Episode 20

Why B2B Leaders Need Marketing Operations

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  • What is the role of a marketing operations manager?
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  • How do I know if my business needs marketing operations?
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  • What qualities should I look for when hiring for this role?

Learn how a marketing operations manager adds value to a B2B organization by bridging the gap between marketing and sales.

People, process, data and technology all play critical roles in B2B lead generation. But how well is your managing and optimizing performance in these areas?

Dan Lukens explains how a Marketing Operations Manager adds value to an organization by keeping these functions focused on marketing and sales strategy. Plus, adapting them to changing conditions so your marketing is most effective.

Highlights From This Episode:

  • The role of marketing operations in B2B business
  • Common challenges marketing operations managers face
  • How to identify when your company needs marketing operations
  • Qualities to look for when hiring a marketing operations manager
  • The difference between marketing operations and sales operations

Watch the Live Recording

Full Episode Transcript

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    Tessa Burg: Hello and welcome to another episode of Lead Generation brought to you by Tenlo Radio. Today, we have Dan Lukens. He is the Marketing Operations Manager for Discovery Education. Hello, Dan, and thank you so much for being a guest today.

    Dan Lukens: Hi Tessa, thanks so much for having me I’m excited to be here.

    Tessa Burg: So we have been experiencing a lot of rapid change coming out of the pandemic, right? Before this, we were actually just talking about how no we’re getting hit on all sides. Our lives are getting busier, work is getting busier and how we work has certainly evolved. One of the areas that has emerged and I’m seeing get a lot more attention is around your role in marketing operations. Tell me a little bit about your background and what got you into marketing operations to start.

    Dan Lukens: Sure, and I would agree. I think it’s kind of an emerging role that I think is very necessary. The big part of it for me, that I think is great and it shows a good understanding throughout the industry and why it’s growing is that there’s this need to bridge the gap between traditional sales teams and marketing teams.

    Dan Lukens: I’m sure you know just as well as I, that there’s a lot of organizations where those teams are not only not very well in sync, but oftentimes at odds, and in my mind, a marketing operations role is a really great bridge between those two teams.

    Dan Lukens: In my experience, marketing operations is often sat on the sales operation side or more general operations side. And so it’s really requires someone that understands the two different teams that can bring them together.

    Dan Lukens: I can tell you a little bit about my background in that regard. I came from a traditional marketing background. I was in content management, believe it or not for the beginning of my career and I slowly moved into digital marketing, as that became more important.

    Dan Lukens: I kind of just have a bent on technology regardless. It’s something that I’m interested in my personal life and something that I’ve always enjoyed being involved in. So it’s something that made a lot of sense to me as I was doing content management, I’m already working in blogs, I’m already writing emails. So it required me to understand, let’s say WordPress because I’m writing the blogs, I’m in there publishing, landing pages, something like that.

    Dan Lukens: And then, as I moved over to email marketing, then you’re getting in platforms like HubSpot, Pardot, MailChimp, something like that. Those platforms rapidly became marketing automation platform. So you needed to understand the functionality there as well.

    Dan Lukens: So as I went from content management to digital marketing roles, I got really familiar with all those pieces of software and all those challenges there and connecting with sales and connecting with the organization and reporting data requirements.

    Dan Lukens: So for me, it became more interesting to understand the flow of a lead, the data that’s required to understand the lead flow process and to help the marketing team facilitate those rather than being the one creating the content itself.

    Dan Lukens: I think part of it for me, and I think some people will relate to this is that the creative side of things is really challenging. There’s a lot of subjective nature to it where, I’ll use these words and someone else thinks I should use these. I like the blue, someone else thinks there should be orange. I personally wanted to get away from that. I like doing creative things in my personal life, but when it comes to having a committee of people kind of evaluating that, I was a little bit tired of that. And I was like, if I could just work in marketing, but also work in a job that’s like, does it work or does it not? That would be perfect for me.

    Dan Lukens: And that’s kind of how I ended up in an operations role. There’s not a lot of subjectivity to it. And actually, as you work in marketing operations, you really become a database manager at data governance individual, and it starts to be like, no, this is really all very data-driven. There’s not a lot of question here about, is it their creative choice? It’s more like, is this the right choice for meeting the requirements of this project? So I think that’s mainly my path I could get into more detail, but I’m not sure that we need my resume here.

