How To Migrate A Marketing Database Of 8 Million People With InVision's Jamie Sloan

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This is a podcast episode titled, How To Migrate A Marketing Database Of 8 Million People With InVision's Jamie Sloan. The summary for this episode is: The best teachers and leaders share their hard-earned lessons so that those who come after them don’t make the same mistakes or experience the same pain that they did. The rest of us just need to listen and pick the right people to learn from, and this episode is one such opportunity. Our teacher on this episode is Jamie Sloan, the Senior Director of Marketing Operations and Digital Marketing at InVision, the digital product design platform. In our conversation, we go deep in the trenches alongside Jamie and her team to explore one of the most critical, foundational changes a Marketing Ops team can make: migrating to a different marketing automation platform. We learn what it takes to move a database of 8 million people, the true slog and attention to detail required for these migrations, and how Marie Kondo’s philosophy of only keeping the things that spark joy in your life can possibly apply to campaign clean-up. Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the pod with your friends! You can connect with Sean on Twitter @Seany_Biz @HYPERGROWTH_pod

Jamie Sloan: I think it was one night after dinner being like," Listen, I need to write this down. I can't, I'm a list person. If I don't write this down, I don't know how I'm going to make it through this migration." So I just started, and it just kept getting longer and longer. And then I started grabbing other people to add to it and it just kept getting longer. And finally, it just became the document.

Sean Lane: Welcome to Operations, the show where we look under the hood of companies in hypergrowth. My name is Sean Lane. The best teachers and leaders will often say that they're sharing their wisdom and their learnings so that those who come after them don't have to make the same mistakes, or experience the same pain, that they did. And if you listen and you pick the right people to take those lessons from, you can actually avoid a bunch of pain, and the traps that other people have fallen into. This episode is one of those opportunities. Our guest today, our teacher, is Jamie Sloan. Jamie is the senior director of marketing operations and digital marketing at InVision, the digital product design platform. They have seven million users across tens of thousands of companies around the world, and they've raised$ 350 million in funding over the company's history, with the most recent valuation of$ 1. 9 billion in December of 2018. In our conversation today, though, we're not talking about the big flashy numbers. We're going in the trenches, deep in the trenches, alongside Jamie and her team. With Jamie's help, we're going to explore one of the most critical foundational changes a marketing operations team can make. And that's migrating to a different marketing automation platform. We're going to cover what it takes to scope moving a database of eight million people. We're going to talk about the true slog and the attention to detail required for these migrations. And you'll even learn how Marie Kondo's philosophy of only keeping the things that spark joy in your life can possibly apply to campaign cleanup. But first, we need Jamie to set the scene for us. What was she encountering at InVision, that triggered her to look around and seek out an alternative to her marketing automation platform in the first place?

Jamie Sloan: So what was interesting was, every year around approaching renewal time with our marketing automation platform, I knew in the back of my mind that I should start prioritizing the vendor search, and trying to think about a move. But with everything else that was just going on with priorities, and projects, and things that needed to be done, I just kept punting it to the next year. And I was like," Oh, next year, maybe I'll have more resources," or," Next year it'll be easier," which never was the case, funnily enough. So after I had been at the company for about three years, I was like," All right, it's time for us to really prioritize this." And what was going on at the company at the time was we were growing really fast. We had a huge user base, and we were on a small business focused platform. We were really kind of hitting limits around database size, around our sync with Salesforce, our timeouts, and errors, and things like that, where we were just felt like we were bumping up against the walls, and we really needed to move to more of an enterprise platform that would support our business in the right way.

Sean Lane: And to give people some context. When you say database size, how big are we talking?

Jamie Sloan: We have a ton of active users. We have a really big database. We've got upwards of eight or nine million people in our database. inaudible million people that were actively engaging with our newsletters and emails and product and things like that. So large database, large amount of people to be managing in our system, and we're trying to do it in a scalable way.

Sean Lane: You come to this realization, you're like," All right, it's finally time to do this." What then were the criteria that you were looking for in choosing your replacement?

