Category Archives: Obsessed With Marketing Automation

In many ways, robots are one of the foundations of modern luxury and comfort. From heavy industrial manufacturing to something as commonplace as vacuuming our homes, robots have been incorporated into nearly every facet of our lives. Despite their general utility, robots do pose a particular problem for email marketers. Bot traffic clogs up our databases and can interfere with the expected actions of our own attempts at harnessing the power of automation using the Adobe Marketo Engage platform.

Automated Interference

B2B marketing frequently runs into a problem where email service providers “test” links in emails as part of their efforts to categorize spam. Out of the box, Marketo lacks the ability to automatically tell the difference between an ESP testing links and a human click. Without the ability to properly discern actual, actionable clicks, your records can end up improperly triggering the actions you have spent so long planning and building in your Marketo Engage instance. 

One of the most obvious impacts occurs in the realm of scoring. Since scoring is one of the most impactful connections between Marketing and Sales, keeping everyone’s trust in the system is paramount. The false positives from the spam testing performed by email service providers could push more records into a MQL status which could in turn increase the amount of records Sales team members reject as not actually qualified. Similarly, email alerts and interesting moments generated by click throughs could be negatively impacted by common bot behavior.

Automated Protection

Marketo Engage has an option to enable bot activity filtering. However, this option is not activated by default. As a Marketo administrator, it falls on you to toggle this useful feature on. If you find yourself inheriting an old instance, we would always advise you to take a look to see if the feature is enabled, and immediately turn it on if it is not. 

Adobe recently released an update to the bot activity filter. Marketo Engage now allows two different kinds of filtering behaviors. You can either use the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) bot list or use proximity matching. Proximity matching identifies when two activities, such as two clicked links, are taken in under two seconds and considers that proof of bot activity. We recommend turning on IAB filtering in nearly all cases. Proximity matching is more aggressive in its filtering. Therefore, we typically recommend only activating proximity matching if bot activity continues to be a problem after you enable filtering by the IAB list. 

When using the IAB list, you are able to completely filter any bot activity identified by the list from being recorded by Marketo at all, but be prepared to see possible declines in your open and click rates in your reporting. Either method allows you to have Marketo log the noted bot activity in lead records. If you keep the activity logged, you can use smart filters and their constraints to filter out the bot activity from your intended audience. 

Human Intelligence Beyond the Automation

Leadous has years of experience dealing with bot activity and its deleterious impact on the Marketo Engage Platform. We would be happy to explain to you in greater detail why you should care about and how you can mitigate the problems that bot activity can introduce. While we are certainly happy that Adobe now includes native support for identifying bot activity, we have actually been helping our clients deal with it for longer than that feature has been available. If you find yourself in a place where the automated filtering still does not bring your bot activity in line, you can trust Leadous to provide you with other options and solutions.

Reach out to see what Leadous and our team can do for you.

Category Archives: Obsessed With Marketing Automation

How To Scout Players For The Pros? Score. Select. Offer. WIN.

If a professional sports team wants to become a dynasty, that organization will absolutely need to have a top notch scouting network. Sure, a team may be at the top of their game now, but time changes everything. Top players will leave or retire. Unforeseen injuries will impact the lineup. The team’s ownership needs a steady stream of talent coming through their pipeline to replace those losses and improve the team. 

Your business also needs a way to be continually looking towards the future by building out their client lists. You can think of the marketing department as the talent scouts for your company’s team. The Adobe Marketo Engage platform can help you build a scoring program that tracks your prospects from unknown all the way through the sales funnel. Once Marketo Engage knows about a prospect, their actions will be able to push them through each stage of the sales cycle, assessing their quality and if they are deserving of a roster spot.

Assessing The Pipeline

Your scoring program should be the result of a collaboration between your Marketing and Sales teams. The two groups need to be candid with each other. Transparency will only benefit the end product. This conversation should range from email campaigns to job titles to business size to webinars to physical trade shows and even more depending on the number of channels you utilize. How important is each facet of your approach to generating a sale?

The point is they will need to assign value to prospects’ demographics and actions. What are the most likely things that will lead to a sales opportunity? The two departments should devote significant resources to the project. If you have strong reporting already, you should be going through it in detail. Without formal data, you could start with some standard industry best practices and rely on anecdotal input from sales representatives.

Each demographic quality and action can be assigned values depending on how their relative importance is viewed. At what collective value of actions and demographics does the sales team think a prospect is ready to be sold to? Once determined, this threshold is when a prospect becomes a MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead). Just like a scouting network, Marketo Engage is sorting through all of your prospects and only bringing Sales those that are good for the team. 

Finding The Right Prospect

Your business will decide what actions are most predictive of sales opportunities that closed successfully. Leadous can help you translate those decisions into a working Marketo Engage program, meaning your instance will be customized for your organization. You can leverage our expertise and experience to build any scoring program no matter how complex. We can help you make sure everything is built according to best practices so you can be confident in the way your prospects are accumulating points on their journey towards becoming MQLs.

If you had to establish your scoring program without hard data, simply by getting one up and running, you will have drastically improved your reporting capabilities which is very beneficial in and of itself. Just as a sports team’s needs change over time leading to changing interest in specific players, the scoring program will need to be revisited as you periodically reassess the scores you assigned to your demographics and actions. Actions that were once highly predictive may become more loosely correlated with positive outcomes over time. Expansion could place greater emphasis on new regional demographics. You may even find that your MQL threshold needs to be adjusted.

You need to revisit your scoring program to make sure it stays reliable. You will never make it perfect. The most promising player can still unexpectedly blow out a knee. Your goal should be refining the program to be as close to perfect as possible. Incorporate patterns and lessons learned from incorrectly identified MQLs to update your program. 

You can also decide what to do with a record that MQL’d but still did not lead to a sales opportunity. Should they be recycled back into your marketing programs? If so, try to incorporate modifications to typical procedures in order to make them more likely to work out to a positive outcome on the next attempt. If not, sometimes a player just is not what the team needs, and the talent scouts need to move on.

Build Your Dynasty

A well developed scoring program will make both Marketing and Sales happier in the long run. It allows both departments to focus their energies in the most productive places. The Sales Team gets to gain confidence that the contacts they work with are more receptive to their efforts. The Marketing Team gains data that proves the effectiveness of their initiatives and how they lead to revenue. 

The Leadous team is happy to guide you through the construction and maintenance of a scoring program that becomes a reliable model for your business. We can help your marketing department become the talent scouts that make sure your team never has a down year and is always in the discussion for a championship season. Reach out to an expert today.

Category Archives: Obsessed With Marketing Automation

You’re Playing the Game, It’s Halftime

What do your analysts tell you to reset your strategy to get you to the W?

Hopefully your team is giving you feedback and providing insights by data – numbers, percentages, and ranges. Just like the end of a game, the end of the year is approaching, probably faster than you think it is. How has your team measured up against the benchmarks it set for itself? Were your plans realistic? Are you on track to deliver? If you have not started asking yourself these questions yet, know that the stakeholders behind you have. You can get ahead of the end-of-year crunch by setting up a reporting framework and get insights from your data. This framework could also allow you to assess what, if any, corrective actions you need to take as we close in on the last quarter of the year, whether that is focusing man hours on a specific area or maybe just adjusting everyone’s expectations.

The Goal Line

While every deal and sale are unique, when you look at your company in aggregate, you can put together an “average” journey for your prospects and customers. What does the average new sale net in revenue? How long does it take to go from unknown to a sale? How likely is an unknown prospect to end up as a customer? Do you know what these statistics are for your business? Once you do, you can start reverse engineering how far you are from your revenue goal.

Without a proper reporting framework across the entire sales funnel, you are left trusting your intuition. However, modern Martech stacks include platforms like Adobe’s Marketo Engage include robust reporting tools. If you properly utilize these tools, the typical nebulousness of marketing begins to take shape into more concrete figures. You can then take those figures and make decisions based on data rather than a gut feeling. 

Let’s take a look at a very basic theoretical case. Back in January, your company set a goal of $500k in net new revenue. You know any given prospect has about a 25% chance to turn into a closed-won opportunity (and a tip of the hat to your team for their high numbers). You also know that your average sale brings in $1,000. Working backwards, it takes marketing to four prospects to bring in every $1,000. Now that we are entering the last quarter of the year, you know you need another $150k to meet the yearly goal. So, unless you can also change your averages as the year closes, you know you need to be marketing to roughly 600k prospects to meet your revenue goals.