    Tessa Burg: Well, and you set up a lot to unpack. I really liked that your journey to marketing and operations was fueled by our constant curiosity for different platforms and for data.

    Dan Lukens: Yeah.

    Tessa Burg: And I think it’s interesting that you found that was a good way to bring marketing and sales closer together. But I imagine they were probably some big obstacles or big personalities that weren’t always on board. Can you tell me a little bit about some of the obstacles you faced as you stood up marketing operations, as a practice and how you overcame those?

    Dan Lukens: Sure, and to your point, I think more than a curiosity, it was clearly becoming a necessity. As you worked in digital marketing, I think a lot of specialists will know people are asking you to just, hey, this is a digital marketing thing, can you figure this out for us? So you have to jump into every platform, whether that’s social media, Google analytics, everything like that.

    Dan Lukens: Because I mean, frankly, when I went to school, there was no digital marketing degree. I’m not that old either. So I’m only 34 years old, but I don’t think I could have learned what I needed to learn to do this job, at a university at that time. It just wasn’t taught but to your point, anything that’s new is oftentimes have some friction from other parts of organizations.

    Dan Lukens: And I’ve worked at organizations where they’ve been very successful with sales teams and sales teams have a lot of power in the organizations and a lot of say in the organizations. And I think, part of the trick is getting them to understand the value of what you’re trying to do. That’s why I think being on the sales side is often a good idea for a role like this.

    Dan Lukens: I personally have 10 plus years in traditional marketing and on the marketing side of things. And when I talk to people about, what makes me a good marketing operations professional, I think having that experience of knowing how to be an advocate for marketing is hugely important because they need advocacy, especially with the sales team and in a lot of organizations with other parts of the organization as well, but understanding the sales team and the sales organization and how those leaders think and work is to your point, very important as well.

    Dan Lukens: And I think, there’s a lot of marketing people who have opinion about sales and there’s sometimes clashes there, but if you can really keep a mindset of, you have to look at what their priorities are? What their values are? How they’re being judged? Then you can really understand why they are doing what they are doing. And you have to understand that what you do in operations has to support them as well and those goals.

    Dan Lukens: You’ll often see, not feedback, but a pushback on things like, Hey, this is just a few clicks. Just input a few of these fields and you can’t understand maybe why there’s pushback on that. Well when you’re dealing with 100 different calls a day and you have to do those three clicks 100 different times that it’s not just five minutes, you could do the math and that adds up.

    Dan Lukens: So it’s really relevant to understand what their workflow process looks like and how maybe a small change to you who’s doing it once or twice a day would look in their hands.

    Dan Lukens: So I guess to your question, how do you deal with that? I think it’s just having a really strong understanding of what their workflow process, what their day to day looks like and just how they’re being evaluated and how they’re being tracked because I think that really drives how they wanna work and what they’re going to focus on.

    Dan Lukens: And so if you can say, Hey, we’re sending you these leads over with this information and they’re going to be higher quality and have more information, you have to say what’s in it for them and it’s not always easy. It’s never gonna be easy.

    Dan Lukens: I think the whole idea of marketing operations kind of being the bridge between the two is it’s a give and take situation. They have to help marketing out and marketing has to help them. So no magic bullet for that, for sure it’s an assets.

    Tessa Burg: Oh yeah, well and I like that, it’s probably gonna be different for every company, but if people really hear what you just said, there is a lot of marketing in how you’re engaging sales.

    Dan Lukens: Right.

    Tessa Burg: You’re looking at what is the right time? What is their customer journey essentially? And how are you delivering a better experience? That’s gonna give them some benefit or a lot of benefit, ideally. So another department that may sound like it has a similar role is sales operations. Can you tell us a little bit about the difference between the marketing operations role and duties and sales operations?

    Dan Lukens: Yeah, I think that’s probably a line that’s getting blurred. I think sales operations traditionally has been focused on helping sales perform the duties that they need, working on contracts, working on RFPs, all of that. And I think as organizations are realizing that those types of things are more closely connected than before.

