Category - New At Knak

Felix Hits the Road

Felix Higgs was a seasoned world traveler before he came to Knak, having spent a decent portion of his professional career in organizations overseas. Knak has long been a remote-friendly bunch of people, so once he joined the team, Felix saw no reason to put his passport away.

He’s been traveling around Europe for the last two months, visiting some amazing places while still killing it as our Customer Success Manager. I caught up with him recently to see how it’s going.

Tell me about your trip! Has this been in the works for a while?
My girlfriend and I have been in Europe for the last two months. She is Czech so we try to come once a year to visit her family. I live in Whistler (BC), which generally means mostly rain right now, so it’s a good time to get out of town!

Where have you been? What’s been your favorite place so far?
So far we’ve been in Italy and on the island of Crete. In Italy, we spent most of our time in the Dolomites. They are such striking mountains and one of my favourite places. We also visited Belluno, Jesolo, and Venice, which are all in northern Italy.
We’ve been on Crete for the last five weeks, and it has been my favourite part of the trip by far. It exceeds all expectations: great food, beautiful beaches & mountains, friendly people and still lots of places that feel wild & mainly free of tourists. In both Crete and Italy, our main activities have been hiking, rock climbing, and via ferratas.

Have you done anything like this at other companies?
Yes, I’ve worked remotely for several companies, so I have some experience doing this kind of thing.

Was it difficult to figure out the logistics of traveling/working for Knak?
Overall I would say no, but the trip involved a bit more planning than a regular holiday. We’ve mainly stayed in Airbnbs, and in each case I made sure to confirm that the place had fast WiFi and a quiet working space before booking. We also made a point of staying in one place for longer periods of time and only traveling on weekends to ensure no disruption to working hours. Knak was really supportive of this as well which was great.

What does a typical day look like for you compared to a typical day “in the office”?
Due to the time difference with North America, I generally spend the morning out and about either at the beach or rock climbing. Then I start work in the afternoon and work into the evening. Apart from that, it’s meetings, calls, and generally work as usual.

How has the overall experience been? Any key learnings you’d share?
Overall it’s been great and something I would recommend to anyone who likes to travel. I think the key is to plan ahead and make sure you always have everything you need to do your job when you need it.

At Knak, just under 50% of our team members work remotely – some of them all of the time. We’re always looking for the next superstar to join us, so take a look at our job openings, and come join the team that’s changing the way email marketing gets done!

G2 Crowd Names Knak a High Performer

Knak was recently named a Fall 2019 High Performer by G2 Crowd. We’re thrilled with this recognition because it means:

  • We’re making life easier for our fellow Marketers
  • They’re kind enough to share their thoughts

Our customers are all-around great people, and we’re honoured that they took the time to share their insight. As a company that works directly with our fellow marketers, we love feedback. We’ve even been known to create brand new solutions based on the feedback of our customers, so we appreciate what each of them had to say.

G2 Crowd allows users to post unbiased reviews of a variety of business solutions. It’s a great place for anyone looking for new software to get real-life insight into the products and hear first-hand how they work at similar organizations.

If you’d like to read the reviews or leave your own, check out our info on G2’s site. And if you’d like to learn more about Knak, we’d love to talk. In the meantime, we’ll leave you with a few of our favourite review titles:

“Frustrated email marketer finds bliss with Knak.”

“Simplify your email marketing process while evolving your design.”

“Enabling email creativity while sticking to brand guidelines.”

Knak is the first email creation platform built for marketing teams. We help you create beautiful, responsive, world-class emails, no coding required. Get to know us at knak.com.

Welcome Nancy Borgognoni

Meet our New Account Executive

Knak has experienced significant growth recently, so to make sure we continue to deliver a world-class customer experience, we’ve expanded our staff and brought on our very first Account Executive, Nancy Borgognoni.

For Knak, hiring the right salesperson meant finding someone who could balance growing the business with maintaining our customer-centric focus. What we love about Nancy is that she has both a customer success and a sales background, so she knows how to navigate between selling and helping customers reach their goals.

Nancy comes to us from Saba Software, where she started as an internal sales rep. She quickly rose to the top of her team and moved into a Customer Success role, achieving President’s Club honors each year. It was at Saba that she developed her passion for sales, so she’s thrilled to bring her experience to her new role at Knak.

As Account Executive, Nancy will be responsible for helping our clients navigate Builder and find the solutions they need to reach their goals. We’re excited to have Nancy on our team, and we know she’s poised to do great things for our clients.

Welcoming Tania Blake to the Team

Welcoming Tania Blake to the Team

Knak is a company of Marketers who market a marketing product to other Marketers. Naturally, our own marketing needs to be world-class, so when we began looking for a new marketing manager, we knew we needed someone incredible. Fortunately, we met Tania Blake.