Jamie Sloan: So I'm lucky enough to have had a career in marketing ops. So definitely familiar with a lot of the main players in the space. So for me, it was like," All right, is there anything new out there that I don't know about? Is there anything that my friends would recommend or colleagues would recommend?" I think for the most part, it's been a pretty stable space for several years and I've had exposure to many of the tools. That said we did do our due diligence of writing out a whole sheet of all the different pieces of criteria that were important to us in doing RFPs with different vendors. And it came down to all the main factors around scalability, features, price recommendations from other clients, things like that. So I think we were able to get a pretty good short list together and start doing demos, start doing discussions and chats with the main vendors.

Sean Lane: You'll notice that Jamie and I are going to be purposefully vague about specific brands or vendor names in this conversation. And that's not us being cagey. Instead, what we found was that people are often bringing their own biases or preconceived notions and feelings about specific tools. And we're going to talk about that more in a little bit, but Jamie and her team, on the other hand, they did their due diligence based on the needs of their business, not just based off of what they had heard from a friend, or a tool that they had used in their past. And what I learned from her is that here on out, Jamie's path to implementation could be applied to any transition to a new MAP, or a marketing automation platform. And what I really took away was that her process, and her team's approach, was far more impactful than any specific feature. And a lot of that approach was driven by her own experience of having made this transition once before in her career.

Jamie Sloan: So for me, having gone through it before, I think for some people maybe that would be like," Oh, great, I'm prepared." For me, it was like," Nope, I have a healthy dose of fear and skepticism about how hard this is going to be." I think I just really had a respect for the size of the project and what would go into it, because it was so hard on a smaller scale. I called it my summer of hell when I did it last time, and that was eight years ago or nine years ago, or something like that, at Rapid7, at a past company I worked at, Rapid7. And so I was prepared mentally for, I think I expected the worst, and prepared for the worst, and would have been pleasantly surprised if it wasn't as bad as I thought. But definitely the biggest thing for me was just giving us enough time. So making sure that we had enough time from when we started this process to when it needed to go live. I did know that most likely we could extend our contract, or go month to month or something like that if we needed to. So I expected that maybe there was a little bit of flexibility if we needed, but at the same time, from a budget standpoint we didn't want to be burning money on two platforms. I didn't want to have my name next to something that missed the deadline. So it was really important for me to make sure we had enough time to build a real project plan and get this done from start to finish.

Sean Lane: And so for people who haven't gone through a migration like this before, how much time is enough time?

Jamie Sloan: That's a great question. A lot of it depends, I think, on the complexity, and the number of integrations and things like that you have going. So for us, we started, I think we would have even started earlier, but to be completely honest, I was on maternity leave. So when I got back from maternity leave in November, we started really kicking off the process. The team had started a bit while I was out, we signed a contract at the beginning of the year, so in the January timeframe. And then we were looking to, our renewal date on the platform that we were migrating off of was the end of August. So for us, it was between January and August was our migration timeframe that we were looking to have everything completed in.

Sean Lane: Okay. So if you include the time since they started their assessment, Jamie and the team at InVision allotted about 10 months, November to August, from start to finish, and about eight months, January to August for the actual migration work, right. Starting with their end date and working backwards, Jamie's team had effectively planned out about three full quarters worth of work. And I wanted to understand how they did that. This feels like one of those things that would be super easy to put off, or procrastinate, or quite honestly just fall by the wayside because of all of the other normal day- to- day work that comes up in an ops team. And Jamie said that she learned how to strike that balance a bit painfully along the way.

