As part of our Marketo Power User Series, we sat down with Gregoire Michel of inficiences partners, to learn about how he got into marketing automation and get his perspective on Marketo best practices.
Zak: Can you start off by telling us more about your business, inficiences partners?
Gregoire: We are a consulting company specializing in the digital transformation of marketing and sales. We specialize in supporting businesses that have a complex sale, which tend to consist of long sales cycles, higher price points and a team buying decision. We help these customers leverage digital technologies, across both sales and marketing, to accelerate the buying process and be more successful. We have a focus on the strategies, methodologies, back office process and tools needed to make it happen.
Zak: And what is your back story, how did you get into marketing automation?
Gregoire: I am a former CMO, and I also have a technical background. I have been a Salesforce customer and admin since 2001.
In 2010, as a former CMO, I wanted to invest in marketing tools, so I started to look at marketing automation products in depth. Eloqua already has a presence in Europe, with specific partners. Marketo did not.
Marketo seemed to be the right blend of power and ease of use, and at that point they did not have any presence or partners in France, or even Europe for that matter. So we decided to invest in Marketo. For the first four years we were on our own. We had to dive in and solve issues specific to our region. Since then, Marketo has expanded into Europe with offices in Dublin and now France.
Zak: Can you tell us a little more specifics about how you work with customers?
Gregoire: As background, we find here in Europe that many customers have CRM implementations where the CRM is either misused or not used. It was setup with the goal of a reporting tool, but there hasn’t historically been the focus on making it a tool to really help salespeople do better.
So that’s where we help.
That means bringing information about the prospect or customer from a variety of sources – social networks, marketing and third party data sources. Salespeople need complete, high quality information and they need it quickly.
It also means automating lower value activities that a salesperson needs to perform as part of their job, like producing a proposal, or nurturing a prospect over a long sales cycle.
Zak: What are some of the key opportunities for improvement you see with your customers?
Gregoire: The first is the lead management process. Most companies are still not really recycling their leads, which means opportunities are being missed. We ensure there is a handoff back from sales to marketing on leads that don’t convert, so companies can continue to extract results from those leads.
A second aspect is campaign planning. We work with customers to build out a comprehensive approach to the various touches of a campaign ahead of time, so they are built out and measured in a structured manner. We plan the complete scenarios ahead of time.
We had one customer who was organizing customer events all around the country – 50 per year. They used to require a full time resource to organize and follow up. We worked with them to create a standardized way of setting it up in Marketo as a “cloneable” Marketo program. It moved the setup of the events from two to three days to two hours, which represented a significant time savings for this company.
Zak: And what did that allow them to do?
Gregoire: It meant they could repurpose that marketing resource into other higher value areas.
On this topic what I’m seeing is the quickest return you get from a marketing automation investment is from the automation of campaigns. You can realize that immediately. You can do it yourself. You don’t need sales. You don’t need content. In mid-size to large organizations, that alone will pay off the license of the marketing automation product.
The only think it takes is some expertise on how to set up end-to-end campaign scenarios leveraging the advanced Marketing Automation features. It takes a long learning curve to know how to do this, but with the right assistance, it can be achieved within weeks of the project start.
And then the other benefits, like closed loop marketing, lead nurturing, lead quality, happy salespeople with more relevant information, will come later as icing on the cake. And those will take a lot more than the marketing automation tool to happen.
Zak: You are a long time expert Marketo user. What tips, tricks and best practices can you share with the Marketo community?
Gregoire: The first is to take advantage of the programs functionality. For key processes, centralize them into programs, for example CRM synchronization, lead scoring and interesting moment creation.
And for marketing programs you want to tie together those scenarios into a given program – so you have a set structure for marketing actions related to a webinar or an event. Don’t send out batch emails one by one, send them out as part of a series of steps as part of an automated program.
Another tip is to have a 1:1 relationship between programs and a specific content asset. This will allow you to have solid measurement on the performance of that content asset. Then you can separately use fields to manage your lead sources to look at which marketing channels are driving the engagement for that content asset.
Zak: Thanks Gregoire. Lastly you have been extremely active in the Marketo community site with some of your requests, or really, aggregation of requests, for Marketo. Can you share some perspective on those with us?
Gregoire: Yes there are two topics, one is overall functionality and one is specifically around the Salesforce connector. In both cases I aggregated the improvement requests into single posts that have been very popular amongst the community. One has been read 7,000 times.
What we worked out is these little issues are costing users time. Let’s say for every person using Marketo you are losing one hour a day because of these little issues, over the a team of seven, that is one full-time person.
That’s not a knock on Marketo, that is just the nature of software development. It will be interesting to see how it evolves from here and where the engineering focus is directed.
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