Last time we reviewed Nine Techniques For Testing in Marketing Automation platforms. The examples were a bit skewed to Marketo, just like today’s post. Remember, these techniques can likely be applied to any platform. Here is the process and a walkthrough of a real-life Lead Routing example from my friends at Beachhead.io.
Step 1: Create a spreadsheet of every lead combination that matters. This is your Test Plan
For example, if you are routing leads based on US State values, you’ll need 52 test leads (50 states, and 1 null, 1 that doesn’t match your list). If you route based on Fills Out Form and list import, you’ll need 104 test leads (52 per location * 2 entry points in your routing). In our case, we had 104 examples to test.
- The columns for your CSV will look a lot like this.
- An ID Number for each lead. This is just for your needs, do not upload this column!
- A name describing the example, here State_Territory_Status. Which gives us Lead_CA_w_NotSCR for a lead from California who did not fill an Sales Contact Request.
- Same procedure with the email address: team+7_CA_w_NotSCR@beachhead.io so with only the email address you’re able to judge the accuracy of the results. (Note that you can use “+” sign to create a new unique email that goes to the same box).
- Country does not influence our routing, but is a part of the location and may be important in global routing.
- State is the key element to route leads by territory. You can see the first to leads as example of edge cases we want to monitor to make sure our routing is flawless.
- And finally your expected Lead Assignment. In your CSV, add a column to define who you expect your lead to route to. This will make it easier to review later.
Remember that when using this list of Leads to import or test, only import the Columns you need. Never import ID!
Step 2: Warn and Review Other Teams
Before going any further, you should:
Review your CSV with stakeholders. Your VP of Sales probably doesn’t think in flow charts and is more comfortable reviewing a list of examples. This is to make sure that you have covered all of the possibilities. Your inside reps are probably more aware of data flow errors than the Sales VP.
When ready to test, notify the sales team these test leads will be coming. They can safely ignore the leads marked as Company=Test – IGNORE or Email Address= X. This helps prevent salespeople from deleting or moving leads before your test cases can be complete.
Step 3: Add the Brake
Add a filter to each of your routing campaigns to require a specific email address. For example, our filter would say “contains beachhead.io”. Then every lead that enters without a beachhead.io email address will ignore this campaign.
Step 4: Run the Tests
For each case and lead, conduct the necessary tests, which could include:
- Importing the Lead
- Filling out a form with the Lead’s information
- Creating the Lead in Marketo or CRM.
- Modifying the lead’s details after creation.
Step 5: Record each Test Case’s Results against the Expected Result.
For any cases that the Expected and Actual Result are different, you will need to investigate the causes. Use Lead Detail View and Lead Field History as aides. This sheet will be called the Test Script.
Step 6: Clean Up
Once the tests are complete, you can clean up, which may include:
- Removing the Brakes
- Deleting Test Records in either or both systems
- Switching on the new campaigns.
- Turning off older or conflicting campaigns
Step 7: Migration of Older Systems or Turning Things On
Once you’ve validated your new lead routing works as expected, here are the general steps to replace an old routing program with your new routing program:
- Plan the change for the weekend, if possible. Even with testing, things can go wrong, and you’ll be better able to handle updates if the volume of new leads is lower. This also makes sure you can fix massive errors before anyone notices on Monday.
- Set aside 2 hours of uninterrupted time to make the changes, just in case.
- Create reports for potential bugs. For example, if you have five sales reps and ten total Salesforce users, your smart list might be all new leads assigned to someone who isn’t a sales rep. If you require a 2-digit state value for leads to route, then create a report of new leads this week by state. These reports will make it easier to spot issues as the routing goes live.
The migration will start on a Friday afternoon or holiday:
- Deactivate current campaigns.
- Activate the new campaigns.
- Run a few additional tests.
- Remind people that changes occurred and to send possible errors with the Lead’s Email Address directly to you and not NOT modify anything yet. Otherwise, valuable information can be lost.
- Monitor the lead flow regularly for at least a week.
Final Thoughts on Testing in Marketing Automation Platforms
These examples and techniques are among the best practices for testing workflows in Marketo and in any other marketing automation platform (MAP). While I do encourage you to try things out in the Sandbox or a testing area of your instance, be sure that you take the time to test and test rigorously the more complex the system and the more you have at stake.
The final “Engineering Test Method” is the gold standard in testing any complex process and I urge you to do this when you build out lead lifecycles or more complex systems. What often separates the best consultants or marketing ops managers is their willingness to go all the way to avoid live errors.
More Resources on Software Testing
However much marketers like to believe they are not engineers of a sort, they are. If you are getting into some complex martech systems, it’s worth knowing more about software testing techniques. (Secret aside – I nearly became a tester at Microsoft as a first job). You may not need all of these for your daily marketing ops role, but you may find these helpful when discussing major integrations with IT folks.
- What is Software Testing?
- The “Box” Testing Methods
- History of Testing and Techniques
- Are we building it right, or the right product?
- More testing techniques.
User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is becoming more important to martech implementations. UATs are often seen in larger projects and multi-region roll outs where marketers are less familiar with the tools and were not part of the actual build. As you grow your stack, this process should be a part of your testing and finalization process.
Bonus – Join me and dozens of other amazing marketing automation nerds at the Marketo Summit in Vegas. Use this coupon by March 14: Hill200