Calling the Right Play

When you know what worked and when it worked, you can leverage that knowledge in forming your game plan, choosing which moves to make, and when to make those moves. However, it takes preparation to make sure every campaign can be measured in such a manner. Adobe’s Marketo Engage has a vast array of features that can be utilized to get you this kind of data. Obviously metrics like clicks and opens are available, but a well developed reporting framework goes beyond that to include even more data points like program statuses.

As you dive into reporting, it can do more than just show what you have done. It will start to guide what you choose to do. Say, theoretically, as you evaluate your reports, you come to find that your webinar series is a short circuit in the sales process. You can prove that you always gain new prospects from it, and that these prospects actually have closed sales at double your average. Once you see this pattern, you can start leveraging your webinars at crucial times by perhaps  scheduling a webinar event for a sales push.

Working with Your Team

A proper reporting framework breaks everything down to a very granular level. You can report on marketing programs in aggregate, by program type, by individual program, down to individual email. Marketing, as a department, has to work with other departments and under executives. Communication with those other groups becomes much more effective when you can use the common language of math and statistics, that in many cases also connect the data points through integrations. Facts carry more weight when they are backed up with data.

Collect. Analyze. Report. Connect with an expert today!

Category Archives: Obsessed With Marketing Automation

Your car is an integral part of your day to day life. You use it, you maintain it, and you have to fuel it. You are intimately familiar with it. Unless you are blessed with a limitless budget, when you are ready to look into buying a new car you have to balance what you want in your new vehicle versus what you need. This is a big purchase, and new cars are very complicated machines. 

What features are going to deliver on your needs? How many of your nice-to-haves can you get? Perhaps even knowing how to tell the difference between a want and a need is too far out of your element. What do you do? You go to your “car” friend, an expert, for advice. When that big purchase is a marketing automation platform instead of a car, think of Leadous as your expert friend, and we will show you how to get the most out of your budget.

The Leadous Evaluation Motor™

Using our Evaluation Motor™ model, the team here at Leadous breaks your marketing automation down into four key areas: Vision, Strategy, Features, and Resources. Think of each as a component of the engine that will drive your marketing initiatives. Our experts will work with you to understand how you currently use and plan to use automation in your marketing. Then we identify the platform best suited to your needs.

We start with your Vision. What are your goals? Do you have a roadmap for reaching your goals? Vision leads to Strategy. What portions of your business come from B2B and from B2C? Are you currently trying to break into new markets?  We can help you determine which of your channels needs development. Once you have a Strategy, we can help you identify the Features of a marketing automation platform required to implement your decisions. Finally, your Strategy and Features will inform what Resources will be needed to run your department, both human and technical. Do you have the database to support the initiatives you have planned? Do you have the man hours to realistically launch and maintain them?

Our discovery process will entail working with you, and you will need to be honest with us and yourself. Some people feel they absolutely must have a big pickup truck when they actually live in a downtown condo and do not even so much as dabble in manual labor. In reality, having the truck is a want. Sometimes those people need a trusted advisor to be honest with them, especially when it comes to budgetary discretion. If your only plans for marketing automation are to schedule email sends, then think of some of the more powerful (and expensive) platforms as more “car” than you need.

Committing to a marketing automation platform is not a trivial investment, just like committing to a contract for a new car. Changing platforms or implementing a company’s first venture into marketing automation usually involves more man hours than you think it will. So having to continually disrupt your operations is typically not the smartest way to go. Instead we will make sure our recommended platform can handle your plans. Alternatively, we can help you scale back your plans if you have to for budgetary reasons. We can show you what exactly you have to reconsider.

Car Enthusiasts Drive Nice Cars

You probably know Leadous is an Adobe Gold Partner. We believe in and use Adobe’s Marketo Engage as our marketing automation platform. You expect a car enthusiast to have a nice car. That said, we are still objective enough to help you decide if you have the need and ability to justify going to the top of the line solution. 

If you do decide to use Marketo Engage, the Leadous team will be able to guide you through the whole implementation. Our team can help you take your Marketo instance from a blank canvas to a high performance engine that drives global, multi-channel initiatives tracking every moment of your leads’ journeys through your fully customized sales life cycle.

Reach out today for expert guidance!

Category Archives: Obsessed With Marketing Automation

Even under ideal circumstances, navigating unfamiliar terrain is a challenge. Depending on just how far out of your element you are, you can end up in a situation where even basic observations can become guesses. Is that a harmless patch of vines or is it a bunch of poison ivy? If you are wrong, you could be dealing with the uncomfortable consequences for weeks. Even someone generally knowledgeable about nature can still make mistakes if they venture into areas they have never been. To avoid making mistakes, you can hire a local guide that will make sure you avoid any rash decisions. The same is true of your company and its business decisions. Consider Leadous and its team of Marketo Certified Experts to be your local guide for your Marketo Engage platform.

Getting the Lay of the Land

Perhaps internal staffing changes mean your in-house Marketo expert left without anyone to truly take over in their absence. Whatever the circumstances, you might find yourself in charge of a Marketo instance and not know everything you should about it. An inherited Marketo instance can have a lot of moving pieces interacting with each other. Before you get overwhelmed, you can have the Leadous team perform an in-depth review of your instance. 

Our review starts from the ground up, beginning with a check of your technical setup. Did you get Marketo’s Munchkin tracking code installed on your company’s website? How about using branded domains to send your emails and host your landing pages? These might seem like very basic questions, but we make no assumptions during our discovery. We want to make sure that the foundations are sturdy for whatever advanced lead gen initiatives you have planned.

We will go on to more generally familiarize ourselves with the instance looking through the programs and campaigns in your instance. We also check in on the general state of the records in your database. We work with Marketo customers across all industries, both B2B and B2C, so we can help provide industry-specific best practices suited to your particular use case.

Producing a Detailed Map

If you want to figure out where you are and where you want to be, often the first step is to get a map. As we gather our information, we start mapping the path for your instance. Are your folders and programs named and structured consistently? Does that consistency conform to typical best practices? Do you have a center of excellence and what does it look like? What do your data hygiene practices look like? We have a standard set of areas we know are important to chart, and we will make sure to check all of them for you. Of course, if you have any specific areas of interest, you can let us know, and we will add that as a focus during our discovery.

As we begin to clearly see everything, we can start to make some recommendations about what would make your instance better. For instance, think of your folder structure and naming conventions as the trails on your map. If you are trying to hike on overgrown, unmarked trails, you can easily get lost. However, if the trails are properly maintained and have legible signage, getting around the area becomes much easier. Establishing and sticking to a standardized folder structure and naming conventions is how you maintain those trails in Marketo.

Looking Toward the Unknown

Maybe you are looking for more than just discovery. You know you need an expert’s help because you want to venture out into entirely new territory. Once we become familiar with your instance, we can recommend new initiatives that companies in your position typically implement to further leverage the power of the Marketo Engage engine. Whether you have a particular goal in mind or a more general drive to continue building out your marketing automation, we lay out a plan that gets you ready to expand your operations.

Marketo is an incredibly versatile and powerful tool. It is very capable of driving a global, omni-channel marketing strategy that gives you very granular information about your prospects’ journeys through your revenue cycle. However, that endgame relies on smaller initiatives and campaigns that build on each other and themselves. Leadous has developed a next phase marketing automation progression model audit with benchmarks that show you how to build from simple email blasts to a top of the line, best in class Marketo instance.

The audit  goes a long way toward understanding where your company fits on that model. It also identifies the steps you need to take to reach the next phases. As your company advances through the phases, they will find increased personalization for their targeted audiences, more robust reporting, and generally better returns on their marketing budgets.

Leadous Brings Expert Support

Whether you find yourself completely overwhelmed or just want an independent opinion about your Marketo instance, Leadous and its team of experts will meet you where you are. Whether that is extra man hours, access to our deep pool of specialized knowledge, or to get some training for your staff, we can help your company fill any of its present gaps. Reach out to have one of our experts talk to you about an instance review and see how you can better leverage your Marketo instance to support your marketing strategy. 

