Upon encountering several sub-optimal Marketo implementations, I’d like to share considerations that Senior Management needs to review prior to adding Marketo to their arsenal of marketing tools.
- Marketing Talent. Advanced email, lead management and automation capabilities will cause learning curve for marketers on your team and some may not be receptive to a shift in their day-to-day responsibilities. Ask the question whether they WANT to learn it, assess whether there is sufficient base-level skillset and provision for any external help to guide and ramp you up in your implementation.
- Technology Implications. An automation system works hand in hand and “connects” a lot of your data and processes. For example, a webinar attendee will update status in Marketo, receive a confirmation email and data will sync to CRM in real time. This adds requirements in tech architecture, systems integration, and inherently exposes any existing inefficiencies and data issues. The good news, Marketo can help the alignment across the organization; however, you should be aware that automation would impact many parts of the organization beyond marketing.
- Change Management. The bottom line, Marketo is not just another email marketing tool. Robust functionality and cutting edge marketing practices that Marketo brings to the table increases transparency in the organization and creates new requirements for the marketing team. The new marketer has to understand data management, sales process (CRM system, if connected) in addition to email marketing, and have the ability to evolve the skills to constantly changing automation practices.
The beauty of Marketo marketing solution is, you can configure to your specific business needs. The downside? If the person configuring it doesn’t have the understanding of all the moving pieces involved and still learning functionality – it creates a lot of inefficiencies. If you made the decision to invest in this solution over many down market providers, change management is important and is key to your success in utilizing Marketo functionality. Ignoring any or all of the points above puts your organization at risk of incurring extra cost, poor reporting and organizational design / collaboration issues.
Lastly, even if you have a talented automation specialist on your team (or hiring one), you will highly benefit from adding guidance from an experienced consultant or consultancy specializing in Marketo implementations. Having exposure to multiple Marketo and CRM instances gives you an advantage of utilizing best practices in an industry that is constantly changing and evolving.
Here’s what others had to add (this was posted on Marketo Community as a Featured Discussion). Every one is a great addition to recommendations.
“4. Sales goaling will likely be impacted.
I have found that once marketing automation comes up to speed, you may get fewer leads, but these leads should be more highly qualified. The implication is that sales may need fewer leads in order to reach their goals. But this shift may take months before the true results will be seen and the implications may take even longer to interpret.”
~ Patty S, Mktg Automation Specialist at Direct Capital
“5. Data hygiene. We had to look at our data and establish some rules to remove useless records in our CRM and Marketo whom we can’t even really market to anymore and they were just taking up valuable space in both systems. “
~ Michelle Tiziani, Online Marketing Specialist at Institutional Real Estate, Inc.
“6. Specifically for people moving from Eloqua: There are siginificant differences in how Marketo thinks about the data model, automation and analytics that can significantly increase the scope of your initial implementation. Be sure to speak in-depth with someone who understands both systems to make sure you are not taking anything for granted.”
~ Micah B,
“7. Involve your sales team early. A big component to an effective marketing automation system is the handoff between marketing and sales. Your sales leadership must be invested and onboard with the idea of marketing automation, and be willing to drive their team to integrate it into their sales processes. By listening to your sales team and identifying their needs that Marketo may help address, you’re setting yourself up for success.”
~ Jeff Shearer, Manager at Egencia, an Expedia Company
“8. Think Big. Have your team design a project intended for 3-5 years, not for a shorter term. If you’re not yet, but planning on expanding the languages you communicate in, build language into the core of your implementation. Never limit data integration. If you have two silos of data you’ll never know which is truthful. Expect to grow, don’t leave your team pressed against artificial limits.”
~ Adam Waterson, Online Marketing Manager at Planon
“9. Mobilize assets around the implementation team. Yes, you can have Marketo up and running and ready to execute campaigns within a matter of days, but not if everything is left to the person or team doing the implementation. They’ll need IT support to update DNS records, etc. They’ll need design support to create templates for landing pages and emails. They’ll need web support to implement tracking scripts wherever required. They may even need dev support to integrate with any existing service providers or online assets. If you’re prepared for these requests, your implementation will go MUCH more smoothly.”
~ Drew S, Manager of Demand Generation at Spiceworks
“Sales and marketing leadership must be aligned and have common goals. They must agree on what the definition of a marketing qualified lead and sales qualified lead is and agree upon a process to identify and process those leads.”
~ Kristen Wendel, Director Marketing Operations at JDA Software
“Preparation is key.
“Ensure you have planned your approach, mapped out initial engagement programs, have read up on lead scoring using Marketo and have your first pieces of content ready.
If you get the preparation right you can have Marketo up and running and fully operational in a short space of time, and start reaping the rewards that Marketing Automation can bring.”
~ Andrew Mullings, Project Director at Your Sales Team Cloud
“Make sure your Marketing team is educated on important topics such as Email Deliverability to avoid bad consequences at a later date. If you currently don’t have a process in place for this, start it now! The sooner the better.
Also, stay up-to-date with the latest best practices/advancements as the Marketing industry is constantly evolving.”
~ Adam Edwards, Technical Consultant at Your Sales Team Cloud
“I’d add in an additional, perhaps overriding theme as well – the organization needs to be committed to marketing automation philosophy – the tehcnology (even great ones like Marketo) are an aide – you have to embrace the notion of scoring, nurturing, and leveraging digital body language. The organization also needs to be ready to live the data and leverage it for optimization so they can improve their return on marketing efforts – if this isn’t a desire, you might ask if they are ready for MA?”
~ Clinton Cage, Global Mktg Operations Manager at Fluke Networks
“All are very good advice! What I don’t think gets paid enough attention is change management. For many organizations, marketing automation and the core disciplines that make it work – personas, content, etc – are fundamentally very different than the company may be used to operating. Such change is not easy and certainly does not happen overnight. In addition to all the aspects mentioned above, planning for and managing the training, briefs, collaborations and changes in mindset over an extended period of time will aid in the liklihood of a successful implementation.”
~ Mike Turner, Senior Manager at Beechcraft Corp