Re: MQL based on Email Replies

Level 1

MQL based on Email Replies

Hi there,


We operate a pretty lean team and are looking to automate some of the initial qualification steps our BDRs would take by sending out a follow up email with qualification questions to anyone that fills out a 'contact us' / 'book a demo' form etc. 


The goal is to MQL people when they reply to the email, not immediately when they fill out the form. This is a system I set up at a prior startup using HubSpot and was surprised at the success that we saw with it (in terms of the number of people that actually replied with real answers), so I'm looking to see how well this works at the new company.


I'm having a little difficulty right now determining how Marketo tracks email replies. There are other posts on this, some from 2015, so I was curious what the most recent update was. It looks like I can track email replies with the Sales connect module and by using a shared outlook inbox that then connects to SFDC, but I was wondering if there was a way to do this without having to pay for the module, and without having the reps have to update statuses in SFDC manually.  


Is there a work around or 3rd party tool? 


Thank you,


Level 10 - Community Moderator

Re: MQL based on Email Replies

I'm having a little difficulty right now determining how Marketo tracks email replies

Marketo doesn't receive replies in the first place. So it's not a question of tracking/processing within Marketo, the human replies don't go to Marketo at all. They go to the MX (mailserver) that receives email for the From: address (or Reply-To:, if different).


The easy part of reply tracking is getting the mail to go to a processing app that can update the Marketo lead status to show they've sent something (anything) back. 


The hard parts with reply tracking are 3:

  1. Distinguishing auto-replies and other non-human activity from someone deliberately responding
  2. Distinguishing "go away" and other non-friendly activity from someone positively engaging
  3. Ensuring the human reply (friend or unfriendly) goes to a human in addition to going to the processing app

#1 is more straightforward now than it used to be, because the hundreds of bounce formats have been compiled by vendors.


#3 depends on your mail server/service. Ideally the message comes to your main domain, so the human inbox is sure to get it, and then is copied to the processing app using a server redirect rule. This way the app doesn't become a point of failure, a person will always see the reply even if the app messes up. In other cases the app gets the message first, then forwards to the human at your company; that's more fragile.


You might decide to skip #2, or at let the human in #3 switch stuff around if they get something negative.


Then you have to decide whether to build or rent. I like to build these things myself using an app I'm very familiar with, ThinkAutomation. Others use a SaaS offering.





Level 10

Re: MQL based on Email Replies


Is there a work around or 3rd party tool? 


We are happy customers of Drift Email, formerly known as Siftrock.


They do exactly what you're looking for plus much more. And they integrate nicely with Marketo.