Get in touch with an expert today to review your current setup!

Category Archives: Obsessed With Marketing Automation

The approach to staffing marketing resources has always toggled back and forth between hire or contract.  Budgets and resource requirements have steadily drove the decisions of which, in 2022 that is no longer the case. With the use of marketing technology exploding and the connection between creative and technically savvy intertwines it is often hard to find the right generalist that can provide a depth of technical expertise to help initiatives accelerate. Many times those generalists teach themselves how to use platforms and end up getting things to move forward, but by necessity instead of best practice, leaving large messes for the next to clean up as soon as they can market themselves with that specific technology experience and move on.

Although the marketing technologies have done tremendous jobs at building out certification and training programs, many companies and individuals are not willing to make the investment to ensure the technology can be fully utilized and don’t understand how to evolve from a foundational approach to one that is more advanced.

We have watched the market for automation platforms over the past 8 plus years, and this is what we know.  First, it is hard to have experience in one platform and move to another without a ramp period – the platforms are not the same no matter what they tell you. Second, the companies that believe in a cross discipline approach of having marketing and technology on the same team excel. And lastly, there is no comparison to the speed of trying to troubleshoot and figure things out on your own versus seeking the advance of an expert.

So how do you accomplish this? Staff for the generalist that can help push the strategy forward, the one who understands your industry and how to connect the dots between data, content, messaging, and technology.  Next if headcount is open, staff for the email campaign and social execution resources due to sheer volume and associated cost.  Then augment for the detailed expertise. The resource you need to do the one time things and/or provide a flux of help when needed and an expert that can align with your team so if resources move on your progress won’t take a hit.

Managed services options allow clients to control the amount of expert support they need to augment their teams and drive initiatives to success.  These services include everything from troubleshooting support for execution teams, to feature enablement, to custom integrations, instance administration, and just sheer extra hands when the team can be overloaded. Usually, organizations that offer these types of staff augmentation resources offer flexible plans for hours and volume pricing to make the investment worth it, letting organizations throttle up or down based on the support needed at any given time. 

The biggest challenge in this approach is knowing  how to partner with an organization that is top notch. This list is the top 5 must haves:

  1. They are an official part of the ecosystem of the technology provider, whereby they receive advanced training and insider updates to keep their joint clients happy.
  2. They are certified.  This is often overlooked by someone who has ‘experience’ but you can’t trade experience for the breadth of best practice training that a certified consultant has experienced.  
  3. They have a long term vision or methodology of how they help their clients evolve and have customer references to back it up.
  4. They are a cultural match and easily fit like a puzzle piece with the other resources you have.  Almost to the point you feel like they are on your team and not a partner resource.
  5. They have a track record of flexibility so they can morph to what is needed at any given time and have a history of going above and beyond.

At Leadous, we refer to our managed services offering as Campaign MentorTM. These services offer support in any area that touches the automation platform. We are a 8+ year 100% certified Adobe Platinum partner for Marketo Engage and leverage the Marketing Automation Progression ModelTM to help our clients realize the value of automation.  

To learn more about augmenting your staff with the dedicated expert support of Campaign MentorTM services or to learn more about the Marketing Automation Progression ModelTM feel free to download our informational one pagers or connect with us

Category Archives: Obsessed With Marketing Automation

Making major operational decisions about your company’s marketing stack is not an easy undertaking. The logistical effort of having to transition to new marketing automation software can seem like reason enough to just stick with the status quo. However, with the proper partner, you can actually make the transition a benefit in and of itself. Yes, you will need to put some work into the project, but it will also be an opportunity to reevaluate your strategies and make other cutovers that would normally go undone due to the disruption they would cause. Let Leadous be the kind of partner that makes you stronger for having decided to use the Marketo Engage platform.

Navigating the Logistics

The first task you’ll need to tackle is to catalog your assets and current programs. Leadous has been helping our clients through this process for years. Without a plan and end goal in mind, just getting started with this often proves overwhelming to companies at this early stage. We have developed documentation and processes that will help you manage what would otherwise seem to be a daunting task. We know you need to sort through everything from your landing pages to emails to specific audience groups. 

Once you know what you have, the next step is to determine what you want to keep. This will require your team to review your inventory. While Leadous and our experts can not make these sorts of calls for you, we can provide you with guidance about what you’ll need specifically to transition to your new Marketo instance. We can also advise on your broader marketing strategies which may influence the continued use of other assets.

We know you are likely coming from another platform. As such, we know your plans need to revolve around the loss of access to your old service. Our process will help you make sure you have everything you might possibly want to save before your old subscription ends. As we help you plot out your migration timeline, all of the relevant dates and considerations will be incorporated into your plan. 

Getting Into the Weeds

Once you have your migration plan in place, you will start the actual work of rebuilding programs and migrating assets. Outside of the migration itself, you will also need to start setting up your new Marketo instance. The experts at Leadous pride ourselves on our Marketo expertise. We can either guide you through the process, take it over entirely, or whatever mix of the two that meets your needs.

As Marketo experts, we will help you make sure all of your programs are properly adapted into the Marketo environment. Unless you are migrating between Marketo instances, you will have to rebuild the programs in your new instance. There is no ability to import a program from a different platform. Our experience will help smooth over the bumps that will inevitably arise as you have to “translate” into the new language of Marketo. If you are moving from one instance to the next, you can use the program import tool, but you may still have to do some specific rebuilds manually. 

Expect the Unexpected

An old military adage states no plan survives first contact with the enemy. Even the best laid plans have to be ready to change once the realities of the actual engagement reveal themselves, whatever they may be. When this inevitably happens to you, it will pay to have someone else around to offer assistance and advice. We have assisted with many migrations, and while every situation is unique, our history of service and happy clients means we have probably seen something similar to your current quandary.

Actually, we encourage our clients to take the migration as an opportunity to reassess their strategies and technologies. For instance, did you know Adobe has launched Dynamic Chat? Instead of paying for another 3rd party service, you can use a chatbot included with your Marketo subscription. When you make a realization like this and decide to leverage the new feature, the Leadous team is right by your side to help you understand what those changes to the plan mean for the rest of the migration timeline. 

As your team acclimates to the new platform, you can also engage with Leadous to train your staff. Even if you have to solely rely on Leadous during the migration because you are unfamiliar with Marketo, we have the resources to make sure your team doesn’t have to stay that way. From instructor-led sessions with our training expert to access to our managed learning system, Certous, Leadous can take your staff from novice to expert.

A Steady Hand on the Wheel

Whether you decide to do the rebuilds yourself or you want to offload the whole task, with Leadous consultants available to help, the switch to the Marketo Engage platform doesn’t have to be a strike against making the move. You will have dedicated Marketo Certified Experts working as your consultants during the transition, but you won’t be limited to just them. Through your consultants, you will have access to the entire Leadous Services Team and our entire combined experience. With our knowledge, you can rest easy knowing that any challenges you encounter can be dealt with and overcome.

If you are thinking about making the switch to Marketo Engage, reach out to find out what Leadous can do for you

Category Archives: Obsessed With Marketing Automation

Even if you aren’t one yourself, everyone is familiar with the work of the farmer. You plant your seeds. You tend your crop. You reap your harvest. It takes a lot of effort, patience, and attention to details. However, the work is critical to the foundation of everything else. Without a steady supply of food, this whole enterprise we call society would evaporate pretty quickly. The same can be said for supplying a company with leads and sales. Those leads are your seeds, you tend them with your marketing initiatives, and your sales team comes in to harvest those closed opportunities.

Planting the Seeds

You have new contacts. It is time to plant some new seeds. If those seeds are going to successfully grow, they will need proper attention. You have to make sure that the dirt they grow in is tilled and clear of weeds. In terms of a Marketo Engage instance, that means having operational programs to manage your scoring, status tracking, and data hygiene. Then those seeds will need sunlight and nutrition. This will come from your marketing campaigns.

Working the land is a never ending task for the farmer, and so is maintaining the operational programs that sustain a healthy Marketo instance. The Sales and Marketing Teams should be constantly collaborating with each other to identify the actions with the highest predictive value for an eventual sale. Scoring programs need to be developed and kept up to date. Other programs will move records through your sales lifecycle based on the criteria your company determines. This kind of constant maintenance leads to healthy soil for your seeds, and healthy soil means a better chance for a bountiful harvest.

