Marketo Power User Josh Hill of RingCentral

Tips from the author of Marketing Rockstar Guides

plus7.pngAs part of our Marketo Power User Series, we sat down with Josh Hill, Senior Manager, Lead Lifecycle Management at RingCentral and author of the Marketing Rockstar Guides, to learn about how he got into marketing automation and get his perspective on Marketo best practices.

Zak: Josh, you are a well deserved addition to our Marketo Power User series, we’ll glad to have you hear today. You are connected into the Marketo community in a couple ways, one as a thought leader and author, and one as a practitioner and power user. Can you start by telling us about your Marketing Rockstar Guides.

Josh: I run the popular marketing technology site, MarketingRockstarGuides.com. As an author, I help marketers make the jump into the technology side of their jobs. As a consultant, I sell to B2B marketing teams to assist them in architecting lead lifecycle systems, primarily with Marketo and Salesforce.

Zak: And what is your "day job?"

Josh: I work at RingCentral as a Senior Manager, Lead Lifecycle Management. RingCentral provides unified communications to organizations of all sizes from VOIP to video conferencing.

As part of this my main role is to ensure email deliverability, data quality, and marketing automation production. We are a high volume operation in all aspects and I use agile techniques to ensure my team operates quickly and effectively.

I work closely with our lead channel, data systems, and sales operations teams to ensure leads are delivered to Sales. Our funnel reporting is critical to budget allocation and Marketo is the first, most critical step.

Zak: How did you get into marketing automation?

Josh: After working in technology, I moved into Sales where I did inbound, outbound, and field sales. I did what we now call Account Based Marketing by nurturing leads, finding the buying team, and bringing the right people together. Some deals closed, some never did. Since there was a gap between what buyers said and what our marketing said, I often created materials for my territory.

Then, I moved into demand generation, quickly finding we needed to become content-based, which meant establishing our expertise first, then selling our services. This worked too well and we had then hours of manual work in the database. A consultant suggested I look at marketing automation, which led me to Eloqua and Marketo. As a technically oriented marketer, with an understanding of Salesforce and the sales process, I learned it quickly.

Zak: When did you start using Marketo?

I started with Marketo six years ago in 2010. We had an unsustainable manual qualification and data process that was resolved with Marketo, saving us 1800 man-hours per year.

Zak: Wow, that comes out to exactly one full time employee. I’ve heard that from others including Gregoire Michel which is from a time savings perspective, for a larger marketing team a marketing automation system will have a cost savings driven justification before you even get to the value you can create with such tools.

The focus of this series has been practical tips to share with other Marketo users? I’ve sure you have a bunch, can you highlight a few for us.

Josh: Absolutely. First thing I recommend is to plan out what you want to do using a whiteboard and Lucidchart. While tempting and easy to do, solving workflow and data problems on the fly in Marketo can only lead to more work later on.

Second, take advantage of Engagements to do nurturing. Long term nurturing with continuous addition of new assets and leads can only scale with this system. Fully implementing this earlier this year saved my team about 30 hours per week.

Third, leverage Program Templates with My Tokens for every single type of marketing scenario you will have to build. This includes email components, landing page components, and smart campaigns. The more modular your systems, the faster you can turn out high quality touches with minimal work. Program tokens and folder tokens are brought up at every Marketo Summit (especially by my good friends Adam New-Waterson and Jeff Shearer), yet I rarely see them used well. Scale up before your CMO asks you to.

Zak: What are some of the areas you’d like to see Marketo improve or help you do more?

Josh: I wish Channel-Offer attribution was closer to out-of-the box than it is now. Programs solve only half of the attribution problem. Most organizations gain tremendously from implementing Programs and Marketo RCE. The visibility into Lead stages, velocity, and pipeline attribution can be tremendous. At one company, we were able to prove that when Marketing influenced wins were 50% larger than non-influenced wins.

The next step, though, is knowing which assets work in which channels. Yet, attribution systems today focus too much on the Channel before the Stage change.

Zak: I saw a recent discussion you were engaged with around Marketo:CRM sync that was very insightful. Can you walk us through that.

Josh: Sure, the question came up around the best practices specifically around a Marketo-Salesforce sync, and there are several things to consider with a Marketo-Salesforce sync. The first thing that is important to understand here is that with the native Marketo connector, a lead or contact added to Salesforce first will push from Salesforce to Marketo, and if that lead already exists in Marketo, it will create a duplicate lead record in Marketo. So you should setup processes or have a tool to handle that scenario.

The biggest question for the sync, is where do you put non-MQLs before you want sales to act on them? There are two schools of thought: 1-1 sync for all records between systems; or hold back non-MQLs in Marketo until they are MQL.

Full Sync School: this is critical to reducing duplicates created in Salesforce. This also ensures that all records are in your CRM, which may be important for record keeping and vendor lock-in considerations. If you do this, however, you should leverage Lead Queues to manage non-MQLs. If you are using only Contacts, you will have to think about this more deeply. Also, your lead assignment rules should manage non-MQLs to the Queues and be able to trigger a reassignment on MQL.

Hold Back School: the risk is mostly on duplicates and disconnected data. However, it can reduce a lot of junk in the system as well as Sales fishing for cold calls in the non-MQL pool. If you do this, however, you must also avoid using the Marketo Program to Saleforce Campaigns sync. While one of the cool features of Marketo, almost no one uses it anymore because it will auto-sync all Program Members directly to Salesforce regardless of Lifecycle Stage. 

My recommendation is to go with the Full Sync as it minimizes many difficulties.

Zak: Thanks Josh, this has been very insightful.

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Zak Pines

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Zak Pines

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