    Dan Lukens: That’s why those lines are blurring. Answering an RFP is a lot of content, that marketing can help sales do better on if they have the right relationship and the formatting and everything like that, that can really change the perception of a RFP for an organization.

    Dan Lukens: So it’s obvious that there’s a benefit there between the two teams working together and the same can be said for lead flow when you’re working in a marketing automation system. A lot of times the sales ops people might understand the work flow of their reps and how those leads need to be assigned? And where they need to be assigned? And when they should be assigned to the inside team? And when they should be assigned to the strategic team? Better than the marketing team will.

    Dan Lukens: So I think you work really closely with the sales ops team marketing operations. I think it’s called that because it has a bend towards marketing experience and the systems that are traditionally thought of as marketing. And today, I kind of think of those as marketing automation tools, digital marketing tools such as like the website and things like that.

    Dan Lukens: But I’m personally my most experience with an automation platform is Pardot. And as people in the industry probably understand that’s really closely linked to Salesforce, which has been traditionally considered a sales tool, but I need to be almost as good as in Salesforce, as I am at Pardot to really get the most of the experience.

    Dan Lukens: If I’m going to be I’m making sure that marketing leads are getting tracked as they should, that attribution models are in place and we can attribute marketing revenue where it needs to be, and make sure that the sales team is handling leads and converting them as they need to, I can’t just be focusing on marketing tools. I have to understand that sales tool as well.

    Dan Lukens: So I guess my answer is that I don’t think that there’s a huge divide between those teams. I think that they, and like I said, a lot of the organizations that I’ve been with have kind of merged those teams. It’s almost like rather than having marketing and sales, there’s a team in between there where it’s just like database and process and analytics and marketing operations and sales operations kind of both live in that bridge between those two teams.

    Tessa Burg: I really liked that concept of having sort of that shared space where marketing and sales come together. And you mentioned that one of the things that pulls them together is measurement and specifically, attribution management and measurement. Tell me a little bit about how you get started with setting up an attribution practice with a sales organization.

    Dan Lukens: Yeah it’s difficult because sales for them, attribution is a lot less important from their side of the house. Whoever closes the deal and sees that deal to completion, that’s usually really all they care about. So it’s hard to get them to understand the challenges that marketing has in making sure that their influence to those deals can be visible to the organization.

    Dan Lukens: I think kind of explaining to them that is usually somewhat helpful, but I think when it really starts to be helpful is when you start allowing the attribution tools that you would use to be helpful to them as well.

    Dan Lukens: In the past, I’ve seen things like they want to know what the lead source is and then once they have a lead source, ’cause they can follow up better, if they have a lead source, Hey, it came from the website, I know what’s on our website, I can follow up, but as they start to get that little piece of information, then they’re wanna go what page specifically did they convert on? Or what piece of content did they convert on? Because I can then follow up better and have a more impactful communication.

    Dan Lukens: And that’s where I think you can start kind of seeping in, in the cracks there and saying, yeah, we could give you more of that information and if we all kind of follow these processes a little bit better, and if marketing starts using campaigns, and if you’re familiar with what campaigns look like, and then you can have the even more obvious conversations around marketing where you talk about, Hey, we need you to make sure that the right lead sources are there and that you’re converting the leads when they need to be because at the end of the day if we’re not seeing opportunities that have marketing lead sources, the organization isn’t going to want to continue using marketing.

    Dan Lukens: And you know that when we send you leads from X, Y, and Z source, those are good leads. You want these leads, they’re converting well for you.

    Dan Lukens: I mean, that kind of talk track requires them to have already somewhat bought into like, Hey, we’re getting good leads from marketing, which is a challenge in and of itself. and I think one of the things I’m passionate about is kind of defending and protecting that reputation from a marketing perspective.

    Dan Lukens: I think marketing needs to make sure that they’re not just looking at a lead number and sending over as many leads as they can. They have to really be careful about what they’re sending over.

    Dan Lukens: Like I said, you’re building a reputation with your sales team and the better that reputation is, the harder the work your leads, the more they’ll be an advocate for you in the attribution model and the more that they’re going to wanna protect marketing as a function in the organization. And when you have a company that thinks that they could do it with just sales, which I think we’ve all seen in the past, you kind of need that.