Those seeds need their own food, water, and sunlight to grow. This sustenance is provided by your marketing initiatives. From simple email sends to webinars to advanced nurture programs and everything in between, Marketo Engage can automate your processes and help you track your audience’s actions. You can set your own controls to make sure you supply the right combination of nutrients and avoid overexposure. 

And They Sprout!

Your Marketo programs will make sure your crops stay watered and fertilized. Every time one of the records interacts with your campaigns, it stores just a little more energy and grows a little more. Maybe it was your monthly webinar series, or maybe it was your presentation at a tradeshow. All of these pieces of marketing start to add up, and the seed is now sprouting toward the heavens.

Eventually a seed has grown enough that you consider it ready to pass along to your Sales team. This is one of the primary purposes of your scoring program, to determine when a record meets this qualification. Upon meeting this threshold, the record becomes what is known as a MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead). Through their ongoing collaboration, Marketing and Sales have agreed that a record with that score will typically be ready for the sales process to start.

The Sales Team will then do their own assessment of the lead. If they like what they see, the Sales Team will accept the MQL turning the record into a SAL (Sales Accepted Lead) as it continues through the sales process. If the Sales Team thinks the record is not quite ready, they can simply recycle the lead back into the general marketing initiatives.

Continuing to Care for Your Leads

In real life, you tend to make your harvests all at once. However, a Marketo instance using a well maintained lifecycle model will utilize in its design a series of campaigns listening for triggers to recycle those records rejected for whatever reason by the Sales Team. So instead of having to harvest and discard a record that did not bear fruit, you can instead continue to nurture it. As the record once again engages with your content, it will start accumulating points again leading it back to its status as a MQL.

This kind of per record analysis and sorting allows you to take as long as you need for each contact to be at its perfect opportunity to harvest. You can keep records in your automation flows with minimal staff effort. In fact, advanced marketing strategies can be developed to specifically target those records that have been recycled by Sales, hopefully bringing them back to Sales with a higher chance of success. This automated process keeps your salespeople free to focus on the most fruitful records.

SALs Need Love Too

Even if a record is a SAL and being specifically targeted, it remains rooted in the soil of your Marketo instance. Using the proper logic, you can use Marketo to automate announcements, reminders, or other notices to your SALs. These automated processes again can free up your salespeople to do what they do best, sell, instead of having to reach out personally in every instance.

As Sales continues to work with the record, they could determine that they were too overeager in their assessment, and the record should not have become a SAL. They can still choose to recycle a record to a previous status in the life cycle. Or, if they continue to like what they see, they can decide the contact is ready to become a SQL (Sales Qualified Lead). Usually, a SQL becomes associated with a sales opportunity which means those records are ready for harvest.

Harvest Season

The Sales Team actively works with their sales opportunities, answering questions and keeping the contact engaged. Marketo can still be leveraged at this point in the life cycle with the ongoing collaboration between Marketing and Sales determining its role at this late stage.

Unfortunately, nature can still ruin a harvest through no fault of the farmer. Likewise, even the most seemingly likely opportunities can fall apart through no direct fault of Marketing or Sales. You have nourished and guarded your crops, but a small twist of fate can ruin your harvest. You can only fight so hard against a drought. If that turns out to be the case, and the opportunity was lost, the Sales Team can make the decision to recycle the record to a previous status or move on to other contacts.

Sure not every individual seed will grow into a useful piece of produce, but taken in aggregate, your well tended crop will yield a bountiful harvest of closed won opportunities. What started as a load of stored potential inside your tiny seeds has grown into delectable fruits and vegetables that your company sustains itself on. From their humble beginnings as anonymous seeds in the dirt, your records were nourished and cared for by well designed marketing initiatives until the Sales Team was able to come and pick all the valuable yields.

Reach out to Leadous today to see how we can help you make sure you produce a bountiful cornucopia from your fields.

Category Archives: Obsessed With Marketing Automation

No matter how talented the driver, any motor sports team knows you need to keep the vehicle in top shape if you want to win. That means constantly being on the lookout for signs of anything not working at top efficiency. Even the most seasoned driver would not be able to cross the finish line if one of the tires blew out because it wasn’t inflated properly. Likewise, the most brilliant, innovative Marketo initiative is doomed to fail if you don’t keep up with the everyday maintenance of monitoring your email deliverability statistics.

Keeping Up with the Basics

Email deliverability is one of those things that can be easily overlooked until the situation is already well out of hand. It can be very tempting to just keep getting emails set up and sent out. A driver just wants to be out there driving. However, a successful driver knows they need to check in with their pit crew. Rather than reaching a point of no return or taking drastic measures at an inflection point, you would be better off checking in on a regular basis. As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

You should monitor the email deliverability of both your overall instance and each individual program. Obviously each program is a part of the overall health, but taking the time to examine them individually allows you to better track when something unexpected or unusual might have occurred. For instance, if you see an unusually sharp decrease in the percentage of emails successfully delivered in one of your programs, you can start to examine other events around that time that may have affected your deliverability. Did you purchase a bad list from a data vendor? Maybe your IP has been flagged by a reputation entity like SpamCop. Having regular behavior markers will make identifying the proverbial needle in the haystack much easier.

You and your team have spent a lot of time working on content to send out to your potential customers. Then you spent more time deciding what specific subsection of your audience would be the most likely to respond to each piece of that content. How sure are you that you were making accurate assumptions? As your deliverability statistics trend downward, uncertainty surrounding your other metrics goes up. If your messages end up in a spam folder, the audience you spent all that effort selecting will shrink in ways you will not be able to predict. 

The Leadous Approach

Leadous and our team of experts work hard to keep abreast of email marketing trends industry-wide. We can help you make sure you know what others in similar lines of business are seeing. Using Marketo’s reporting suite, we can show you how to set up automated reporting that can deliver key metrics straight to your inbox on your desired schedule. Just like with the data metrics, Leadous also stays up to date with design trends. We can examine the emails you have sent in the past in order to help you identify any components within them that are more or less likely to affect being classified as spam.

In our standard audit, we really like to take the engine apart to see where we can help you make improvements. If you and your team are great drivers, but need a better pit crew, Leadous can come in to act as your mechanics. If you are trying to build up your in-house crew into an elite team, we can help train your people on best practices. Even if you have a great pit crew, it never hurts to bring an outside set of eyes to recognize problems that have become normalized. 

We will take a look at your overall database examining several key metrics. We will also make sure your Marketo instance is using all the available security authentication protocols for your emails and Marketo-hosted landing pages. We will also closely examine 3-5 emails either at your specific request or a few that we identify as potentially significant. We look at the specific deliverability and success metrics in detail. We also will take a look at the contents of each email making suggestions for improvements.

Reach out to see what Leadous’ team of experts can do to improve your organization’s email deliverability statistics.

Category Archives: Obsessed With Marketing Automation

Bullseye! Is there any better exclamation after completing a difficult task? We all know it means someone just hit exactly what they were aiming for. What if you could take some of the difficulty out of hitting your targets? What if you could help guide your shot right to the target? You could be experiencing the thrills and rush of scoring your bullseyes more often.

Get Acquainted with Account Based Marketing

Account Based Marketing (ABM) is something of a different approach to marketing your products and services. Rather than casting a wide net to appeal to as many people as possible in as wide an audience as possible, ABM relies on a more focused approach. The idea is to strategize and pick certain accounts to focus your efforts on by delivering highly personalized, strategic campaigns to the people and organizations that are the best fit for your company.

An ABM marketer is less concerned with driving high volumes. They tend to focus on finding a select group of customers considered high yield. The definition of high yield might vary from marketer to marketer or even customer to customer. The target may be to find a new big logo that will be using your services. Or, the target may just be people you expect are big spenders. Maybe you want to target records that typically have short close times on their deals. Whatever the case, the point is that an ABM campaign is built specifically with its audience in mind.

The identification of which accounts to target for a particular ABM campaign is the result of collaboration across departments. Both the Marketing and Sales Teams should look at their data to determine the profile they want to aim for. This means looking at existing opportunities that are examples of the kinds of accounts you want to target. Look for commonalities among existing opportunities to start to build the profile of the kind of record you will target.