Jamie Sloan: That was one of the hardest parts, I think for me, and a learning that I would take away for, I hope I don't ever have to do this again, but if I do, then I'll probably avoid doing this again at all costs. But hindsight is 2020, if I could do something a little bit differently, I think it would be that I would do a better job of communicating to my stakeholders across marketing and sales leadership to say like," Listen, I've got to carve out time for this, and I've got to say no to other things." Now I don't even know if that would have done anything because as probably everyone listening to this knows with marketing ops, we're not really just working on stuff for the fun of it. It's usually stuff that is crucial to deployment of campaigns, and up and running your systems, to keeping the wheels on the bus. So it wasn't like I was taking on fluffy projects just willy- nilly, more just that the day- to- day workload around deploying emails, and campaigns, and events, and things like that, didn't have anywhere else to go. But that said, we tried to try to be a little bit smarter about not taking on any huge new project, like let's redo our lead scoring model at the same time. And at the same time when the business says," Hey, we need this, it needs to be done," they're not going to accept an answer of," We can tackle that in September," in March. That's just not the way small businesses work. You just don't get that lead time and oversight. You need to be more reactive and more agile than that. So really what ended up happening was we worked crazy hours, and it was complete slog, and my team are all stars. And we worked, basically just tacked this on to, for the most part, our normal jobs, which was really hard and really, really, really not glamorous, and really difficult to do. But I think it's something that you put on your resume. It's something that really gives good experience to you. It's something that the team appreciates. We got accolades from our department and our bosses and things like that. So there is a payoff in that sense, and also the pay off in having a more scalable, stable platform in the end, but it was... I will not glamorize it. It was not easy.

Sean Lane: Let's talk more about the people on your team. Cause I think it's a really important point that you're making about the volume of work that they had to do. How big is your team?

Jamie Sloan: So we've got two people on the email side of the house, email and digital messaging. And then we've got three people working for me on the traditional marketing ops side, around campaign operations, lead generation and lead automation, things like that, lead management. And then myself, running that team.

Sean Lane: The reason I ask is it doesn't sound like, at least from the way you're describing it, that you had the luxury to say," Okay, we're going to carve off two people from the team to exclusively focus on just this project for these eight months," right? This was an all hands on deck type of situation, is that fair to say?

Jamie Sloan: Yes, it was 100% all hands on deck. We also worked cross- functionally. So, we have a business technology team in house who are our Salesforce admins. They manage a lot of our different technology platforms. They were really helpful, especially on the project management side of the migration, and making sure that all of our ducks were in a row, and all of our integrations set up, things like that. So that team was an internal resource for us. And then we also had an integration partner, a consultant that we worked with. What was interesting or slightly tough was that I didn't know how much the partner would or wouldn't do of the actual migration work. So I wasn't sure, are they doing 80% of it, or 50% of it, or 20% of it? And so it was difficult sometimes to plan accordingly, because I wasn't sure how much of the actual legwork my team would have to do. So for example, when it came down to moving our emails, my team on the email side literally moved every single email we had that we still needed, from the system we were leaving onto our new system. So taking the HTML code, getting it into our new template, migrating every single email that we have, from onboarding, to newsletters, to event followups, everything else. They had to do that over a week or two of just nonstop all day moving emails.

Sean Lane: One of the things that I've found in implementations, or just using consultants in general, as a benefit for me, and I'm curious if you ran into this similar situation, is I will oftentimes turn to that consultant, or to that integration partner, or to that vendor expert, and say," What is the most out of the box standard use case here?" Because I think inside of companies like InVision and Drift and where you are growing like crazy, you end up customizing, and customizing, and customizing, based off of whatever the need of the business is at that moment in time. And so having a partner or a consultant like that, I've found it helpful to use them as a sounding board, to try and bring us back to more true out of the box functionality. Did you find something similar there? What was the benefit of having a partner like that, or to your point about the email, what was challenging about it?

Jamie Sloan: Yeah, I think I said 100 times during the course of the migration," How do the rest of your clients do it? Because I want it that way. I don't want to do it in some special way that only we do. I don't want to try to make this a crazy new process that, if I leave for a month, everyone forgets how it works." I really just wanted to start us off in a way that was scalable was the way the tool was meant to be used. And it's a way that most other people are using it as well. I'd rather see the customization for something really cool and out of the box, that we're trying to do that other people aren't doing, rather than use it on things that everyone's doing this, we don't need to do it in this really unique way that just no one else understands. So that was one thing that was helpful was being able to say," What do your other clients do?" They would joke that that's what I just kept saying over and over. I was like" What do the other clients do? Do you want to do it this way? How is everyone else doing it?" That was really helpful. I think what was difficult, I would say, is that you're trying to share this project across different teams, in different companies, in different time zones, who have other clients and things like that. So for me, maybe it's my number one priority in the world, but then working with another company, that may not be the case. So I think having it not just be an internal project can sometimes have challenges like that.

