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7 Posts authored by: Jessica Cross

Sometimes, you need a static list to behave like a smart list. Static lists I think get forgotten. They are fantastic tools that I think more Marketo users should leverage.


In this quick post I'm going to outline how you can use a batch smart campaign, smart list, to make a regular static list update on a regular cadence. This technique is useful when syncing lists to third party advertisers such as MediaMath, AdRoll, or even LinkedIn.


First step is to make a smart list with exact criteria you want. Whatever tickles your fancy.  In this screenshoot I have a smart list that contains all the people in Nurture status, meaning they are at the top of my lead lifecycle.



Second step: I built a static list with the very same name as the smart list. I only did this so I could easily see which items paired up with each other.  This static list becomes the recipient of new additions to the smart list. I ran single flow action to take everyone that was on the smart list and add them over to the list.  That's why we have 204,485 people to start on the static list (your list size will be different than mine ).


Screenshot of the static list:




Step three is to make a SMART CAMPAIGN that links the smart list with the list.  In the smart list of the smart campaign I'm using the advanced logic option to say: IF you are a member of the static list BUT NOT in the smart list, OR, You are a member of the static list BUT NOT on the smart list.  This is a big tricky but the logic is looking for:


#1 people that should be on the static list but are not

#2 people that are on the static list and should now be removed


This is what the smart list logic looks like on the smart campaign:




Then in the flow, we are going to ADD the people that should be there, and REMOVE the people that should no longer be on the list.


The first flow step says to add people to the static list if they are a member of the smart list.


Then I wait 3 minutes (I do this just as a security check on - I think this may be redundant)


Then the second flow step says if you are not on the smart list, remove them from the static list.




Then I set up the cadence to run every single night to keep the static list up to date. This is what our run history looks like.




Make sense? Is this useful to anyone??

What I have learned over the years is that it becomes really hard and un-scalable to make a new Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google AdWords Program in Marketo for every instance of an advertisement of your content. Take for example EverString's State of Predictive Marketing.  I have that running in retargeting, search engine marketing, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Nurturing, email list rentals, etc etc. That can quickly get out of control with the number of Programs you would need to build.  Multiple that number against the number of new eBooks and reports and the volume of programs to build and keep track of quickly gets out of hand.

Instead I have built "bucket" programs for both the advertising channel and the piece of content. So for example the State of Predictive Marketing Report, if you download that report through an ad from Facebook you will belong to both the Content program AND the Facebook Master Program. To enable this method I created a Campaign Type in SFDC called "Content" and a Channel tag in Marketo called "Content".  Then whenever we publish a new report, ebook, case study, video, cheatsheet, etc, a program and corresponding SFDC campaign is built to track all the visits and downloads of that content.

Here is a screenshot of our folder for all our content pieces.  All downloads across all channels are recorded in these programs. We can then easily run reports on total number downloads of a piece of content, pipeline sourced, pipeline influenced by the content.  Previously, I had the content spread across 20+ different campaigns and I had a really hard time calculating how many times a piece had been viewed.



Then here is a screenshot of on of our the advertising bucket programs.  The smart campaign to belong to this program listens for the URL of the landing page to contain Facebook in the query string.  I just know that when I'm creating an ad on Facebook, the URL of the landing page needs to contain the UTM of “Facebook” and this smart campaign will react.



Here is a screenshot of my Google Adwords program.  I clone these every quarter so that I can enter in new period costs based on how much we spent in that channel.





The UTM fields can get replaced time over time as a lead interacts with more content. The smart campaign inside the Marketo program listens for the different values in the UTM_campaign= xyz to give each piece of content and campaign credit.


So for example if the landing page is posted to facebook the value for UTM_campaign=Facebook. But if the landing page is posted to an external email campaign in MarketingProfs, the value will be "12-2-marketingprofs".  Examples of URLs I have in use:

The end result is that as a team we can track how content performs with multi-touch attribution and see if the content's impact at different stages of our funnel. 

How are you tracking content success across your channels and programs?

Reason #1 You serve up bad leads.


