There are 2 distinct skill sets a company needs when using Salesforce Marketing Cloud: Application Specialists and Campaign Specialists. Understanding the type of Consultant you need is a key step in Marketing Cloud success.
While it has taken Salesforce many years to get their Salesforce Marketing Cloud product offering right, it has become an incredibly powerful tool for B2C and B2B Marketing teams looking to fully integrate their customer acquisition with a centralized data strategy. It features a wide range of marketing automation tools, predictive intelligence, content management, and a customer data platform. This article is not a deep dive into the capabilities of Marketing Cloud and far better articles have been written on that topic.
However, if your company has already decided to use Salesforce Marketing Cloud (or is in the process of implementing it) then you will need to hire a variety of Marketing Cloud Experts on that journey. Since the tool is so feature rich and has a complex set of integrations, this article will discuss the types of Salesforce Marketing Cloud Consultants you need to perform different functions.
Let's start with a basic overview of the 2 types of Marketing Cloud Experts.
The first type of Salesforce Marketing Cloud Expert is the Application Specialist.
Typically, you find this skill set in the form of a Marketing Cloud Consultant and these individuals mostly often work at a Salesforce Marketing Cloud Implementation Partner. (A separate topic altogether is when and how to hire an Implementation Partner for your Marketing Cloud deployment.)
Application Specialists are highly technical Marketing Cloud Specialists, who focus on architecting, customizing, and deploying the platform, building complex integrations, and structuring data models. These are the Specialists that you should hire if your company is setting up Marketing Cloud for the first time or deploying new modules into your existing instance.
As the name suggests, an Applicant Specialists is more of a Technologist, rather than a Marketer. They are heavily involved in designing how the company will use Marketing Cloud and building the tool to meet those specifications but post go-live, they aren't the same individual that actually works within the application day-to-day.
(Note: as with all Salesforce implementation projects, companies have a choice about whether to utilize a Salesforce Consulting Partner or a team of Salesforce Freelancers. The right strategy depends on a variety of factors, including the capabilities of your internal team, the size of implementation, and complexity of work that needs to be done customizing it to fit the business needs.)
Once you have Salesforce Marketing Cloud set up the way you want it, you will almost certainly need assistance with using it and training the internal Marketing team on the features available within the tool.
A Campaign Specialist is essentially a Marketer who is familiar with Salesforce Marketing Cloud, the capabilities, data structures, and configuration setup.
Unfortunately, a common complaint from new Marketing Cloud Customers is that they thought the tool would be easier to use. While it's an incredibly powerful application, the reality is that it takes extremely specialized knowledge to setup and deploy campaigns.
While an Implementation Partner will help you get the tool deployed, these companies don't work as much on helping you to build, execute, and manage the actual campaigns - this is where a Campaign Specialists comes in. Eventually, you will train your internal staff on how to use the tool but auditing campaigns from your old Marketing tool, migrating data over, building out new list segmentation, coding new e-mail templates, and executing cross-channel Marketing campaigns will require a Campaign Specialist that has worked out of the tool in the past.
(As your existing Marketing team gets acclimated to Salesforce, spending time on Trailhead and learning the modules available for the Marketing Cloud Certification is a great idea even if they don't plan to actually get certified.)
Before hiring a Salesforce Marketing Cloud Specialist, you really want to spend time understanding which type of Marketing Cloud Expert they are based on prior experience. Additionally, you will need to understand their experience across the different Marketing Cloud modules. While a Marketing Cloud Campaign Specialist may be an expert working with Journey Builder and Email Studio, if your company is using Mobile Studio and leveraging features like push notifications then it's a completely different set of experience!
In most instances, a company doesn't need to have Marketing Cloud Application Specialists on staff. This is because once the tool is implemented and integrated with the rest of your systems, there isn't a lot of technical application work to be done - there will always be small changes, ongoing enhancements, and general updates required but this is typically a part-time job better suited for a Salesforce Marketing Cloud Freelancer.
Whether you are looking for a Campaign Specialist or an Application Specialist, FoundHQ provides a beautifully simple hiring platform to connect you with 2,500+ pre-vetted Independent Salesforce Consultants.
The network of Salesforce Consultants available on FoundHQ, includes individuals from top-tier Consulting Firms like Accenture, Deloitte, IBM, and elsewhere as well as Salesforce and Marketing professionals with experience working on internal teams at companies like Stripe, Dropbox, Twitter, Google, and Uber.
The biggest advantage to working with FoundHQ to hire Salesforce talent is that we help guide you through the correct resourcing strategy. In the case of Marketing Cloud, this means identifying if you need an Application Specialists or Campaign Specialists, vetting against experience needed across specific modules, and providing access to a fully vetted network to ensure quality control and reduce the risk of hiring someone lacking the experience they claim.
Not sure how to choose the Salesforce Expert for your project?
You can List a Salesforce Project, provide an overview of the skill set needed / schedule a call with our team to discuss at length, and we will recommend 2-3 of the top Salesforce Marketing Cloud Consultants from our network within 24-48 hours.