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Building a Next-Gen Composable Martech Stack - Niels Fogt
Episode 2313th March 2024 • RevOps FM • Justin Norris
00:00:00 00:44:40

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For most of us in B2B, the marketing automation platform - aka "MAP" - is the anchoring piece of technology in the martech stack.

When I was first buying a MAP, there were way more options than today, but generally they all bundled a few core features together — sending emails, segmenting audiences, and creating workflows.

But is there a reason why you need to do your lifecycle processing in the same tool that you send emails with? What does a Martech stack look like where these roles are distributed differently?

Today's guest has answered that question and built an elegant and high-performing composable stack.

Thanks to Our Sponsor

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You set the brand guidelines and then give your users a building experience that’s slick, modern and beautiful. When they’re done, everything goes to your MAP at the push of a button.

What's more, it supports global teams, approval workflows, and it’s got your integrations. Click the link below to get a special offer just for my listeners.

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About Today's Guest

Niels Fogt is Sr. Director, Automation Solutions at tray.io. He's led and participated in a wide variety of initiatives within growth and marketing. Strong technical acumen. UX roots.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/uxstrategist/

Key Topics

  • [00:00] - Introduction
  • [02:31] - Niels’ journey as a martech architect
  • [06:06] - Challenges with the traditional martech stack
  • [09:13] - Developer mindsets and service-oriented architecture
  • [12:10] - Applying automation capabilities across the organization
  • [14:09] - Components of Tray’s martech stack
  • [15:02] - The role of a customer journey tool
  • [16:07] - Centralized lead processing in Tray
  • [17:23] - Event collection
  • [19:09] - Streaming events into automation tool vs. data warehouse
  • [22:21] - Native vs. custom integrations
  • [29:15] - Benefits of having a workflow layer in Tray vs. in a MAP
  • [32:02] - Economics of using an iPaaS as a workflow layer
  • [34:50] - Composable martech stacks
  • [39:03] - Skillsets needed to operate a composable stack
  • [40:01] - Future capabilities
  • [41:25] - Relationship to business stakeholders

Resource Links

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Transcripts

Justin:

For most of us in B2B, the marketing automation platform,

2

:

AKA map is the anchoring piece of

technology in the Martech stack.

3

:

When I was first buying a map, there

were way more options than today,

4

:

but generally they all bundled

a few core features together.

5

:

They provided a database for

your lead and activity data.

6

:

They provided a way to segment audiences.

7

:

They send emails, they give

you forms and landing pages.

8

:

And they provide workflow functionality,

the ability to execute if this, then

9

:

that style logic for various things

like your scoring, your data management,

10

:

your pipeline management, and so on.

11

:

So whether you're using Marketo or Pardot

or Eloqua or HubSpot, you're kind of used

12

:

to thinking of all those functions bundled

together, but does it have to be that way?

13

:

Is there a reason why you need

to do your lifecycle processing

14

:

in the same tool that you send?

15

:

And of course there isn't, but what

does a Martek stack look like where

16

:

these rules are distributed differently?

17

:

Today's guest has answered that

question and put it to the test.

18

:

Neils Fogt is senior director

of automation solutions at tray.

19

:

io, where he's been for almost five

years and he's built a composable stack

20

:

and documented exactly how it works

in a really interesting series of blog

21

:

posts on the And one thing I'll say

Niels is I've been thinking about these

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:

problems for a lot of years, and you

really have put something together.

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:

That I've thought of a few times,

but hadn't yet seen or done,

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:

which is a pure workflow layer

that's abstracted from the map.

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:

And you've done it in a really

thoughtful and well architected way.

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:

So I'm really excited to dive

into the details with you.

27

:

Welcome to the show.

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:

niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545: Awesome.

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:

Thanks for having me, Justin.

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:

And just want to say a big thank

you for having me on the podcast.

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:

did have a chance to listen to your

episode on the humans of Martech this

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:

morning and just really appreciated

the level of depth and of insight that

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:

you had as you were talking through

how we're all thinking about AI.

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:

these are all really interesting

technical challenges and speak to me

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:

and my technical itch when it comes to

working on these kinds of problems and

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:

understanding I think that affinity

towards looking at these sorts of

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:

technical problems innovating on

technology is kind of what drove me to

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:

rethink how we approach the Martech stack

and Anyway, I'm happy to go wherever we

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:

want to go and talk through that journey.

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:

But this is definitely

a privilege to be here.

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:

So thank you.

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:

Track 1: Oh, thank you so much.

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:

I really appreciate that.

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:

And why don't we start with just

like a quick replay of your journey

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:

as a martech architect, because

I think all of us make decisions.

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In large part, based on our past

experiences, what we've seen

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that's worked and didn't work.

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:

So, before you came to Trey, were the

sort of tools that you had worked with?

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niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545:

Good question.

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. I actually didn't start super heavily on.

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Ops and rev ops until I got to Trey.

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was always in and around it and always

working closely with ops people, but

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it was not my primary profession.

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:

So I actually came up in the tech

space through a user experience agency.

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:

So what we would do is we would,

this was in the lean startup days.

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:

If you're familiar with.

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:

When the Eric Ries craze was going

on, we were working with a lot of

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:

high growth startups who needed

help with user experience design on

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their either through their product

or through their marketing website.

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Going crazy and their needs

are constantly evolving.

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:

That's the type of work I came up doing

and what I always gravitated towards that.

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:

Is the technical side of it.

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:

And so for example, I would

basically be like a product or

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:

project manager for a UX engagement.

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:

And we would have inevitably

some kind of technical piece that

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:

needed to be delivered with that.