Sean Lane: I can't tell you how much I appreciate Jamie's candor here. We've got enough people posting LinkedIn posts and tweets about how they're" crushing it", or just showing charts that only go perfectly up into the right. It's just not realistic. Jamie wants people to recognize that this project, this migration, it was not easy. It was not glamorous. It was really, really hard. And I also really appreciate her approach. There aren't many times in a hypergrowth setting where you're truly going to be able to have a completely clean slate upon which you can build something brand new. The truth is that decisions that Jamie and her team made during this migration are going to have an impact on the future teams at InVision for years to come. And I feel like they recognized and appreciated that responsibility, and took it to heart. The future teammates at InVision are oftentimes going to be either the beneficiaries, or, let's be honest, the victims of work that they are doing today. So when given the opportunity to implement a critical system, like a marketing automation platform, I wanted to know how Jamie and her team looked around corners so that those future teammates would be successful.

Jamie Sloan: I think for me, it was like, what are all the things that I hated about the system that I inherited in the way it was set up and the decisions that were made that I was always like," Oh, if only I could do this again, I would do this differently." I just tried to take stock of those things as well as what did I love at other companies I may have been at, either that I built or somebody else built, that I could now have a chance to do here? And it was that list of things that drove things. Even simple things like folder organization, or naming schemes, having clean templates that you're cloning from, like things like that, just that you don't always have in an inherited system that's a few years old or whatever the case may be, run by a team all over the place. So I think for us, it was just what's the list of... not to make it negative... but what's the list of stuff that we hated that we wish we could've done differently? But you don't have that rainy day where you can sit down and clean everything up and start over. Well, now you do. So now it's a time to do it right the first time around.

Sean Lane: And I think there's also this expectation too, right? That the way you are building is not meant to be the end, right? If you're starting from scratch, you have to have a healthy appreciation for the fact that people are going to build stuff on top of what you've built. And so how did you and the team think about the fact that this is not going to be done in August, right? We're going to migrate by August, and we're going to get the company up and running on this new system by August, but we still are going to have to change and tweak as the business evolves and changes, too.

Jamie Sloan: One thing that I learned through this process is, at first, when we started this, working with our partner we didn't have a full list of everything just written out that needed to happen. It lived in a bunch of different documents, and in people's heads. And I just kept being like," I can't sleep at night if we don't get this all into one list that everyone is referring to as the Bible of this migration." And as much as it was painful for everyone to be forced to write every single step down, I made us do it. And that really helped to get a full list of everything that was critical to migration, versus there were post- launch items, and nice to have items. So we had this list broken out into those categories and we just kept it up to date with our migration partner, and just lived and died by it to say," If it's not on this list, it's not happening, or it doesn't exist." And so that helped us to figure out, what were the things that had to be done by the renewal date, what are the things that had to be done immediately after? So super critical, but not tied to the migration. And then what were the things that are on the list of, we'll tackle those next type of things?

Sean Lane: Yeah. And what did ongoing project management look like with that, right? So you put all the time and effort in to make this massive list. What did that look like in terms of, was it did you have specific routines or cadences that you met about this, or talked about it, or had specific timelines for communication? How did that list then get managed and executed on?

