Leaving Chicago, and I’m Thinking…

mdwdWe are officially less than a month away from Midwest Dreamin’. Less than a month. You should be excited. If you are in the Midwest. Even if you are not in the Midwest, actually.

Let me explain you a thing.

*a few minutes of laughing at own joke and Googling “let me explain you a thing” memes*

The Salesforce community created this event, and others like it. Midwest Dreamin’ isn’t about selling Salesforce. We’ve already been sold. This is about all of the admins and developers and adminevelopers and devadmins and any other combination of those things wanting to come together and share their knowledge on a grand scale.

It’s a celebration of more than a CRM; this is legitimately a community. It’s a movement. It’s a time to come together, learn, and excitedly talk about things like Objects, Processes, and Debugging. It’s a time to be part of a community that is supportive and welcoming.

If you are a Salesforce user, admin, or developer, you need to be involved with your local user group. If you don’t have one yet, you need to start one. Not for you, although I promise you will get so much out of it. But for the person just starting out, taking those first tentative steps onto the trail and feeling overwhelmed.

Take that, amplify it, and you get Midwest Dreamin’.

I know this because I went to Midwest Dreamin’ last year when I was starting to feel, I don’t know, a little bit lonely. I was a solo admin, and I felt like I was fighting every battle uphill. I felt like I was constantly battling, in general, and that is a terrible way to feel. I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it to Dreamforce, so I thought, I’ll give this a try.

I’m a shy person. It’s really easy for me to be outgoing online, but get me in a room full of people, even ones that I have a lot in common with and admire, and I bottle up. I stood awkwardly at a table, wandered around, sent a bunch of excited texts to my husband about walking right past Peter Coffee. I didn’t quite come out of my shell, but that was where I decided to start a WIT chapter. That was where I realized that the giddiness I felt about Salesforce was not only ok but shared with so many others.

So now that you understand why this is more than just a conference, I need to talk about how excited I am about all the conference-y things.

Have you seen the list of sessions?!

(@SalesforceAmy, I need a gif for this, please)

Erica Kuhl (@ericakuhl) is speaking about Digital and Human Harmony, and if anyone can speak to that, it’s Salesforce’s VP of the Success Community; you know, the one who spearheaded the User Group program.

Speaking of Amy Oplinger, she’ll be presenting on Imposter Syndrome and kicking it to the curb. And for the record, if she suffers from it, I already feel better about my own struggles because seriously…seriously.

How about “Tips and Tricks to Unbreak Process Builder”? Honestly, presenters Zayne Turner (@zaynelt) and Bonny Hinners had me at “If ‘FlowApplication’ is a name in your address book…” *Salesforce humor* What a great topic, though, truly.

And, this is awkward, but I might have to skip my own session, so I can go watch Wizardcast Live. Or Jennifer Wobser (@crmsalesgem) talk about Salesforce1. Or Andrea Holmes (@TheAndreaHolmes) give advice on being a change agent.

Phillip Southern (@phil7s) is providing an introduction to the Developer Console. Want to learn how to debug? Thinking about doing the whole developer thing? This sounds like a winner.

Did you know there’s a Salesforce Agile Accelerator App?! I sure didn’t. But you can bet a whole lot of money that I’m going to go learn more about it at Timothy Kiekow’s session on it.

And that’s to say nothing of the Demo Jam, Admin Trivia, Expo Hall, and APEX AND THE LIMITS.

I feel out of breath right now, even though I didn’t say all of that out loud. At least I don’t think I did. That would be kind of awkward but not entirely surprising.

This year is going to be fantastic for Midwest Dreamin’, and I am just so excited to be a part of it again. So get excited, register, and join us all in Chicago, July 21-22.

More info here.

Follow Midwest Dreamin’ on Twitter @MidWest_Dreamin.

 

 

 

Lessons Learned: Vocabulary

jargon

Linguistics is a truly fascinating subject, if you think about it – the study of how people communicate, how words are formed, changed over time. The same word in the same language may mean something different, depending on where you live.

It might also mean something different, depending on what software or platform you’re using and discussing. That can cause issues in a business setting.

