever any new technology is being introduced in any team or in any organization, it takes time. It takes time to [00:15:00] be absorbed. It takes time to be implemented. It takes time to be adapted in principle. and in the practical way as well because, okay, say for example we are taking any, um, outreach tool or we are talking about any ABM platform, but then in theory they’re gonna do wonders.

But then unless and until there is a proper discipline in using that, making sure that you are aware about all the features, only then you’ll be able to extract the real R roi. It’s not about that, okay, we paid the dollar amount, we did the implementation, and now we are gonna be sitting and then, hey, digital, you log.

Did you check in? Did you go through the reports? But then later on you, you missed that point that they do not understand that why they should be using that. The why is very important, Michael, because in any of the market tool, because again, you know, we, we all know that sales are so hard pressed of time, whether it’s sales or whether it’s inside sales team, what is they need to achieve their numbers and [00:16:00] then till today they are the ones who have, you can say, uh, Very, you can say a very prominent role in the decision making because they are the one who is bringing the business, right?

So whatever they’re gonna be saying that this tool doesn’t work, this tool is gonna take a lot of my time. No, this is a total base. C-suite is gonna listen to them. They’re not gonna listen to the, you can say the CMO that, Hey, you know what, uh, we got that. And then we, we know that and we anticipate it’s gonna do three x or 10 x wonders to our dollar pipeline.

Uh, CSU is not gonna listen to the CMO there. He’s gonna listen to the. Person who is driving the business. And as a second part is, uh, when we are talking about this all in, in, you know, thing, the initial evaluation, they have to be involved. They, they really have to be in involved. If they’re not there, I think it’s always good to miss.

Uh, implementing or buying that particular technology that’s, that’s, you know, my [00:17:00] experience and my belief.

Michael Hartmann: Yeah. So, uh, uh, there’s so many thoughts right now. So, one, I I love that you brought up the word discipline. That’s one of the ones that I think is really, really important for all marketing ops folks in, in, in general.

Um, and I think. D the, the reason people maybe shy away from using that word discipline is because it maybe sounds like you can’t move quickly, and I’ve totally disagree. I think if you have the right kind of discipline and the things set up in a way that are relatively simple, right? I think that there’s a bigger danger in making all these systems complicated and dependent on each other and things like that, that actually slow things down.

Not so much discipline of being very deliberate about how you go to market, because to your point, As soon as you lose that discipline, you lose the, the, the trust and the quality of the data that you’re capturing as part of it. So what to me that leads to is not better decisions, but the same bad decisions, just faster.[00:18:00]

you know, um, I think it’s a really interesting point that you bring up about, um, when to involve sales in the, sort of the decision making process about technology. And I’m, I’m gonna, I would expand it to when should we drop something, right? I think we’ve had guess on where we talk about, right? If you’ve got a martex stack, you should be probably evaluating.

Yeah, what are you still using? What do you not need as, as often as you are about adding new, new things? So I’m, I think that’s a really insightful point you made about the, the, the, the perception of the other C-Suite members when it comes to sales versus marketing. about whether or not something’s being effective.

And so I think for those of our listeners out there, right, again, this is yet another reason, right? If you don’t understand that role, like, like really deeply understanding how those processes work, especially in the B2B world where, you know, complex sale, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s [00:19:00] critical. I, the one point I think I would maybe, I would maybe disagree a little bit with, I think with your assessment.

That you should include them always. I don’t think that’s true. If there’s not gonna be an, a fairly obvious impact downstream to the sales team, and I’m, I’m trying to, I mean, I can, I’m sure I can come up with examples and at the same time I could probably argue against myself. Like the example I was thinking of.

Yeah, we, we, we had to do, uh, we have some stale contacts in our database, so we ran ’em through one of these email. validation platforms where you get back sort of, you know, valid email, not a valid email, and a bunch of stuff in the middle. And, um, the idea was like, we need to clean out some stuff we need to be smart about when we include or not include people in distribution lists for our emails.