No really.  They are bad leads and you are wasting your sales team’s time.  One of the joys of inbound marketing is that we are attracting prospects to our sites to download the content we painstakingly produced.  The negative is we also attract junky leads. Thankfully marketing automation makes it easy to control the flow of junk leads into your sales team’s hands.  Thing is you need to actually take some time and build in flows to block junk leads. Data hygiene and data quality should be as integral to your marketing as good copy writing. Take pride in the quality of leads that you send over.



None of these are real leads. They have no place in your Marketo or CRM.


More over you can’t do a lot of the fun things in Marketo with bad data. Your emails wont get delivered. Building segments and personas for dynamic content gets really hard. Lead routing by geographic territory is near impossible if you don’t have appropriate state and country information.

Recommendation: Look into adding a honeypot on your site to prevent spam bots from filling out your forms.  Also build in some data management smart campaigns to routinely remove leads with email addresses like or Look into technology to help augment your lead profile with valuable information such as location, website, revenue, phone number.  There are many companies out there that offer easy to install webhooks for data append.



Reason #2 You’ve never shown sales where to find the “good leads”


Are you actually producing MQLs? Does the form on the website go anywhere? Is there an email alert built to let sales know when someone starts a free trial?


These are the basics.  But I have seen FAR too many instances of Marketo where the forms on the website go no where and sales doesn’t know when someone takes action.

Recommendation: Make your sales team a lead view in their CRM for “My MQLs” and let them know that is where they can always find their qualified leads every day.





Reason #3 You haven’t given your sales team a process on how to manage leads. It needs to be a closed loop system. They have to be able to reject or accept the leads you send over. Make it simple. Everything should flow around the field Lead Status.  Teach them to use Lead Status. You give them “lead status = MQL” they either accept it and move it to SAL/SQL or reject the lead as Disqualified or Recycle it to send it back into Nurturing. 




Jessica Cross

My MQL Hack

Posted by Jessica Cross Sep 10, 2015

As the director of marketing at Fliptop I had the pleasure of being not only the primary user of predictive lead scoring for my demand gen efforts, but I also get to work closely with our engineering team to help shape the product. A couple weeks ago we brought on a new data scientist and I gave him my normal “this is B2B marketing” presentation. He asked to see inside Marketo and Salesforce to get a better understanding of how the systems are linked. I showed him where to find leads, contacts, accounts, and opportunities exist in Salesforce. He asked, “where are the MQLs”?


He had heard the term as described by SiriusDecisions many times in his interview process and imagined it was another object in Salesforce. I then set about explaining that MQL was just a state of a lead. Leads can be “Recycled” “Unqualified” or of course “Marketing Qualified”. But the truth is an MQL doesn’t really exist in Salesforce, we marketers have to build it from scratch to track how many MQLs we create and pass on to sales team.


If I try running a Salesforce report on Lead status = MQL and created date = This Month, I come up with 4 leads, which is a good thing as it means my SDRs are quickly actioning and moving their leads and moving them along in our process. I have smart campaigns set up that if a lead stays at MQL status for 24 hours their manager gets an email. Another 2 days and the CEO gets an email.  So they know to touch their MQLs


My work around to be able to track how many MQLs are created in a given time period is to add system dates stamps and assign both Leads and Contacts that reach the score threshold of “MQL” to a Salesforce campaign. This enables me to track how many I’ve created in a certain time period and build nice views, dashboards, and reports.


The way it works is this.

In your salesforce create three new fields for leads

MQL First Date – make it a date field

MQL Most Recent Date – make it a date field

MQL Counter – make it a Number(18, 0) field

It should look like this:

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 5.06.21 PM

Do the same exact thing on the contact object.

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 5.08.11 PM

Then let those fields synch over into Marketo. So that means get up, make coffee, bug your sales reps, whatever.


From here you’re going to adjust your lead lifecycle smart campaigns in Marketo to add data to these fields when a lead “MQLs.”  (Whats that? You don’t have a lifecycle smart campaign? more on this topic later)


Here is my smart list.  The smart campaign is triggered either by the first "Lead is SFDC eligible" campaign, or by a change in lead score value.  I split the syncing lead to SFDC from updating the lead status to MQL as I want the lead to get into SFDC, get assigned a lead owner through my round robin rules, and then get back into Marketo with a lead owner.  That way when I send email alerts to the reps, it goes to the specific rep.