Let me take you back in time to a conference room in Holland, MI, where a ragtag bunch of marketers (and their CCO, and a marketing consultant, and a commercial intelligence director) are sitting around a conference table.

One of them, a short young woman is waiting patiently for her boss’s boss to finish his question.

“Who are the people getting the nurturing emails?”

“Any Leads associated with the Engagement Program.”

“And Contacts?”

“Yes.”

“Contacts are in the Program?”

“Correct. Well, any Contacts that the Sales Directors have added to the Campaign.”

“What Campaign?”

“The nurture Campaign…whatever we end up calling it.”

“Ok, that’s what I’m asking about, then. Who are the people getting the nurturing emails?”

“All of them. As long as they are added to the Engagement Program.”

….

We’ll leave them there for now.

You might be a little confused, too. Sure, if you read English, you probably understand, in general terms, what all of those words mean. In the context of this conversation, it might even be possible to glean what exactly is happening. But I can assure you that at the time, it was not very clear, and the conversation went on for a while before I realized I was transitioning between platform-specific terms with the ease of someone who had greased their gear before going on a luge.

My point is – I forgot that the same things are often given different names, depending on the platform you’re using. Something about intellectual property law.

In this case – Marketo Programs are the capsule for an entire marketing initiative (thanks, Gaines, for getting me the answer to that one), where Campaigns are a Salesforce object that track attribution for Leads, Contacts, Accounts, and Opportunities.

For me, using the terms interchangeably, as I mentally moved between the two platforms, was easy. I understood the waterfall of events:

  1. Sales Director adds a Contact to a Campaign (or, more accurately, tells someone else to do it)
  2. The Contact is added to the Campaign, and in the next Salesforce-Marketo sync, the Lead record for that individual is added to the Program and given a Program Status
  3. The Engagement Program (think: drip campaign) does its thing and captures that person’s interactions with our content
  4. The Lead’s Program Status is changed, and in the next Marketo-Salesforce sync, that information is pushed back to the Campaign
  5. The Campaign Member junction object now has a new Campaign Status for that Contact
  6. Reports for all!

It made 100% sense to me to move back and forth between the terms. Because that was the flow of information.

But while I might be a walking dictionary of “Jargon Sam Has Learned,” I don’t have pages that people can flip to. The CCO couldn’t pause me, scroll through a glossary, and then press play. And I, in my wanting to be back at my desk and no longer in a meeting, just explained in the quickest way I knew how.

The meeting, of course, just went on longer, accordingly. And then we had a second meeting.

meetings

I would love to say that that happened only once, that I realized my mistake and, moving forward, chose my words more carefully, choosing instead to deliberately explain any and all platform-based decisions in a way that would make sense to anyone.

But then this wouldn’t be a lesson learned “the hard way.”

This happened so many times. Like all the time. I just couldn’t stop myself from throwing around Objects, Records, Tokens, and Flows. And it wasn’t until I was practically out of breath that I saw the glazed-over look in their eyes.

A system admin for a non-tech group like Marketing needs to be able to translate. Over time, yes, I learned to do that. I learned to get out the jargon because I couldn’t help myself, then go back and offer a more clear explanation.

Why is that so important?

Adoption. Validation.

If your users, internal customers, stakeholders, what-have-you cannot understand what you are saying, they will not understand the value that you or your platform provide.

It seems simple. This wasn’t news to me. But in practice, I often fell short.

So how did I combat this?

I continued to use the terms; I didn’t dumb down my content or what I said. But I made sure to also include explanations. After a while, the conversation would have gone more like this…

“Who are the people getting the nurturing emails?”

“We can select any existing Contacts in Salesforce or new Leads in Marketo and put them into the Engagement Program in Marketo. Sales Directors can add Contacts via the Campaign in Salesforce, which is connected to the corresponding Program. Once they do that, Marketo will take over, sending them the emails in a steady drip. Once they respond, we have a Campaign in Marketo that will automatically update their status, which will then sync back to Salesforce, and give the Sales Director visibility into their Contact’s interaction.”

Still uses all the fancy terms I was tested on for certification, and it describes what the platforms will be doing. It makes me sound super awesome for being able to do that, too, right? They don’t have to know that it was all the matter of about 10 clicks.