Tania impressed us with her attention to detail, her experience marketing for one of the largest developers in Ottawa, and her unique ability to balance “process” with “getting stuff done.”

She comes to us from the Minto Group, where she spent seven years in various marketing and communications positions. In her last couple of years at Minto she worked as brand manager and led their rebrand. She’s also an accomplished photographer, passionate foodie and an all-around great addition to our team.

We’re super excited to welcome Tania, and we’re looking forward to partnering with her to spread the word about Knak.

We’re Going to MarTech East

Knak - We're Going to MarTech East

Knak is headed to MarTech East! Join us in Boston, September 16th to 18th, for three days of outstanding presentations, great networking opportunities, and an introduction to the technologies that are redefining traditional marketing.

We’re going to be on the expo floor at booth #413 — we’ll be the ones wearing the blue Knak t-shirts — and we can’t wait to connect with our wicked awesome customers (See? We’re totally ready for Boston.). Stop by to find out what’s new at Knak, pick up some sweet Knak swag, and meet Jack, email creator extraordinaire.Knak - We're Going to MarTech East

The MarTech conference promises more than 55 presentations from senior-level marketers along with next-level martech solutions designed to save time and deliver results. You can view the full agenda on their site, but here are a few we can’t wait to attend: 

  • Sept 17: Keynote – “Platforming Marketing: Marketing Operations as an Organizational Platform
    Speakers: Scott Brinker – chiefmartech.com, Matt Lemay – Agile for Everybody
  • Sept 17: How eBay Grew an Active Grassroots Advocacy Community Using Martech
    Host: REQ
  • Sept 17: On the Frontlines of Digital: How to Get Customers to Love your Brand
    Host: Acquia
  • Sept 18: Keynote – Orchestration Beats Sophistication in Marketing & Martech
    Speaker: Cesar Brea – Bain & Company
  • Sept 18: Creating and Enabling a Unified Marketing Ecosystem
    Hosts: Deloitte, TD Bank

 

What’s New, What’s Next at Knak

Knak - What's New, What's Next

If you’re reading this blog, you most likely came from the first edition of the Knak monthly newsletter. If you didn’t come from the newsletter, then I encourage you to subscribe using the form on this page so that you don’t miss the next issue.

We’ve been heads-down working with customers and creating our roadmap for next year, and we’re really excited about what’s in store. Progressive companies are changing the future of email creation: we’ve seen a huge shift from the days of rigid templates and tokenized programs to marketers embracing a flexible future where everyone in their organization can create on-brand emails, no coding required. Marketers are reclaiming their creativity, and they’re doing it without struggling to maintain brand identity.

As a company, we are growing also. We’ve made some key hires in Marketing, Customer Success, and Account Management that are designed to support and encourage our customers, and we have exciting new product releases and features lined up for the latter half of this year. We’re using our newsletter to communicate those more regularly with our customers, and we’re excited to have the opportunity to share what we’re learning, what we’re leading, and what should be on your radar on a monthly basis.

Going forward, Knak will be investing more into best practice content around the topic of campaign creation. We’ll share the trends we’re seeing in high-performing companies and highlighting customer stories that will benefit everyone.

As always, we welcome collaboration from our customers, and we’d love for you to be involved in helping us create this content. We’d be glad to provide you with a platform to highlight your own success story, so reach out to me if you’d welcome that opportunity!

We wouldn’t be here without amazing customers like you. Thank you for being a part of this journey with us – I really think we’ve only just begun.

True North Dreamin’

Hanging out with the Canadian Salesforce community

Last month, I had the chance to attend the inaugural True North Dreamin’, the very first Dreamin’ held in Canada. I was super excited to spend time with the local Salesforce community, and I wanted to recap the event (and maybe inspire you to join me next time??). It was an intense two days, so I’ll start with this:

Thank God I wore runners!!

The TND team is committed to bringing Canadian Salesforce users together, and they’re off to a great start: they were expecting 50 people but ended up welcoming more than 200. They also simultaneously hosted satellite events across Canada, and they’re planning to bring TND to a different Canadian city each year.

My Favorite Sessions

All the sessions were fantastic, but these three stood out as favorites:

Admins are Critical Change Agents
Lizz Hellinga, Sales Effectiveness Manager – Silverline
Change Management is HUGE in SFDC Admin work. I didn’t realize the scope until I took the workshop, so if you’re struggling with this at your organization, here’s Lizz’s key takeaway:
Understand why your users need a change, and take steps to educate them. Make sure you know the business case for it, and write a brief paragraph explaining it to your users. The clarification will give them confidence and make adoption much simpler.

