• Gaurav Pawar

Get The Journey Right - Part I

Updated: Mar 3, 2021

Salesforce Marketing Cloud Journey Builder enables marketers to design, visualize and execute cross-channel marketing campaigns. It allows marketers to standardize and manage the customer experience, while integrating activities across email, SMS, push, sales, service, advertising, and now even Einstein Splits into one unified canvas. 

Journey builder is constantly evolving, and Salesforce has done a great job to add features such as – journey templates, multiple entry options, explicit exit and goal criteria, options to select from many of customer’s mobile numbers and email addresses, workflow-based activity configuration, dynamic updates to email activity, and journey versioning to name a few. 


As easy as Salesforce has made it to drag and drop activities into the journey canvas - there is a lot more thought, strategic planning and setup required to GET THE JOURNEY RIGHT.

I remember being brought in to fix a journey with 200+ steps – it required re-evaluation of the journey’s purpose (the GOAL), splitting it into multiple small manageable and measurable journeys, and also required a redesign of the underlying data model.

Even before opening the journey builder canvas and diving deep into each configuration (entry criteria, exit criteria, Email, SMS, Push, Ads, Sales / Service Objects, Splits etc.), I would like to address two foundational elements for a successful journey...


The end GOAL and the underlying DATA.

1.       What do I want to achieve from a customer Journey? The GOAL

Defining a goal upfront enables you to measure performance and align stakeholders (data team, marketing ops, analytics team)

  I want to educate healthcare providers about a new drug in the final stage I want to increase conversion by reminding customers of the products they browsed via a Facebook ad I want volunteers to be engaged with my programs throughout the yearI want to stay relevant to my donors and encourage them to update their preferences and contact informationI want my re-sellers to look at their weekly dashboard and act on performanceI want to increase the downloads of my App and drive adoptionI want to receive feedback from customers about their shopping experience and create follow-up tasks


2.       Who is my target audience? The DATA

This is probably the most critical part for you to get measurable results. Think about:

Does all my data reside in Salesforce Marketing Cloud? Do I need to integrate with Sales Cloud? Can the data file be dropped on a SFTP location? Do we need to implement API to write data to the data extensions?Do I have opt-ins? Should I even consider purchasing a list?Do I have all the required customer attributes? Have I thought about all the personalization and dynamic content defined in the emails in the journey?Is the data going to be coming in real-time from a web form? If so how do I map / relate it to my existing customer dataI need external data from related tables – how do I create a data model in Contact Builder? What email address / phone number should take precedence?

Pic: A sample data model in the Contact Builder module



Essentially, if I am able to address these two strategic elements with my stakeholders during discovery - 50% of the work in building the journey is done. What remains now is actually configuring the activities in the canvas (part II).

About the Author: Gaurav Pawar has led over 10 Salesforce Marketing Cloud and 2 Pardot engagements spanning across financial services, healthcare and life sciences, retail, CPG, and non-profits. If you have questions about Salesforce Marketing Cloud please reach out to him.


Salesforce Marketing Cloud Journey Builder


#salesforcemarketingcloud #marketingautomation #journeybuilder

744 views0 comments