But, uh, I didn’t feel like I needed to include sales in that. [00:20:00] Where I’m gonna caveat it for myself is, but some of. . If we were gonna say, oh, that’s no longer a good email address, we should delete it from both our marketing system and Salesforce. Now we start to getting into like, oh, what if that’s still like, what if the salesperson still thinks it’s a good person, they just need to get the email address correct.

Like then I think there is, then I think it’s important to include them, but not necessarily in the choice of. . Does that make

Shikha Pakhide: sense? Uh, agree. Michael, I think yes, definitely, because herein they’re not directly impacted. They’re not gonna be the ones who will be using. So what I meant was that wherein it has got a direct impact on them and wherein we really need their involvement in using that so that, uh, say for example, an ABM platform or whenever we are talking about a sales outreach insight, sales outreach kind of platform lead routing.

Thank you. Exactly. And scheduling, you know, so there, and I think is, is very important, uh, because as I just said, that, um, if they’re not, uh, [00:21:00] fully bought in, uh, then later on you will keep, keep on hearing that hey, this is a, uh, waste of dollars. This is waste of dollars, this is waste of dollars. So, so it’ll always be echoed.

In the background, but yeah. Uh, I mean, uh, it, uh, your point totally makes sense because that part, when we are talking about those tools, which are, uh, which a marketing or person or a marketer will be using in their own capacity without any, Uh, direct contribution from any other team. So then I, I don’t think so.

There is, there is a team because they are only, uh, you can say, um, uh, concerned about the final outcome. They only need the valid email addresses. They only need the right data when you’re talking about the data acquisition as well. Right. They don’t care for wherever you are bringing

Michael Hartmann: it. Right, right. Um, I, I think, I think if I was to boil this down, right, if, if, if you’re looking as a marketing ops or marketing tech person and, and, or revenue or, uh, revenue ops and you’re [00:22:00] considering technology additions or subtractions, um, at least give a consideration about, well, should we include sales or sales ops or, or similar folks in that process earlier rather than later?

And that makes sense to. . You agree? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Got it. Okay. So, um, one of the, if I, if I understood your career journey a bit, you kind of went sort of right into the deep end of kind of leading marketing from soup to nuts or, or significant at the portion of it, which included becoming familiar with the technology.

Supporting marketing, so, you know, have, have, has that been a continuing thing that has been part of your career? And then if so, you know, how have you as a marketing leader kind of dealt with this? Like, I think we’ve talked about it and I, this way I would articulate is I, I think people have expected the marketing [00:23:00] tech landscape to shrink through consolidations, but in fact it continues to grow.

and my assertion, and I don’t know if it’s right or not, is that a lot of that’s because there’s very specific point solutions that are coming out there that are bolted on to say some core things and, um, leading to some challenges from that standpoint. But it’s like just keeping up with it. And they all have, they, they all the, the ones that are successful tend to have really good salespeople who are good at finding marketers or salespeople who, and convincing them that they should consider it.

So how, how have you, how’s that affected you and your career?

Shikha Pakhide: Yeah, I think, um, when you talk about, uh, the mar space, um, at least in my journey, and I, I, and I’m sure it, uh, also is something similar with other marketers as well, doesn’t matter whether they are just still starting at the middle of the career or whether they are, um, at, at the senior level position as well.

Um, in today’s landscape, I, I believe, uh, Michael, [00:24:00] um, a marketer needs to be a technologist as well. Because if they don’t understand, um, that how the entire thing. Is dependent on the technology because here we are always talking about data, right? We are always talking about how it’s gonna be impacting all the strategical decisions, how it actually will be driving the budgets, forecast, pipeline, et cetera.

For that, you really need a good. Confident technology stack and then and there, the marketers acumen actually comes into the picture because it’s not only about the technology because that the C T O can do, but therein you are backing that up. With your entire marketing intelligence and then how you are providing that, you know, the holistic approach, the entire 360 degree approach view, so that at the end you are able to confidently one project and [00:25:00] strategize.