When have you used jargon to the detriment of getting your point across? How do you combat the temptation? Comment below or tweet to @thesafinhold.

Lessons Learned: An Introduction

Remember Jack Handey?

Yeah, ok, full disclosure – I was going somewhere with that, and then I started looking at Jack Handey quotes and 15 minutes later, I don’t remember why I brought him up.

Which brings me to my point: I have made some hilarious mistakes in my life. I’ve made some not-so-funny ones, too, but who wants to read about those?

Some of those mistakes were all about Salesforce and/or Marketo. Some were about working in general. Some have been ridiculously specific, or immediately apparent, or…I mean, you get where I’m going here.

Think about when you offer to help someone. I bet money (not a lot. I mean, like $5) that you have said, at least once, “I’ve learned about X the hard way, so if you have questions, let me know.”

You’re offering to share the lessons you have learned through trial and error, so that your friend/family member/vague acquaintance/barista/frenemy/etc. doesn’t have to.

My own mentor said it to me just the other day, so in a stunning act of plagiarism (not really. Please don’t sue me) I decided “BLOG SERIES!!!”

So that’s what this is. Well, not this one in particular. This is just an introduction. But anything worth sharing should be adequately introduced, so here we are.

standby

Dear Vista Equity Partners (re: Marketo),

Hey, there.

This is a pretty big win for you guys, I’m guessing, nabbing the leader in the marketing automation space. Honestly, good for you.

I don’t like just passively hearing news, you know? So I took a look at your portfolio. I was mildly impressed – lots of technology there. I didn’t know an equity firm owned Return Path, so that was kind of cool to learn.

Anyway, that’s not what this about.

Admittedly, this will have less impact on me now. Did you know that you lose your Marketo certification if you don’t work for a company that uses Marketo? So I’m out in the cold there, unfortunately.

But I still have kind of a soft spot for the platform. It was my first cert, you see. Purple and I have a special relationship. I put a lot of time into my old instance, and I even almost contracted part time on a project. So even though I am kind of kicked out of the club, I want to make sure this all works out.

This isn’t me getting angry or even telling you how to your job. Not at all. Look at your portfolio – you know what you’re doing. This is about me asking that you help Marketo get to the next level.

As I learned more about the platform, it was easy to see that Marketo wants to be a leader, wants to be innovative, wants to do right by its customers. And it does a lot.

Sometimes, though, I got this feeling that they liked a product idea, went after it, and then deployed it…incomplete. Not always! But training materials might sometimes lag behind. Functionality that other, smaller, platforms have is missing in the industry leader (dwell time on an email, for instance).

I mentioned Return Path earlier…I hope there’s something in the works there. Honestly, for a platform that a lot of companies use primarily for email campaigns, having that kind of optimization functionality would be amazing.

And I see that Main Street Hub has some social functions? That was one of the only pieces really missing from Marketo.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that you’ve made a good purchase, and now Marketo and her customers are looking to you to do something big. Pump equity into development of the product, support it, and champion it. I don’t think she’ll steer you wrong, if you treat her right.

In other words (barely contained glee) with great purchase, comes great responsibility.

I can explain

I’ve been really good about posting every week, right?

And here it is Wednesday, and I have nothing. My mind is so beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. As in buzzing and confused because I’m trying to shove so much information into it. I mean, I’m learning, and that is awesome.

But man. I have literally nothing of use to offer.

I couldn’t not post though.

So I just wanted to take a minute to say this:

Things happen in life when you aren’t expecting them, and sometimes when you do. Success does require some luck, but your luck improves the harder you work. Reaching a goal doesn’t mean completing your work, either. It just means…hey, you are good enough.

And it feels really great to know that you’re good enough.

A Polymath’s Guide To…Submitting Speaking Proposals

There are 6 days left to submit a speaking proposal for Dreamforce 16. If you’re considering it, on the fence, not sure, I’m here to tell you to give it a shot. You have something to share. I promise.

Sit down, let me tell you a story.

