Category - New At Knak

How we improved our customer onboarding process with automation & self-service

At Knak, when new customers sign up for a subscription, it’s really important for us to get people their account as quickly as possible. As we grow and volume of new accounts increases, we needed to get more efficient at how we handle this process, and inject automation and workflow wherever possible.

Like many SaaS companies, when new customers are onboarded, we initially needed developers to provision all new accounts. This was okay at the beginning when the volume was manageable, but now that we are provisioning multiple accounts per day, we needed to remove our developers from the mix so they could focus on more high value tasks.

Additionally, our Sales Operations team was having to manually reach out to customers to collect billing information and other information required to setup the account, and it was way more cumbersome that it needed to be.

Lastly, given we are an email company, the initial emails we send to our customers when they activate their accounts could have been much nicer, but it was the classic case of the shoemakers children, and our Sales Ops lead was sending really long text-only emails with a ton of information in them.

So, what we did next was map out all the steps required in the process, and then draw them onto a whiteboard of the best-case scenario.

Given we use Marketo + Salesforce, we wanted to leverage the power of these two systems to make us more efficient. We also use DocuSign, and were able to automate emails to go out once a DocuSign was completed.

This means that our customers will receive instructions on how to get their accounts set up and the information we need from them quickly, no matter when they end up signing. Data will also be captured by forms in Marketo, which means that it will never get lost in someone’s inbox.

Another big piece of this was having the ability for a non-technical person to be able to provision an account in Knak. We spent time in our administrative parts of our product so that people who don’t know how to code could set up a new account with a few clicks. Once the account is set up, our application sends out a beautiful activation email (built with Knak) to let them know all the steps they need to do once they log in for the first time.

Finally, we want to give our new customers a nice warm welcome. And so we also send a welcome package with a bunch of amazing Knak swag to all new customers. This was another area that was being chased down by a person and kept in emails somewhere, and now we are leveraging SFDC + Marketo to capture this data as well.

In my years of Marketo consulting, I’ve realized that your Marketing Automation processes are only as good as your documentation. So, it was also really important for us to document the entire journey for training purposes. We used Lucid Charts and mapped it all out from start to finish.

Finally, we are meeting as a team to run through the new and improved onboarding to experience what our customers will experience. This is perhaps the most important part of the whole exercise, to make sure that the customer experience has been improved from what we had before.

But, we know this is just the beginning. Getting someone into the Knak application. We’ve chosen to invest in this part of the process since we believe first impressions matter, and you only get one shot at them. That is also why we just recently hired a dedicated customer success manager. This person will further help our customers get the most out of Knak once they have logged in for the first time.



Welcoming Jason Long as Head of Operations

We are really excited to announce that Jason Long has joined Knak as our Head of Operations. Jason has years of experience on the front-lines helping Marketers create better emails and landing pages. He is a 2-time Marketo champion, Marketo certified consultant, a Salesforce certified administrator, and has a unique blend of marketing and technical expertise that is going to be a huge asset for Knak and our customers.

For the past 10 years, Jason has been contributing to world-class marketing on both the client and consulting side. He is a unicorn who possesses a rare mix of strong marketing and technical skillset. He can bridge the gap between what a Marketer is looking for, and what technically needs to be done.

“I am pumped to be joining knak!” said the newly hired Jason Long. “As a marketing automation technologist and developer, I have seen first hand the frustrations that marketing teams face when trying to create online assets that are on brand, work in all clients and browsers, and are designed for conversion. The knak team has been meeting this need for tons of Marketo and Eloqua users, and I’m thrilled to be a part of what’s next for this platform.”

Jason will be wearing several hats while at Knak, from Customer Service, Marketing, Sales, Partnerships and Product Development. His main focus, like everyone on the team at Knak, will be to help our customers simplify some of the technical complexity they have to face everyday, and to help them make better emails and landing pages.

As Knak grows and our product evolves, Jason will play a critical role to ensure Knak remains the premiere platform for Marketers to simplify and improve their emails and landing pages in the Marketo and Eloqua space. We are all extremely excited to welcome Jason to the team.

Please join me in welcoming Jason to the Knak team!

Why I Started Knak, by Founder Pierce Ujjainwalla

The purpose of Knak is to make this process simple. To allow Marketers to quickly and easily setup an email or landing page template, pick their layout, customize it to their brand, and get back to marketing. We never want them to have to look at HTML code again.

