As part of our Marketo Power User Series, we sat down with Joe Reitz, Digital Marketing Strategist at Fathom, to learn about how he won Marketo Champion of the Year 2015, his perspective on Marketo best practices, and all about the Krewe.
Zak: Joe, you are quite possibly the most powerful of all of our Marketo power users, since you were named Marketo’s Champion of the Year in 2016. We’re thrilled to have you join us for this conversation.
Joe: Well that’s very kind of you to say! Happy to be here, Zak.
Zak: Can you start by telling us about what you’re up to at Fathom?
Joe: Fathom is a full service digital marketing agency, and I’m a strategist on the Nurture Solutions team. I help clients develop strategies related to Marketo, which typically are centered around an integrated lead nurturing strategy. This also takes into account everything you need to do to prepare for an integrated nurturing strategy, which sometimes means helping drive clients further up what we call "the marketing automation maturity curve."
Zak: What’s your background? How did you ascend to the level of Marketo Champion of the Year?
Joe: About four years ago I was at a company doing basic email marketing, using tools like Mail Chimp and Ace of Sales. It’s weird looking back at how elementary it was, and even weirder to consider that at that point, it was just one facet of my job. Digital marketing has a totally different meaning to my career now.
In 2012 I started working with Act-on, and for the first time saw that email is more than just the inbox, and that a strategy could – actually, needed to – incorporate things like lead scoring and tracking. I joined STANLEY Security in 2014 right as we began our Marketo implementation. Since then I’ve also taken part as co-leader of the Chicago Marketo User Group (CHIMUG), which has about 230 members.
In terms of winning Champion of the Year, it was a complete shock to me. I had done a lot with Marketo at STANLEY Security as a brand advocate and active member of the Marketing Nation online community, and was lucky enough to be elected champion in June of 2015. After that, I was inspired to create a number of how-to videos as part of the then-new Nation Talks series, which I think was the ultimate springboard into winning the Revvie.
Zak: You used the phrase "integrated nurture" to describe what you are helping customers to build and execute. Can you tell us more about how you define that?
Joe: Integrated nurture means we are aligning to the customer’s needs and interests throughout the buyer journey, and serving up relevant messaging to them at all touchpoints – based on their persona and segment. The idea is that we are helping them move forward in the buying process, and causing them to convert -- while being able to track the impact throughout the revenue cycle model.
Zak: How do you approach it with a customer? You mentioned there is a lot of pre-work needed, of course. What are the building blocks to integrated nurture?
Joe: At Fathom, we’ve been looking at it as a maturity curve. I used to be a Marine, so to start I liken it to the first time you shoot a machine gun– you don’t care if you actually hit the target, you’re just thrilled to be shooting the thing! That “shoot-first-measure-later”mentality is the marketing automation equivalent of batch and blast, which is Phase 1.
Back to the Marines, well now you get promoted and you’re responsible for resource management; so that spray and pray stuff won’t fly. Rounds cost money and it’s expected that you’ll be good at your job at this point, and be accountable for everyone else on your team.
In Marketo terms, this means enabling your instance with all the factors that drive valuable reporting in the future – like robust channel tags and progression statuses. If your channels and success stages aren’t set up correctly and consistently – and something you actively manage in all your marketing programs – it’s going to be hard for you to produce rock solid reporting when you need to. Tags and statuses are one example of many, but becoming brilliant in the basics is one of the hallmarks of this stage of the maturity curve. That’s the best way to summarize Phase 2.
Zak: Got it, and then what’s next?
And then Phase 3 is where you start applying the principles of integrated nurturing. The setup and implementation of your instance supports the messaging strategy that aligns with your customers and their journey throughout your sales & marketing funnel. So essentially, Phase 3 is where the magic happens, and you’re now set up in such a way that you’ll be able to prove how effective nurture is being for your business.
And then Phase 4 is where you start getting into more sophisticated techniques like account based marketing, web personalization, and any other new tools and best practices that may unfold in the industry. Full disclosure here: when you think you’ve finally arrived, you really haven’t – the Martech landscape is always evolving!
Zak: What are you seeing in terms of customers finding success with lead scoring?
Joe: To be successful with lead scoring you have to start with the assumption that it won’t be perfect from the beginning. At best, it’s going to be a guess and check, recheck and guess again kind of iterative process, constantly evolving.
