People.ai is the first AI platform for data-driven sales and marketing leaders in the enterprise. The company helps businesses like Zoom, MuleSoft, Gainsight, and more align their sales and marketing teams by automatically capturing all sales activity to drive intelligent sales management and marketing insights.
As a rapidly expanding organization, it’s crucial that People.ai’s marketing funnel is optimized for growth. The company runs a host of marketing campaigns including events, webinars, and digital advertising, all of which are designed to foster engagement with current and prospective customers. With all this activity, email notifications from Marketo became noisy and fell into a black hole. The team needed a better way of monitoring key activity—without creating a flood of unwanted notifications.
Monitoring Crucial Marketo Activity
Like many businesses, People.ai uses Marketo as the base for all of its marketing operations. Every marketing initiative is executed from within Marketo, whether it’s an event, product announcement, or newsletter. With all of this activity, one of the biggest challenges the company faced was a constant flood of email notifications. Every time there was a new activity in Marketo—from a new blog subscriber to an event sign-up—People.ai’s sales and marketing teams would receive an email notification.
In the midst of so much notification activity, it was easy for important items to get lost in the shuffle. Not only were the notifications overwhelming, but it was also difficult for the team to identify and follow up on urgent activity, like customers unsubscribing from newsletters. “We needed a way to show what was happening within Marketo in a really easy, digestible format. Email alerts are great, but they get really noisy,” says Sierra Summers, People.ai’s Director of Marketing.
Additionally, the People.ai marketing team faced a specific set of challenges with its event marketing, which is aimed at creating opportunities to thoughtfully engage with customers and prospects. Because guests register for these meetups via Eventbrite, the marketing team would have to manually create or update leads in Marketo with the registrant’s information. “If somebody registers in Eventbrite, how do you get that back into Marketo?” comments Summers. “You have to manually export it and standardize it to your fields. It’s a serious pain point.”
In addition, many other people within the company would request updates on the number of attendees registered. But that information existed only in Marketo—which most of the non-marketing employees didn’t regularly access. And when the marketing team was on-site running an event, it was difficult to determine who had already checked in via Eventbrite without opening the app to check.
Creating a Comprehensive Marketo-Slack Integration
Summers knew that the marketing team needed an easier way to access and digest information from Marketo. “We needed a tool that was powerful enough to build what we needed to share from within Marketo,” she says. “And we needed to get up and running quickly.”
“Our CEO, Oleg Rogynskyy, used Workato during his tenure at H2O.ai, and he suggested we take a look at the platform,” she continues.
After selecting Workato as their intelligent automation platform, the company set out to build a workflow that would allow employees to access and act on key Marketo data without being overwhelmed by notifications. Like many companies, People.ai turned to email’s successor for a solution: chat apps. Because they allow people to communicate in real-time, chat apps offer a powerful way to send and sort important information when coupled with intelligent automation. They also allow companies to use chatbots to facilitate seamless integration with other cloud apps.
By connecting Marketo to Slack with Workato’s connector, the company’s marketing team now receives chat notifications for important new activity. These notifications can be customized based on the channel that should receive them, which minimizes the overall number of messages the marketing team receives. Because these Slack messages are more visible—and are sent to specific, customizable channels based on the type of activity—the team can act on them promptly, without getting distracted by irrelevant messages. “When the information is available in Slack,” Summers says, “you can see it and consume it a lot more easily. When the information is in an email, it just gets lost [in your inbox].”
Summers also created a workflow that automatically delivers event registration updates at a set time every day using Workbot, a chatbot Workato created to allow users to do work in other cloud apps directly from Slack. “Being able to push that data into Slack was really important for us, and Workato allows us to do that,” she comments.
Slack’s push notifications are also much easier for the team to use when on-the-go or running events. “We do a lot of meetups, so when someone checks in to the meetup, we’re able to push a notification into Slack that says ‘Person X from Company Y has just checked in,’” explains Summers. “Our event team can know exactly who is in the room, so they can go connect with key attendees rather than standing around at the registration table constantly asking who has checked in so far.”
Summers also created a workflow that syncs Eventbrite registrations with Marketo. “If someone registers for an event, and they’re not already a lead in our system based on their email address, Workato will create that lead for us,” Summers explains.
Workato Adds Capabilities That the Marketo-Slack Native Connector Simply Can’t
Workato also offers more flexibility than the out-of-the-box connector. “When it comes to integrating Marketo and Slack, Workato gives us a lot more control over what to push—and when. With an out-of-the-box solution, we didn’t have the power to customize what we felt was important and what we felt our team needed to be notified about.”
Summers continues, saying that the granular control over the automations is what truly sets Workato apart from an out-of-the-box connector. “The biggest benefit is that we can specifically [set up a workflow to run] only when someone fills out a demo request, for example, and to only post the notification to the demo request Slack channel,” she says. “Or maybe there’s a VIP on our targeted accounts list. We can have an automation that notifies us via a specific channel whenever a person from those accounts does anything that gets logged in Marketo.”
With the native Marketo-Slack connector, she says, the team didn’t have that kind of control—which is essential to increasing productivity. “When we originally turned on the default integration, my sales reps were getting alerts every time any of the contacts they owned did something interesting,” Summers comments. “They don’t need that noise. We didn’t have the power to customize what we felt was important and what we felt our team needed to be notified about. Using Workato, we’re just able to have a lot more control over what to push and when.”
Over the past year, People.ai has used Workato to process 29,249 transactions between apps. Many of those transactions represent Slack notifications about key Marketo activity. With such a large volume of notifications, it’s easy to see why customization and granular control are key—without it, sales and marketing staff would face a deluge of information on a daily basis.
A More Efficient Marketing Funnel with Slack as the Hub
Summers says that the integrations have eliminated a lot of manual work for the marketing team. “The tool has definitely saved us a lot of headaches. [For example], if somebody wants to know how many people are registered for an event, that information is automatically available in Slack,” she explains.
By automating tedious tasks, Workato also helps keep overhead down, she continues. “Workato has been able to cover the role of a marketing coordinator or a marketing associate—somebody who might be posting those updates every hour or doing some of that manual work. That was a huge savings [in terms of] headcount, so that was a big win for us with Workato.”
The events integration, in particular, helps People.ai connect with key stakeholders effectively. “Now, our team is spending their time at those events with the right people. They know when an important person has walked into the room, so they can give that person some extra love and some VIP treatment,” Summers says.
“I don’t know how to code,” Summers explained, “But if you understand Marketo—which is what I am really well-versed in—using Workato is not out of reach,” she comments.