Salesforce Marketing Cloud: what skills do you need when you start
Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a powerful campaign management tool. This software allows you to set up targeted marketing actions in a professional and efficient way. In combination with a well-structured and managed CRM tool, it’s quite simple to create one-time or recurring campaigns. To achieve this, you need to have a minimum of technical, marketing and business knowledge.
Marketing strategy and knowledge of the company’s processes
All campaigns should be based on a strategy, ideally documented with diagrams (e.g. GoogleSlides or Draw.io). It is crucial to understand how the procedures to be created or automated work, and then to create detailed specifications. It is common to start with a description of the procedures at the “business” level and to transpose them, in a second step, by a technical procedure for the Salesforce Marketing Cloud developers. The more precise and clear the documentation, the shorter and easier the development phase will be to test.
To learn more about the processes, the organisation of workshops is often the best solution. A quiet discussion, in a room or in a place off-site, allows to conceptualize and document the different points. If group meetings are not an option, there are alternatives. For example, individual interviews with the key players in the process are very frequently used.
Technical knowledge of the Marketing Automation tool and configuration
The automation of marketing campaigns requires knowledge of the marketing tools present within the company and the communication between these tools at each step of the process. For example:
- Where does the data come from? How do I import it into Salesforce Marketing Cloud?
- How do you export the results? Comment les injecter dans un autre outil?
- How do I update the data based on user feedback?
- How do I monitor Salesforce Marketing Cloud actions and receive alerts?
- How do I make all my campaigns dynamic (e.g., by product, by location, by customer type)?
This type of Marketing Automation knowledge can be acquired by managing campaigns with other tools like Hubspot for Customer.io. This general knowledge is quite easily transferable to Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
The Salesforce Marketing Cloud tool requires a great level of discipline when it comes to data management, particularly in terms of the structure of data tables and importing from other tools. Data processing within the Marketing Cloud is possible but not recommended. Therefore, it is important to import clean and well organized data. Then, knowledge in database management allows you to segment these files into tables and sub-tables, corresponding to the different campaigns.
In this context, mastering basic SQL techniques is a great asset. Through SQL, tables can be modeled, copied, duplicated, updated. SQL queries can be created and executed at regular intervals through Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s Automation Studio. SQL also allows queries to be made at the data table level during testing or verification phases. Since searching for data cannot always be done by simply browsing a data table page by page, installing the Salesforce Marketing Cloud Query Studio provides the opportunity to query with a few clicks.
Web development: HTML and Bootstrap
Salesforce Marketing Cloud is built around many contents, including Emails and web pages (also called CloudPages). To create these elements, it is necessary to know at least 2 programming methods:
- The classic HTML, essential to create emails and web pages. The design of emails requires the knowledge of the most primary HTML, in order to be interpreted by all messengers.
- The “Bootstrap” programming library, a kind of complement to HTML allowing to program web pages in an agile and simplified way in a few clicks. Indeed, this method allows to manage the mobile version of your site without creating a second design from A to Z.
… and a little knowledge of branding
Even though Salesforce Marketing Cloud offers templates, the designs offered often do not meet the needs of small businesses. In addition, many companies have never defined their web designs. A few notions of brand marketing helps to quickly create a first version of the elements, already “presentable” to the client.