Episode 172: Nimrah Zaid on the Importance of Marketing Enablement

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Shawnna Sumaoang: Hi, and welcome to the Sales Enablement PRO podcast, I’m Shawnna Sumaoang. Sales enablement is a constantly evolving space, and we’re here to help professionals stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices so that they can be more effective in their jobs.

Today, I’m excited to have Nimrah Zaid from Algo, join us. Nimrah, I would love for you to introduce yourself, your role, and your organization to our audience.

Nimrah Zaid: Hello, Shawnna. First of all, I would like to thank you for having me on. I’m Nimrah and I’m based out of Munich, Germany. Since August this year, I have been part of AlgoMarketing. It’s a marketing agency that offers a unique blend of services to its clients that range from providing the right talent, marketing technology and tools for optimization, and scaling of marketing activities. A1go partners with clients, such as Google, and that is where I am assigned as a Marketing Enablement Manager for Google Cloud.

I basically work with the Google Cloud Strategy and Operations team on enabling the marketing teams, specifically in the EMEA and APAC regions with the planning and budgeting processes, providing best practice consultation to marketing teams on how to improve their ROI and building insights on how to further optimize the internal processes and tools that I use for marketing, planning, and budgeting. I also manage and collect data to measure the efficacy of resources, promote adoption and consistent use of tools, and to maintain thorough data hygiene. Prior to this, I have around five years of experience of working in companies, big and small, in roles such as digital marketing, market research, and marketing.

SS: Well, thank you so much for joining us today. Now, you mentioned you recently transitioned from a marketing operations role into marketing enablement. How does your background in operations help inform your approach to your new role?

NZ: That’s a good question. I have been asked this a lot lately. You see, having previously worked as a Marketing Operations Specialist, I have a good understanding of convoluted mesh networks of processes, data analytics, technology, and taxonomy. This set up the stage for my current role, where I have to transform these complexities into a format that is easy to comprehend by the upper management and teams likewise.

To put it into perspective, the field marketing operations gives us a heterogeneous spectrum of marketing solutions. It focuses on end-to-end marketing optimization with functions, including, and not limited to planning, analyzing, automating, and enabling the core marketing to operate and scale. At a granular level, marketing enablement is helping drive marketing operations. They have a higher-level view of marketing needs and can orchestrate success.

SS: That’s fantastic. I love how your past experience translates really well into that. Now, within some marketing teams, marketing enablement may be a newer role. In your opinion, how does marketing enablement help to scale the success of the marketing team?

NZ: In theory, marketing enablement fills the sweet spot between marketing, technology, and analytics. It is an additional layer of efficiency to the whole marketing structure. Marketing enablement connects product and solution innovators with business leaders and stakeholders. It is a multi-fold role that not only allows marketing teams to more effectively use various tools by creating training and learning resources, but also to work cross-functionally with platform renders, automation, and other operation teams to improve the process. Also, to advocate for the internal customer experience by developing a strategy for the creation and adoption of training and content.

In my opinion, marketing enablement is not a new idea. We have been tossing around the stone for years. In the past, it never caught on as a buzzword for marketers, but now the need for dedicated marketing enablement function is critical.

SS: Absolutely. I think so as well with all of the things that are changing so quickly in the marketing landscape. Now, in a recent post on LinkedIn, you said that the best strategy for marketing success is to work in partnership with marketing operations. From your experience, how does partnering with marketing operations lead to better overall marketing results? In particular, how does that impact the capacity to innovate?

NZ: Yes. I remember this post. You see, the role of marketing operations is to focus on the strategy, execution, and operations of the marketing process. It is more like a hub where processes and metrics and goals are brought into alignment. Professionally speaking, there have been many instances where this partnership between marketing ops and marketing have led to better results. I have seen how introducing smart solutions to the marketing process can get better conversion. Even simple things like setting up a chatbot on a website that simultaneously not only minimizes manual work for SDRs but can generate double the number of leads.