Within 6 months of starting this job (the one that I’m saying goodbye to this week), I was a Marketo Certified Expert. And you know, I still didn’t feel like an expert.

Less than a year after that, Marketing Nation Summit put out a call for speakers. I had never done a speaking engagement that large. I wasn’t a Marketo Champion. I still didn’t feel like an expert. Maybe I just was feeling invincible, or more likely a little nihilistic – what does it matter if I’m accepted to speak or not? It won’t solve the world’s problems. *dramatic weeping*

I figured it would be a good practice for writing a proposal. I thought I might get some feedback about why my submission was passed over.

Instead, a few months later, I got an email saying “Hey! We’re super excited to have you speak at Summit!”

I was really excited, too. And then I was nervous. Now I had to actually, you know, create content and present. It wasn’t enough to feel kind of ready to share information, or to kind of feel like I knew what I was talking about. I had to present myself like an expert. I had to ensure that people weren’t wasting their time. No pressure.

Now, I’m going to let you in on a secret: these events want you to speak, and they want you to succeed. I had two contacts to help me prepare – one to make sure I had everything I needed, and one to help me ensure the content was accurate and helpful. We did dry-runs and presentation reviews, and they were available to answer any questions. I didn’t have to be an expert in everything because they were there to help me become one, at least long enough to impart some wisdom.

Moral of this story: there is no reason not to submit, if you feel even somewhat inclined to do so.

speaker

But how do I go about it?

  1. Think of a mistake you made, especially early on – some lesson you learned the hard way. OR think of something that your users or coworkers struggle with that you’re just really good at. Either option will likely be a popular or useful topic.
  2. Every day, navigate to the speaker submission page. Trust me. It’s weird, but it helps. Just a tab that sits there, reminding you to at least consider it.
  3. Determine if you want to present solo or with someone. If you want to present with someone, reach out to a few people you know or would like to get to know better, and ask them.
  4. Come up with a few titles – a funny one, a serious one, a straightforward one. Whatever you think of, write it down/type it up. You can settle on one before you submit.
  5. Write an abstract. It needs to be fairly short, and it needs to pack a punch. I’m a fan of extended metaphors, so I usually default accordingly.
  6. Ask people 100% unrelated to your job to critique them – could they reasonably understand what your session is about? If so, guaranteed someone even remotely associated with what you do will also understand it.
  7. Fill out the submission form. Don’t send it in yet – you’re nervous, I get it.
  8. Fill out the submission form again. Your confidence is building. The information is already there, right?
  9. If you didn’t press submit the second time, go ahead and fill out the form once more, and this time press that button.
  10. Congratulations! You just submitted an idea!

Now guess what? You’ll probably forget about it. It takes a while for event folks to pour over submissions and decide what makes the cut, and your life is going to continue on. You’ll have the same people complaining, the same folks asking questions, the same men and women inviting you out for a happy hour(I imagine you’re more social than I am – maybe not. Maybe, like me, you’ll just keep playing games.).

I’ve since had sessions rejected, too. And, yeah, it kind of sucks, but it’s really not that bad. It doesn’t mean you can’t go to the event, doesn’t mean you have nothing to offer. It also means you don’t have to miss any presentations to be there for yours. It means that you can go and have fun and not be pacing around your hotel room reciting the lines to a fake rap you wrote to wow the audience.

So what’s stopping you, really? Only you are.

 

Show Your Pride

nala This is Nala.

Correction: this is Nala circa 2012.

Today, Nala is graduating from high school, and I’m simultaneously amazed at how quickly the time has gone, sad that all of my babies are grown up, and immensely proud of her (and my other students walking across the stage).

Nala is the only student that has stayed in touch over the past 4 years, but she and I still have a lot to talk about.

When I first joined the WIT Diversity group, like other new members, I was asked to share a little bit about why diversity is important to me. This is why.

In the year I began teaching in Pine Bluff, the graduation rate for the school district was 66.7%. To put that in perspective, one district over, in the same county, the primarily white school had a graduation rate of 83.5%. We’re talking a school maybe 15 miles away.

I don’t know what it would be like to teach in a district with that kind of graduation rate. I’m sure it also has challenges…but I say that with a little bit of a bitter laugh because the challenges my students and I faced were many.