Get the Most Bullseyes for Your Money

Companies tend to become interested in ABM strategies because they offer better ROI than a traditional wide net approach. A well built ABM campaign will have its goals and analytics set up and running, ready for the campaign’s launch. You should set these up early in order to establish some baseline behavior. An established baseline allows you to judge how the campaign’s contents are performing. How active were your targets before? Did your efforts actually drive more people to your website to request demos? You can really only answer that knowledgeably if you understand how those accounts behaved before the campaign. 

Data begets more data. As your campaign runs, you can use the analysis of it to start informing even more personalization in your already targeted audience. For instance, you can start putting together the profile of those inside your audience that were a quick win. Then you can start developing content further personalized to seek out more quick wins.

Sharing data and collaboration between Marketing and Sales is a vital component of ABM campaigns. The Marketing Team can provide Sales with top-of-funnel information so that the Sales members can watch activity and possibly ascertain signals from those potential buyers. Sales should be keeping Marketing up to date for any changes in trends in closed deals that might affect future ABM campaigns.

Planning It All Out

Sharing the data won’t be the only things Sales and Marketing will be doing together. Working together, your team should be able to come up with your customer’s typical journey. The general example is Awareness, Interest, Evaluation, Desire, and Action. Once the journey and its stages have been defined, your team can start planning what content and assets will be applied at each step in the journey. How fast a company moves through the stages, and/or where they entered will affect what type of content they should receive. For instance, if the targeted company has never even been to your website before, the approach will be different than another who has already filled out a Contact Me request.

Targeting and personalization continues inside each organization. The structure of targeted companies also matters. The value of an interested IT tech is probably less than the Director of IT which is also less than someone in the C-suite. The value of the first party might just be in your introduction to their boss. What each level of employee cares about is also different. The high ROI of ABM strategies comes from the high return on targeted content. If there’s value in different content for different levels of employees, keep narrowing your targeting down. At the very least, make sure your content encourages working your way up the targeted company’s hierarchy.

Marketo, Leadous, and ABM

All of this data collection and organization is made incredibly more manageable when using Marketo as your marketing automation platform. The Leadous team knows how to leverage all the reporting and tracking Marketo brings to the table that you need to plan, build, and execute ABM campaigns. Every click, website visit, content download, and form fill will be recorded so we can help you and your team analyze the results.

Additionally, Marketo will allow real-time personalization in emails and landing pages. ABM campaigns are all about ROI, and ROI is highest on personalized content. Leadous’ team can help build content for you with personalization in mind. That includes everything from making sure your company’s relevant data is making it into Marketo to building custom email templates and designs.

Reach out to Leadous today to setup and hit your bullseye.

Category Archives: Obsessed With Marketing Automation

Unicorns are considered mythical creatures, the flying horse with the horn, a rainbow mane, this rare creature is so unique one has never been captured and has only been seen in fairytales and as a design on men’s dress socks.  Could you imagine having a unicorn, this thing so unique and special there is just one?  You might be saying ‘a unicorn’, I would never want one.  When in all practicality you probably do want one, just not in the form of a flying horse with a horn.

A Marketing Unicorn

As marketing has moved more from creative to technical and also now spans into sales, the job description has turned into a laundry list of attributes that are so difficult to find – making these marketers ‘unicorns’ – mythical creatures that cannot be captured.  So you want someone with two different automation platforms because you are migrating from one to another, CRM experience, know design products, can write a press release, and can align efforts to sales goals to help the team win?  That is actually about six people and would cost a company upwards of $750,000 all in with benefits.  But, alas, instead we look for the unicorn. 

Companies spend months combing through the interwebs trying to find these specialized resources.  Meanwhile, marketing is losing traction to hit their lead gen goals and time is wasting away. The fact of the matter is they do not exist.  At least in the form that is being sought after.

How to Find a Unicorn

The most specialized skill sets require support from an organization that is connected to the industry and understands the requirements.  If you are migrating – do you really need someone with both automation platforms or the one you are moving forward with? Could you use a third party to provide that level of expertise for 30 days and then be done?  Your CRM – do they need to know how to run the CRM or be able to simply add a field? Would an online training course get them the skills set they need? Do any other resources on any other teams share any of the responsibilities?

This type of questioning can help you quickly target what type of unicorn you are really looking for.  Three simple steps to get you ready for the hunt:

  1. Decide on the key attributes, must-haves, of the candidate.  Note ‘culture fit’ should be on that list. You should also consider other characteristics that would ensure they can get up to speed quickly.
  2. Decide on key long-term priorities.  The short-term ones you should outsource. From the scenario above, they need to know your old automation platform – but only for a minute, let that requirement go.  Is the skillset general enough that a training course could get them enough knowledge?
  3. Take those lists along with your job description to experts in the field. You wouldn’t take a fishing guide turkey hunting? So why would you go hunting for a unicorn without a guide?

Expect to hire someone in 60-90 days. If they come sooner, great.  But plan for a longer-term strategy to find the right person. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to fill in the gaps.  At Leadous we find ourselves helping with the recruiting from our industry connections, at the same time, filling gaps with our consultants to help clients stay on track. It’s not a bad idea to have a guide, a trusted partner who knows the path that can lead you on your hunt and knows how to support you along the way.

You’ve Caught a Unicorn

It’s not impossible to find the perfect candidate, so long as your expectations are aligned, you can get close. By close, it may not have the horn or the rainbow tail, but you get one of them. Your work however isn’t done there.  Unicorns, as one would imagine, require special handling, so make sure you have a development plan in place and are willing to pay to keep the unicorn healthy. Because just when you think you’ve captured one. They will escape.  And you’ll be on the hunt to capture another one. 

So how do you find a unicorn, you create one with the help of Leadous. Talk to an expert today! 

Happy hunting.

Category Archives: Obsessed With Marketing Automation

When it comes to marketing metrics, you are either eating at the table or being eaten. Without Adobe Marketo Measure (formerly Bizible), everyone sitting at the table will simply say, “You can’t sit with us.” Marketo Measure gives marketing automation the ability to track the customer journey from first touch to closed/won, while providing visibility into which channels are driving this journey. What do you need to know before you take your seat and eat the most delicious meal full of marketing attribution? 

The Ingredients

The goal of marketing attribution is to understand how their efforts affect pipeline, sales, and ROI. Which channels perform the best? How should we be spending our valuable time, resources, and budget? Marketo Measure touchpoints are the first step in determining the answer to these questions. Touchpoints are used to measure interaction with marketing, and there are two primary types of touchpoints – online and offline. Online touchpoints are created via the Marketo Measure JavaScript on your website, while offline touchpoints are created via activities such as webinar and trade show attendance. These touches then need to be categorized by channels and subchannels to help determine which types of marketing are most successful. Think of the touchpoint as the groceries and the channels are the aisles in the store. While a grocery store may sort food by meat, dairy, and produce, Marketo Measure categorizes touchpoints into channels such as Paid Search, Social, Events, and more. These channels can then be further broken down into subchannels to determine where a channel shines. If paid social is the most successful channel, for example, it would be helpful to know what percentage of this success can be attributed to Facebook versus Linkedin. 

Break out the Cookbook

Now that you have gathered and categorized all of your touchpoints, it is time to decide how you want to map out the buyer’s journey. Marketo Measure comes with five out-of-the-box attribution models that can show a buyer’s journey. This is the recipe for (tracking) success. The first two models are First Touch and Lead Creation and are examples of single-touch attribution. In these models, 100% of the attribution credit is given to either the first point of marketing contact or the point at which the person becomes a lead. The other models are U-Shaped, W-Shaped, and Full Path and are more complex, multi-touch models. These paths rely on distribution of attribution among four milestone touchpoints: first touch (FT), lead creation (LC), opportunity (OC), and close/won (CW). The U-Shaped model divides the attribution credit evenly between FC and LC, while the W-Shape assigns FT, LC, and OC 30% attribution each and the remaining 10% is given to any intermediate touchpoints. Full Path includes all four of the milestones, assigning 22.5% credit to each point, with the remaining 10% going to intermediary touches. The custom model allows marketers to choose which stages are included, and how much attribution should be assigned to each. Choosing the model that works best for your company’s business needs is important for reporting on a lead’s movement through the funnel.  