    Dan Lukens: You need that, you need sales to be your advocate. Hey, we’re not gonna get the leads we need if marketing isn’t here or working for us. It’s a definitely a long-term process but I think those are for me the main aspects of it.

    Tessa Burg: As you were saying that I was thinking about, have you seen, ’cause I know you’ve been at a few different companies and you’ve always been naturally data-driven. Have you seen any marketing tactics that kind of bubbles to the top as sales teams, favorites, marketing activities?

    Dan Lukens: Oh man, that’s a tough one. I think, that really does depend, but I think from a marketing perspective, it’s obviously bottom of the funnel activities. If someone fills out a demo form or they want a free trial sales is a big fan of that. It’s like you put the finished meal on the plate for them and you’re serving it up. So I think that that is really what they’re looking for I think it brings up an interesting point about a dance that I’ve seen often of.

    Dan Lukens: This is why you need to have a bridge between these teams is when do we send over the leads? Marketing is always going to wanna send them over sooner and sales is always going to want those leads to come over later. They want those leads to be as easily convertible as possible. And marketing’s like, no, but we need your help to convert these. We can only take them so far.

    Dan Lukens: So in my mind, it’s really kind of having those discussions and making sure that both team is on board with what you’re trying to do.

    Dan Lukens: I think what I’ve seen in the past and before marketing operations and sales operations were kind of working together, what was happening a is that marketing was making the decision about when they thought leads were ready and sales had a different opinion about when they thought those same leads were ready, they would get over there. And then again, you have that same problem with reputation of, well, no, we never agreed to this, we don’t think that these leads are ready. You think they’re ready, but we don’t.

    Dan Lukens: And from a marketing perspective that’s bad. The most time I’ve seen marketing initiatives fail and big ones at times is when you don’t bring sales in at the beginning and say, Hey, this is what we’re thinking about doing, this is when a lead would come to you, based on this kind of activity. Does that sound good? Do you think that that lead will be ready for your follow-up? If you don’t have that conversation beforehand, you better watch out. You’ll have a lot of unhappy salespeople and marketing, you’ll be sad too, because you’ll spend all this time and effort to generate these leads and then they won’t go anywhere.

    Dan Lukens: So whether or not that answers your question, I think it kind of gives you some questions to ask yourself, as you’re looking at a process that you might do or a lead generation tactic that you might undertake is like, Hey, do you really think that sales is gonna want this lead? They download a white paper, that’s just like five tips to blah, blah, blah. they may not think that that’s going to be the best lead. You have to really consider that. So it’s a balance and it’s a relationship between you and the sales team that I think needs to be established.

    Tessa Burg: So you have a lot of responsibilities. We’ve been talking for not very long and already I’ve learned that marketing operations is responsible for one, setting up the platforms and configuring them and making sure that the tech is in the right state to support both marketing and sales activities. Two, you’re responsible for measuring what’s going through those platforms. Then three and four, which seem like it could take up all your time is managing the dance. How do we know this lead is ready to go over and then protecting the marketing department’s reputation. So I imagine you get like a ton of feedback and you’re constantly probably trying to tweak how you’re using technology and data to improve.

    Dan Lukens: Yeah.

    Tessa Burg: You give me an idea, how do you manage your day to day? What does that look like among those responsibilities?

    Dan Lukens: I mean, I’ll be a hundred percent honest. You have a a to-do list longer than you will ever probably get to. Because you know it, if there wasn’t a eight to five timeframe where we normally work, you could be working all the time because there’s always gonna be a way that you can improve the process. There’s always gonna be a new tool that you could implement that might make a difference for you.

    Dan Lukens: So I would say that my priorities list is grown and it can grow out of control and it’s constantly shifting.

    Dan Lukens: But I think if you’re at a good organization that values the process, then you’ll be lucky if you have a dedicated data analytics team that helps you out with something like that. Because I personally am not a data analytics professional. There’s people who have studied that, who are mathematicians and who basically do that as a profession and are better at it than me. So, yeah, can I build a report in Salesforce? Can I take a look at the Google analytics? Yeah, but if I’m trying to work towards like true predictive analytics and have those reports regularly, I think a good organization will have someone to support you well, and look, I don’t want to say good, but a organization that has the resources will have someone in place for that.