Over the summer, I received the keys to my classroom. I was so happy to have them; I felt like it was the start of something transformative. It had belonged to a veteran teacher who had left everything behind. She finished the last day of school and just left. As I was sorting through the years and years of homework and paper, a cockroach crawled over my hand. They love making nests in paper.

More than a handful of my babies went to jail during the year and came back with “ankle jewelry.” One of my students got a girl pregnant. There was a riot.

During my year there, I spent a lot of money of food. Not for me. Students who weren’t even in my classes came to my room during lunch because I had food there – anyone could have it. It was better than them eating chips. It was better than them not eating.

I wonder if that had anything to do with graduation rate? Hmmmmm.

My students were fiercely loyal. Yes, they misbehaved and gave me headaches and made me want to scream. But if someone threatened me or my classroom, that someone didn’t do so again. The girls wanted to be in my wedding when I announced that Eric had proposed to me at Christmas. When I had to leave the school because we were moving to Michigan, they did this to my whiteboard:

whiteboard.jpg

Nala was quiet and sweet and stuck in my 8th period class. 8th period was the last period of the day, and as a new teacher, I struggled most with that group. I wanted so badly to do right by her, though, since I saw so much of myself in the budding writer.

When I left, I gave her all of my contact information and told her to stay in touch – let me know what was going on in her life. And she has. Last month, I got an email telling me that she was accepted into Hendrix College. I was relieved. I was proud. I cried.

I wake up at night, thinking of lesson plans that I should have done, ways that I could have served my students better.

No matter what I do moving forward in my life, I will carry this burden of feeling that I failed. I failed them. At least most of them. I wasn’t rigorous enough, hard enough, thorough enough, demanding enough…good enough. They deserved so much better.

Pine Bluff’s graduation rate is currently 56%. That means that approximately 72 of my kiddo’s are graduating today. I am immensely happy for that.

And when I think about the 58 who won’t be walking across that stage, I have to remember Nala. I have to remember that she’s going to Hendrix College, and it’s up to me to continue working to make a place for her when she jumps over that next hurdle; it’s up to me to try and lower those hurdles for her.

It’s easy for me to feel guilty, to blame myself, to be miserable.

But today…today I’m going to be proud, and I hope that all of them know that.

Target Practice: Account targeting in Salesforce

Scene 1

(Barry sits center stage, looking at his computer screen, an Excel spreadsheet with a list of company names, highlighted in different colors. He holds a phone to his ear.)

Barry: Scroll to the top of the sheet to the kelly green highlighted accounts. Those are the ones for you. The seafoam green are the ones I’m going to work on. The ones in orange are the ones I want you to target after the green ones. Got it?

Offstage: Uh, well, yeah.

(Lights dim center stage. Stage right lights up, and we see MJ at his desk, looking at Salesforce. An Account page. He picks up the phone.)

MJ: All of the salespeople were asked to create a target account list for you. I’ve used that Top Target checkbox in Salesforce, so you can just run a report on those and go after them. I don’t care about the order, but go to Retail companies first.

Offstage: Ok.

Scene 2

(Admin now in center stage with multiple tabs open. Each tab is selected in turn – a series of reports, each with different filter criteria)

Admin: So…which accounts are targets? How are our inside sales reps supposed to know what to do? (Removes glasses dramatically) I must assemble a team!


One of the first major projects I ran as an admin was an org cleanup. Our org was about 6 years old and was in dire need of TLC. There were unused fields, created in the heat of the moment, then forgotten. Reports sat on shelves collecting dust, filtered to specific dates that no longer held meaning, many of them duplicates. The role hierarchy was a single line.

In the middle of this project, I came across three different fields with the word “target” in them. Since there was no documentation (winning!), I sought out users that I knew had been part of the team for a long time and asked them to explain the different use cases for them.


(Admin sits across from MJ, fingers steepled intelligently, listening 100% calmly, and no one can argue that.)

MJ: Barry wanted to track target accounts associated with . But I just wanted a quick way to mark my targets, so [name redacted] added a checkbox for me to use.