Set the table

Once your marketing journey has been established, it is time to analyze the data and report on it. This is the last step before you can finally take your seat at the table. Marketo Measure comes with its own UI in the Discover Dashboard. This is where you can drill down into elements such as ROI, Spend, Pipeline Revenue, Deals, Opportunities, Contacts or Leads. This can be used to prove marketing’s impact on the movement through the funnel. Use the reporting functionality to answer – where do my leads come from? How much do I pay per opportunity or win? What is my true ROI? Where should we place our marketing spend? In addition to the built-in reporting capabilities, business intelligence platforms Tableau and PowerBI can be leveraged.  

Now that the touchpoints have been tracked and categorized, an attribution model has been chosen, and reports have been created, it is finally time to take a seat at the table. Marketo Measure has given you the opportunity to track the buyer’s journey and shows how and why marketing drives this journey. To get help with our attribution and your buyer journey contact us today!

Category Archives: Obsessed With Marketing Automation

Credit scoring has become foundational to the current financial system. It was conceived and has evolved to track and rate the history of a person’s financial choices. Through years of refinement in terms of both tracking and scoring individual actions, credit scoring became critical to anyone in the business of lending money. The Marketo Engage platform can build out a scoring system that your sales team can treat like their own personally curated Equifax score.

Lean Into the Idea

A lead scoring system built in Marketo should be developed cooperatively between the marketing and sales teams. The two departments will need to have an open and honest collaboration. The discussion will be wide-ranging covering the perceived values of everything from favorable demographic qualities to attending trade shows to simply clicking through to your landing pages. 

The point is to assess what actions and/or conditions have traditionally been those most likely to lead to sales opportunities for your company. Devote the planning and resources necessary to make sure your plan is a predictive tool your sales team can rely on. If you have data you can already study, you should be diving deep. If you do not have formal data, you can start with typical industry practices and anecdotal input from the sales representatives. 

Determine the Threshold

Different demographic categories and various actions can all be assigned different values. The more favorably your company views the action, the higher the value of the associated score. Taking a view of all the possible ways a contact can accumulate points, you will need to decide at what point value the sales team would consider accepting a lead.

If you have set up your model correctly, the sales team’s new leads will have already absorbed enough information about your services that they will find these contacts are ready to take things to the next level. This threshold is typically what determines when a contact becomes a marketing qualified lead (MQL). Just like a bank will take an Equifax score as proof that someone is a good candidate to open a credit card, the salespeople in your organization will be able to accept a MQL status as proof they should focus their efforts on that contact. 

Your Lead Scoring Model, Your Way

Your organization will determine what actions are most predictive of a Closed Won sales opportunity. These choices will determine the logic and actions of the campaigns in Marketo, meaning your Marketo instance will be tailored to fit your specific needs. The logic will be yours, but Leadous can help your organization make sure the actual Marketo programs are built with best practices in mind to ensure leads are scored and sent to sales as MQLs.

Even if you started from a place without hard data, once your campaigns are running in Marketo, you will have strong reporting capabilities. Using this data, you should periodically revisit your scoring campaigns. Keep refining your logic. Keep working on how you are collecting your data. Trends can and will change, and what was once highly predictive may become only loosely correlated. It can even be such that the MQL threshold itself needs to be reassessed.

The point of these reviews is not to achieve perfection, but to continue to work toward it. While the scoring model will be reliable, it will not be absolute. Even people with excellent credit scores can end up defaulting on their payments. However, you can use even these situations to reflect on potential modifications to the model. You can decide if you think recycling a record back through more marketing is a viable path, and what, if any, modifications to the marketing they would receive as they possibly work their way back toward being a MQL again.

Make Your Scoring Model Its Own Institution

When the scoring model is implemented and refined, everyone should be happier. Both departments will be able to focus their energies in the most productive places. The sales team will be working with contacts more likely to make a purchase. The marketing team will be able to demonstrate how their efforts lead to success. Properly maintained, over time, your program will gain a positive internal reputation as everyone around it recognizes its value.

The Leadous team can help guide you through the process. We have tools and experience that can help you strategize around your specific use case. Our experts will keep you on track and make sure your team avoids common scoring pitfalls.

For more information on Lead Scoring contact us at info@leadous.com

Category Archives: Obsessed With Marketing Automation

Let’s talk about hygiene. We all know there are some things we do have to do in the background to keep up with our own. When you neglect your hygiene, it might not always be immediately apparent, but inevitably, something unpleasant will make itself known. This is true for your personal habits, and it’s true for your Marketo database.

What are the consequences of poor database hygiene? There are a few common ones discussed below. None of them are positive. Any marketing automation strategy developed on top of a poorly maintained set of records is going to be flawed in its execution over time. 

Deliverability. Poor deliverability is probably the most consequential over the long term. Keeping a clean database reduces the chances of sending email out that reduces your deliverability credibility. If your credibility is poor, you are more likely to be classified as spam. Being spam is obviously going to reduce your effectiveness as an email marketing machine. Recovering credibility after sustained losses is not typically an easy undertaking. 

Cost. On a financial note, poor database hygiene increases the difficulty of managing record bloat. Marketo Engage licenses include size limits for each instance’s record database. When those limits are reached, Adobe will alert the account owner that they need to reduce their database’s size or license a larger database. At bare minimum, good database maintenance will allow for timely identification of records that can be purged, keeping costs down. More aggressive database hygiene will automate at least some of the record removal process slowing down the database’s growth rate in real time.

Data.  Lastly, on a more personally strategic level, poor hygiene leads to flawed data. Clean databases keep their records up to date. Marketing teams spend a lot of time making important decisions about who to target for their campaigns. The realization that the audience or trend is not, in fact, what everyone thought it was because of flawed data leads to frustration. Frustration leads to finger pointing, and no one enjoys finger pointing.

Leadous has plenty of experience helping clients implement and expand their database hygiene plans. Typically, the first thing we see and recommend is clients setting up different campaigns to handle various kinds of potentially problematic records. For instance, the response to a record that received one soft bounce response is going to be different from a record that received an email is invalid response. Our consults help our clients identify the various categories. Once the categories are defined, we can also advise what to do in each case. Then we can build out smart campaigns to comb through all of the records and take those actions. 

Once the problematic categories start being identified, some of the responses taken in response to those records will help address record bloat. How aggressively they choose to do so is another strategy the Leadous team can help guide. In any case, once the time for an active purge arrives, previous database maintenance will have identified the categories that are likely targets for elimination. From there, it would be a relatively simple task to actually remove the records.

Keeping records accurate is also part of the maintenance required for a healthy database. An important part of that is data normalization campaigns. In a pretty traditional example, country names typically need to be normalized into an expected value. Automation enforcing standardized names prevents future ambiguity. Why include “USA, US, United States, United States of America” in all future filters? Instead, one campaign can look for all the potential variants and change them to a singular, preferred standard. Some data fields that typically benefit from a data normalization campaign include state, professional title, and professional role among others. 

These ideas represent just the beginning of database hygiene. All of the advanced phases of Leadous’ Marketing Automation Progression Model depend on the foundation created by trustworthy data. The effort required for this foundational work pays off in the short term, but it also yields additional dividends down the line. Team Leadous loves helping our clients address their data challenges and ensure they have a funnel that is quality from the bottom up. 

Questions about your data? Talk with an expert today

Category Archives: Obsessed With Marketing Automation

 

Seeing a butterfly is truly one of life’s greatest little joys. People are always happy to see the beautiful creatures flying around. However, before that butterfly was the bright specimen fluttering about, it began its life as a caterpillar. It had to beat the odds and survive its environment while consuming enough to nourish itself through its transformation. Thinking like that, it is not hard to draw the comparison of a butterfly to a completed sale.

 

First, it hatches!

A new contact has been created in the database. A contact has become known. A tiny egg has hatched. The hatchling needs two things to have a chance at becoming a butterfly, a safe environment and nutrition. A safe environment is a well-maintained Marketo Engage instance with functional operational programs to handle tasks like scoring, tracking a record’s status, and data hygiene. Nutrition means this record will go through programs and campaigns that trigger email outreach. 

