TopRank Online Marketing
Lee Odden

OMS10 B2B Marketing Case Study: Marketo

By Lee Odden     B2B, Online Marketing

Our agency TopRank Marketing has been working with Marketo providing SEO, content and blog marketing consulting services for about 2 years. I finally had the opportunity to meet Marketing VP Jon Miller in person today prior to his presentation at Online Marketing Summit: Marketo’s Secret Sauce for Demand Generation.

Marketo is one of the fastest growing software companies in the U.S. and this session is a case study for how Marketo has achieved that rate of growth.

Marketo launched their main product about 2 years ago. In 2 years, they’ve signed up 400 customers at a value of about $30,000 per year in recurring revenue. The current run rate is over $12 million which is pretty impressive for a 3 year old company.

Marketo revenue cycle benchmarks show that Marketo spends about 50% more than comparable companies on Marketing but less on sales. Their customer acquisition cost are much less than other software companies. Marketo has a very efficient marketing and sales effort. How is that so? They use their own product and have made smart investments in their marketing efforts.

Rather than a sales cycle, Marketo focuses on the revenue cycle that starts from awareness to becoming a customer.

Awareness > All Names > Engaged > Prospect Qualified > Lead > Sales Lead > Opportunity > Customer

Marketo keeps their landing page forms very simple. They then actual manually check the company web site and decides if that inquiry is a worthwhile prospect. Since they’re marketing automation company, adding a manual process may seem contradictory but such activity helps sales people evaluate companies a lot more effectively.  Contacts are then nurtured and scored. If they score above a certain level, they become a “lead”.

Awareness – Investments in awareness and brand have paid off in a very big way for Marketo. They’v found it to be very effective to focus on content and thought leadership through tips, best practices and ideas that are available without registering.

Marketo’s blog is their single most effective marketing tactic. They’ve actually diverted marketing investment away from other activities and focused instead on blogging.  Woot! TopRank gets a shoutout as Marketo’s SEO agency. :)

PPC is the top converting tactic and their best leads are coming in from inbound: search and word of mouth. Once a prospect is generated, sales follow-ups are personalized and very soft touch.

What is Lead Nurturing? The art of maintaining permission to stay in front of your buyers as they educate themselves. The key to lead nurturing is relevance.

Types of Lead Nurturing: Stay in touch, Incomin lead processing, Accelerators, Lead lifecycle.  If you get a new prospect, about 1/4 are sales ready. Putting lead nurturing in place resulted in 50% more qualified sales leads at 33% of the cost.

Content mapping. Make sure content is relevant to where buyers are in the buying cycle. Think big, start small and move quickly. It doesn’t have to be your content either. You can package other content with your observations surrounding it.

Companies with sales people that spend the time to qualify leads ultimately generate more revenue.

Lead scoring rules focus on behaviors: Latent and Active. Latent means people engaging with content. Active means showing interest intent such as Googling Marketo’s brand name as well as downloading reviews, visit web site 2x in one week.

There’s a certain threshold that’s met to initiate follow up. There’s a huge drop off for leads that are not responded to with 5 minutes or less.

Inbound leads are segmented: target companies, enterprise companies, other. Also segmented by latent or active. Response time is based upon meeting scoring criteria.  Inbound calls, contact us forms, and qualified free trial requests get “Active” follow up. ie speedy follow up.

At the end of the 21 day lead nurturing period, a final email is sent giving options for recipient to self score themselves in terms of interest in Marketo.

No lead left behind: There’s an automated process that reminds sales teams to follow up. This dropped unresponded leads from 33% to 5%.

Lessons learned: Focus on the entire revenue cycle, not just generating new leads. Do not understimate the value of creating content! Build trust and reduce risk vie thought leadership and social media. Leverage analytics.

You can learn more about Marketo on their blog and on Twitter.


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