Lessons learned when scaling Eloqua from a house of 1 to a party of 10.
The Situation: We implemented Eloqua and our SalesForce instance 8 years ago and during those first 8 years we had one primary admin (myself) and at most 2 daily users focusing on email campaigns. In 2018 we added 5 additional members focused on email and webinar campaigns, 2 additional members from our EU office, 2 additional admin level users, and 5 additional users with basic marketing access to create simple campaigns as needed. OH, and not to mention only one of the new team members had previous Eloqua experience and we also acquired three companies that needed to be incorporated into Eloqua. Needless to say, we had a lot of work ahead of us!
The Challenge: Extending the Eloqua Platform to additional users and audiences in a short time frame.
The Goals: Provide the resources, knowledge and tools to a growing team and increase team efficiency
The approach: In order to take the team where we needed to head, we focused on 3 foundational areas:
- Training & Team Communication
- Up-to-date Documentation
- Creating a clean Eloqua house!
1.) Training & Communication
When adding new team members to Eloqua, it’s essential that they have basic training and that we error on the side of over-communicating any changes. To accomplish this, here’s the standards we put in place:
- Eloqua University Pass members AND required the completion of Fundamentals within the first 3 moths of being hired. The sooner the better!
- Bi-Weekly Bite-sized trainings (60-90 minutes) to new team members and open to existing team members focused on the same topics covered in the Fundamentals courses, but applied to our specific instance. For example, Emails—what email groups are available, when to use which one and why, how to use our templates, etc.
- Weekly open office hours. If the team needed help or had a question, I set aside time that they knew I would always be available and not in meetings.
When it’s a small team using Eloqua, documentation may not feel like it’s important because it’s easier to keep on track of the changes and especially if the other team members sit near you in the office, it’s easy to just ask a question. However, as the team changes and multiple projects are in flight and interconnected, it becomes essential and believe me, will end up saving HOURS!
Here are a few things I suggest documenting
Integration (inbound and outbound)
Purpose: Quickly reference what fields are being passed between Eloqua and CRM and when. This is useful to share with non-Admins and even non Eloqua users for them to understand the connection between Eloqua and your CRM.
How: Our documentation is set up in an excel format with a tab for each Salesforce object we integrate with (leads, contacts, accounts, etc). Each tab contains the related field names in Eloqua, and a column for each type of call to/from Salesforce showing what fields are mapped.
To populate this document for the first time, the easiest way is to navigate to Settings> integration >Outbound >External Call Overview and select each entity. You can also view each external call referenced in your autosyncs (for the retrieve calls) and you internal events (for your send calls) to populate the fields and mappings.
Pro Tip: Include a Change Order Log to keep track of when items are changed and why. We include this as the first tab of the document and include a column for the following items with an example of what would be populated.
- Super star team member making the change (ie. Your Name ):
- External Call edited:
- Field Updated:
- Description of change:
- Business Reason for Change:
In additional to documenting when fields are being updated, we also created a document to define all fields in Eloqua. This was helpful for the team to understand which fields they need to reference while building segments or filters.
If you have a lot of custom objects in your Eloqua instance, this may seem daunting, but start with the basics: Contact and Account fields.
We recommend an excel file again, with a tab for each object (Contacts, Accounts, Opportunity CDO, etc). We have a column for the following:
- Eloqua Field Name
- Example Value
If you’re doing this for the first time, take the time to note fields that may no longer be needed and can be deleted, fields you might need to confirm accuracy and usage, and fields that you should delete but can’t for whatever reason. We greyed out old fields and in the notes included that the field was no longer used but could not be deleted.
ProTip: Eloqua has already defined the out of the box fields, so you don’t recreate the wheel here and just copy and paste from the source:
As our company grows and processes change, we often find ourselves needing to make updates to our forms at a global level (ie. Add a preopulated hidden field). Its easy to lose track of forms, but a simple form inventory will save time when changes are needed.
You guessed it, an excel file! We’ve formatted ours to have one tab per brand and within each tab we have a column for form name, html name (important for our web team to easily access), Type of form (ie. Demo, webinar, system/operational), description, and status (active/inactive).
Once the above documents were compiled, we started getting in to the nitty gritty! We completed an entire program (canvas and builder) audit to document current state, find gaps and opportunities, and then began building future state and documenting them along the way!
Documenting the details of programs may seem overkill, but the purpose is two fold—first, it was useful in sharing amongst the team and org when someone needed to know how a particular program was working. We’ve saved hours by being able to send the document for the recipient to be able to read on their own time as opposed to having to set aside time to meet and verbally transfer knowledge over! The second purpose, is for when we need to go back and make any changes to a program, we were able to refer to documentation first which helped us understand WHY we had set it up a particular way and allowed us to quickly return back to our train of thought we were in while building. How many times have you looked back on a program and asked yourself “why did I do it this way?’’ Well, the documentation time and time again has answered that question I ask myself! Each document contains a table of contents, Program purpose, program overview and descriptions of each asset/process.
Pro Tip: Each Program has its nuances in the documentation. Create a template that helps create standards and serves as a guide but be flexible and know that sections may need to be added or removed.
Creating a Clean Eloqua House.
As more users begin using Eloqua, each minor inefficiency is all of a sudden multiplied. We wanted to make it as efficient as possible to navigate assets, build segments and execute campaigns. After providing the team with proper documentation and training, it was time to clean up our instance. Here’s the area we focused on.
Contact Washing Machine:
Data cleanliness impacts nearly every aspect of marketing automation – Accurate targeting, campaign performance, customer experience—you name it! We followed Eloqua’s best practices for launching a Contact Washing Machine. These steps include:
- Determine Key Fields
- Evaluate current state and values
- Create future state on desired values
- Build necessary update rules, picklists, normalized fields and programs needed to clean
- Launch CWM Program
- Document results
- Monitor and continually improve
I’m not going to go into step by step details as there are already a plethora of blogs and resources that will walk you through these steps. Here are a few resources:
- Eloqua Course: B2B: data Cleansing
- Blog: How to Build a Contact Washing Machine (CWM)
- Support Article: Contact Washing Machine App
Naming Convention & Foldering
We created a standard naming convention and foldering system that worked for the team.
Benefits of a standard naming convention and folder:
- Improved reporting: ability to more easily report across campaigsn, emails or forms and be able to see the purpose of each asset at a high level
- Quicker execution time as the team can find what they’re looking for more easily!
- Enable quicker execution of Lead scoring based on assets in folders
After taking a look at current state and categorizing types of assets, we took a first stab at a recommended naming convention and foldering structure. Next step, and most importantly, we brought our recommendation to the wider team to get complete buy in. It’s important that the new system works for the team and that they understand the benefits, otherwise adoption of the change will be an uphill battle! After agreeing on a structure and naming convention for assets, we performed an asset renaming and foldering party for assets creating within a particular time frame, and agree to archive the rest.
Resources: Here are some great resources to get you started!
Eloqua courses essential to our success:
B2B: CRM Integrations
B2B: Data Cleansing
B2B: Program canvas