 

A clean environment will lay the foundation for the growth of our potential butterfly. That means the Marketo instance has a well-thought-out scoring system developed with plenty of collaboration with the sales team. This collaboration should be ongoing, not just a set it and forget it interaction. A select group of smart campaigns will be responsible for tracking a contact’s journey through life cycle statuses. Lastly, keeping the database clean means you are less likely to have a record missing out on programs. Records living in a healthy environment means more chances for qualified leads to be hatched.

 

A finely tuned Marketo instance is going to be spoon-feeding new records with all of the nutrition they could ever need. This starts with standard email sends. However, it certainly doesn’t end there. It will go on to include nurture campaigns, invitations to both live and digital events, and links to resources on the web. 

And then it flies.

Eventually, our caterpillar decides to take a bite, much like a record being marketed to. They choose to interact with one of the emails they have received. Maybe they click through to a landing page. Maybe they register for a webinar. Or, maybe they decide they need to register for a monthly newsletter. Whatever the case may be, our lead has started storing up the data it will need to undergo its glorious metamorphosis into an opportunity and then a customer. In Marketo’s language, the record just earned its first behavior-scoring points.

 

As our record continues receiving various forms of outreach and taking various actions in response, their score will continue to rise. At some predetermined point, they will have earned enough points to become an MQL, a marketing-qualified lead. This means that the lead has demonstrated enough interest and meets the minimum threshold of characteristics that they are ready to be handed off to the sales team.

 

At this point, the sales team will assess if they believe this record is indeed ready for their efforts. If the sales team doesn’t think this lead has what it takes, well, it’s not all bad news. The magic of Marketo means the lead has another shot at eventually getting its wings. If they accept the MQL, the record becomes a sales accepted lead, SAL, and continues its journey. 

The Rewind Button

In real life, a caterpillar really only has one shot to make it all the way to butterfly. Fortunately, a well-maintained Marketo lifecycle will have its smart campaigns listening for various triggers to reset a record’s status. In this way, an MQL can be rejected by the sales team, and instead of its chance being over, it can instead be reset as an engaged record that will continue to receive outreach and education. Once again, actions from the contact will accumulate points, and possibly even regain its status as an MQL.

 

The beauty of this ability to rewind is that it can occur at virtually any point in the lifecycle and reset to any previous status however many steps ago that was in the journey. A recycled contact stays in the automation flows, hopefully bringing them back again with a higher chance of success on their return visit, and it frees up sales to work on records that are hopefully more fruitful.

The Sales Journey

The sales team will continue to work on their SALs. But Marketo can still play a role here too. Smart campaigns can be configured to look at a record’s status in the life cycle. These campaigns can be used to help keep specific information or announcements top of mind for your contacts without forcing the sales team to directly reach out to everyone in every instance.

 

As the sales team works with the contact, they may decide that this record wasn’t quite ready for a firm sales pitch yet. They can still recycle that contact back into a previous status. Or, if everything is going well, and they think this contact is ready, they can decide the record is now a SQL, sales-qualified lead. It is at this point, typically, that a sales opportunity is associated with the lead. And then the lead, much like our baby caterpillar, is ready for its next stage.

The Cocoon

The sales team will still need to work with the lead to answer questions and engage the contact during the sales process. Again, Marketo campaigns can be leveraged to whatever extent the sales team feels comfortable to aid in communications during this process.

 

Just because a caterpillar has made its cocoon, that doesn’t guarantee the caterpillar is going to survive all the way to its emergence and initial flight. Just like in nature, a record at this point in the life cycle has all the information it could need and is in a safe, secure place. However, some small twist of fate may mean this deal was not meant to be. If that’s the case, if the sales team thinks they could maybe potentially come around for another try later, they can recycle them to a previous life cycle status.

The Birth of a Beautiful Butterfly

The record decided to go with your company and purchase your services. After its beginning as a virtually unknown quantity, that record was nurtured by well-engineered Marketo campaigns and a great sales team. The lead came to know and respect your brand and team during its journey. A glorious, new butterfly has entered the world. What started as a little crawling caterpillar was given a safe, bountiful place to mature in your environment. And, aren’t we all just a little more joyous for playing our part in its presence?

Category Archives: Obsessed With Marketing Automation

It’s surprising to talk with so many marketers that say they get a goal pushed down from above. No rhyme or reasoning, just a revenue number – oh, and no increase in budget. Then marketing has to figure out how. It can be done but in order to see it work, and understand conversion at what phases in the funnel can have the biggest impact can seem overwhelming if one doesn’t understand where or how to start.

For example, low conversion along the entire funnel means the database that is feeding the pipeline needs to increase in size. And data costs. Conversion backup early in the funnel tells us marketing is ineffective, late in the funnel sales is ineffective. In the middle, conversion between MQL and SQL usually identifies a marketing and sales alignment issue.

Like any challenge, once you identify what it is and have a model based on industry assumptions or actual data from your CRM and automation platform, marketers can become much more strategic about what and how they are going to help leads convert, and sales teams win. You can choose specific segments that will have separate campaigns, you can choose to go further through the funnel on prospects to keep things moving forward, and provide less air coverage on customer leads. Whatever the model tells you is the right move.

Even a loose model that is based on averages and assumptions can give a marketer enough to start to make more effective decisions on channels, tactics, and timing.

At Leadous, we tend to build three models. The as-is, what you can do if no factors changed. The goal, what the model would need to look like if the goal were to be met. And the third, which is the game-changer, is a model where the inputs can be changed to see how each could affect the model. What if you got more customers, what if the average deal size increased, what if the database grew, what if more deals closed…the options are endless and it creates a visual that is a great aid in conversations where sales, management, and marketing do not have defined levers, or understand the inner-workings of the entire lead to the sales cycle.

Let Leadous help you reverse engineer your funnel by building you a model that illustrates your ability to meet goals and exceed expectations. Reach out to an expert today by clicking here.

Category Archives: Obsessed With Marketing Automation

Movin’ on up.

Marketers put so much effort into email marketing platforms over time that it seems like a daunting task to make the move to a more robust platform, and move everything. The question becomes is the trade-off worth it. To answer this question, a clear understanding of why the move is being considered, the hard and soft costs, and the time it will take all need to be considered.

Why move? This question seems to be the easiest to answer. Some features are missing from the existing platform and the move to a new platform will fill the gap. List of the ones you have and the ones you want, then do a side-by-side with the new platform to make sure you’ll get the features you are using and be able to level up with new features that should be game-changing to how you are marketing.

What are the hard and soft costs? The hard cost is how much you currently pay and how much you will pay. The soft relates to the value of the resources and time to get something new up and running. Although budget should be a driving cost, sometimes the investment in the change far outweighs what you might be paying from a dollar standpoint.

How much time will it take? If you have hundreds of active campaigns and programs expect this to take a while. Also, think about the time it will take to onboard team members to the new platform. There is an opportunity cost with taking your eyes off of other things, it doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing to do, but it is definitely a factor to take into consideration.

We see many clients who decide to start from scratch at a certain point in time, move nothing, and see great success quickly. Others are tied to their existing assets and programs and find it challenging to get going. Our best tips to make sure migration is successful:

  1. Take everything into consideration and make an informed decision.
  2. Be planful. Follow the plan.
  3. Don’t forget to shut the old system off.

Leadous helps clients through the migration process every day. Let us help you determine in a new platform is necessary and how to make the transition as smooth as possible. Reach out to one of our experts today by simply clicking here.

Category Archives: Obsessed With Marketing Automation

With the new year right around the corner the whole office is going to be filled with folks making resolutions to ‘Sharpen the Saw’ as Steven Covey would say. Whether you call it sharpening the saw or just practicing self-care, people commonly vow to drink more water, eat better food and get more sleep. One of the more challenging dimensions of being your best self is keeping yourself mentally sharp. A great way to do that is take a course or learn a new skill.

Leadous offers plenty of ways for you and your team to freshen up knowledge, build a deeper level of understanding in a specific area or even get certified as a Marketo Certified Expert (MCE) or Marketo Certified Specialist.

