Marketo’s Secret Sauce, Revealed | Whiteboard Session

by Lauren Carlson

CRM Market Analyst,


Marketo is one of the fastest growing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) vendors on the market today. Jon Miller, VP Marketing and co-founder of Marketo, credits the company's success to something he calls their "secret sauce." In this video, Jon explains how applying their own practices to their revenue process has resulted in Marketo's impressive growth.

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Tune in on Monday, when Jon explains the importance of sales development reps.

Video Transcription

Hi, I’m Jon Miller. I’m the Vice President of Marketing and Co-founder at Marketo. Marketo provides on-demand marketing automation and sales effectiveness solutions to help companies transform their revenue process to create out-sized growth. We drink our own champagne at Marketo, applying our own practices to our own business and currently, we’re one of the fastest growing Software as a Service companies of all time. One of the questions I get a lot is what’s Marketo’s secret sauce? How do we apply our own ideas and technology to our own revenue process? So I just wanted to spend a minute sharing some of the overview.

So this is what Marketo’s revenue cycle looks like. I talk about the revenue cycle and not just the sales cycle because we really believe that marketing is responsible for a significant portion of the revenue process. So we need a single integrated process that tracks process moving from one end all the way to the customer. Let me tell you about some specific stages that we have here. At the very front end of the funnel is awareness. We use content, marketing, social media, and thought leadership to build a brand and have many people know about the company as possible. very wide front end of the funnel. And then we bring people into the system simply as names. We’re really careful in talking about these people as names and not as leads because that’s all they are, right? The only thing we know about them at this point is that they are name on our database.

The next step is to move to engage. Engage tells us that somebody has started to actually interact with Marketo as a brand. For example, if we go to a trade show, we might collect hundreds of business cards that people throw into our fishbowl, but we don’t know if they did that because they wanted to win the prize or because they’re actually connecting with us. So the only way to move to engage is you have to click on an email or our website or fill out a form. And that’s how we know that you’ve actually tried to interact with our brand directly.

At that point, we actually use third party data where we augment the record to find out demographics; what’s your company size, what’s your industry and then we apply our fit demographic scoring data set to determine who is the prospect, so he fits more in. Our prospect is therefore somebody who is the right kind of person at the right kind of company regardless of where they are in the buying cycle. That’s the first key metrics that I care about that I report to the board. That’s typically where our lead nurturing kicks in. There are qualified buyers who not only are necessarily looking to purchase our product. So we send them content and keep in touch with them over time.

We then use behavioral scoring to figure who’s the lead. We track behaviors because we think what people do is more important than what they say in terms of indicating whether or not they’re interested in purchasing our solutions. Some of the most important behaviors that indicate somebody might be a lead is to visit our pricing pages, to watch our detailed online demos and to actually use the keyword Marketo in a search. When somebody hits that lead status, we have to lower to a sales development function that we call SDR, Sales Development Reps. These are lead qualification folks who contact that lead to determine whether they think they’re appropriate to be passed off to the sales and account executives.

Now that transition point there is the key bottleneck or key pinch point in our funnel process. Seven percent of our leads become sales leads. And that’s on purpose because we wanted to have this to be fairly broad where we talk to a whole bunch of people. So we don’t leave any stone unturned. We want to talk to as many potential buyers as possible, but I only want something that’s super highly qualified that actually goes to our expensive sales team. So of the 7% that move forward, they’ll become a sales lead, the rest get recycled back to prospect for further nurturing. Now, recycling of leads back is a really important piece of process so you don’t ever lose touch with anybody. It just goes back for further marketing.

Once something is a sales lead, our account execs spend a week to determine if it’s something that they’re going to move into their pipeline as opportunity. We actually have a 5% conversion right there because these are so qualified by the time they get to that point. At that point we sell the sales cycle and then ultimately win about 40 % of those opportunities as customers. So you get a sense of how the end-to-end revenue cycle keeps no lead from sort of being untouched and unturned. So they’re always being developed and nurtured so they move forward and we keep our sales team really focused on closing business. And as a result, we’ve created a very efficient overall model.

If you’d like to learn more about this, just Google Marketo Secret Sauce and you can see a whole blog presentation about this. Thanks for your time.


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