Where I’ve seen it most successful, though, is when you find, or create, a partner on your sales leadership team, who is willing to work with you on making it successful by evangelizing -- and/or force-feeding -- it to the rest of the sales organization.
Zak: What if you don’t have a sales leader like that handy?
Joe: Then, the best thing you can do to convert a non-believer into a believer is employ a lot of empathy and a lot of patience. It also helps to show cases where nurturing and scoring is helping to move a lead forward in their buying process, so find examples of those kinds of leads throughout your instance!
One easy way is to look at the Opportunity Influence Analyzer, if you have it in your subscription. Find an opportunity that you know ended as closed-won, and then backtrack to tell the story. In a recent example, we did this for a client at Fathom and showed how sales initially created the lead, set a meeting, and then over a year went by. At the end of that year, it wasn’t another sales call that caused the lead to re-open an opportunity and close; it was the ongoing, regular touches via email that happened to provide the right message at the right time, which instigated the lead to fill out a contact form, and ultimately convert into revenue.
Tell enough stories like that, and Sales will listen!
Zak: One of the big promises of marketing automation is closed loop reporting. What are you seeing around how companies are actually doing it?
Joe: In the four months or so that I’ve been client-side, I’ve confirmed my suspicions that marketers tend to use Marketo and sales management tends to use Salesforce. So the key is having both the data and the people aligned between your marketing automation and CRM so that can glean insights from both platforms.
As in all things, communication is key here. Every instance of Salesforce has different rules running in the background, and the same is true of Marketo. What keeps your Salesforce admin up at night? What kind of lead routing or reporting is he or she responsible for? How can Marketo give them some relief from the heavy lifting? Getting answers to these questions not only helps you build a better mousetrap with Marketo, but it also builds a lot of goodwill internally… Which can benefit you later in a huge variety of ways, personally and professionally.
When it comes to reporting with Marketo, Revenue Cycle Analytics is Marketo’s premiere solution. The big elephant in the room, though, is that it could run a lot better/faster… Even after the Orion update. Obviously there are a lot of factors here that Marketo can’t be fully responsible for – like database size, number of fields, and other complexities that are inherent to the CRM side of things – but generally pulling a report for a large database can be tedious, to say the least.
I do actually have a pretty great tip for getting around this though. If you get the infamous “too much number crunching” error, make sure you’ve set your columns, measures, and filters as you normally would, but then instead of waiting for the report to render in the browser, simply export it right away to a CSV. I say CSV because this ensures that all data is written to individual rows, which makes slicing and dicing the data easier. Now, depending on the complexity of the database, it could still take quite a bit of time to pull the report. Case in point: I just pulled a YTD report for an instance with 15 million users, and it took an hour and a half to download the CSV. However, if you combine this tactic with judicious multi-tasking, you’ll be on your way to proving ROI in no time!
Zak: I discovered you through the Marketo Community, where there was an outpouring of support for you and what you are doing with your #KreweChat. Can you tell us about that?
Joe: Yeah, so… haha, the thing about winning an award like that is that once you experience it, you kind of want everyone you know and care about to experience the same feeling. It’s not unlike when you were in college and your roommate started dating a mutual friend, and from that point on they both just tried to play matchmaker with you and every single one of their acquaintances.
Truthfully, I’ve made some amazing lifelong friends through the Marketo Community and Summit, all of which are amazing thought-leaders, Champions, and power users in their own right. The whole KreweChats idea started out as an attempt to leverage all that brainpower in a way that was both useful for the community and also each member of the Krewe.
Basically, every two weeks we produce a livestreamed video and promote it through Twitter, YouTube, and of course, the Marketing Nation Community under the hashtag #KreweChats. So far, each video has received between 600-800 views, most of which occur within a few days of being posted.
In addition to growing everyone’s visibility and thought-leadership throughout the marketing automation industry, another one of our goals is to keep the Marketo Champion of the Year Revvie within the Krewe for 2017.
Zak: And what’s next for the Krewe?
Joe: I recently learned there is a “Create-Your-Own” category for the Marketo Revvies, so we are going to submit #Krewechat under this new Nation’s Choice category for something along the lines of best community impact… We’re working on a creative name for the entry!
Beyond that, it will continue to grow as we all find our voices and get our thought leadership out there in the marketing community. It’s been good for all of us from a confidence and personal development standpoint. Like I said, we’ve all become lifelong friends.
So the Krewe’s not going away!
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