To have a one-stop documentation resource and technologies and processes can go a long way of not only onboarding new colleagues, but for enablement of existing team members. All of this in a nutshell, can help marketing in an overarching way to not only achieve goals, but also be scalable.

SS: Yeah, absolutely. I think scalability is critical in these days. Now, in that same post, you mentioned that marketing operations handles the nuts and bolts of marketing, including reporting out on analytics. In your opinion, how do marketing analytics help to increase the effectiveness of decision-making for marketing leaders? How do you leverage that from a marketing enablement standpoint?

NZ: Data analytics and reporting are one of the pain points of a marketing operations professional. Short answer would be that data analytics is important. Why? To learn what has happened, to understand what is happening, to know what might happen, to maximize efforts, and to streamline budgets.

Let me shed some more light on it. Marketing analytics is crucial as it provides a holistic view of the performance of the marketing activities of an organization. The analysis is important to illustrate not only the performance, but its associated influence on sales. Here, I would like to mention Darrell Alfonso, who is a marketing ops guru, and I totally resonate with him and his ideas and approaches. He once mentioned that we need to prioritize data analytics and marketing so the processes can be well segmented. The reporting becomes credible with added granularity, and that in turn will enable stakeholders to make smart investments in future demand generation.

Good data insight is not only beneficial for marketers or business leaders, but also for sales and SDRs so they can have meaningful conversations with prospects. To summarize, accurate data gives you a clear funnel visibility, and to make your marketing dollars stretch further.

SS: From your perspective, what are some of the key metrics that enablement teams need to track to help increase marketing success?

NZ: First, we need to recognize that marketing enablement is an organizational capability. This means if one person or several people find they want to leave the marketing team, this capability can successfully persist. An organizational capability is derived from a strategy and consists of a bundle of people, processes and technology that drives a business result.

Another key element to marketing enablement is the identification and use of technologies that enable marketing results. In short, it is adding value to the whole marketing process. We can easily quantify marketing enablement results by internally keeping track of all the documentation and standardization we have in place, by checking the quality of marketing and sales qualified leads to make sure there are no roadblocks in the funnel, to setting up optimized reports and dashboards for demonstrating marketing impact to key stakeholders, to visualizing the opportunities and areas for improvement.

We have to start with a marketing strategy and how it supports, enables, and drives the company strategy. Whatever the company’s strategy is, marketing needs to create a parallel strategy. Once it is defined, it’s in place, it must be operationalized. Part of operationalizing this strategy includes marketing enablement.

SS: I think that’s fantastic. In closing, I have one last question for you. If you don’t mind. While marketing operations deals heavily with data and planning, it also requires creative problem-solving. How have you applied creativity to your work in a data-driven role?

NZ: That’s a wonderful question, Shawnna. You see, being data-driven is no longer an optional thing, it is a must now. We have seen in this post-pandemic year that agile companies can pivot quickly in turbulent times. This pivot is only possible with greater insights to data analytics and having a creative approach. Through analytics, you are reporting on the effectiveness of the process, and when combined with creativity, you can also anticipate possible roadblocks and come up with viable recommendations.

It is creativity that has always helped me understand the technical acumen of the teams I’m going to address and curate my content accordingly. It requires a creative approach to translate the requirements from the marketing teams into technical requirements for creating the workflow, to ensure smooth working of tools. To make the teams aware of trends in a way that they understand the actionable points without getting lost in the complex data matrix. You cannot achieve these goals without being created.

To put it concisely, data analytics and creativity go hand-in-hand. It’s the ability to interpret, manipulate, and extract meaning from data. Then use it to build predictive models for generating business insights and eventually to spread the wisdom across teams effectively.

SS: I love that. Nimrah, thank you so much for joining us today, I learned a lot from you.

NZ: Thank you, Shawnna.

SS: To our audience, thanks for listening. For more insights, tips, and expertise from sales enablement leaders, visit salesenablement.pro. If there’s something you’d like to share or a topic you’d like to learn more about, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

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