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:

Let's say front end code or

website CMS or something like that.

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:

And on the background, what I would

be doing is actually can I help

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:

with Devin, some of that WordPress

side, or can I like, figure out

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:

how to hack in tag manager here?

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I would, always just find ways to insert

myself into the technical side and

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self taught myself a lot of that stuff.

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:

So, ended up doing was I went

in house to a company called New

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:

Relic, basically doing exactly

what I was doing in an agency.

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:

Setting and inside new relic, which

was a high growth dev tool startup.

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:

And I got exposed to a lot

of interesting technology.

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:

So at the time segment came along

and we were using analytics dot JS

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:

as our data layer, so to speak for

collecting all this clickstream data.

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:

And we're like, okay, well now we've got

to put it in a data warehouse, right?

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:

So we got red shift, right.

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:

And we started putting all that data

into Redshift and they're like, Oh, crap.

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:

Now what do we do?

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We've got to get it back out.

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So we were doing like reverse

ETL before reverse ETL is cool.

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I like to say and so, Redshift, analytics.

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js, tag manager.

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Those were like where I came up on the

data side and just kind of like, how

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do I pull this all together and use it?

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:

And then as I.

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Come into more of a

operations role here at Trey.

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:

I've gotten exposed to the classic MarTech

stack, which when I first got here was

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Marketo and Salesforce and outreach and,

all the sales enablement side, sales

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navigator and sales OS and all this

kind of enrichment vendors, all of it.

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, I'm also, I'm familiar with a lot of

the traditional sort of Martech stack

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:

and have a really close familiarity

with, I would say like the whole

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data stack that's been evolving

over the last, , six or seven years.

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Track 1: I could really relate to what you

were describing on those projects, like

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gravitating towards the technical, because

I felt very much the same when I first

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started getting into MarTech more broadly.

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And I don't know what it is, but

there's just something about the.

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Oh, this is cool.

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Like I could, stitch these things

together and build something cool,

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almost like playing with toys, but not to

trivialize it and describing it that way.

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But there's something very fun

about making something work

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:

and stitching it together and

having an elegant architecture.

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:

So there's a certain scrappiness to

your approach that you described.

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:

And even though you dent inherited

a conventional stack at Trey, you

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:

were starting out, it seems like at

new relic with a lot of different.

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:

So it wasn't like this scary

undiscovered territory, you were

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:

already exposed to, you know, what these

alternative paradigms would look like.

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:

So you came to Trey, you've got, your

standard Marketo Salesforce outreach,

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:

which a lot of us can relate to.

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:

What were the pain points and what

were the challenges that you were

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:

experiencing with that design?

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:

niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545: Yeah.

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:

So when I first came in, my job was

actually nothing to do with this, right?

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:

So what they actually wanted me to

do was a lot of what I was doing in

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:

Heroic, which was like, hey, help

us stand up a PLG motion, right?

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We've never had a trial.

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How do we do that?

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And help us get our web presence up

to snuff and like that sort of stuff.

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But again, inevitably I found

myself gravitating towards

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those technical challenges.

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And so I was talking to our.

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CMO one day.

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And he's look, like we are having all

kinds of data reliability problems, right?

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:

Whether it's with not understanding what

stage our leads are at in the funnel or

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not being able to attribute all these

programs that we're working on, right?

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We're spending all this money.

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And doing ungodly amounts of paid

advertising events, all the things right.

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And I just don't feel like I can

trust what this data is telling me.

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:

And yeah, we've got all this great

tooling but you still have to be

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:

able to orchestrate that tooling and

make everything work and make it work

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:

consistently in a reliable fashion.

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:

And so I think it was like a lot

of the classic problems that young

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:

marketing teams have and young

evolving organizations have, and they

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:

just needed help perfecting that.

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:

Now the interesting part was I didn't come

into it with a preordained mindset, right?

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:

Like I didn't come into it with.

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:

Okay.

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Well, this is how you solve

that problem on Marketo.

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I just came at it from a more, I don't

want to be snobbish about it, but

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I a first principles like mindset.

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It was like, okay, well, what

are the jobs to be done here?

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What do we actually need to do?

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And with that different perspective,

I started trying chipping away at it.

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:

And I worked pretty closely with a,

died in the world marketo champion

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:

who we had employed there who was

also struggling with these problems.

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:

Like she too was.

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Going I don't know what's happening when

and where, and things are overwriting, and

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I can't seem to quite choreograph things

in the way I need it to choreograph.

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And so we paired together and slowly, but

surely we started building capabilities.

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And so a simple first

version was email validation.

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:

Like it's really simple and silly,

but every time we get a new lead,

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:

we need to conduct some email

validation post processing, right?

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And so I built her a little service that

called clear bit risk and never bounce.

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He did some basic syntactical

validation and a workflow.

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And I'm like, here, just call

this through your Marketo program.

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It'll tell you if it's good or not.

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And we started just standing

up these little capabilities.

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And that's how it started.

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Track 1: What I was thinking in some

ways as you were talking was like,

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:

Oh, this is really interesting.

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Cause like you can solve a lot of those

problems with call it Martech, or map

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:

native approaches or architectures.

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:

Maybe the way that you're doing it is

probably better for various reasons.

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:

Like actually have come around

to that conclusion, or at least

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:

as a hypothesis, probably too

early to say it's a conclusion.

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:

But you, Gravitated naturally.

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:

I think it helps that you're

working at a, at an iPass company.

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:

So you had those tools available

to you and there's a lot of

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:

confidence in the tools, but

is a less conventional approach.