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 5.09.54 PM

And the flow looks like this. Notice I update the lead status only if the existing status is “Open, Target, Recycle, and MQL.”  This prevents Leads that have been disqualified by sales from turning MQL again.  The "MQL First Date" field gets written once and only one, hence the condition of if the field is empty update it.  Then for "MQL Most Recent", that field can be updated over and over again.

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 5.10.21 PM

I can then run reports in SFDC on "MQL First Date" to show all leads that reached the point thereshold in a certain time frame as well as "MQL Most Recent Date" to show new and recycled leads!  The MQL counter shows how many times a lead has gone through your lifecycle flow. If the number is more than 3, that indicates a tire kicker, student, competitor, etc.


Let me know how you handle MQLs.

It wasn’t easy. Believe me.  And honestly I started with less duplicates than any other company I’ve ever worked for.


Coming into Fliptop and getting to basically start the Marketo instance from scratch, I knew that I wanted to build things my way (the right way) and that included getting the database as clean as possible.  There are many reasons why a clean, dupe free database is a best practice. I think Elliot wrote a great piece on the why. I’m going to talk about the how.


Now there is no such thing as a duplicate free database. Actually, I just thought of what that database would look like. An EMPTY database would be a duplicate free database.


There are tolerable levels for number of duplicates. According to Inga Romanoff, having anywhere between 5% to 10% of the entire database be duplicates is tolerable. I started my process with 4,200 duplicates out of an 85k database, representing 7% duplicates.


My first step was the narrow down how leads entered the system.  Do this step first as it is pointless to clean up the database without stopping how dirty data enters the system.  For me this meant switching out all the forms on the Fliptop website and the blog from a Salesforce web-to-lead to Marketo forms.  Marketo automatically de dups leads if the email addresses match. Salesforce does not. I had a bit of a problem with my engineering and customer success teams entering test leads into the system to test our own predictive scoring. I first cleaned up all those test leads and then built a data management campaign to go through on a monthly basis to delete test leads. 


Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 8.51.43 PM.png


Next I gave my sales reps a tool to add leads in with full contact information. I turned to InsideView as they integrate nicely with both Marketo and Salesforce. If the lead already exists in our system, InsideView will update it rather than creating a net new lead. My reps can research leads and add them into our CRM easily without creating a duplicate mess.


After closing down the avenues of how leads go into the system I could next turn to actually de duping the database.


The process to get to a place of zen and zero dups relied in large part on a tool I found a LONG time ago called DemandTools by CRM Fusion.


It is by no means the prettiest tool around but it gets the job done.  The tool comes with pre built “scenarios” you can run to do sweeps of the database.  Scenarios are basically like matching criteria on the leads, first sweep is to find leads with the exact same email address.  Then the next sweep finds leads with the same name and company name.  Each sweep the criteria loosens up, like the teeth on a comb and the matches on duplicates will become less precise. You can also de dupe leads against contacts and even accounts with similar pre built scenarios. 


I probably ran 10 or more sweeps using their different pre-built scenarios on just Leads and then moved to de duping Leads against Contacts to whittle the list down. In then end there were probably 200+ leads left in my "Possible Duplicates" smart list inside of Marketo that I de-duped by hand. I know this sounds tedious, but when there were only 200 left I felt I could see the light of the end of the tunnel so I went for it.  The result is when I run the "Possible Duplicates" smart list in Marketo I see "No leads were found."


So how do you handle how leads enter your system and managing duplicates? 

As someone who has been holding weekly sales and marketing check in meetings since 2010, I think I've learned a thing or two on how to make them go smoothly, and what not to do. Here are my top 4 tips on how to make these meetings successful for both parties involved.


