5 Things You Should Know When Starting Out With Salesforce Marketing Cloud

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Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) is your marketing automation dream tool to give you all the powers you need to reach your ideal customer, through multiple channels: email, mobile, social or online – you name it and SFMC can do it.

As every business is a unique entity, not every Marketing Cloud project is the same – but there is certainly a blueprint we can follow to increase the chances of a successful outcome. Therefore, the best advice for every SFMC newbie is to have a mentor guiding you through your first implementation.

This post is about 5 key things that I have learned every SFMC implementation consists of. Whether you are in the process of becoming a Marketing Cloud consultant, or you are internal Salesforce Admin supporting Marketing Cloud implementation, knowing these things will help you to save some time when you feel you get stuck.

Initial Thoughts: Unlocking the Pearl

“Tricky” is the first word that comes to mind when I think about SFMC. I have a strong background in Salesforce Sales Cloud and Pardot, hence the reason many things for me did not feel intuitive at first with SFMC. Since I started my journey on studying and implementing Marketing Cloud for businesses, I have never stopped asking – why?

When implementing software we need to be able to:

  • Foresee the complexity of the requirements,
  • Be able to share important solution considerations with the client/internal stakeholders,
  • And confidently implement irreversible design changes.

Marketing Cloud has some hidden steps that you need to discover, like small seashells on the bottom of the sea that show the pearl when unlocked.

Tip 1: Subdomains

First I will start by discussing subdomains with any client, even before kicking off the project.

Why do you need a subdomain for Marketing Cloud?

For example, all the landing pages you will be creating, the images you add to your email templates, will be hosted on your subdomain.


Most of the Marketing Cloud customers are larger enterprises that have been around for 20+ years. Back then there were no hover.com or godaddy.com where you can buy and register your domain easily, similarly adding new subdomains. It is possible that business will need to migrate from their current domain provider to a newer one that supports subdomains.


You will need to:
– Give your client time to research a new host,
– Remove any lock from their current domain,
– Initiate a transfer with the new host,
– Verify the transfer,
– Test if all of it works as expected,
– Then, create a subdomain that you need to further register in Marketing Cloud and submit it to MC Support to further register it on their end.

You can review this and more options you have here.

Tip 2: Creating Journeys

The second thing to know will become relevant when you start creating your Journeys.


All Salesforce Events and Actions will appear after you connect SF with SFMC via Marketing Cloud Connect.


You will need to submit a case with Salesforce Support for Salesforce actions to appear in your Journey builder.

Here’s a screenshot before I submitted the case:

And here, after I submitted a case:

Again, I will use a work “tricky” here, because how can you know things you don’t know you need to do?!

Tip 3: Testing Email Templates

Third thing is that when you get to testing Email Templates you have built, or HTML that has been provided to you, you might get stuck with errors.


By using current field variables and by adding an unsubscribe option or preference center link, I will be able to test my emails.


You will need to submit another case with Salesforce. Yes, this time you will need to submit a case to “Disable CAN & SPAM”. Otherwise, you simply won’t be able to test or send any emails from Marketing Cloud as you will get errors. The support team does not even ask you why, as they know this just needs to be done.

Tip 4: IP Warm Up

The fourth thing is your IP warm up. The warm-up is a process of sending emails from the new IP starting with small volumes, and gradually increasing the volume of email each day or week according to a set schedule.


I have heard people say: “If you are looking to send email to less than 10k prospects you can skip this step. Just gradually start sending your emails starting with smaller numbers”. It’s also said that IP warms up is required only for companies that are looking to do 100k+ email sends in one go. Not that I am quoting any specific person, but we know the saying “so many men, so many minds”.


I like facts! The fact is that even though you say you will be sending to small numbers or prospects per every send, you still need to validate if your emails are delivered and not going to spam. Nowadays, Gmail is probably one of the most “tricky” (again) providers that like to put many things in the Spam folder.

So, a trick I would like to recommend, even you are looking to send an email to a “small number or prospects” is the following:

  • Draft an email (with a clickable link)
  • Send it to all internal users in the company
  • Ask them all to open the email, but if it went to spam, click “Report Not Spam”, “Safe Content”, and click on the links.

This will help to initially establish a good sending reputation!

Tip 5: Internal Teams Upskilling

The fifth tip I have is to understand the internal marketing capabilities and plan the training roadmap.


I will be able to use Marketing Cloud as any other tool and it will be even simpler as, I mean, it costs so much, it should do magic!


Again, I believe that Marketing Cloud is not as easy to use as a tool like MailChimp, Pardot, and many others. For example, if you are looking to utilize a Dynamic content feature to display relevant content based on the geographical location or promotional offers based on the historical purchases, they will need to learn AMP scripts.

(Note: again, I believe they should considering how much they already invested in Marketing Cloud and knowing the power of the built-in predictive AI technology!)

Do traditional marketers know Marketing Cloud scripting languages? I think we will all shake our heads and say no. Traditional marketers usually prefer working their magic by drafting email texts, planning and scheduling the content. They do not see themselves playing around with code to create a Dynamic content block. Therefore discussing and planning comprehensive Marketing Cloud training for the internal team and potentially suggesting a new hire, I believe is very important.


This post has covered 5 key this you should know when approaching your first Marketing Cloud project. By knowing these things I believe you can save some time and increase the chances of a successful outcome.


  1. During the discovery workshop rise the discussion about current domain hosting provider.
  2. Submit the case with support team as soon as you setup Salesforce Marketing Cloud connect, but do not see any Salesforce events appearing in your Journey Builder.
  3. Submit the case with the support team to “Disable CAN & SPAM” once you start building your Email Templates.
  4. During the discovery workshop ask the client/internal stakeholders what is the volume per email sent. Share IP warm up best practices.
  5. During the discovery workshop ask the question about internal resources and current skills.


2 thoughts on “5 Things You Should Know When Starting Out With Salesforce Marketing Cloud

  1. Hi Kristina, good article!

    There’s so much to think about when implementing SFMC. One thing that surprised me was connecting Sales Cloud to Marketing Cloud was not that easy of a process (despite the two tools being Salesforce owned). An issue that caused headaches for our implementation at Herman Miller, was the fact that we decided to use email address as the subscriber key versus the subscriber ID which get’s pulled from Sales Cloud. Thus, tacking data from SFMC would not post to Sales Cloud, which was a major drag. Now, to switch the subscriber key mid-stream is a very costly proposition and one that requires third party assistance and downtime. Had we known this from the start, we could have prevented these problems.

    If you’re working with a customer that intends on using Sales Cloud with Marketing Cloud, I highly suggest this be discussed at the start versus after the fact. Not doing so could be a costly mistake.

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