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:

And was there anyone or any company

out there that you were inspired by,

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:

or you really were just well, like

we need to put this nail into this

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:

wood and this looks like a hammer.

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And I think, you know, it looks

like a good way of doing it.

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:

Let's do it that way.

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:

niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545: I would

say it was probably more the latter.

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If anything, what I've been, was

inspired by was actually New Relic.

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:

It mostly, I was really

exposed to developer mindsets.

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And how you architect systems.

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At the time we were real big into service

oriented architectures and that was right.

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Break down the monoliths and to more

narrowly scoped services, which have

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a very narrow function and purpose.

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And then by doing that, you can

use them more interchangeably.

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So just that idea was sitting there

in my head of okay, services, right?

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Narrowly scoped.

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I could build services on tray so

I can build a validation service.

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I can build a MQL service.

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I can build a routing service.

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And so all these again, jobs to be done.

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I was like, well, yeah, all

you need is some inputs.

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Right.

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And if you don't bloat it up

it'll be real easy to use.

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. And then now they're like little

pieces that I can then choreograph.

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And so that was really a big.

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influence for how I just thought

about solving the problem.

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We just kept chipping away at it, chipping

away a little bit more, a little bit

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more, and to the point where it's wait a

minute, we just look back and we're doing

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all this work that was previously done

elsewhere here and man does it scream

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like it's like fast, like really fast.

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Like from the time I see a lead until

the time that person's coming out of

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outreach, it's like 45 seconds sometimes.

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No more than 90 seconds

and that's pretty cool.

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And

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not only is it screaming fast,

but like I can, if anybody ever

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has any complaint anywhere, like

I just go straight to the service.

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And I can see exactly what happened when

and where and how many times it's happened

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then go back to the process from there.

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It just really felt

elegant and easy to manage.

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Track 1: I love what you said

about the developer mindset.

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And this is coming from, an English

major who fell into marketing and

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then somehow fell into technology.

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But I picked up a lot of that from

folks like Sanford Whiteman or Jep,

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you also know who have kind of just

modeled a lot of those ways of thinking

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and things like You know, don't repeat

yourself or having like loosely coupled

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services, exactly what you said.

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So it's kind of used to building those

within Marketo, which you can do in

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a way like you can modularize things,

but it's not built to have the same

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level of, let's call it like ability to

orchestrate in a defined way, or probably

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the level of logging that you get.

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Certainly you don't get to see

like a full JSON input and output

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for everything the way you can.

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I

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think in a lot of I pass tools.

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So where you went with it

seems really logical to me and

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I've kind of had the thought.

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You know, you're used to doing it one way.

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And you don't go there.

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niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545: I'm

sure there are a lot of fantastic

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Marketo power users out there, right?

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You just have to know how to use the tool.

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But one of the things I would maybe argue

is that, While things like use cases

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around the bicycle are important and

probably, a first class challenge for

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ops teams to solve, they're not the only

challenge where automation and a service

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oriented architecture can be applied.

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And as you look across there

are use cases in which this

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core, fundamental skillset.

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Is applicable meaning relational

systems, data models, service

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oriented design, understanding

business logic, all that kind of stuff.

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There are many processes which you can

apply that to that once you have that core

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foundational skill set, make you a much.

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Different player in the ops space, right?

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You can impact many more parts of

the business that where they're

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just not getting the love of

those kinds of capabilities.

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Like a simple example is your

community experience, right?

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So everybody's using a Slack based.

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Community experience now where you

have this ability to have this very

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interactive experience for your customers.

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And the capabilities to, connect that

experience to your rev ops systems

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or your product systems can create

some really cool things, right?

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So like we have.

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A very interactive slack community where

we built these various slash commands and

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things that allow our customers to like,

check your user score progress, check your

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education progress, apply a badge so that

all your best power users have a special

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little annotation on their name, right?

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And everybody knows they're the

best one at your tool, right?

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Or , people have a lot

of workflows on trade.

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So look up a workflow by keyword

through slash command, right?

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Like use AI, it doesn't really matter.

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What I'm trying to say is

there are many places in which

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this capability can manifest.

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And when you house it within this really

rigid frame of marketing automation,

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then I think it limits your worldview.

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can do a lot more.

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Track 1: I want to zoom out for a second

and look at your stack as a whole tray

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obviously being a critical part of it.

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But what are the other main components

of your martech stack today?

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niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545: Like

traditional demand gen stuff, right?

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So we have pay all the paid

social lead sources, right?

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You have those we have all

your traditional enrichment,

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like vendors, right?

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So zoom info, clear bit.

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We have event platforms.

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We use zoom for our webinars.

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We use a little bit of event here

and there for some bigger events.

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We have, of course, Trey, right?

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Acting as this orchestration layer.

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We use iterable.

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We use them for journey orchestration

and all the email campaigns

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and all that kind of stuff.

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We use iterable for that.

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And then we have sales OS,

sales navigator, right.

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For all the contact sourcing, that kind of

stuff and outreach for sales engagement.

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Salesforce.

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Track 1: I'm broadly familiar with like

kind of the iterable embraces and in my

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mind, in this like customer journey.

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engagement type of platforms, but in terms

of what parts of what we might think of

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as Marketo functionality that iterable

is taking over and what parts are in

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tray, how would you divide up those kind

of duties between the two platforms?

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niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545: centric.

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Iterable is essentially what I call

journey orchestration, which is.

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Most of your customer facing

communications, ? Usually there's a

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variety of use cases for that, right?

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So you might have a nurture journey

that you take somebody through once

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:

they hit a certain status within your

CRM, or at least for us CRM you'd have

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:

like fulfillment type stuff, right?