And second is you can also give the confidence to csuite that this is a function which a marketer can comfortably hold You don’t. You can say hundred percent depend on the ct because CT has got other things to, you can say, take care of and other things, you know, to, uh, you know, uh, to worry about. So I totally believe that this is something, uh, to be honest, like it has happened blessing in disguise because that was one of the project which just.

Came to me. And again, of course, you know, like an imposter syndrome. I was not, uh, sure that whether I’ll be able to do justice or not, that because I did not understand their language, they were not able to understand my language. So we, we generally had that kind of dissonance in the beginning with the IT team.

But, uh, but thankfully, um, I think it really worked wonder because then I was able to understand that a big gap. in the big enterprise world, and similarly in a startup world as well. Sure. Because what happens is, uh, in the, in the enterprise world, everybody’s in a hurry or you can say [00:26:00] everybody is, um, uh, is in that particular race to achieve the numbers, and they have to do that.

And then, and again, of course you have the leverage of a good budget over there. So then, uh, uh, going at technology and acquiring a MarTech is generally becoming a very easy route. But then when you sit and analyze, Where exactly is the gap? How you can make sure that your marketing processes, your operational processes, your relationship with sales can improve with the help of technology.

I think that was the philosophical bit, which I really learned the hard way where I was working in this particular, uh, uh, Marrying the marketing with the technology, how the market came and became as one of the, my pivotal role as well. And similarly I think in the startup world as well. Like wherein I’m working with a startup right now that, um, Seeing the other side, technology is not always the answer.

No, your, all your challenges cannot be [00:27:00] solved by the, by the technology. You have to sit and understand what is the root cause of the problem is driving the pipeline. Your issue, you are not getting your enough numbers or you’re not able to convert. What is that challenge? But definitely buying any other MarTech is not gonna solve that problem.

No, I, so these are two

Michael Hartmann: different approaches. , no, I, I, I generally, even though I grew up in my career doing IT type consulting, management consulting, and now, you know, do a lot of stuff with technology and marketing space, it’s, I, I, I, for very, very, very long time thought if you. Whether you think about this as a people process, technology kind of approach to things or, or maybe something a little, a little more elaborate.

I technology’s always the last piece, right? People come, first process and then, and then technology if necessary. Right? Or tech, because I think otherwise you, um, I’ve seen this too many times where you, you choose a piece of technology [00:28:00] and you. , the organization and the people in the process to adapt to that technology as opposed to, which sometimes makes sense actually, right?

So that if you assume that there are best practices built into some of these technologies, um, then it would make sense to sort of rethink your process, um, and how you go to market or whatever. Because I, the other side of this is like, I believe that technology, unless you’re Amazon, right? who’s built out a huge custom sort of capability that is, is truly was part of their tech, their competitive advantage, right?

I don’t think that’s the case for most companies where I think where their competitive advantage is if they’ve got some sort of insight or specialty and their ability to move quickly and adapt that, that to me in general is a be is a better. thing to have, you know, in your tool belt if you will, then oh, I’ve got this tech stack.

Um, cuz I think what happens [00:29:00] is, is people go from one place to another. They go, this is the, my my sort of fallacy of best practices, right? Is they like, oh, I had this tech stack here at this place, I’ll just sort of go and do the same thing over here and it and it may or may not work. Right. If you’re lucky, it will.

I I I would, you know, if we, if people are honest, I suspect the, the reality is if they did that right, the majority of the time, it would not work. as well as it did, uh, at the previous place. Yeah.

Shikha Pakhide: But I think, uh, you have actually picked up on a very important point, Michael, that what has worked here. It’s, it’s a hundred percent true that it’s not gonna work there because bits and pieces of that can work, but not in that entire totality that, okay, this is my entire martex space, which worked in this particular scenario.

Because see, every organization set up a. Is different enterprise with markets s and b startup. And then again, what is the kind of solution which they’re offering, whether that particular situation does they demand that particular market or not. So that is very, very important I think, which we [00:30:00] marketers, uh, sometimes miss or sometimes I, I would say that.

