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Recently, my son and I tackled one of Lego’s spaceship sets (Millennium Falcon is up next). Most of you probably know that feeling when, after some combination of following the instructions and free-form assembly, there's a few pieces left over. Those extra pieces may have provided structural support, but now that it's put together it isn't coming apart to figure out where to put those extra blocks.

 

I’m betting most of you have also had a similar experience with marketing automation software. Certainly, the form and structure of a marketing platform will work even when there are extra pieces left on the floor. Most marketing departments can't afford to "take it apart" and figure out what's missing. The system is working, use it.

 

Over and over again, while providing professional services to companies looking to maximize their marketing automation platforms, I've witnessed the impacts of free-form assembly with some instructional guidance. Most of the time, there's parts (aka functionality) left over; parts that, if utilized, will maximize performance and ROI.

 

Here are three commonly under-utilized building blocks of the optimized Marketo system:

 

1. Lead scoring. Customizing a lead qualification process for both the “who” (demographic score) and the “how” (behavior score) is one of the most effective tools to focus your marketing efforts and help your sales team prioritize their best prospects.

 

One of the reasons lead scoring is often neglected is because of the required collaboration between sales and marketing in order to make it work well.

 

Defining the process can be simple, but sales and marketing must agree on the overall marketing-to-sales process and definitions.

 

The most common sales waterfall stages used in B2B processes are prospect/new, MQL (marketing qualified lead) or AQL (automated qualified lead), SAL (sales accepted lead), SQL (sales qualified lead), Opportunity (pipeline) and Closed (won or lost).  Many of you are familiar with and use variations of the stages mentioned above.

 

Marketo's capability to track lead progress through these stages is not only critical to develop content appropriate to the interest level of leads, but allows Marketo to notify your sales team when a prospect is ready for more direct contact.

 

2. Engagement/nurture campaigns. Aptly named, engagement or nurture campaigns encourage the growth and development of prospects and customers. And, as the most talented marketing and sales executives know, what you say is as important as how and when you say it.

 

We know that 70% of a buyer's process occurs online. We also know how crowded the buying process has become. In order for your brand or your product to gain (and keep) mindshare, communicating the right information at the right time is critical.

 

Marketing's job is to serve up the messages that address a prospect's needs, answer their questions and build trust in your company. Delivering these messages at the right time (utilizing lead stage management above) is the foundation of marketing automation platforms like Marketo.

 

3. Real Time Personalization. Marketo RTP delivers one-on-one website content to prospects and customers based on behavior, interests, preferences and profile. RTP can tailor your marketing materials to give prospects relevant information that helps them through their buying process. Delivering content that successfully helps your potential customer navigate through their buying journey by providing insight and efficiency will keep your company top-of-mind and drive more sales.

 

Each of these powerful components of Marketo’s platform are interconnected so it isn't surprising that when leveraged properly, the sum is greater than the parts. Setting up a solid foundation in Marketo will allow you to build a robust marketing program and understand who (and where) your leads are, how to communicate with the right information at the right time and customize the information your buyers receive.

 

Unlike my son’s spaceship project that looks pretty cool with or without those stray parts, Marketo's value is indisputably better when it is assembled completely.