by Nori Gale
If you work in digital marketing chances are you’ve heard of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, given its recent spike in popularity. During an interview with the podcast “In the Clouds,” Tom Magadieu, a director of Global Fleet Lifecycle Marketing at WEX, and Chad Creelman, a director of Marketing Analytics at WEX, discussed how WEX’s Fleet division uses Salesforce Marketing Cloud and recommended strategies and best practices for new users.
What is Salesforce Marketing Cloud?
The Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform is a customer relationship management (CRM) tool that allows marketers to create multi-channel experiences, contact customers on an assortment of channels (email, SMS, push notifications, and social advertisements), at the most advantageous times in order to increase customer acquisition and sales. Marketing Cloud makes it easy to plan, monitor, analyze, and make decisions about your outreach to your customer base. This allows you the most efficient way to track how you’re interacting with customers and maintain a consistently supportive, nurturing role with them throughout the relationship.
Why WEX Chose Salesforce Marketing Cloud for Their Fleet Division
In the past, WEX has used a bespoke product to manage its customer database. As Creelman put it, “WEX is a B2B business and so the big question for us is out of the 26 million businesses out there which ones would resonate with a Fleet card offer? Believe it or not on the typical lists when you go out and hunt for prospects, the number of vehicles a company uses is not something that’s readily available.” Because of this shortcoming in available data, WEX built a customer data platform to mine all of the various businesses and model them to figure out who would likely respond well to WEX’s Fleet products. Through this tool, Creelman’s team built lists and then pushed them out into different additional tools to generate sales and marketing communications. “Marketing Cloud’s ecosystem has everything in one place, which was a big draw.” It unified WEX’s fleet customers within the Salesforce subscriber queue. This allowed Fleet marketing to engage with customers in a variety of ways.
Creelman also brings up Salesforce’s prowess at “future-proofing” WEX’s marketing processes. “To engage with a product like Salesforce is to know that they’re thinking two steps ahead. As we watch the digital marketing landscape constantly evolve, with regulations and new technologies, seeing what you can do and what you can’t do, we are sleeping really well at night knowing that we’re partnered with the group that’s investing so extensively in R+D.” To take WEX’s products and platforms to the next level using the Salesforce tool, “we know that our Martech platform will be there with us. That’s a really amazing thing for us and one of the key reasons why we wanted to move to Marketing Cloud for scaling and growing what we do.”
How Marketing Cloud Delivers a Connected Customer Experience
Magadieu aptly sums up the efficiency WEX has found in the Marketing Cloud, “As a marketer one of the things that you really want to be able to do is move at the speed of thought. As your ideas come into your brain, how quickly can you move them into execution? And speed to market, ability to scale, all of these things are things that we think about and that we struggled with before moving into Marketing Cloud.” With Salesforce Marketing Cloud, WEX’s Fleet marketing team is able to pivot with a sales communications idea and develop it and deliver it quickly to customers to best support them through the process of adapting WEX’s products and services into their business.
Prior to implementing Marketing Cloud, WEX Fleet marketing used a variety of disconnected tools. In that environment, “There’s no way to deliver a connected customer experience if your tools aren’t connected, your data isn’t connected, and they aren’t supporting each other and curating that customer experience.” A key goal in Fleet marketing, as Magadieu explains, is to deliver a seamless customer experience. Magadieu’s team wants to always be in conversation with their B2B customer, no matter what stage of the relationship they are in with WEX. In WEX’s Fleet division, WEX employees have to represent not only the WEX brand to their B2B customers but numerous other fuel brands at the same time. “As we look to be able to elevate those customer experiences, we need to be able to do that in dimension. Every campaign that we think of, we think of it as a Rubik’s cube versus a matrix.” The Salesforce Marketing Cloud simplifies things, allowing Magadieu and his team to create customized marketing campaigns all within a single stream. This allows for greater efficiency and dimension to their marketing work.