Jamie Sloan: So we had a working session most weeks, pretty long, an hour and a half a week carved out between myself, my team and our internal partners, and then our external migration partner. And so in that meeting, we would try to get through the whole list. And the list was that long that we couldn't even always get through, even just quickly reading through them all. But that was our goal, was to get through the list. And then on the list, it would just be, do we need to update this? Is it done? We asked people to try to do that before the meeting, so that in the meeting, it was just more of a discussion around any items that needed a discussion. But in that meeting, we tried to make sure that everything on the list was updated with current status, blockers, things like that. I won't lie, at times when things got really busy or really hectic, the list did not get updated that week, or not get touched for that week or two. And that's when things were getting a little bit stressful and it was like, all right, we really need to get back to this list and say," Did this form get migrated? Did this check box get completed?" And even though it was tiresome to do that, I don't know what would we would have done if we didn't. So I keep thinking that. I'm like, if I didn't make us write this down... And it was me just being... I think it was one night, after dinner being like," Listen, I need to write this down, I can't, I'm a list person. If I don't write this down, I don't know how I'm going to make it through this migration." So I just started, and it just kept getting longer and longer. And then I started grabbing other people to add to it and it just kept getting longer. And finally it just became the document. So I think if we hadn't done that, a lot of balls would have been dropped, and a lot of things probably would have fallen by the wayside. So I do think that was one of my biggest takeaways, is that having this go- to document, the big kahuna full list of every single piece that needs to be completed, is critical for something like this where it's just so big.

Sean Lane: I feel like the part you said right there about grabbing other people to add to the list is a pretty crucial step, right? And not just people within marketing ops, but people throughout the rest of the company who might not necessarily know the inner workings of a marketing automation tool, but have very specific use cases that they're going to want to be able to execute on from a marketing perspective. And so can you tell me a little bit more about what that looked like? How did you go about gathering these inputs and these use cases from other parts of the organization, and which parts of the organization did your team spend the most time with?

Jamie Sloan: We had a lot of different parts of the organization to work with. So yes, we broke it into sections around things like, we have one section for integrations, and one section for website in general, and landing pages and forms. We had one section for email, things like that. Just everything you could imagine there. And then, so for each of those sections, we had an owner, and that owner usually was on my team or on the business technology team that I mentioned, who would then solicit the help they needed from other teams. So one big one for us was our product integration. So we have this premium product, where there's touch points in the product. So signup upgrade, things like that, that are integrated into our marketing automation platform. So we had to work really closely with our product team and a whole different bunch of people on different teams within the product team, to get those touch points into our new platform. And so it was a mix of having a marketing ops owner/ point of contact, who was working with the other teams cross- functionally. One example was GDPR insecurity. So we needed to make sure that we worked with legal, with security, with the GDPR cross- functional team that we have, to make sure that our implementation and the decisions we were making would work for that team, and to satisfy those needs. And so that's not something that marketing ops can do on our own, but it is something that we can help make sure it gets done, and verified, and things like that.

Sean Lane: And I feel like there's almost an art to how you have those conversations with other parts of the organization, right? I think that this expands far beyond just a migration like the one that you guys did, but just being able to articulate from an ops perspective to, let's say a product perspective in your example," Hey, this is what we're doing. This is why we're doing it, and this is how it could actually make your life better, but we need to come up with these use cases. We need to be able to connect these dots together in order to make that better." And I just feel like that part of the process, while it doesn't necessarily fit nicely into," Oh yeah, okay. I checked this box, I've hit this part of our list," the actual art of that conversation is a skillset in and of itself. Do you think?

Jamie Sloan: I 100% think that's true. Getting internal buy- in, getting people on board. Because this is work they're going to have to do above and beyond their normal jobs, same as we're doing, right? And it's something that maybe it doesn't directly benefit them, but it benefits the company. They have competing priorities. It's a harder sell. The other tough part was trying to sell this sometimes to developers in different areas of the company, who have this whole list of people across the company, demanding things from them, and who are just like," This is just one more thing on my list." And I go in like," Hey, let's talk about why this is important." And they're like," Listen, we don't want inaudible, submit a ticket, get it prioritized and then we'll go from there." So I think it's a balance of figuring out who you need to sell it to, versus who you need to work within their workflow. So their ticketing system, the language they use, the documentation they need, making sure their boss has signed off on it, making sure you have the right security approvals to even launch it in our product. So there were a lot of politics and processes that needed to be navigated to do something simple, like install it, like replace a form within our product, our previous vendors form with the new vendors form. It sounds so easy, but it was incredibly difficult.