    Dan Lukens: But I think, outside of saying, Hey, you might have these other team members to support you because you might have a digital automations specialists who could help you with some of those aspects and don’t get me wrong, marketing operations doesn’t do everything.

    Dan Lukens: Marketing does a ton of what we’re talking about too. They’re just as invested in a lot of those things that I talked about as a marketing operations professional is.

    Dan Lukens: But I would say, it’s just not allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by the extensive priority list and understanding that you have a limited bandwidth and you can implement what you can, and you can do the things that you can, but much like anything, it’s an ongoing process. You’re building something you’re working to improve and it constantly needs maintenance and situations and needs will be constantly changing so you have to have a bit of a tough skin in the sense of you’re not going to get everything 100% right the first time.

    Dan Lukens: That’s why it’s so important that this is a conversation between marketing and sales and the operations team. What do we think is going to work here? what data do we have to back that up? That’s actually not working for us, what do we think that we need to change? All right, let’s have data to back that up and see if that change made sense.

    Dan Lukens: So allowing yourself to understand that it’s a process that you can’t do everything and understand that prioritization is really important, but you’re not gonna be able to get to everything.

    Dan Lukens: That’s probably not an answer that really solves anyone’s problems if they’re in the situation where they’re feeling overwhelmed but, I think when you’re in marketing operations, and especially when you’re at a manager, you’re at a point where I think you, you do need to understand it’s like, yeah, this is a project, this organization and your data governance and your marketing plan and your sales plan, it’s all a project car and you’re gonna be working on it probably for as long as you can foresee. So just keep it running as well as you can.

    Tessa Burg: I liked that you said maybe this isn’t helpful for people in the role but I will tell you everything that you’ve described is incredibly helpful for someone trying to hire for this role. I mean, you have laid out a very clear sort of profile of who would be great at marketing operations. They have to be self motivated, they have to be passionate about technology what’s possible and measurement, they have to be able to prioritize, have high empathy and be flexible but still value process. And I think that’s a really challenging combination to find.

    Dan Lukens: Yeah. There’s a lot of risk in that. You’re putting yourself out there every day and not people many wanna do that.

    Dan Lukens: No I agree and I would say also that you need to be a project manager as well, because based on what I was saying with having other teams to support you, I think you’re always gonna need support and one of the things that I’ve struggled with is, and this has been something for me in my entire career that I’ve struggled with is that because of my roles I’ve been a Jack of all trades, but master of none, basically my entire career. Because I’ve had to jump from thing to thing and I’ve had to know how to do this platform and this platform and understand SEO and understand digital advertising. And there are people that focus their whole careers on those things and you can’t be an expert all the time. I’m not gonna be a front end developer, but I need to be able to work with front end developers in implementing my forums and implementing my tracking codes and things like that.

    Dan Lukens: So not only, are those things, but you need to be able to be a project manager because you have to pull people into help you with projects. And a lot of the times you’re gonna feel like, am I even doing anything, or am I just telling other people to do things because I’m not, you know what I mean, working with your Salesforce admin, they’re better at Salesforce than you, working with your web devs, they’re better at that than you, working with your marketing colleagues, they’re better at that than you.

    Dan Lukens: So I think you have to be humble as well and understand that you do have a useful role, and that is having a larger strategic vision for a lot of these things that you can help keep people on the right track with. And that in itself is difficult, so you have to be humble about what you can and cannot do and accept that like, yeah, sometimes you’ll have to delegate and make sure that projects are on the right track.

    Dan Lukens: But yeah, I would agree with you. I think it’s a challenging role. I think in my experience, it can oftentimes be a catchall for a lot of different things. And to your point, you need to establish boundaries and you need to establish that, Hey, that’s a good idea, but also I have a priority list, a mile long, and that might happen in Q4. There’ll be something to say, Hey, my roadmap looks like this. And we’ll be able to slot that in some other time is a conversation that you’re probably gonna have to have pretty often.