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So you had some piece of content

that you need to fulfill.

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Right.

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And then you need to deliver that.

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You might have just basic

database marketing stuff, right?

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You have an event coming up.

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You need to segment your

database by a certain, through a

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certain group of people, right.

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And get those communications out and

webinar operations, follow up, all of the

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traditional customer facing journeys is

happening through iterable and then all

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of the lead processing data management

is happening through Trey, meaning,

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okay, from the moment you capture that

lead from any given source could be your

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website, could be your chat platform,

could be your, ad vendor, whatever it is.

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We ingest that through a Trey workflow.

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We normalize the data.

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So we need to then normalize it so

that it fits a common data model.

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Apply things like lead source,

all that kind of stuff.

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And then we run it through

what we call our lead pipeline.

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And our lead pipeline is this sort of

amalgamation of lead processing jobs.

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So the first thing we always do is

run it through email validation.

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Then we run it through a lookup

process to see if we have that

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record in our CRM already.

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If we don't, we enrich it, create

it, lead to account match it.

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Run our attribution process, which is

basically just stamping the dates and

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stuff on the life cycle objects and

putting campaign memberships in place.

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And we run it through an MQL process.

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And the MQL process is

like, Hey, are you an MQL?

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Yes, you are.

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Okay, then route it.

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Right?

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All that sort of end to end

journey is happening on Trey.

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And then there's always the ongoing

stuff of are we constantly making

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sure we understand where somebody is

at in the funnel and progressing them

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through automation so that we all, run

our reports and intelligence on, how

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everything's working and where people

are standing, that's always up to date.

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Track 1: I'm thinking of MQL and I'm

thinking as you're talking, all right,

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there's that initial processing flow

and then potentially somebody comes in.

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They're not an MQL yet.

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Maybe you have a concept of an MQL

threshold, which is based on points or

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:

an accumulation of activity, and it made

me think about where's that activity

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layer like the piece that's tracking you

visited these web pages and then maybe Me.

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:

You know, assigning some points to that.

339

:

Is Iterable responsible for

that, or do you have a separate

340

:

event collecting system?

341

:

niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545:

Yeah, so we use analytics.

342

:

js.

343

:

You can think of it like munchkin.

344

:

So,

345

:

Segment provides analytic.

346

:

js.

347

:

So we collect all of our sort of

clickstream behavioral data through

348

:

segment, and that includes the

page view data, the form submit

349

:

events, all those sorts of things.

350

:

And so we can essentially listen for

those events through Trey, and then we

351

:

can action upon those events, whether

that be for changing data values or

352

:

trigger orchestrating some kind of like

internal action or external action,

353

:

we can just listen to those events.

354

:

Track 1: Are you streaming those

events also into a warehouse or

355

:

something, and simultaneously into Trey?

356

:

And

357

:

niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545:

So segment has a native Redshift,

358

:

Track 1: get

359

:

niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545: pipeline.

360

:

So they're constantly keeping up our

different segment sources that are

361

:

collecting all this behavioral data

and pushing it into Redshift and then.

362

:

They're all the data team will have like

jobs that sit on top of that to basically

363

:

amalgamated, you know, data and it's for

all form isn't always the most useful.

364

:

Sometimes you need to aggregate it and

create views on top of it to make it more

365

:

consumable for some system or process.

366

:

Track 1: Independent event collection

and storage, and then making those

367

:

events accessible to other tools.

368

:

There's a lot of debate around what's

that order of operations look like

369

:

and potential latency and, so you've

made the decision obviously to stream

370

:

it to, both places, which is the one

that makes the most sense to my mind.

371

:

Presumably you considered at least

the option perhaps of sending it to

372

:

Redshift and then pulling from Redshift.

373

:

What made you not go in that direction?

374

:

I guess, what were the disadvantages

if you did consider that?

375

:

niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545: Well, for

the most part most of our needs are met

376

:

through this event driven architecture.

377

:

And we don't have like crazy

complex scoring and point systems

378

:

and those sorts of things.

379

:

Actually, we tried it and

we basically decided it was

380

:

this sort of like subjective.

381

:

Assignment of value that like, drinking

a lot of Chris Walker Kool Aid these days

382

:

where like he has this point of view on

your declared intent or high intent, like

383

:

leads being your most valuable leads

and this idea that like we have this,

384

:

weird subjective view of Oh, well, if you

viewed two pages and you like downloaded

385

:

an ebook, like that makes you qualify.

386

:

That's the ticket.

387

:

Right.

388

:

Maybe we're over complicating this idea

of this whole MQL in sort of a stick your

389

:

finger in the air kind of methodology.

390

:

And what we really need to do is like

optimize for a great experience on your

391

:

high intent leads, which can be basically

done through an event driven system.

392

:

Right.

393

:

In my opinion.

394

:

And then there are better ways

in which to surface the right

395

:

people to talk to sales and the

experience that you should give them.

396

:

So, in that regard, we're okay with more

latency essentially is what I'm saying.

397

:

Like you don't need this real time scoring

routing kind of thing for the people

398

:

who are not declaring their intent.

399

:

And so that's why we're okay

with essentially pushing

400

:

things to the warehouse.

401

:

And by the way, we're not perfect here.

402

:

Like we're still in this process of how

do you basically take this first party

403

:

data set that you have and provide sales

with a good subset of people in which

404

:

to prioritize and use the correct motion

with those people, because they're

405

:

not saying to you, I want to talk to

you right now, right here, right now.

406

:

And so as long as we can get the

high value leads through real quick.