Sean Lane: It sounds so easy, but it was incredibly difficult. I feel like from an outsider's perspective, or even from an operator's perspective who hasn't gone through one of these migrations themselves, you could say the exact same thing about this entire migration. But it sounds so easy, right? It's not just marketing campaigns. It's not just sending emails. This project is architecture, it's project management, it's foresight, it's internal negotiations. Jamie and her team have faced all of this and more inside of this project. And we could do a whole separate episode just on having those internal conversations that Jamie mentioned, and the power that comes with using the language and the systems that your internal partners use. And who knows, maybe we will do that at some point, but for today, I'm honestly an awe of the work that Jamie's team did during this period of time. InVision's business, by the way, is not simple. They have multiple products with multiple funnels. So with Jamie now on the other side of a successful migration, I asked her what she viewed as critical to her success. What's something that the rest of us can do and take away, if and and when we're faced with a similar situation?

Jamie Sloan: Being on the other side of it, I think one of the most important things is respecting those different funnels, and the different funnel dynamics within each of them, and making sure that you've up your systems to play nicely with them, and to scale and support your business in those ways. So it's everything from different segmentations you have in the database, data sources you have for different types of people, decisions like can one person be multiple product users, or is it binary, one or the other? How that layers on to sales segments, things like what type of account. Is it a target account? Is it in this segment or that segment? Thinking about all those intersection points, we went through an exercise where we documented that all in different slides, of what are the different segments that we market to, sell to, engage with, and how do they overlay? And then we used that framework to build out how we set up our system. So getting on paper how do you talk to your clients? How do you engage with them? How does your sales team sell to them? And then using that framework to then build, as opposed to just building it how it's always been, or building it how you think it should be. I think that is a meaningful exercise to go through, getting it on paper from your stakeholders, maybe, and let's say your inaudible team, or sales team or whoever you're working with. Getting their thoughts down into a centralized document on what this would look like, and then using that to translate into how you operationalize it.

Sean Lane: And I think that the beautiful part about that is that you then have that living, breathing customer journey, documented to be able to look back on as you continue to build, right? And all of a sudden this thing that most people who inherit systems probably don't have, is the blueprint as to why, right, and the reasons why things are the way they are. And so now all of a sudden you have this resource, and this blueprint, that people can update and tweak, and refer back to whenever those hard decisions come, or whenever that new product gets launched, or whenever that new wrinkle gets introduced.

Jamie Sloan: We did a lot of documents like that, that I think really helped us. Documents like how do all of our integrations work, and just actually taking a minute to write all of that out. Maybe some bigger companies might have a team that maintains that stuff, or might have a service that does that. But at least at a company of our size, I mean, we may have a huge database, but we're not a huge company, right. Where we're a small company, but we have this massive user base. So our resources are constrained, and our teams are small and scrappy. And so for us, we didn't have this extensive documentation of how different tools integrate together, like what's the push and pull, and what fields meant. We didn't have any of that. So taking the time and going through the process to write all that down, and flowchart it all out. And see how it all connects, so that now we can figure out what needs to happen for this migration, was really useful and really helpful. And something that I hope that we can maintain going forward, even when things get busy.

Sean Lane: And I think a great by- product of that, at least when we have ever done any sort of audit or review of any of the architecture, or workflows, or tools, or anything like that at Drift, a great by- product of that is we usually end up simplifying and stripping stuff out, right? Like that is one of the most satisfying things. If you can say to the team," Hey,, I don't think this workflow is doing anything anymore, or it feels redundant with this other one that we also have in place. Can we consolidate or kill one of these?" And all of a sudden you can work your way to a place where you're simplifying and stripping away a lot of the complexities that you have probably created over time, just because of whatever the use case was at that moment.