…In the beginning…

When I first started my marketing career, my first job was at Cognos – a big BI company that was eventually acquired by IBM. I was fresh out of university and eager to learn and get things done! Cognos was an early adopter of marketing automation, and we had all the best tools, people and budget to make great marketing happen.

However, most of my time waiting for things from other people. Although I eventually became really good at Eloqua (yes Eloqua…), I didn’t know any HTML or graphic design. This meant a lot of “hurry up and wait”. HURRY we need to get this campaign out, but WAIT for the HTML from the web team and graphics from the agency.

This really frustrated me because I was organized, and I had my stuff done and ready, but I was completely helpless to get my emails out on time because I needed to wait for other people.

The same thing happened with landing pages. We weren’t even lucky enough to have a tool like Marketo’s WYSIWYG landing page editor, so I had to work with my web team to get things posted. Although they were great people, they had a 2 week turn-around time! Meaning any little copy change took way too long to get changed.


…Fast forward 3 years…

I made a big change from my days at big blue. I am at a start-up called TITUS and they had no marketing automation, but they were very open to implementing Marketo. I lead the Marketo implementation there, and we were off to the races.

I found out that Marketo really empowers Marketers to be WAY more self-sufficient and FAST. No more waiting on other people to get your campaigns out… except for one thing… the creation of those pesky templates!I still needed to go through the whole process of designing and getting a third party to develop my templates. This process ended up taking months and was a major headache…I couldn’t believe things weren’t more advanced in this area!


…OK, now we’re at the present day…

After years of being on the client side, I started a Marketo services consultancy, and I wanted to solve all the challenges that I used to have as a marketer for our clients. We help Marketo clients like Trend Micro, Amdocs, Klipfolio and more get the most out of their Marketo investment. It’s a lot of fun and we’re always excited to see our clients be successful and push the limits of Marketo and teach us new things along the way.

Over the years, we see that our clients have very similar challenges with Marketo. Whether it’s setting up a best-in-class lead lifecycle, or a lead scoring model that actually works, or lead source tracking or reporting, there are a lot of challenges with Marketo that are pretty universal. However, there are none as prominent or pervasive as responsive email and landing page templates.

Back when Marketo released their template library, I was SO excited. Finally, the solution I was looking for! (or so I thought…) You need to know HTML to customize the templates for your brand. And I could still not write a line of code to save my life! – just like most marketers I know.

Now, after making literally hundreds of custom responsive templates for our Revenue Pulse clients, I thought there had to be a better way. Even though we can build a fully responsive template in a matter of a days, it’s still too long of a process.

That’s where the idea for Knak was born. Marketo has done a great job of putting the power back in the Marketers hands; making things simple. But for something as critical as templates for emails and landing pages (the only thing your customers will actually SEE of your entire Marketing Automation deployment), marketers are still helpless. Marketers need to work with agencies, graphic designers, developers. It’s a broken process.

The purpose of Knak is to make this process simple. To allow Marketers to quickly and easily setup an email or landing page template, pick their layout, customize it to their brand, and get back to marketing. We never want them to have to look at HTML code again. Although Marketo marketers are quite technical, we’re not developers…I don’t think it is productive for us to be wasting time coding (or trying to code in my case).

It’s been almost a month since we launched Knak at the Marketo Summit. We have over 150 Marketo users making Knak templates. In less than a month, over 260 amount of templates have already been built using our tool. That is an enormous amount of time and money that has been saved, and we’re just getting started.

The feedback we’re receiving is making all the hard work we’ve put into this tool worth it. Marketers are telling us that we’re making them look like rockstars to their peers, and that they’ve been waiting for a tool like this to come out for a long time. To me, that is success. But, like I said, we’re just getting started. The best is yet to come…like our upcoming release of Marketo landing page templates, also made simple.

I’d encourage you to try out the ‘new way’ of making Marketo templates. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Marketo Summit 2015 – The Big Reveal

After months and months of hard work and lots of Redbull, we released Knak to the masses at the Marketo Summit.

We had a booth, and a speak op during the champion series on ‘Creating Beautiful Responsive Marketo Emails and Landing Pages… no coding required’.

It was a big success with tons of people coming by our booth that were very excited to hear that they no longer have to struggle with Marketo email and landing page templates.

Our presentation was to a jam-packed room and had about 20 minutes of Q&A at the end. Couldn’t ask for much more.

The best part though was just the reaction of all the Marketo marketers who were overjoyed that there was finally a solution for them that would make their lives easier, save them money and have higher conversion rates on their Marketo assets.