How Do You Determine What To Look for in a Technology Partner
Magadieu and Creelman emphasize that trust is paramount when sussing out who can best serve as your technology partner. As Creelman puts it, “Ideally you’ll be able to work with somebody that you enjoy working with, that you trust, and who’s going to help you deliver on your vision.” They chose to work with Lev, a company that came highly recommended by Salesforce. Lev was part of WEX’s implementation team early on in the process. Ironically, Creelman explains that Lev earned WEX’s trust in a kind of a roundabout way: by not delivering what Creelman’s team wanted in the first round. “We asked them to come in and look at what we thought was a really complex problem and we had some serious stumbling blocks out of the gate. And what was really amazing– the reason we’ve continued to have such a great relationship with Lev– is the way they responded. They went back to the drawing board, asked more questions, and dug in even deeper and they ended up coming up with the solution that we did implement and it’s been proven to be very successful.” Creelman went on to say that their relationship with their implementation partner was much like any relationship you build in life, it all comes down to trust. “Everybody looks great on paper, on your profile, but once you’re in the thick of it, how does your partner in whatever you’re doing respond to your needs and listen, and think, and be mindful of achieving the same goals? That’s more important than picking the ‘right’ partners: actually being able to execute on a vision together.”
Magadieu agreed with Creelman and elaborated: “You need to really think like an architect on every puzzle that we’re trying to solve. We work with a lot of different partners in a lot of different areas of our business and we put a lot of strain on those businesses because of this challenge of the complexity that we have and what I really appreciate about Lev is their steady and pragmatic approach to making sure that they really got to the bottom of what our goals were and what our challenges were. They established a deep level of domain knowledge, very quickly, and as such, they were able to guide us in ways that were helpful to us and ended up setting us up for success down the road. Lev was exceptional in uncovering our needs and figuring out how to build a road map for us.”
Why Brand Scalability is Important for WEX
WEX Fleet marketing saw a huge improvement in how they were able to support WEX brands by implementing Salesforce Marketing Cloud. The impact was felt most deeply in security and market structure and in campaign execution.
Creelman explained that marketing at WEX supports a really robust, mature, nationwide sales organization. This sales org is made up of the WEX brand as well as all of WEX’s strategic partner brands. “When we think about platforms like Salesforce, we don’t want to have 50 different instances of it for each brand because we lose scalability and we lose the ability to reuse digital assets.” Because of this complex system of brands, Creelman and his team had to come up with creative ways to bifurcate the data. In doing so, they were cognizant of ensuring that leads that were being brought in through sales didn’t get put directly into the marketing engine. This allowed leads owned by a brand to continue to be worked by that brand and not become part of the larger marketing pool. ‘When we think about contacts at a very simple level we start with a parent contact that can be marketed to and then we think about building contacts that are specific to the brands once they’re engaged with those contacts. That has worked for us because it makes sure that the sales organization doesn’t have access to other people’s contacts and other people’s opportunities.”
WEX’s beta model enabled the company to improve personalization on a large scale, with the help of Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s “journey builder” tool. Journey builder allows users to build end-to-end life cycles of sales prospects. Magadieu describes the benefits: “One really great piece of advice that we found out at the beginning of our implementation of Salesforce Marketing Cloud is that journeys are like pieces of software. It’s like an app. Every journey that you create becomes a live piece of software that then needs to be managed over time. When you’re looking at potentially building, or curating, customer experiences for dozens of brands, building unique journey sets for each brand would be unmanageable and unscalable. We learned very early on that our route would need to be deep personalization and especially the use of content blocks to be able to deliver unique experiences for each brand but within a single framework. That made a huge difference for us.” Each one of the fuel brands the WEX Fleet marketing team manages have fuel pumps and stores where drivers can purchase lottery tickets and food. But each one of the brands “puts an enormous amount of effort into differentiation and into creating their own culture, both within their employee base but also within their customer base. For anybody that’s in a Wawa region, they’re very familiar with the term “Gotta have a Wawa!” People take pictures of themselves at the local Wawa store and post them on social media – they’re so beloved. And a lot of these different brands are so deeply beloved and so how do you curate their unique and differentiated customer experiences at scale?” The answer lies in developing a personalization strategy, leveraging content blocks, and thinking about how to build one to many. Magadieu explains that this would allow his team to create all the if/then statements along the journey and be able to deliver unique experiences for each brand.