We actually, um, are buried under the pressure to deliver the results wherein, um, uh, in this entire game of bringing everything onto the table in the pipeline for the salespeople, we actually, um, uh, you can say shy away and fear sometimes that we have to take 10 steps backward and then really think that does, is it bringing the value at the end of the year?

Will I be the one who will be cutting that off, or will I be the one who have to, you can say no. We have to completely, uh, forget about the solution we have. We really need something else. So those are the things I think you can actually, um, uh, reframe or you can say you can, uh, uh, with a proper evaluation, you can actually, um, uh, yeah, save the

Michael Hartmann: trouble from that

The, the, the phrase I’ve heard, and I don’t know where it was, definitely not me who said it, but I’ve heard it before, is like it’s slowed down to speed up. [00:31:00] You have to sort of take a step back and slow down to speed up. And so, okay, so one of the things that I’m sure you’ve gone through is, you know, as you’ve kind of learned your way through marketing, marketing, tech stuff as a marketer, is that then you even, I think, alluded to it earlier when you talked about integrations, right?

I think because there’s so much of this like point solution stuff and or, or things that, you know, you maybe. Two platforms, both have a capability but one’s better than the other. So you sort of use the, the best in class model, right? Um, but then that forces integrations and the, all the things that go on with that, including things like this just happened really in my current role is that the, the CRM team changed our state.

State code to state spelled out. Right. And so like, now that creates all kinds of other downstream effects and we didn’t know what was happening. And um, so far it hasn’t had an issue, but, but I, so, but it’s a [00:32:00] small but important example of like the importance of integrations and consistency across these.

So how, like, how have you, have you got any lessons learned, uh, from dealing with that kind of stuff that you can share with our listen. . Yes, definitely

Shikha Pakhide: Michael. Um, there are two situations on how we can deal with that. One is wherein you are inheriting the entire martex space and you are not Evo involved interviewing the evaluation and implementation therein.

And of course you can’t do anything, uh, you know that. Okay. You know, which were the solutions which, which are able to integrate with each other, so, In that situation wherein you are inheriting everything work and see with the different, um, you can say, uh, your support teams over there, that how you can make sure that all of them are integrating.

Because most of the time I have seen that all the marketing vendors, uh, they do have that on their roadmap to integrate most of the things because, because in the. That is how they’re gonna sell, right? They will be [00:33:00] selling their particular solution that, okay, this is your one stop shop because it also integrates with your CRM because it also integrates with your MAs, et cetera, et cetera.

So that’s one particular part that go back to the producting of that particular market vendor, that whether they have that in the roadmap or not, if that integration is. Missing at that particular time. Second is when you’re dealing in a big space like an enterprise, inheriting all these solution, work very closely with your it, uh, and your data office team because they are the ones who will be you.

You can see your enabler or your spokesperson during those decision making cycles and going back to the vendors that, Hey, we are not gonna be signing the check if we, these things are not met because, This is impacting our revenue. This is our people are not able to perform well, so make them your spokesperson by working closely with them.

Again, you both should not be on the other side. You know, it shouldn’t not be like an anti one, but a one team approach over there. And then the third is, See that [00:34:00] if the, the one doesn’t work wherein they don’t have any integration at all. So definitely you have to look at the option, but again, when you are evaluating the option, think about it that whether you really need it or not, do a thorough audit so that you’re not facing this problem again.

Now in the second space wherein, um, you are not inheriting, but you are the one who are bringing everything. Right? So my biggest learning and lesson, and you can say, uh, share, which I would like to share with the listeners is that. Think thoroughly and do the evaluation very in a, in a very deep and intensive manner.

Because therein, uh, if you do that in the beginning itself, it’s gonna save you all the trouble, um, uh, at a later stage One is definitely, um, when they’re saying about the integration, does it hold profit? In the principle or not, because what exactly they do mean by integration is just not like that. Okay.

Plug and play. They’re just gonna be integrated. No. When they say integration, what exactly does it mean? The end [00:35:00] objective. When you are, you need to design your workflows. You need the entire flow to happen. You need the automation to work. You need the assignment to work. Is it able to achieve your objective?

