Sarah Nelson from Explains Why Training Is a “Forever” Tactic

We recently sat down with all-star marketing Sarah Nelson from to talk about her latest experiences getting her team up and running with Marketo. As she built out her team it became apparent that initial training is critical to success, but also continuing with ongoing training is crucial too. Learn more about her experience in the PiAchiever video and check out the full transcript of the interview below:

Digital Pi: : All right. Sarah, you recently started with Tray with the demand function and you thought about how do you get your team members up and running on Marketo. Can you talk about what that was like?
Sarah Nelson: Yes. I joined In February, so less than a year, and our marketing team has 5X’d. We’ve got a lot of new team members. I was demand gen hire number one.
We now have a demand gen team of four going on six. We continue to add to the team. And I

think that the biggest challenge … Marketo has a lot of wonderful tools and their certification programs can take a little bit … there’s a maturity curve for folks to learn the platform and to learn how to use it for your business. When you’re at a fast-pace startup and you’re really moving quickly and you have real pipeline goals to hit this quarter next quarter and they’re growing quickly, you need your team to come in and learn what they need to know to be effective now while they build the foundation for longer term.
Digital Pi: : Right. And there’s a lot of free resources out there, right?
Sarah Nelson: Yes.
Digital Pi: : Can you talk about that?
Sarah Nelson: There are a lot of wonderful free resources. For people who have been in the system for awhile, I think the Marketo community is fabulous.
Digital Pi: : It’s awesome. I mean it’s so many people answering questions.If you’re not using the Marketo community-
Sarah Nelson: Get in there.
Digital Pi: : It’s a great source to go in and learn.
Sarah Nelson: Yeah. I’m always looking in there. People are adding content. It’s a community-driven tool. That’s what I love about that tool. But for our new hires that don’t know what to ask there, it’s not as helpful to them to get them up to speed. That’s typically where I’ll like to pull in working with your team to come up with a really curated training based on the projects that we’re working on, the key goals that we have, and really how we leverage Marketo for our own business internally. It’s more of a quick start, get them going.
And then a lot of times for new hires we’ll bake into their own personal and career growth plans within six months. Get Marketo certified, make sure that they’re continuing their education as well. But it’s a lot coming in. Especially is a general automation platform that is wrapping … most of our customers use Marketo. We’re wrapping a lot of processes around these systems and working very closely with these systems and teaching our team how to use our own product as well. And so it’s a lot to learn and absorb when you start. So really getting them straight to the point, straight to what they need to know is my biggest concern when we bring on a new hire.
Digital Pi: Yeah. I know we were talking earlier about getting up to speed on Marketo and some of the training that does exist, which is fantastic for learning. Earlier we were talking about the benefits of using some of the free services, right? Like learn how to use the feature, right? Here’s the feature. Here’s why it exists and how that works. But you were talking about how you needed to go even deeper, right? Like not how it works, but how it works with your business.
Sarah Nelson: Exactly. Yeah. I think if you know what kind of challenges you’re having … again, if you’re a marketing operation’s admin who has been in the platform for years, and you know you’re building something custom and new … like for example, we automate a lot of our sequencing. We have Tray workflows that are embedded into certain channels in Marketo. If a lead comes in from an event versus a lead coming in off of our website, we’re following up with them in different manners and we have operational sequences set up in Marketo that are triggering the appropriate Outreach sequences. Shameless plug for Outreach. Love their tool. That’s something that’s quite custom, right?
Digital Pi: : Yeah. 
Sarah Nelson: You go into a community and you ask a question about that, not as many people are going to have a training for that. Right.
Digital Pi: Yeah. It was great. When we started working together thinking about how to get your team up and running, not just for the short term, but also thinking about how they could take that knowledge and operationalize that for the long term.
Sarah Nelson: Yeah. I think Marketo does a fabulous job in terms of providing next steps. Whether it’s free training, the certification, I see a lot of value in that. But there definitely is value in curating and coming up with a really custom training. We did one in two days that really got our team to the point where they can get in there and be dangerous. I’m fine with people breaking something as long as we’re trying and we’re doing. It’s when we’re not doing that I get concerned.
Digital Pi: Right. For the audience out here, when you think about training, there was a training of working with your team originally. How long do you think it should be or what have you found works for training to happen again? It’s like painting a bridge, right?
Sarah Nelson: Yeah. That’s a good question. I would say for us, we started with a two day. It was fabulous to get everybody trained up on what they need to know based on how we use the system today. There are constantly new channels and new programs that we’re launching. I would say, as quickly as we’re growing, every quarter revisiting and looking at, “Okay, what are the new things that we either need to build out and just don’t have the resources to build it?” Or, “What are the new ways that we’re using the tool where we need to up-level the team’s skill set to be able to leverage it in a smarter way?”
Digital Pi: : All right.
Sarah Nelson: Yeah. Quarterly.
Digital Pi: : Quarterly.
Sarah Nelson: At least twice a year.
Digital Pi: : Well thanks so much for doing this.
Sarah Nelson: Yeah, of course. Thanks for chatting.
Digital Pi: : We’ll see you guys next time. All right.
Sarah Nelson: Awesome.

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