    Tessa Burg: Yeah, I like that you threw in project management because it’s not being able to do it, it’s knowing the right thing to do.

    Dan Lukens: Yeah.

    Tessa Burg: And that is extremely important. Are there any other things that are kind of telltale signs that an organization needs a marketing ops department? Like, I feel like if there are people struggling with they’re not sure what to do next, someone like you, who come in is using data can learn how to use the platforms, engage the right people at the right time, could definitely help. Are there other things that organizations should be looking at and saying, Hey could marketing ops really help us scale our programs and campaigns?

    Dan Lukens: Yeah I would say if you don’t have a lot of established process and documented process, that’s a big one. A lot of places are doing things, but they don’t have documented how it’s being done or one person knows and if they get hit by a bus, we all say that it’s like, if someone gets hit by a bus then one’s gonna know how to send an email campaign out. That’s not good. So if you feel that way and you don’t have a lot of established process and documented process that someone else could open the, how do I send an email document tomorrow and kind of take the steps to do that themselves, I think that’s a big one.

    Dan Lukens: If you feel like you don’t have very good data integrity and that there’s no plan around how you’re using the data that you have within your marketing systems, that’s a big one. And there was something else that I had in my mind and now I can’t think of it, but those two are huge in my experience.

    Dan Lukens: Oh, the third one was, if you feel like you have a marketing or sales team that doesn’t know why they’re doing the things that they’re doing or what things that they’re doing are the most impactful to the organization, that’s huge. I think we should be able to look and say, this is our biggest lead generator. And these are the titles that convert the most often. These are the conversion points that lead to the highest value deals, things like that. If you can’t answer those questions right off the rip, then I think you probably need someone like me to come in and start asking those questions.

    Dan Lukens: Yeah, there’s others but, if you feel like you have all these problems and you don’t have the technology to solve them, and you don’t know what tools you need, that’s another one, I guess too. Building the MarTech stack is a big part of what a marketing operations person can do, depending on how mature an organization has become and how much tech debt they have.

    Tessa Burg: I’m glad you brought up the MarTech stack. Because one thing that really struck me when we first started working together is not only did you have a clean, simple MarTech stack and you only had what you needed, it was being used.

    Dan Lukens: Yeah.

    Tessa Burg: I think that’s another key thing that if you are at a company and you have implemented Salesforce and no one is using it, and you hear things like Salesforce doesn’t work or Pardot doesn’t work, or our CMS doesn’t work, whatever it is, most likely, there’s nothing wrong with the software. If that no one is there to kind of help facilitate the correct and accurate use of the platforms.

    Dan Lukens: Yeah, I would totally agree. I’ve had a lot of times where I’ll talk to someone about their organization or role or something like that. And they will say, yeah, we purchase part out, but we’re not really using it or like you said, Salesforce or something like that. And that goes for any MarTech stack tool. We have a chat bot, but we are not really getting leads from it, or it’s not connected to our support team or anything like that.

    Dan Lukens: I would 100% agree, I think that that’s a really good point that yeah if you a, are purchasing a new MarTech tool and you’re worried that it’s not gonna be utilized, that’s the time when you would probably need someone, especially if it’s a big one like Salesforce or a marketing automation platform.

    Dan Lukens: Because the earlier that someone like me can get involved with a tool like that, the better chance you have of it having clean data, being set up correctly, being scalable long-term whereas if you’re kind of just jumping in without a lot of experience with those things, there’s a lot of pitfalls that you can fall into where it seems good for a while and then a year down the line, you’re wondering like, oh, why did we do that now? We can’t scale this, we can’t connect with this system, we can’t do that. So I think that’s a really good point.

    Tessa Burg: So we’ve covered a lot of ground in this interview. I think some of the big takeaways are one, we understand the benefit of marketing ops and when we might need it. Technology getting the most out of it, making sure that we are aligned with our sales teams in ways that are meaningful to sales and generating results. You also gave us and probably not even intentionally, but an awesome roadmap for hiring a great marketing ops manager. And one thing you said that also struck me is it’s a manager. So it has to be someone who has those project management skills and leadership skills to really bring an organization together and keep them aligned. And then the last piece is we talked about how do you know you need a marketing ops person? And I think a lot of the challenges that you mentioned with not getting the most out of your tech, not having processes documented have really come to light even more post pandemic because a lot has changed.

