Musing with Marketo

Over the past months I’ve gotten to know the folks at Marketo and their concept of revenue cycle optimization.  At a high level, it’s about tightening the processes and feedback loops in attracting, acquiring, collecting and expanding sales opportunities.  Marketo delivers automation technology for the attracting and acquiring part of the process or more commonly known as “the funnel and pipeline”.   Higher quality leads from marketing, and more of them, translates into more sales to ‘ideal’ target customers.  Lead generation and lead management is largely the result of an engine. The more finely-tuned an engine is, and fed with high quality fuel, the better the engine will perform.  

Improving marketing’s lead engine is part technology, people and process.   Start with making sure your processes are optimized. The lead generation processes of most marketing departments are like swiss cheese.  There are typically holes in target databases, gaps in how leads are nurtured, and handed off scored leads to inside sales, business development, or sales.  Leakage is what Laura Ramos of Forrester calls these holes; I call them lost revenue.   Walk a set of actual inquiries through all of the steps to see where the holes, gaps and bubbles are. Then close-up and fine-tune the processes.   Now you’re ready for automation technology.  And don’t forget training, the people part.  You can have the greatest processes and technology but if people don’t incorporate them into their daily jobs or care about the accuracy of data that’s being entered, you’ll have expensive lost revenue.

Getting to know Jon Miller and the Marketo team has invigorating and informative. I’m hooked on Marketo and see it as a key piece of sales and marketing alignment.  Let’s be clear though – automation is not a substitute for going through the alignment process. It is, however, a powerful  enabler.  But I digress… into another article.  One result of getting to know Jon was an invitation to be interviewed for his blog.  What had a great time and I appreciated his thoughtful questions.  Check out the interview at Marketo’s B2B Marketing blog and the other blogs that are taking the conversation further.

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