407

:

We're okay with a little bit

of latency on the backside.

408

:

Track 1: So those events, it sounds like

are mainly like form fills of specific,

409

:

like what I would call hand raised forms.

410

:

And then for iterable, does it sit

on top of the warehouse or does it

411

:

sit on top of CRM from an integration

point of view or a combo of the two?

412

:

niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545:

It mostly CRM, right?

413

:

So most of the data that we need for

segmentation purposes is written to CRM.

414

:

And then I built a custom sync

between, cause they don't offer an

415

:

out of the box Salesforce integration.

416

:

So I built a custom sync on tray to

basically push that data between them.

417

:

And then we have a handful of custom

events that basically act like program

418

:

member triggers So like anytime we

apply a person a campaign membership

419

:

to a person in salesforce we listen for

that through tray and then we emit an

420

:

iterable event which gives you program

membership triggers Like that's the

421

:

campaign membership triggering process.

422

:

Track 1: Let's talk about

integrations a little bit.

423

:

Cause one of the.

424

:

And I think one of the pieces that

you focused on a lot in your blog

425

:

post series was moving away from

native integrations and using Trey

426

:

as this primary integration hub.

427

:

And I was curious what the benefits

of this are from your point of view.

428

:

We all have seen some limitations to

native integrations on the plus side,

429

:

like they are a lot more out of box and

presumably there are a lot of things

430

:

like error handling and that sort of

logic kind of built in to some of these

431

:

integrations, at least ostensibly.

432

:

That, , otherwise, you have

to rule your own, which can

433

:

be daunting for some people.

434

:

What influenced that decision,

as you were building this out?

435

:

niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545: It

mostly came from Necessity, right?

436

:

So we had a belief that best in

breed tooling is how we want to go.

437

:

We have a belief that we can own

our own process in a way and make

438

:

it work in a way that we want to

work by taking this approach, but

439

:

the truth is do have a connectivity

issue at that challenge, right?

440

:

Just like we were saying

with Bitterable a minute ago.

441

:

Like they don't offer a

native Salesforce integration.

442

:

So that's a problem that we have to solve.

443

:

So I'm not against native

integration by any means, right?

444

:

if it's going to do the job that it

needs to do and save me the cost of

445

:

ownership, please, I will take it.

446

:

Because we have the capacity to look at

these problems a little bit differently.

447

:

I don't have to put up with the

shortcomings of those integrations.

448

:

And so that's what generally drives it.

449

:

It's sure.

450

:

We could use that, but then we

compromise that last 10 to 15

451

:

percent where it's falling short.

452

:

Right.

453

:

And so rather than build around

those problems and, you know, try to

454

:

explain those problems to somebody

who just doesn't get it, right.

455

:

Like we just simply have decided

that we don't have to do that.

456

:

And nine times out of 10, it's not

this crazy complex integration problem.

457

:

It's usually just a few

small things that are.

458

:

Causing it to be non ideal, right?

459

:

When you have those hard skills around,

well, okay, I understand webhooks.

460

:

I understand the APIs.

461

:

I understand basic data

mapping and transformations.

462

:

You could actually close

those gaps really easy.

463

:

You just have to have those

hard skills to be able to do it.

464

:

So it's just come out of, okay,

we have those hard skills.

465

:

We know what the gaps we need to close.

466

:

Let's just close them and move on.

467

:

Track 1: One of the experiences

I've had building Kind of a native

468

:

integration equivalent process.

469

:

And I pass was with Trey.

470

:

It was a different one, but similar

sort of logic and workflows.

471

:

It's definitely achievable

was my observation.

472

:

You're a lot more experienced than me

in this domain, but you quickly realize

473

:

like some of the things that you take

for granted, for example, like preventing

474

:

infinity loops, where you have something

like this recipe or this workflow triggers

475

:

off an update in this system and makes it

up and that makes an update, but then this

476

:

workflow triggers off an update in this

system and then they start ping ponging.

477

:

And so then now I have

to solve that problem.

478

:

And you're like, oh, but what

if something is updated in

479

:

both places at the same time?

480

:

Now I have to do like field level

comparison and resolve conflicts and

481

:

just things that you don't really realize

are happening under the hood in a normal

482

:

integration, when you actually have to go

and build it out, you kind of appreciate

483

:

that, oh, it's doing a lot for me.

484

:

How have you thought about solving those

things within your architecture or have

485

:

you built it out in such a way that you

could sidestep some of those problems?

486

:

niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545:

Yeah, there's not an easy answer.

487

:

So first of all, I would argue that

those problems you're articulating are

488

:

actually probably happening already

in your native integrations, and you

489

:

probably don't realize it, or at least

you only hear about it episodically.

490

:

And a lot of things are

black boxy, so to speak.

491

:

So, just because a native integration

does solve some of those problems,

492

:

doesn't mean they've solved all the

problems and it's perfect, right?

493

:

These are all highly relational

systems and the more things that

494

:

are interfacing with those systems,

be it native integrations or custom

495

:

integrations or whatever it is, there

is this ping pong effect happening.

496

:

Toe one extent or another.

497

:

So almost certainly everybody's dealing

with this problem, it's just more that

498

:

you're less aware of it when you're

not on the front lines dealing with it.

499

:

Track 1: We're all just sitting with

our head in the sand, blissfully unaware

500

:

niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545: yes,

501

:

Track 1: of all these issues.

502

:

niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545:

or aware, not

503

:

having much bliss at

504

:

all.

505

:

Track 1: Yeah, or the

opposite of blissfully.