“Another really great piece of advice we got was not to make massive journeys. This was another really good recommendation from Lev.” Magadieu’s team was advised to think in terms of micro-services and see each experience created in the cloud as a component of many little journeys. “That enables you to be able to make edits and changes without having to unravel yourself in a big piece of software.”
How do you manage all the subscribers and take them through their Salesforce Marketing Cloud Journeys?
The WEX marketing team finds the subscriber piece straightforward. Creelman’s team is using Automation Studio, Audience Studio, and writing SQL. “We partner with the channel marketing team ahead of time to think about the segment we want to enter into the journey, for the most part, once we’ve created the data extension with the right attributes tied to our subscriber queues, so what is the partner, what is the product, what is the timeframe, what is their other firmographic information? All those data extensions get populated, with regularity, rather automatically, and they can be plugged into the journeys we create.”
One of Magadieu’s team’s strategies is to identify key inflection points and discern what behavior they want to drive at those inflection points. Then they wrap a journey around it, and connect one journey to another: “It may be something like once somebody’s got a credit card in hand, the next goal is to activate them. To get them actually using the credit card. So what types of experiences can we deliver to get them over that hump. And then once they’ve activated then we’re onto another series of journeys. So by looking at each minute behavior that we want to drive along the way or each inflection point we then build journeys around them.” Magadieu says this process helps them maintain momentum and keeps them consistently testing as well. “We do a ton of A/B testing in our work as well to drive continuous improvement – so when you’re testing and driving continuous improvement on a small object, versus a longer object, it’s a lot easier to manage and update.”
Magadieu’s team starts their Salesforce Marketing Cloud initiatives at the very top of the sales funnel and at each step along the way they have “journeys to drive nurture, journeys to drive the application process, journeys to drive adoption of our different products and services, and so each step of the way, we’re thinking about what data we have on those subscribers, how can we leverage that data, and for each brand, how do we bring in what’s unique to that brand to differentiate that experience for that brand. Typically through content blocks, but also, one brand might peel off one way in a journey and another brand might peel off in a different direction in a journey and then they kind of group back up when the desired behavior is achieved.”
How WEX Progresses Through Personalization
When journeys connect inflection point to inflection point and customer data is becoming legible, the scale of personalization brand to brand across the entire network of partner brands becomes important. As Magadieu describes it, “We have very much a ‘crawl, walk, run’ approach to how we get into personalization. So at first, it was just, ‘How do we show different colors and logos and pictures?’ That’s kind of ‘crawl’ personalization. Then ‘walk’ was bringing in content blocks that allowed us to ask about and develop components of the brand. And then the ‘run’ for us was the actual if/then statements in the journey which provides unique experiences for each brand. Some brands wanted to have more frequency of touch with their prospects and customers, while others don’t but it was about how to do that within the same architecture so that ultimately you’re not building all these different, unique journey sets for each brand.”
What does your salesforce marketing cloud look like internally? And what do your support agency teams look like?
Creelman says at WEX, Salesforce Marketing Cloud affects every part of the marketing department, whether marketing employees are writing code or looking at results to drive a strategy, they are relying on the tool. The department has a core group of people assigned to manage the data, and on Magadieu’s side, they have what they affectionately call “marketing engineers.” Creelman and Magadieu both talk about how marketing is more like engineering these days. “Great technical minds writing AMPScript and writing code and building these really complex digital assets and so it does touch everybody – and we have a handful of employees really building these complex specific journeys every day.”
With their adoption of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud and their partnership with Lev, WEX’s Fleet division has made great gains in how they are able to manage customer relationships with the most sophisticated technology in the marketplace. As they continue to develop the tool and build on their expertise, WEX will further broaden its scope as a global fintech leader.
All fleet cards are not the same, and different types of fuel cards suit the needs of different kinds and sizes of businesses. View WEX’s fleet card comparison chart to see which fleet fuel card is right for you.
To listen to WEX’s Tom Magadieu and Chad Creelman’s interview on the In the Clouds podcast in its entirety, click here.