SalesForce Marketing Cloud migration

Migration to SalesForce Marketing Cloud (SFMC): Plan & Process Key To Migrating Four Grocers At One Time

A migration to SalesForce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) for one business can be daunting. But four? At one time? That was the request from our grocer Client. After a recent merger they wanted to consolidate the management of email marketing of four different marketing teams into SalesForce Marketing Cloud with a unified approach to management and deployment. This article details the plan and process we implemented to drive the successful and seamless transition for the four major grocers.

Writing Requirements Documentation Appropriate for the Project

A cornerstone to our success in leading the migration to SalesForce Marketing Cloud was the requirements document. We’ve participated in projects that either had few requirements documented prior to production or had multiple documents for every component. The former was an undirected mess and the latter overwhelming. Both extremes are less than ideal when needing to be efficient, quick and affordable. Over the course of many projects we have developed a streamlined approach to developing requirements.


Key to our approach is the collaborative, cloud-based tools we rely on. For us it is a Google Doc, but other solutions like Microsoft, Evernote or Confluence are just as good. The important feature is that anyone on the larger team can participate in the writing of the document. You can identify primary authors and give them full editing capabilities, while others can have commenting or view-only access. And with most cloud-based document solutions there is a history log with the ability to revert back to previous versions. With that in place it is unnecessary to re-save files with new version or date nomenclature.

Brief and Detailed

We also follow a “brief and detailed” approach. Yes, that is an oxymoron, but it works in this context. While our documentation may not be in the Project Management Hall of Fame, we go light where we need to relying on clear naming conventions of data extensions for example, indexing and bulleted lists of automated steps within Journey Builder. We go into deeper detail on what needs more information like consolidating and integrating new templates for dynamic, targeted offers and do not waste time on superfluous fluff.

Many people are involved with a migration to SalesForce Marketing Cloud project for enterprise businesses. With more people, there are more branches and more reviews. Unfortunately time and budget don’t grow with the more people added. Our collaborative and brief requirements document ensured we could move quickly while also providing our Client with top-quality service and execution.

Consolidating Processes for Efficiency

Early alignment on a single, centralized process for all four grocers was critical. Each previously had their own disparate system requiring multiple documents, processes, and templates. 

Streamlining Project Workflows

We began the consolidation by transitioning all project kick offs by the four teams to SmartSheet utilizing its custom formatting, notifications, and alerts. We then paired SmartSheet with our Response Labs production management tool JIRA which produced a single, streamlined view of all work internally and externally. With the workflow consolidated, project status calls were reduced to an average of 7 minutes per call, down from 30 minutes or more. The additional time available allowed for more discussion on strategy and optimization efforts. 

Fewer Templates, More Productivity

In addition to a streamlined project workflow, our team took a comprehensive view of all email executions and found common connections that could be templatized and leveraged again and again across all four grocers. We relied heavily on the original requirement documentation to establish business rules for internal creative teams. That focus helped the internal communication and direction for our Clients’ marketing teams. We collectively spent less time designing or creating new templates for every communication. Instead those resources were used to improve personalization and dynamic content within the new templates themselves.

Getting Buy-In and Training

As the new processes were freeing up time, the individuals on all four teams were able to experience tangible benefits of our work. A final step in gaining that buy-in, however, was training. This also demonstrated the success of our efforts overall. Because we had very deliberately established clear, direct processes, we were able to easily train and on-board new and existing members from each team. We utilized common documentation, 1:1 training and in-person sessions. The end result is a network of people who can manage any project across multiple grocers.

(This also proved helpful a year and half later with COVID-19. Our grocer Clients had little to worry about when it came to changing priorities and deploying critical email communications to customers during the pandemic. )

Completing the Migration to SalesForce Marketing Cloud

Since this was a migration to Salesforce Marketing Cloud and not a version update, new IPs required warming. We designed an engaging email populated with new content weekly for 8-10 weeks of IP Warming to establish credibility for the new IPs. When mass deployment began post-migration, emails landed in the inbox at nearly 100% for all accounts. Simultaneously, we finalized data extensions, API integrations, automations, and triggered sends to ensure all programs and messaging transitioned seamlessly. 

The focus on plan and process implemented from the start proved to be successful. Even with four different grocers to migrate at one time, we experienced no disruption to business or customer experience. A migration to SalesForce Marketing Cloud can be daunting, but with the right team and the right approach, the end result will be a better business.


Jen Aldinger
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