506

:

Painfully unaware,

507

:

niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545:

What I would argue is like when you

508

:

own some of this and you literally

have the process level visibility

509

:

when somebody goes, Hey, I see this

problem why did I get this link?

510

:

You go specifically to the metal

where you see exactly where it

511

:

happened, exactly when it happened.

512

:

And you can to that specific

situation, then you can solve it.

513

:

Otherwise you're beholden to

the level of observability

514

:

that you have on that system.

515

:

So I'd rather at least know where my

problems lie and that I can fix them.

516

:

Then not know,

517

:

Track 1: Do you believe in keeping a

kind of intermediary source of truth

518

:

between two integrated systems so that

like you kind of dump changes from one

519

:

system in here and dump the other ones

and then you kind of have this neutral

520

:

place where you can sort them out?

521

:

Or have you found that just like two

point to point integrations, you're able

522

:

to build the logic in such a way that

works an acceptable amount of the time?

523

:

I'm going to use the marketo integration

as an example, but my understanding

524

:

of how it works is it's taking all

the changes from the marketo side

525

:

during any particular sync interval,

and then taking all the changes from.

526

:

The Salesforce side and

then it's comparing them.

527

:

Cause if you just think from point

to point, it's kind of like blind.

528

:

It's I have this, I go over there and

you have this and you go over here.

529

:

And there's other systems out there

that I've seen that less pure I

530

:

pass systems, but maybe like Synchry,

for example, that maintains this

531

:

sort of independent, neutral data

store in the middle for integration

532

:

purposes, which I think makes sense.

533

:

Like it does answer a lot of those

challenges, or you could just use

534

:

a Snowflake database or a Redshift

database of your own in the middle.

535

:

niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545: I'm sure

there are circumstances where the level

536

:

of complexity between two systems like

MAP and CRM and the sort of throughput.

537

:

Let's say going through those two systems

is sufficient that you need a much

538

:

more sophisticated layer of triaging

conflict and resolving some of the

539

:

issues that you've articulated, but in

our particular case, it hasn't become a

540

:

big enough of a problem and that we've

needed to resolve those conflicts.

541

:

And that's not to say that

means It's not a perfectly valid

542

:

challenge that people have, right?

543

:

I think is given that we are able to

kind of standard on Salesforce as our

544

:

source of truth and move out from there.

545

:

We've not hit some of

those traditional snags.

546

:

Track 1: That makes perfect sense.

547

:

I want to dive back into your

lead processing workflow,

548

:

and you've given a high level

overview of how it works so far.

549

:

Most people as we've talked about, handle

those functions in the map and in like

550

:

my Mariketo instance right now, I have.

551

:

A lot of those services that you

described built out, but they're

552

:

just like little brown program

icons, like enrichment, MQL, scoring,

553

:

works pretty well.

554

:

I can orchestrate them.

555

:

Our needs are not like

hugely complex at this stage.

556

:

But you've moved all

those functions into Trey.

557

:

You don't need to convince me of the

benefit of doing that because I've

558

:

seen the power that having a dedicated

workflow layer brings, but From your

559

:

point of view, what are you gaining

from going there that you couldn't

560

:

have just built into Marketo perhaps?

561

:

niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545: Probably

a few things like I gained confidence.

562

:

I feel very confident using Trey, right?

563

:

And I can like.

564

:

I can absolutely tell you two

decimal places, how often any one

565

:

of those processes ever go awry.

566

:

I get notified if anything's

going wrong, instantly, basically.

567

:

So, to me, having that level of

comfort and confidence to know

568

:

exactly what happens when and where.

569

:

And where to go to fix it is

huge for me just from pure nuts

570

:

and bolts, ops perspective.

571

:

I'd say the other thing, if I just kind

of take a step back and think about

572

:

us as an organization we have a lot of

leverage in our marketing stack, right?

573

:

= Because.

574

:

I have such an ability to

evolve my process quite easily.

575

:

I don't have to have as much technology

in our stack, I have a lot of leverage

576

:

and vendor conversations, right?

577

:

Because it's a job to be done,

which is the process orchestrates.

578

:

And if I find that one vendor happens

to be better than the other, I'm not

579

:

constrained by all of these more rigid.

580

:

connections between those systems.

581

:

So that ability to have leverage

and flexibility and how we approach

582

:

our technology stack is quite nice.

583

:

And the other thing that

we gain is speed, right?

584

:

I mean, this thing is just fast, right?

585

:

And I love.

586

:

Knowing exactly how long something

takes and if I need to deal with a

587

:

huge amount of throughput, suddenly

I can do that and it's not a problem.

588

:

We can do it really fast.

589

:

So let's say those are

some of the main things.

590

:

Track 1: Make me jealous while

you're talking because I don't

591

:

have, what I would consider a really

robust workflow tool right now.

592

:

We have Zap here, but, it's

certainly not as powerful, let's say,

593

:

as some of the other options that

I've used in the past or for Trey.

594

:

And the freedom that it brings to know

when this thing happens over here,

595

:

that I can go over here and update this

data value, and there's this power and

596

:

control, as you're saying, that you have.

597

:

It's so liberating.

598

:

It's one of the reasons why I

really fell in love with that

599

:

category, for what it can do.

600

:

People that don't have that,

I think, don't know what

601

:

they're missing, number one.

602

:

But it also made me curious, as

you were describing what you can

603

:

do, You, I'm assuming, have a

fairly unmetered version of Tray.

604

:

And you mentioned at one point, I

remember when you first brought this up in

605

:

conversation, this design of your stack.

606

:

There's cost savings involved.

