#025. From crawling to sprinting with Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Hey Smart Marketers!

Today I want to talk about the different stages of a Salesforce Marketing Cloud instance.

Not every instance is well-built or used.

For some, we could barely call that “Marketing Automation” … when other instances seem to be fueled with nitro!

However, you can’t just go from crawling to running in a snap.

But first, you’ve got to know where you are.

Let’s dive in:

#1 Crawl: Minimum Tech, Automation, and Profitability

You’ll find this early stage within small companies with little to no support and in the first months of a larger organization.


  • Use of one single channel: Email
  • Lists and sometimes Data extensions but no data model in Contact Builder
  • Emails based on Content Builder Templates
  • No Cloud Pages
  • No Automations
  • No Journeys in Journey Builder
  • Little to no personalization in emails (mainly %%First_Name%%)
  • No transactional Email
  • Basic Preference Center

Mandatory to move to the next stage:

  • Marketing Cloud users upskilling
  • Send Reports

Obviously, you’ll have to skill up users and focus on low-hanging fruits (high value, low complexity use cases) to create Traction.

A company that doesn’t move from Crawl to Walk will likely churn.

#2 Walk: Automate!

This stage is all about Automation.

You begin getting value from Salesforce Marketing Cloud.


  • Synchronized Data Extensions
  • Automations running and monitored
  • Custom Preference Center
  • Fundamental Journeys
  • Personalized communications.

Mandatory to move to the next stage: Advanced Reports

We’re playing the Pareto game here: looking for 20% of efforts generating 80% of benefits. We need to be able to measure marketing efficiency.

#3 Run: Double down on what’s working

You identified your most efficient use cases.

And you know your customers. So you have a clear vision of your personae.

Now, you can optimize the marketing mix: channels, offers, and content.


  • Other channels are active (Mobile Studio, Advertising Studio…)
  • Multiple versions of Journeys
  • Automated Reports
  • Database consistent growth

Mandatory to move to the next stage:

If you need to create a user story in Jira or else to create a new customer journey in Journey Builder, you’re still Running. That means you need help with data, emails, filters…

#4 Sprint: Fine Tuning

The ultimate stage of adoption on a marketing automation tool would be (and it’s very rare) fully automated asset creation, synchronized data, reduced time-to-market, and easy testing.


  • No Jira for Journeys
  • Interactive Emails
  • Einstein Features
  • Real-time access to reports.

Reaching Sprint is a target you should set for every brand but don’t worry if you don’t hit it. This stage demands a clear process, skilled resources, and optimal use of data.

As of today, reaching this stage would mean a very high level of maturity on the business side and a very high level of effort on the IT side. Keep in mind every organization can’t reach it but always try.

That’s all for today.

See you next week!

Other ways I can help you:

Stand out in SFMC's jungle

Every week, get tips about Salesforce Marketing Cloud.


Smarter, together