Admin: That seems reasonable. Can I ask, though, why this account marked as a target hasn’t had activity for two years?

MJ: Well, I want to target them again in the future, so I didn’t want to uncheck it.

(Admin remains perfectly calm. Data maintenance is like whatever, right?)


I gathered two sales reps and the inside sales rep manager, and we sat down to review our options. There were 7. 7 options. Because there were 7 different ways of managing what we called the “pre-pipeline” in our org.

7. Seven. Like the movie. Seven.

Each outside sales rep worked differently with inside sales; they all tracked their target accounts separately. There was no way for us to report on activity or work done outside of the opportunity pipeline. *nervous laughter*

After weeks of reviewing the ideal sales cycle, we produced a series of three fields (or field enhancements) that filtered Accounts:

  1. Account Status
  2. Group Ownership
  3. Acct. Dev. Assigned (Inside Sales)

Account Status

The original field had four options, none of which matched our process. We decided to use this field in a way similar to an Opportunity stage; each status represents a step in the sales cycle.

  • Best Fit: the account meets our minimum “requirements” – the company is a good size, has enough revenue, is in a good industry, etc. Inside Sales can use this status to mine for potential new targets.
  • Active: the account is being actively pursued. If inside or outside sales is calling people there, it should be marked active.
  • Opportunity: the account currently has an open, new business opportunity
  • Implementing: the account has been won, is a new client, and is currently working with our implementation team
  • Client: the account is a current customer
  • Qualified Out: the account does not meet basic requirements/is not a good fit
  • New: the account is less than 60 days old and has not yet been researched to qualify or not

Where possible, these statuses are automated; when a new opportunity is created for a non-client account, the status is updated to “Opportunity.” When that opportunity is won, it is changed to “Implementing.”

Group Ownership

The second piece of the target puzzle for us was who was working on what. It would look foolish for inside and outside sales reps to be unwittingly calling on the same person. And who should the admin speak to for current information?

The group ownership field was barely used, and its options were out-dated. We simplified the choices and made them relevant.

  • Sales: best fit and opportunity accounts belong to (outside) sales
  • Account Development: the account is active and currently being pursued by inside sales
  • Implementation: this is a client account, but they are still implementing
  • Client Services: this is a client account that has completed implementation
  • Marketing: this account needs to be nurtured by Marketing to re-engage

This field, too, is automated where possible. Manual changes are primarily handled by inside sales; based on their activities, they will change accounts to Active/Account Development, as we call it.

Acct. Dev. Assigned

We are a small company, and our inside sales team at the time was only 2 people (now it’s a whopping 3!), so an outside sales rep could have accounts being managed by either of them. They needed a way to report on which account development rep was working on specific accounts, which is where this picklist came in.

First off, why we opted out of a lookup field: based on history, the field would likely remain unused as a lookup. It was also easier for reporting – an outside sales rep could choose from the picklist values instead of potentially misspelling a name and having a meltdown about “Salesforce not working.” Finally, when a rep left, we could clear the value of that field, removing them from the reports.

This field was also kept read-only for the outside sales reps. Rather than allow them to pick and choose who they wanted assigned to it, it’s up to the inside sales team.

Workflow and Reporting

With the new process in place, we report on Accounts similarly to Opportunities. Sales reps can see how many Best Fit accounts they have, how many Active accounts, and who is working on them.

Inside sales can look at the whole of Best Fit, drill down into their own Active accounts, and it fits nicely into our Marketo Revenue Cycle Model.

2 years later…

I would really love to say that this new system was perfect, everyone loved it and used it correctly 100% of the time. But this is the real world, and Salesforce Admins have to live in it, too. I still get questions; I still have users tell me they need a way to track the Accounts they are working on…but at least now I have one place to send them with one way of doing just that.

Return to Sin City: Marketing Nation

Honestly, before this year I had spent all of a few hours in Las Vegas – and in the airport at that. Now I could safely traverse at least two resorts with relative ease. Who knew?

hotelroomwindow
Pretty sweet view

This was the first time Marketo held their Marketing Nation Summit in Vegas. Having never attended a previous Summit, I can’t say if this is an improvement or not. I can say that it’s a great place to throw a party, and as I sit here in the airport, I can affirm that this was a BA party.

