Core Ingredients for Improving Operational Efficiency

Through the eyes of their client Sub-Zero, MERGE takes an in-depth look at the core ingredients needed for organizations looking to scale up.


PUBLISHED: 4/16/2019

It's been often said that time is our most precious resource. And when you have a smaller MOPS team, time is even more critical—you simply don’t have enough resources to meet demand. Such is the case in our example today.

Sub-Zero’s issue wasn’t that they had too many cooks in the proverbial kitchen—it was that they needed to figure out a way to make more effective use of the resources they had. How would Cyndi Marty, Digital Marketing Manager, CRM at Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove and her lean marketing team be able to break through bottlenecks and scale their MOPS without a huge influx of budget? And how could they empower the company’s regional marketing managers to have the autonomy they needed to be successful while protecting the overall brand? Good questions. The solution involved adopting specific decentralized marketing elements that are having a positive impact on the organization’s people and processes.

The Challenge: Scale MOPS On a Budget

Like many organizations, Sub-Zero wanted to scale its business but faced a number of challenges. Limited corporate office staff resources meant that people had a hard time keeping up with work, and there wasn’t money in the budget to hire marketing assistance. Additionally, execution delays caused by conflicting priorities between the regional offices and the corporate marketing office were causing some local campaigns to be delayed and other campaigns to be skipped entirely.

Centralized Platform Bottlenecks Progress

Clearly, Sub-Zero had talented resources in its regional markets—subject matter experts with their fingers on the pulse of the local markets and direct connections to its customers. But with its fully centralized marketing platform and process, the organization was having difficulty moving quickly and maximizing the value of all of its capabilities without jeopardizing the brand or duplicating efforts.

Searching for a solution, Sub-Zero focused on transforming its marketing approach in three very important ways:

- Scalability: To scale its marketing automation effort without adding more people or securing a much larger budget
- Efficiency: To effectively do more with its current resources
- Empowerment: To provide its regional marketers with the tools, processes and access they need to effectively, efficiently market for themselves


The Solution: Adopt the Best of Both Models

Sub-Zero opted for a hybrid model created by Jeto that combines the brand protection elements of the centralized marketing model with the marketer empowerment pieces of the decentralized approach in a completely new approach. This model was further supported by Scott Brinker’s democratization of technology and the new rules that go along with it, helping Sub-Zero to know they were on the right path.

The Result: Forecasted Execution Costs Slashed by 90%

For Sub-Zero, the Jeto app was the “aha” moment for the organization, the veritable lightbulb-over-the-head moment when everything clicked together and their minds started spinning with possibilities of all of the future citizen technologists who could be empowered with such a tool, from sales and customer care all the way to the HR office. Although Sub-Zero just launched the usage of Jeto, early forecasts project a 90% decrease in execution resources needed to support the regional marketing teams. With the possibilities expanding to other departments and teams, Sub-Zero has the potential to complete even more campaigns and focus more energy where they need it most.

Key Takeaways

So what can we learn from Sub-Zero’s scalability journey? Cyndi suggests the following tips for creating a successful transition, getting C-suite buy-in and avoiding common transformation pitfalls.

Create a Successful Transition

To help your organization implement elements of decentralization in a meaningful way, make sure you:

- Know your audience: We’re talking about all of your audiences here, including your clients, your “regional marketing managers” and your C-suite.
- Manage change effectively: As you think about each audience, ask yourself: How do you best fit the change to each of your audiences? How do you best prepare them for the transition?
- Have the right technology and people to support the model: You need flexible, simple, intuitive software in place that integrates with your existing staff, and processes and people that make it easy for your team to succeed.


Get C-Suite Buy-In

When managing change, remember that C-Suite needs and concerns are different than those in other areas of the organization. Specifically:

- Focus and alignment on the problem: Realizing that one piece of software won’t solve every problem, get agreement ahead of time that a problem exists and define exactly what it is—and what it isn’t. Make sure you and your C-Suite are on the same page when it comes to the scalability issues you’re aiming to resolve.
- Present a high-level overview to your C-Suite: Explain why users should not be “let loose” in Marketo and showcase the benefits of empowering non-technical users with an app that offers scalability without risk.
- Rollup plan: Outline a rough timeline and budget for implementation.


Avoid Transformation Pitfalls

As your business is shifting to incorporate elements of decentralization, keep an eye out for these common issues that can throw your efforts off track:

- Internal constraints: Your roll-out time is actually driven more by your internal constraints than the technology. Build in plenty of QA time, and ensure that you have stakeholder commitment to keep things on track.
- Stakeholder preparation: Ensuring that all stakeholders understand the expectations of the project—what will you need from them and when.  
- Missing feedback during the process: Create a constant feedback loop for stakeholders across the organization to share opinions with you; neglecting to do so will create resistance once the new approach is in place. By allowing feedback, you’ll be building excitement and allowing people to feel much more a part of the transition.