1. Decided on the metrics you are going to report on and stick to those numbers. I learned this first one the hard way.  A couple companies ago we looked at different metrics every meeting from website traffic, sales call activity, MQL conversion rates. This made the teams unfocused and a bit scattered. Decide early on which numbers you want to look at every meeting and stick to that. Whether it is weekly inbound leads, number of requests for demo, website traffic, or untouched leads, pick the metric you and the head of sales want to look at week over week and do not deviate. Going into the meeting with a different set of numbers every week will only confuse matters.


2. Communicate the marketing plan widely and openly. I once heard the adage that marketing lives 6 months in the future, sales can only see the present, and finance lives in the past.  Events book months if not years in advance. Typically marketing will put together their entire plan at the beginning of the year and know where they will be every single week. The thing is, sales is rarely privy to those planning meetings or checks the marketing calendar. Since sales lives month to month, it is up to marketing to communicate and champion the plan. Even if you feel like you are repeating yourself, tell them over and over what events are coming up, where case studies are located, what email nurturing means. It is always better to over communicate than to let a great marketing program go by without letting sales know it ever existed.


3. Be open to new suggestions. To your Building off point number #2, it’s great that you have a marketing plan in place, but be open and flexible to new ideas and suggestions.  If sales says they want to do a local event to feed a certain territory, take it into consideration. Sometimes speaking opportunities come up last minute.  If sales sees an ad campaign that isn’t making sense to them, be open to their suggestions; prospects are probably just as confused by the messaging. This also means building in a bit of slush to your budget for last minute changes, with the caveat of communicating that if one project is added to the time table another project will have to slip.


4. Be your own cheerleader. Marketing events tend to rely heavily on active participation. To make the events successful, marketing needs to “sell” the event to the sales team and the ‘higher ups’. Convince sales that the event is the correct one to invite their prospects to. I prepare campaign briefs for events and big initiatives to explain through what we are doing there, who else will be there, and what we are aiming to get out of it. Often I worry that I am repeating myself in weekly meetings, but it is always better to over communicate than to let an event go by without letting sales know it ever existed.


What are your tips for making sales and marketing meetings a success?

Have you used Marketo Ad Bridge yet? If not, you really should. In this post I'm going to walk you through how to use Marketo Ad Bridge to build predictive advertising.  Marketo serves as the connecting platform from my predicatively scored leads to Facebook advertising to deliver highly targeted leads that matter. Follow along to see how easy it is to launch a predictive ad strategy in just a few steps.


Step 1 - Connect Facebook to Marketo

  • Login to Marketo as an admin
  • Select Admin from the top navigation
  • From the left nav, find Launchpoint under Integration
  • Create a new service and authorize Facebook from Marketo (note: you may also need to add a standard Facebook advertising tag to your corporate site code if you haven’t already)

Step 2 - Build a list of predicatively scored leads

I'm using Fliptop to score my leads. Fliptop assigns a "SpendGrade" to all leads, A meaning they have a high probability of converting, D meaning they have a low probability of converting. All scoring is done automatically and behind-the-scenes, and a SpendGrade score is assigned to all leads and accounts within your database. I built a smart list of all my SpendGrade A leads, see screenshot for details.


Step 3 - Sync the list of leads to Facebook

Click the Marketo Ad Bridge button at the bottom of your Smart List Leads tab.



Click on the Facebook icon, then Next.


Next create a new audience to push these leads to. We recommend naming this list “Fliptop SpendGrade A.”


Step 4 - Log into Facebook and Build an Ad Campaign

The list will take a 24 hours or so to sync over to Facebook so take a break and do another project. The next morning open your Facebook and navigate to "manage ads," then on the left hand menu click "audiences."  There you will find the list of predicatively scored leads. Now you can build an ad campaign targeting just these top quality leads.

findaudience in FB

Step 5 - Advertise to the leads that matter

In this example I chose to promote the Predict Event we are holding later this year to my top quality leads.


While Facebook is just one example of predictive advertising—and an impressive one at that—this same methodology can be applied to countless advertising channels (see Marketo Ad Bridge screenshot for proof). From Google to social channels and beyond, predictive technology is transforming the way we target… delighting consumers with relevant experiences, saving ad dollars and improving ROI and, most importantly, driving leading marketers’ bottom line.

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