Jamie Sloan: We loved when we got to X something out of crosstalk or the document. It just felt so freeing to be like," This is not bringing us any..." I don't know if you've seen Marie Kondo, but it's not bringing us joy. So we need to exit out of our plan here, and just put a big red X on it, or just a delete button. And it felt really good to simplify down to what really mattered. And then also, all the things that in the back of your head," I know this is a thing, but I don't have time to get into why it's a thing, and why we're doing it, and how it works. So I'm just going to let it take up space in my brain for a little bit and then worry about it later." This was the, all right, now it's later. Now it's time to investigate. Why did we set up this crazy integration for our NPS scores? Why does it have this random field? Why does it have this? And actually take the time to be like," Nope, we're not going to do it this way this time around, we're going to do it right." And we actually, funnily enough started a jar for whenever I catch someone on my team naming something incorrectly or naming something inconsistently now, they have to give me money. Because we always complained that things weren't named correctly. And we have, it's called Bonusly. We have an internal thing where you can give people a couple of dollars. So I make people on my team send me Bonusly whenever I find them having named something wrong, because we always complain that we don't have a naming structure, we inherited blah, blah, blah. Things are always messy. And now I'm like," This is our new clean house. Don't mess it up." And so I make them give me money when I catch the name incorrect."

Sean Lane: That is so brilliant. So it's the complexity jar. Anytime someone adds unnecessarily complexity, money in the jar.

Jamie Sloan: I get a dollar.

Sean Lane: Oh, that's so good. One more question for you about just your team, and this transition, and the tools that you're using. You and I have been pretty purposefully vague in our conversation today, about the logos and the vendors exactly that we're talking about. And one of the things that I've found, especially in marketing ops, is that people tend to have a specific affinity, or a comfort level, with a specific tool. And you even see these patterns of talent moving where the tools are. And so I'm curious, from having gone through this a couple different times, and assessing the landscape, do you think that that is something that ops folks need to do? In tying themselves to specific tools and logos, or from going through this process, have you found a better way to help people release that really tight grip on the thing that they know, and the thing that they feel comfortable with?

Jamie Sloan: So funnily enough, I could not be more opposite of that. I'm completely vendor agnostic when it comes to marketing automation platforms, other tools. It's not that I have no loyalty... I guess it is that I have no loyalty inaudible, because I have had a career where I've used HubSpot, Marketo, Silverpop, Eloqua. I've used Pardot. I've used all of them, and I've had no formal training besides just getting in and figuring it out. And I've been able to successfully use every single one of those at multiple companies without any real bad learning curve. And it's not because I'm some genius, it's because I honestly think they're built to be easy to use, easy to pick up, easy to run with. Really similar, as far as the UI, and what you can build, and things like that. They probably would hate me saying this, but I think if we're only thinking we can only be successful with one of these, I think we're really limiting our career. And so I don't ever look for, when I'm hiring people or when I'm looking for talent, I don't ever look to see if they've used the tool I'm using. I just want to know that they understand the space and generally have experience in this area. And no one on my team besides me had used the tool we moved to, they had all had deep experience in other tools. And so they were all worried, are we going to be able to pick up this new platform? Are we going to have a big learning curve? And now they're amazing. They're all figuring things out that people who have used the platforms for years didn't know, and they're coming with ideas and they picked it up in a complete flash. We did have some learning videos and things like that. But I just think getting in there and figuring it out was really the way to be successful. And I mean, definitely rely on the communities that are available to you, and things like that. But I think it's just a matter of figuring it out. I think a lot of ops people, they learn by doing. And so we just get in there and figure things out. But I do not think it matters if you have experience in that particular platform. I think they're all similar. And I think they meet different needs for different businesses, which is great. But I think any true marketing ops person can use any tool really well.

Sean Lane: Before we go at the end of each show, we're going to ask each guest the same lightning round of questions. Ready? Here we go. Best book you've read in the last six months?

Jamie Sloan: I have three small children under the age of three. So I'm barely surviving. If I have a spare minute of time it's to watch Bravo or something like that. So please don't quote me on this one. I actually love to read. And it's one of my biggest regrets these days that I don't have a brain left for reading. So can...

Sean Lane: I think Below Deck Med totally counts.