I present my session in 13 hours. Hope I’m ready. I presented my session this morning, and I think it went well. One regret: I didn’t take a selfie from the stage. Next time.

But before I go stand out like a sore thumb at Hakkasan (serious, marketers dress really sharp, and I’m just hanging out in a black skirt, an old black button up, and converse. Like a boss), I wanted to put some thoughts down on the screen. For the record: I did stick out like a sore thumb, and then I made friends!

hakkasan
This polymath’s first and last time in a legit Vegas nightclub

My situation is unique, since I’m transitioning to a role that won’t utilize Marketo. But I still wanted to attend sessions and bring back some next steps for my team.

The first day was a challenge. Everyone attending knows it; Marketo knows it. Lines were everywhere. Sessions were packed full, and people were being turned away from them. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good problem to have. But it is a problem. I gave up on attending any of them and came back to my room to get some work done. For me, that still counts as a win.

The Everstring party was hoppin’, though.

Wednesday saw a vast improvement on the session situation, although there were still lines. You had to arrive about 30 minutes early to get in. It reminded me a little bit of Dreamforce. During Wednesday’s keynote, those of us attending learned the lines and waiting happened because of the massive numbers of on-site registrations that happened. This thing got bigger than they expected.

Again – a good problem to have.

For those on the fence about next year, here’s what I’ll tell you:

  1. There is a lot of focus on marketing. Of course there is a MOPS component, but there’s a lot of theory and strategy.
  2. You’re going to party a lot. Maybe bring some ear protection.
  3. Plan ahead. Map out your sessions.
  4. It’s worth it – it really is. Even if you only attend two or three sessions on your top ten, you’ll be able to go back with immediate actions that can help your team.

Now, for Marketo. Here’s what I’d suggest:

  1. Let us register for sessions ahead of a time. FCFS doesn’t work after a certain number, and I think that number was breached.
  2. Consider having labs, where customers (and, bonus, potential customers) can try out some new features. Considering RTP? Come here and learn it!
  3. I know that you wanted us all to use the app, and it was…alright. I would have loved to have a physical map for finding sessions.
  4. Make it easy to access WiFi. I heard people chatting during sessions, asking how to get on a network. Most everyone used MGM with no issues, but it could have been made easier. (Remove obstacles to buy!)

So overall, I’m going to say that the Summit was a success. There were some great sessions; there were some super fun parties (WHAT?! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!); the keynotes were inspiring. Tomorrow’s Marketer is well prepared, I think.

willsmithkeynote
Will Smith spoke about tomorrow’s marketers desiring to help people, not sell a product. VIP seating, btw, is the best.

 

Pause

April was a strange month.

I think of a roller coaster – stillness and steady humming to the top of a precipice that I know is coming, but then cresting the top and looking down at the drop on the other side and feeling like it’s completely unexpected. Freefalling, excitement, and terror, then being flung into a turn before catching my breath.

May will likely be much the same.

It has never been easy for me to leave something behind, especially if I poured much of myself into it. Even little things – easter eggs nestled in out-of-the-way places or ideas that I carefully brought to reality. Leave things better than you found them. I strive for that. I hope I succeed.

It is also difficult for me to accept my adulthood sometimes. I’m not old. But I do adult things now; I have a mortgage, a 401k. Every job I’ve ever taken has been accompanied with a feeling of am I actually grown up enough for this?

But it’s bittersweet now to get something sweeter. I’ve put in time (less than I thought I’d have to, admittedly) and I’ve put a little bit of heart and soul into all of this, so no one can say I didn’t earn it. I’m happy.

And I’m tired.

There is still so much I wanted to do, to finish, and there isn’t the time. I have to let go, hand over the keys, step aside and cede the stage to someone else. I have to trust that they will put the time and care into things the way that I did. I trust my manager to find that person.

I just need to pause for a moment – a moment I haven’t allowed myself yet. Pause and sit and consider the path behind me, prepare for the path ahead of me. Breathe.

Amazing things are coming, and I am excited and terrified. But definitely happy.