    Dan Lukens: Yeah.

    Tessa Burg: So if right now you’re feeling that strain, I think this is a really important role to kind of not just, everyone’s getting up and running. We’re all moving very quickly now, but are we doing it in a way that’s scalable? Are we doing it in a way that we’re not just throwing more bodies at a problem? But we’re working smarter.

    Dan Lukens: Yeah.

    Tessa Burg: So do you have anything else to add around like trends that you’re seeing in marketing ops or anything that you think people should consider think about or look into as they begin to dig into this space?

    Dan Lukens: I would just say, I think the one thing that I’m really passionate about, which is kind of like, we talked about a lot of the, here’s what you need to start with, here’s what problems you can fix and here’s how to start building a relationship with sales. But I think for me the kind of exciting thing is the end goal of really having, once you build that strong relationship with sales, then orchestrating marketing’s efforts, right along with sales to just have a revenue engine that is way more efficient than it ever could be.

    Dan Lukens: Marketing and sales should not be siloed parts of an organization. It is the craziest thing for me it’s just from a logic perspective of like, we’re doing the same job, we’re literally doing the same job where the right and the left hand of the revenue engine but if some organizations, those hands are like fighting each other instead of like, Hey, you’re picking up this, I’m picking up the other side and we’re lifting it.

    Dan Lukens: So I think the end goal of marketing operations should really be to elevate both sides of the house in a way that they’re working together and in a way that they should be, they have a relationship, they understand what the other side of the house is doing, what their goals and motivations are. And at the end of the day, you have a lot better results if you can get there.

    Dan Lukens: So I think that’s really to finalize. In my mind, that’s the goal of what marketing and sales operations can achieve and kind of overcome that age-old rivalry between marketing and sales that seems to be like really misplaced, especially these days.

    Tessa Burg: Yeah, I know, I agree. It is always interesting when there seems to be tension there but it takes work to your point, to make sure you’re centered on what’s in it for them?

    Dan Lukens: Yeah.

    Tessa Burg: Their sales teams are working really hard, we’re all working really hard. So we have to have that sort of shared empathy and space.

    Dan Lukens: 100%.

    Tessa Burg: Well, Dan, thank you so much for being a guest today. And this was a perfect day to be inside doing a podcast ’cause it’s storming and thunder and lightening in the background.

    Dan Lukens: Well, it’s great. I love to talk as you can probably tell. So it always nice to hear my own voice, but no, it was really fun to be on and it helps to think through your own thoughts when someone’s intelligently asking you questions that are really relevant to the space. So I appreciate that so much.

    Tessa Burg: Oh my gosh, great. So I think people might have questions for you. Are you open to having people contact you? Where can they find you if they just wanna learn a little bit more about marketing ops?

    Dan Lukens: Yeah, absolutely I think probably the best place would be to find me on LinkedIn. And I think my LinkedIn URL is just the standard LinkedIn URL. Just Dan Lukens at the end, I believe. So, yeah, anyone can connect or send me a message there. If that doesn’t work for you, DanLukens@discoveryeducation is where I currently am. So happy to connect with anybody who’d like to.

    Tessa Burg: Awesome, thank you so much for being here and for everyone else, if you wanna hear more episodes from Tenlo Radio, you can find Lead(er) Generation, the podcast on Apple podcasts or anywhere that you listen to podcasts and also on our website at tenlo.com in the podcast section. And we’ll be talking more about marketing operations and moving into automation and other ways you can use data in future episodes. Thanks, and we will talk to you again soon.

Dan Lukens

Marketing Operations Manager at Discovery Education

Dan Lukens is the Marketing Operations Manager at Discovery Education. He draws from 10+ years of digital marketing experience as well as working closely with sales leaders and platforms.

In his role, Dan bridges the gap between marketing and sales. He’s in charge of putting the right people, processes data, and technology in place. When balanced, they vastly improve the performance of both the marketing and sales teams. It also allows them to become the collaborative revenue-generating engine they’re meant to be.

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