Jamie Sloan: That's my favorite book. And I actually, I'm an avid reader in normal life. I just am in bizarro land with tiny little kids and a migration right now, so.

Sean Lane: We'll give you a pass. That's totally fine. Favorite part about working in ops?

Jamie Sloan: I think that you get to work cross- functionally, and I have the smartest people on my team, and I'm just always blown away by their brilliance and how they approach problems and problem solving, and how they handle so much. I think other teams have the luxury of, this is the one or two things we're focusing on right now. And in ops, you get a laundry list, plus whatever pops up, plus whatever other thing the execs ask for. And just getting to work with really smart people who thrive in situations like that, and then also getting to work with lots of different teams internally.

Sean Lane: Least favorite part about working in ops?

Jamie Sloan: The flip side of that, which is we don't have the luxury of getting to know our priority lists as far in advance as other departments do. We have to be really reactive. There's things on my list that I know we should do, and I'd love to get to, but because business needs change, new campaigns come up, other ideas are popping up. I don't always get to be as in control of the prioritization list as I'd like. I think sometimes we have to be a little bit more reactive in a support function than maybe would be something I would choose.

Sean Lane: Someone who impacted you getting the job you have today?

Jamie Sloan: I would say probably my biggest mentor is Tom Wentworth. He is CMO... He's a CMO. I've worked with him in a few companies. He didn't get me into my company today, but I think he's helped me to get where I am. He's my mentor and helps me make tough decisions, helps me, again, move in the right direction in my career, in life in general. So he's someone I hope to keep in my network for a long time.

Sean Lane: I love that. He's a big advocate of Drift as well, and so we're big fans of Tom. All right. Last one, one piece of advice for people who want to have your job someday.

Jamie Sloan: Don't do it. No, I'm just kidding. So my first boss ever, when I was right out of college, I worked at Rapid7. He told me that the best way, if I was interested in this world, the best thing I could do is make myself as useful as I could to as many people as I can. And that's something I've taken to heart, and it's been over 10 years now since I was given that advice. But I think just in general, if you want to be successful in operations, you want to be helpful and useful to your boss, your team, your company. Fix problems, jump in, don't wait for people to tell you what to do, but just how can I help, and jump in and try to help. And I think that's something that it seems small, but he said it to me in my first week, and it's stuck with me ever since. And I think it's something that I just try to bring that mindset of support oriented, helpful, and positivity to jobs, and I hope that has helped me get where I am, and I think it can help other people too.

Sean Lane: Huge shout out and thank you to Jamie Sloan, for joining us on this week's episode of Operations. Equally huge shout out to Molly Sloan from Drift for making the introduction. Thanks so much, Molly, I appreciate everything you do to make this show a success. If you liked what you heard today, make sure you subscribe so you get a new episode of Operations into your feed every other Friday. By the way, Tom Wentworth, who Jamie mentioned as someone who impacted her career, he is the CMO of Recorded Future and he has his own new podcast that just started to come out pretty recently, called Scale Up Marketing. He is the host. You should check that out. It is a great show as well. If you liked what you heard on this show, make sure you leave us a six star review on Apple podcasts, six star reviews only. That's going to do it for me. Thanks so much for listening, we will see you next time.


The best teachers and leaders share their hard-earned lessons so that those who come after them don’t make the same mistakes or experience the same pain that they did. The rest of us just need to listen and pick the right people to learn from, and this episode is one such opportunity. Our teacher on this episode is Jamie Sloan, the Senior Director of Marketing Operations and Digital Marketing at InVision, the digital product design platform. In our conversation, we go deep in the trenches alongside Jamie and her team to explore one of the most critical, foundational changes a Marketing Ops team can make: migrating to a different marketing automation platform. We learn what it takes to move a database of 8 million people, the true slog and attention to detail required for these migrations, and how Marie Kondo’s philosophy of only keeping the things that spark joy in your life can possibly apply to campaign clean-up. Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the pod with your friends! You can connect with Sean on Twitter @Seany_Biz @HYPERGROWTH_pod