  • MCE Certification Support – In 2022, Adobe’s most rigorous MCE test becomes the only route to certification. Leadous has helped people from all departments and across the country to gain certification.
  • Workshops – Give your entire team the gift of  Marketo Engage™ training in one of our signature workshops that dives deep into your company’s specific roadblocks and plans for success in 2022
  • Custom Courses – Start where you are and let our Marketo Certified Experts answer questions, provide context and advise on best practices. You determine the subject and we bring the resources and training assets you or your team needs.
  • Specialization Courses – Especially interested in strengthening knowledge in a certain area of Marketo Engage™? Currently there are 11 specializations and we can provide resources that are focused on your specific goals

1. Account-Based Marketing
2. Analytics Attribution
3. Analytics and Reporting
4. Customizing Creative Assets
5. Email Deliverability
6. Events and Webinars
7. Nurture and Engagement
8. Programs and Campaigns
9. Setup and Configuration
10. Social Marketing
11. Web Personalization

End 2021 with training that renews your team and brings recharged attention to the power of marketing automation. Let Leadous share our creative knowledge and training assets with you today. Contact Us for More on Marketo Engage™ Training

Category Archives: Obsessed With Marketing Automation

Batman & Robin, Han Solo & Chewbacca, Will Smith & Carlton Banks, Marketing Automation (MA) & Account Based Marketing (ABM) — they’re all iconic duos but only one can leverage the power of your data to grow revenue across your key accounts.

Combine the technology of a MA platform like Marketo Engage  and the focused data used in ABM and a more powerful strategy is produced: Targeted Account Management (TAM). Marketo Engage users can use TAM to identify the best matches in your lead database for your sales teams and monitor engagement just for that group. Ultimately leveraging different channels to creatively target specific leads using ABM can accelerate customer acquisition while supporting retention, and expansion revenue opportunities for your marketing, customer success, and sales teams.

Teamwork is key to success with this strategy. Like the classic duos above both marketing and sales must be stakeholders – aligned and working together.

Identifying the Target
Pull lists of accounts that can be targeted together by industry, location, company size or what makes sense to your company. Determine account personas that can be reached across multiple channels. Get sales and marketing teams to align on definitions and share what is currently working to move leads through the funnel.

Creating Content
Have touch points across many channels.  Marketo Engage allows your team to create multi-channel content and create campaigns that allow you to analyze and learn how to optimize your approach.

Highlighting Lead Scoring
Marketo Engage allows for scoring to measure behaviors that indicate engagement. Make sure both marketing and sales have agreed on what qualifies the best leads and analyze lead behavior to reveal how leads turn to opportunities. Review lead scoring campaigns regularly to determine the level of engagement of your accounts.

Leadous’ Marketo Certified Experts can walk through this live to get a feel for where you think your team is at as 2021 draws to a close. Depending on how in-depth your team would like to get with training and how much strategy is already in place we can assist with optimizing your company’s ABM and TAM- Contact Our Experts today.

Category Archives: Obsessed With Marketing Automation

The end of the year is an ideal time to revisit your lead lifecycle definitions or build a company-specific model that brings together management, marketing and sales with the hopes of more revenue for everyone in the new year.

The lead lifecycle model is a valuable tool which is enhanced using a Marketing Automation platform to better understand how a person goes from a lead to paying customer. Each lead’s process through the lead lifecycle reveals valuable knowledge for both the sales and marketing teams, as well as management. Sales can see how many leads are in each stage and marketing can see where lead scoring and email campaigns are positively affecting a lead’s movement through the lead lifecycle. Management is able to more easily identify bottlenecks in the process that require additional resources. Let’s discover what building a basic lead lifecycle can teach.

THE BEGINNING OF THE LEAD LIFECYCLE TELL US WHO LEADS ARE
Before a lead enters a company’s Marketing Automation platform, the lead usually arrives with the minimum of data – a name, a company and (hopefully) a valid email address. To learn more about who they are, marketing starts a group of basic leads in the lifecycle by adding the leads to an outreach campaign. Marketing teams spend time focused on what channels and tactics get leads to engage and connect with sales teams. Tactics can include lead scoring and nurture campaigns which help determine more data points on who this lead is, how the lead engages with the company  and how close the lead is to becoming a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL).

LEAD LIFECYCLE MODELING SHOWS WHAT WORKS
Effective marketing messaging is efficient at moving leads throughout the entire lifecycle. Marketing can use targeted messaging to help  eliminate bottlenecks in the lifecycle funnel or help leads in a sales stage to get engaged and moving again. As leads move through the marketing funnel the movement from one stage to another can be tracked to show what combination of marketing messaging works best at converting customers. For example, offering case studies of companies in similar industries to leads who haven’t yet engaged or to those that are stuck in the sales process and a reference would help move them forward.

LEAD CYCLE MODELING DETERMINES WHEN A LEAD MOVES TO SALES
Building a lead lifecycle requires that marketing and sales teams more tightly align to determine when a lead is qualified to move from a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) to Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). This conversation to define all stages of the lead lifecycle process helps marketing and sales see how they are connected and how those teams can work together to get better results and more revenue from closing deals and keeping customers satisfied.

HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN LEAD LIFECYCLE MODEL
A quick search will show that there are many different stages to include when creating a lead lifecycle model that works for your company. Leadous recommends that a lead lifecycle is envisioned as two connected parts – Marketing and Sales. Best practices for the marketing lead lifecycle includes stages like ‘Added to Campaign’, ‘Engagement’, ‘Connection’ and ‘MQL’. For the sales process, lifecycle stages are often defined in the following terms – ‘SQL’, ‘Qualified’, ‘Has Proposal’, ‘In Negotiation’ & ‘Closed Won/Lost’. By bringing marketing, sales and management together in Q4 a highly specialized lead lifecycle model can be created before the new year.

For assistance building a lead lifecycle model that utilizes marketing automation best practices  to effectively move leads to customers Contact Us.

Our Marketo Certified Experts can help Marketo users leverage Marketo Engage features such as the Lead Lifecycle or the Revenue Cycle Modeler.

Category Archives: Obsessed With Marketing Automation

A quick search for ‘Lead Scoring’ tells you all about the methodology of assigning leads points for their demographic and behavior data to better qualify people for sales teams.  Adobe has ‘The Definitive Guide to Lead Scoring’ and countless other docs to tell you what and how. They all agree and so do we, that without automation and CRM integration lead scoring is a nightmare! This spooky season I want to share more eerie, spine tingling stories of ghostly lead scores that decay, scoring models brought back from the dead and leads that never die, they live on as lifelong customers.

Ghosts and Decay
A simple first step for implementing lead scoring is to initially grant points for specific demographic and firmographic data. Marketing teams are often stuck at this level of scoring and scoring models are abandoned because a solid scoring model needs more data. To build a robust lead scoring system a company needs to account for behavioral data as well. Marketing Automation platforms allow for tracking how the lead interacts with company communication. It also allows for tracking when a lead stops interacting with the company and how long it has been since the lead showed interest. In other words – how long have they been ghosting you? If a lead hasn’t interacted with the company, hasn’t opened emails or visited your site it’s time to implement score decay and begin to subtract points from their lead score. This insight helps sales teams filter which leads are responsive and which are unresponsive.

Leadous Brings Scoring Models Back From the Dead
Many companies have some version of scoring in place but lead scoring is a dynamic process; it requires constant attention or it dies.  Refreshing your existing lead scoring process produces the most current and effective lead scoring model. It allows marketing and sales to collaborate on the Ideal Customer Profile and strengthens alignment between the teams as they work toward a common goal.   Leadous will help you maximize your efficiencies, develop a strong lead generation strategy and build out your lead scoring capabilities to bring your current system back from the brink of death or help you iterate your model so it works for today.

Leads that Never Die (They Just Live On as Customers)
Lead Scoring models are built to qualify leads so that sales can start conversations with the most qualified leads and eventually turn those sales accepted leads into opportunities, but often these leads are lost to marketing once sales is involved. By utilizing marketing automation and CRM integration in lead scoring, marketing teams can track the quantity and value of their work from the first moment a customer raises their hand throughout the entire sales process. By tracking the amount of MQLs that turn into SQLs, marketing can prove their effectiveness and provide efficiencies for their sales team or uncover opportunities to redefine the Ideal Customer Profile or the entire scoring model. The best leads don’t die, they live on as your best customers.

Want more information on starting or re-starting your company’s lead scoring program contact us now or visit our Resources page.