Directly proportional to the integrations. That’s my biggest lesson. .

Michael Hartmann: Yeah, no, I, um, I, I think that you, that, that point about the, you, you can’t, I, I hate to say you can’t just trust those. vendors. I, I don’t think that anybody’s intentionally, I’m sure there are some people who intentionally, but generally speaking right, that no one’s intentionally misleading.

But I think, um, it’s really, you hit a good point cuz I’ve been burned by this before where you didn’t really dig in and understand when they say this can integrate with that. Right. What does that actually mean? Right. Is it. Um, yeah. Is it all objects? Is it custom objects? Is it, is it real time? Is it, what’s a day like?

All those things matter and, and they may matter more or less for your particular [00:36:00] situation, but I think that’s true. The, the one thing I would, I think I would add to your first scenario where you’re inheriting, and this has been my world a couple of times, is um, don’t go in and make snap judgements about what should change.

Because, uh, what I’ve, what I’ve learned is I’ve had to be really, I’ve had to fight my urge to wanna move quickly. When I see something, it goes, oh, that just doesn’t look right. Because in this case, especially in enterprise kind of world, right? There was, there was, there was stuff that was set up that maybe wasn’t.

well documented, um, or wasn’t documented at all. And there’s certain things that, um, may be happening that you’re not even aware of until something else comes up and it breaks. Right. And, which has saved me before. So I’ve like, um, a couple of times where I’ve like, oh, I, I come in, I like, I see something, I’m like, this doesn’t seem right.

I [00:37:00] want, like, let’s go. I think we should go fix it. But like, but let’s wait. And that’s hard. Um, especially. If maybe it feels like things are not working well. Right. There’s sand in the gear, so to speak. So, um, those are all good points. I, that’s really good. So, um, what, so the other part that you touched on with that had to do with, uh, These systems integrations also affect data and quality in the, the confidence that leaders have in it.

How, like how have you addressed that part as well? Um,

Shikha Pakhide: uh, again, uh, I would like to present two different scenarios here. Uh, Michael Barnes, when I was in the enterprise space and when I was, uh, You know, in a startup phase. So in the enterprise, uh, space, again, you have a leverage to where an entire data team is there or there are people who are actually managing the entire data office.

So how I worked when I was working in enterprise spaces, so again, working closely with them, but then again, uh, working [00:38:00] closely with them, you, you have to be very clear because see, they’re the data people. They don’t understand their entire story. You have to give them the facts. What exactly is not working?

Where is the data leakage? And then, um, uh, uh, yeah, and then where exactly is the leakage? And then which are the data points, which they, you want them to fix it up? Either they have to fix it up or the market person has to fix it up. Or at the marketing side, you have to, you can say, redefine that. So that’s how I know, uh, how you can solve the data issues.

But when we are also talking with the startup world, there in, um, uh, again, uh, you can say there is a leverage because you are just starting up. You have the entire leverage to set up the processes. Exactly the way you would like to want. And then, which is not leading to all the data challenges at a later stage.

So do it right the first time itself. So you’ll have to, you know, again, reinvent the way. So,

Michael Hartmann: yeah. Yeah. So I think, [00:39:00] um, couple things. I like that, that approach there where you’re talking about, uh, and maybe I’m reading more into it, but are you saying sort of maybe. Smaller in terms of reporting. Like this is something we’ve talked about on on previous episodes too, is like the, the best time to do reporting is now.

Right? Don’t wait till your data’s perfect. Don’t wait till your systems are perfect, but also don’t try to solve, don’t, don’t come out right outta the gates. Try, try to create some massive dashboard, right? Do one piece, get it right, move on to the next piece. So I think is a, is a solid approach. D has that worked for you before?

Is, is that how you’ve done it or is it, have you done something a little more, a little different?

Shikha Pakhide: No, exactly. That’s what we did because our management, uh, when I was in the enterprise phase, they were like really, really worried and they were really irritated that, uh, they were not able to see one particular report, which is a right report.