607

:

From a real world economic perspective,

if I was to become a Tray customer

608

:

and how did the economics shake out?

609

:

Because different vendors

price in different ways.

610

:

Some price per task,

some price per workflow.

611

:

Am I saving money at the end of the day,

do you think, or am I going to be forced

612

:

to constrain myself in a different way?

613

:

. niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545:

So we're a consumption model,

614

:

meaning we build off of tasks.

615

:

We don't believe that a workflow

based model is the right mentality

616

:

because it doesn't fit with our

philosophy that you want this

617

:

service oriented architecture, right?

618

:

Like you want to be able to build

a process, whether or not that

619

:

process runs a couple of times a

day or a million times an hour,

620

:

should build.

621

:

A smart architecture that handles

your processes in the most efficient

622

:

and manageable way possible.

623

:

And we think that when you put like

billable constraints on things like

624

:

workflows, essentially people don't

solve problems, so we want to tie the

625

:

consumption of the platform to the cost.

626

:

I do think that there's true

savings that you can have,

627

:

cause I don't own a lean data.

628

:

I don't own a marketo.

629

:

I don't own a lot of tools that you

may have to pay a lot of money for.

630

:

So, what that exact number is I

don't want to pretend that I can give

631

:

everybody a really clean answer on it.

632

:

And you do have a cost of ownership

with this model, to your point, right?

633

:

Where you're building certain things.

634

:

So to me, do think there are cost

savings in there, but probably the

635

:

better mindset to have about it is the

level of flexibility and capabilities

636

:

that you're able to bring to your

organization and solve problems in

637

:

a much faster and efficient way,

638

:

so you don't have to have this

straight jacket around you where

639

:

you're trying to operate within the

constraints of that straight jacket.

640

:

Like I can build my stack in the way

I need to build it and make it work

641

:

the way I need it to work, which

allows me to help our organization

642

:

facilitate, rapid change faster,

643

:

we're all talking about AI now, how are

we going to get AI into our process?

644

:

And we're worried about governance

and we're worried about security

645

:

and we're worried about, how do we

use our first party data and these

646

:

models and all this kind of stuff.

647

:

Right.

648

:

Well, I would argue that when you have

a capability like this to build your

649

:

processes in a way, then you can take

new capabilities like AI and you can bring

650

:

them into your process much more easily.

651

:

And so to me, indexing on that agility and

the ability to do what have your stack, do

652

:

what you need to do for your organization

is just as important as saving, you know,

653

:

five figures on your vendors this quarter.

654

:

Track 1: You mentioned the humans

of Martek podcast and my friends,

655

:

Phil and John over there, they've

talked a lot in some of their

656

:

episodes about, composability

and creating a composable CDP.

657

:

And it's one of those

words that's very much.

658

:

In Vogue right now.

659

:

Were you thinking about composability

when you were designing this?

660

:

Or do you see your stack as

falling under this label?

661

:

Or so happened that you've

approached it in that way?

662

:

niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545:

It's absolutely a composable stack.

663

:

If it doesn't meet the definition, then

I'm not sure what does . The whole idea.

664

:

Is that you can take these core services

or jobs to be done and orchestrate

665

:

and use them in the way that you

need to this idea of abstractions.

666

:

It's nothing new per se, we were

talking at the start of the call about.

667

:

Analytics.

668

:

js or segment, right?

669

:

Like they came in with an abstraction

layer to instrumentation so that we can

670

:

move event data to either point solutions

or your data warehouse quite easily and

671

:

not have to go through that process for

every new tool we bring into the stack,

672

:

This idea of abstraction has been.

673

:

Going on for quite a while.

674

:

To me, what we're now getting into

is kind of had this initial sort

675

:

of data layer abstraction happening.

676

:

And you have in the sort of

cloud data warehouse, right?

677

:

Consuming that and acting like its

own abstraction layer your workflow.

678

:

Version of this is just another version

of abstraction and composability right

679

:

where we're now you're creating these

capabilities that can be just like

680

:

those other tools they can be used in

a fashion that gives you The flexibility

681

:

to decide when and how they're used.

682

:

Track 1: It seems that there

is an increasing trend towards

683

:

companies designing these sorts of

point tools microservices and they

684

:

all kind of come up in that way.

685

:

And at the same time, though, there

is an increasing economic pressure

686

:

in the marketplace for companies

to consolidate functionality.

687

:

And I think we see this in lot

of the sales engagement space

688

:

where we have the gong and the.

689

:

Sales loft and, you know, various

tools like that starting to try

690

:

to eat each other's lunch from

various angles and acquiring

691

:

tools and bringing them together.

692

:

And, , there's reasons that it's

easier for budgetary purposes

693

:

for companies to do that.

694

:

Or you have the HubSpot is maybe

the perfect example where they're

695

:

like, we'll just build one of

everything, we're just going to build

696

:

it and it's all going to be one.

697

:

Huge monolithic stack.

698

:

Do you see both of

these models coexisting?

699

:

you see the future as one in where there's

just like this endless diversity of point

700

:

services and then orchestration tools that

bring them all in these wonderful ways?

701

:

What does the future look

like from your point of view?

702

:

niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545:

I don't think it's a endless sort

703

:

of amalgamation of point services.

704

:

At some point, there is going to be

some benefits to taking certain more,

705

:

let's call it more broad platforms

and Leveraging whatever capabilities

706

:

those platforms have if it makes a

lot of sense for your business and

707

:

it does what it needs to do, and

there's less overhead for you, right.

708

:

And running that model, then

run that model that is okay.