Be A Multiplier (BAM!) Workshop: How to Host a Learning Event in your Local Community
Women make up 47% of the workforce, but only 18% of them are in tech (in the US). The major market right now is intelligence, so why are women so underrepresented?
The cost of education is a major factor here. SFDC Trailhead is working to remedy that by offering FREE education. The program leads 1 in 4 users to find a job, thanks to their training, so why not share and work to level the playing field?
This session was SO inspirational (the wicked black and gold “BAM!” shirt they gave me didn’t hurt either), and I definitely found an incredible “tribe” of SFDC users that were just like me. In fact, we were so engaged in bouncing ideas off each other that I completely missed my next session.

In other education news, during the first keynote session, the TND team offered the Admin Certification Prep course to 50 of us at the discounted price of $99 USD (it’s usually $900 USD). It’s awesome to see so many people get to take advantage of this course!

Back from the Dead: From nearly giving up on Salesforce to true customer success
Dominic Ionadi, Salesforce Solutions Architect and Manager, Business Systems – Burgundy Asset Management
Dom shared some key insights on how his company learned from their mistakes and put in the hard work needed to get their instance back on track. His key learnings:

  • Data, Data, Data – Make sure your data is clean before you build things out. It might take twice as long to get started, but it will save you a ton of work down the pipeline.
  • Also, take a hard look at your data: do you actually need everything you’re asking for? Improve the user experience by minimizing your fields as much as possible and only asking for what you really need.
  • Automation is Key – Automate your processes, and then automate some more! Automation allows for easier usage, increased adoption, and fewer errors. Plus, the more you automate, the less time you need to spend on-boarding new users.
  • Treat your Users like Customers – Release in sprints and make sure they’re informed of changes. Provide training videos, and host weekly “Office Hours” for anyone who has questions.

Come to Vancouver!

True North Dreamin’ was a great experience. The amazing people and killer swag bag were a definite plus, but the top-notch sessions took it to another level. In fact, I’m already Dreamin’ (see what I did there?) about the next one.

If you want to go too, True North Dreamin’ 2020 will take place April 23 & 24 in Vancouver. It promises to be another fast-paced two days (again, YAY for runners!) full of great speakers and invaluable connection to the Salesforce tribe.

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

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

When new customers sign up for a Knak subscription, it’s really important for us to get people their account as quickly as possible. As we grow and the volume of new accounts increases, we needed to develop a more efficient process by injecting automation and workflow wherever possible.

Like many SaaS companies, we initially needed developers to provision all new accounts as part of the onboarding process. 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 higher value tasks.

Additionally, our Sales Operations team had to manually reach out to customers to collect billing and other required information, and it was way more cumbersome than it needed to be.

Lastly, given that we are an email company, the initial activation emails we sent to our customers could have been much nicer, but it was a classic case of the shoemaker’s children having bad shoes: our Sales Ops lead was sending really long, information heavy, text-only emails.

So, we wrote down all the non-negotiable steps in the process, and we drew out a map of the best-case scenario.


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

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

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


We also want to give customers a nice warm welcome, so we make a point to send a welcome package with a bunch of amazing Knak swag to all new customers. This was another labor-intensive area: someone had to keep track of it all (usually just in emails somewhere). Now, we’re leveraging SFDC + Marketo to capture this data as well.

In my years as a Marketo consultant, 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 use Lucid Charts to map it all out from start to finish.


Finally, we’re meeting as a team to run through the new and improved onboarding so we can see what our customers will experience. This is perhaps the most important part of the whole exercise: to make sure the customer experience has been improved.

We know this is just the beginning of bringing someone into the Knak application. But we also know that first impressions matter (and you only get one shot at them), so we’ve chosen to invest in this part of the process. And we’re not stopping there: we also recently hired a dedicated customer success manager to help our clients get the most out of Knak once they’ve logged in for the first time.

It’s just another way the Knak team is working to make life smoother for our customers.

Welcome Felix Higgs

Felix Higgs - Customer Success Manager

Meet Our New Customer Success Manager

As a company, Knak has been laser focused on customer success since day one. As our company has grown, so has our customer base, and we’ve been looking for a team member whose exclusive focus would be our clients’ success.
Felix Higgs is the perfect guy for the job.

With more than ten years of experience as a Customer Service and Marketing industry professional, Felix has a long track record of putting customers first. He comes to Knak from Cendyn/Guestfolio where he was an Account Manager, responsible for assisting clients in all stages of the life cycle. He also has experience as an Email Marketing Specialist at a non-profit and has filled a variety of other roles (in a variety of other countries!) so he understands the unique challenges that email marketers face on a daily basis.

His years of experience in the email space along with his laser focus on customers make Felix the perfect fit for Knak. He’s ready to jump right in and help resolve problems on the spot, and he’s excited to further our commitment to providing world-class service. We can’t wait for you to meet him!

If you have any questions for Felix, or want to say hello, you can reach him at felix@knak.com.

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. www.knak.com