They, of course, they don’t have time to look at the hundred reports, so they just needed one real time report and they all, what they all cared was how many leads. , what is the [00:40:00] money we are pumping in and what is the tactic, which is bringing the, you know, the maximum amount of results. That’s what they care cared about, you know?

Yeah. As you said that we’d, we’d have to create this entire. Uh, beautiful or complicated or intricate dashboards. So

Michael Hartmann: Le lesson there is don’t assume what those executives want to see. Right. Um, and don’t just the other, the other part, you, you used the word stor story, and I, this is another one that I’ve, uh, I’ve become more and more convinced is, is actually affecting not just marketing tech and marketing ops, but also marketing in general, is that I think.

Um, marketers in general do a pretty good, poor job of storytelling with the data that they have. Right? Which is, which is a weird thing to say because you think marketers would be the ones who could do the storytelling, but. , it’s complicated and it’s not as, um, binary as sales. Right. So we’ve talked about them for Yeah.

So have you, have you had to do that before, right? Not just the numbers, but the story, the numbers are telling. Have [00:41:00] you, have you gone through that kind of process? Uh,

Shikha Pakhide: yes. Uh, it was, uh, pretty interesting that, uh, uh, it, it was actually right onto my face. Um, so, uh, when I was, uh, sharing the reports with my C P O and my VP of sales, so he is like, okay, I get the.

What exactly it’s telling me? What are the kind of decisions you want me to make out of it or what are the decisions you would like to make when you are seeing the data? Yeah. Trust me, I was dumb . I was

Michael Hartmann: dumbed. Is this good or bad? Like, I don’t know. Right. No reference. I have no reference point.

Shikha Pakhide: Exactly. So I was like, okay, fine.

No problem. You, you did all this, uh, you are able to extract the data, you are able to present the data, but what next? So exactly. I, I think that’s very, very important, Michael. Even when we are. Uh, uh, we are using that report only for our own purpose as a solo purpose. Not even sharing that with the management.

We have to see and understand that what exactly I’m trying to derive from that particular report.

Michael Hartmann: What next? [00:42:00] Well, and I, the, I think the maybe corollary to that that we’ve talked about too before is if you are asked to generate a report for something, before just going off and generating the report. The a a good question ask is why, like, why, like what are you, try, what are you trying to learn from that?

Because maybe that’s not the right report, right. That you asked for, you know? So I think, I think there’s some some good stuff there. Well, Sheika, this has, this has been a great conversation and I think we probably, we probably didn’t even get to some of the stuff we had hoped to, but. Uh, kind of up against time.

I know your day is just getting going there, so, and, and ours is winding down here, but thank you so much for joining us. If folks want to kind of connect with you or learn more about what you’re up to or, or follow you or whatever, what’s the best way for them to do that?

Shikha Pakhide: Yeah. Uh, send me a connection request on LinkedIn.

I’d be more than happy to, uh, connect with you or definitely, you know, uh, through the Slack community. [00:43:00] I’m, I’m

Michael Hartmann: all. All right. Yeah, so on the marketing, slap slack, slap. Wow. I’m not sure where that came from. Um, it’s been a day. Um, well, so that’s great. So we will definitely, once this goes out, we’ll, we’ll be sharing your information as well.

So thank you again for getting up early there. I know that was, is tough, especially given, um, yeah, I think you have young kids too, so we appreciate that. And so thank you to all our listeners. Um, Thanks to Mike and Naomi, even though they’re not here, they’re here in spirit. And, uh, appreciate all that they do to help us keep this going.

If you have suggestions for other guests or topics, um, we are kinda thinking about things a little bit differently in 2023, but, um, definitely still open to ideas for people and topics to include in our episodes. And with that, I think thank you again for your, your support. And that’s a wrap. Bye. Yep.

Shikha Pakhide: Bye-bye. And yeah, I think, uh, thank you Michael. I I [00:44:00] really love the entire conversation. Um, thank you for having me today, .

Michael Hartmann: All right, bye everyone.