709

:

There's nothing wrong with using a

really smart set of tools to do the

710

:

core jobs to be done that need to

be done, like we don't need to just.

711

:

For the sake of composability, right?

712

:

To develop a composable stack.

713

:

That's definitely not

the mindset I would take.

714

:

I think it's just more so that

having the ability within your

715

:

four walls of your organization to

cross that line when you need to.

716

:

Is a capability that we should be

prioritizing for our ops functions

717

:

. Meaning this is a critical skill set

for operations teams to have within

718

:

house, so that when that platform

doesn't do what you need it to do.

719

:

You can make the changes that you

need to make and are not beholden

720

:

to the constraints of that system.

721

:

And, That is where you use it, right?

722

:

And that's a always evolving thing.

723

:

Our stacks are constantly evolving.

724

:

The vendors of today are going to get

beat by the vendors of tomorrow, right?

725

:

And we want the ability to be

able to move with that change.

726

:

And so in order to do that, you have to

have these competencies in house, because

727

:

otherwise don't control your destiny.

728

:

Track 1: So speaking of the ever

evolving state of things, . What are

729

:

the, to do list that you're like,

yeah, I got to fix that someday.

730

:

Are there still some rough

edges here and there?

731

:

niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545: One of

the harder things is what we've been

732

:

talking about is like, do we Make sure

that we can continue to run this practice.

733

:

So one of the harder things is just

teaching people the hard skills, right?

734

:

Like I've learned that there's

a certain profile of operator.

735

:

I need to have underneath our roof who

has the right sort of skill sets to

736

:

be able to run this sort of practice.

737

:

So early on.

738

:

For example I was probably not looking

at the right types of individuals

739

:

when the right types of skill sets

because is a more technical challenge.

740

:

Whereas maybe you may have brought

in more junior practitioners, for

741

:

example, as part of an ops function,

you can't execute this model with a

742

:

junior practitioner who doesn't have

a good systems architecture mindset.

743

:

So that's been a challenge that I've

learned just like, how do you find the

744

:

right skill sets to run the approach.

745

:

And then as far as areas for evolving

the system I don't have this major

746

:

thing that stands out where it's

just Oh, we absolutely have to fix.

747

:

I don't know, our lead scoring

approach or something like that.

748

:

I've been running it for

probably three and a half years

749

:

now . And so it's pretty mature.

750

:

So what we're actually more so

thinking about is, what is next in our

751

:

Inside of our house of capabilities.

752

:

And so we're doing the

trendy stuff right now.

753

:

Like, how do we actually understand

where we can apply AI in, inside of

754

:

our organization to do like the things

you guys were talking about on humans

755

:

and MarTech, like how do we take

less structured data and what are the

756

:

technical underpinnings that we need

to have in place to be able to consume

757

:

that and make it operationally useful.

758

:

For our organization, kind of skill

sets in services do we need to have in

759

:

place to do that in a way that security

is also going to be like, that's cool.

760

:

You're allowed to do that.

761

:

And it's also useful and

functional for the business.

762

:

So one thing we've been doing right now

is building a service around our all

763

:

of our sort of knowledge content of how

we consume that Put it into a vector

764

:

database, create a service that, we can

then use with our knowledge content and

765

:

then use that for both internal enablement

use cases and customer facing use cases.

766

:

Track 1: Chat GPT that's

trained on your own docs or

767

:

your own data kind of scenario.

768

:

Maybe last question I'll ask

is in terms of the evolution of

769

:

this and how you evolve it day

to day, what's your relationship

770

:

to your business stakeholders?

771

:

Is it you coming up with

ideas or presenting them?

772

:

Are they coming to you with requests?

773

:

Is it more of a product management style?

774

:

How do you triage and

roadmap these things?

775

:

niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545: Pretty

much like any classic ops team, right?

776

:

So like I am a business partner to

other parts of the organization.

777

:

I report to our CMO.

778

:

And so, a lot of what we're doing

right now is just ensuring that we're

779

:

facilitating the go to market strategy

that he's laid out for the organization.

780

:

And we were in a as an organization, a

bit of a transformational period, where

781

:

we're shifting our go to market strategy

a fair amount, which requires that you

782

:

got to reevaluate all the things that were

tied to the old go to market strategy.

783

:

And so just like any other ops team,

like we'll hear the challenges that

784

:

he is putting forth for us to change,

and then we create a roadmap and we

785

:

prioritize that we work with our same

thing with our sales leaders, right.

786

:

When I go to market strategy evolves, the

sales organization evolves, you get things

787

:

like new territories and new segmentations

your customer base and all that sort

788

:

of stuff, I don't think we're doing

anything all that revolutionary there.

789

:

We just have to be, tied to what the

business is trying to do and creating a

790

:

set of priorities, determining what we

can do easy and as impactful and making

791

:

those changes as quickly as we can.

792

:

Track 1: Well, they're lucky to have you.

793

:

And I love how you think about this

stuff it sounds like in many ways

794

:

you've built something really awesome.

795

:

So I'm glad.

796

:

That we could just talk about it and

expose more people to the way that you've

797

:

thought about your stack I will include

links to your blog post series and the

798

:

show notes because you go into Really

high level of detail on what you've done

799

:

You have videos if you're listening to

all this To those of you out there and

800

:

thinking like oh, I just really should

really see and understand more What

801

:

Niels is talking about you can because

he's gone over it with screen share.

802

:

So we'll share all that But yeah, thank

you so much for coming on the show.

803

:

It's been a ton of fun learning about

804

:

niels-fogt_1_02-20-2024_140545: Awesome.

805

:

Yeah.

806

:

Thanks for having me.

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