Re: Timing of nurture program

Level 2

Timing of nurture program

I'm facing some internal questions from my executive team as to why some of our leads wait days before they get a nurture email from us.


Before Marketo, we treated every form fill on our website the same. We had a drip marketing program in our CRM that was basic. There was no reporting, no scoring, no segmentation or personalization. When we decided to implement marketing automation, I felt strongly we could no longer treat every form fill equally. So I added a field to our website forms for our leads to indicate when they were looking to purchase.

Answers that were within 3-6 months or sooner go to our CRM like they did before Marketo for sales to follow up and work. These also come into Marketo for BOFU nurturing (within 30 days) or MOFU nurturing (3-6 months). My sales team can pause the nurture emails from our CRM if it is a lead they are working.

Answers to the timeframe field that are more than 6 months just go to Marketo for TOFU nurturing.

If a lead completes a form on our website on Wednesday and the nurture program casts on Tuesdays, the lead may wait 6 days before they receive their first email. And those that just go into Marketo and not our CRM don't get any follow up from sales.

This seems to me best practices for setting up a nurture program in Marketo and overall lead management. I've been looking for numbers/stats to back this up, but have not found anything yet.

This is where I need your help:

  • When did you set up your nurture program to send its first email to new leads?
  • Does your sales team contact every lead no matter when a lead is looking to purchase? Why or why not?
  • Any numbers or stats to back up what you've done?
  • How did you convince your executive team that your setup was the best way?
Not applicable

Re: Timing of nurture program

Hi Becky!

These are GREAT questions to ask. After working with many clients in your shoes, my gut reaction is to ask how aligned you are with your executive team. It's already a win that you are engaging in dialogue with them around nurture. But, a HUGE obstacle that many of our clients face is that they are so married to best practices in marketing that they fail to see the sales team's perspective. So, start by mapping out what everyone thinks should happen. And then test. "Best practices," change depending on the go to market strategy, your business process, sales culture, etc.

I had to start with the big picture, but now onto some practical recommendations!

  • We've seen lots of different use cases around nurture. Some sales teams do not want marketing to touch leads while they are working them (good for you for giving your sales teams the ability to pause nurture). Nurtures that seem to work best are based on specific behaviors. If you're uploading a list of leads that you purchased, the timing will be different from someone who downloads a bottom of funnel piece of content. Since you are using buying timeframe as your main distinguisher, I would say your TOFU nurture could start right away and so could your MOFU nurture. Your BOFU nurture should complement your sales strategy, so you might want to start that one a few days after giving sales the opportunity to contact the lead first.
  • Typically, no. But this is dependent on your business process and culture of your sales team. You'll hear from sales leaders that "I want more quality leads and I want more leads." They have to choose a side, at least to start. If that is their stance, there are ways to meet in the middle. One idea is to sync all leads to SFDC right away (which you should be doing unless you have a unique use case) and put those leads in a queue. Once they show a certain level of engagement, put them in a warm queue where sales can prospect if they run out of MQLs.
  • You'll probably be able to find stats about nurture generally, but since everyone's business case is so different, it's hard to find anything more than anecdotes to share. I don't have any explicit ones that come to mind.
  • Is your way the best way? I don't know. Be open to their feedback, and testing is your best friend.

If you want to talk further, my email is

Hope this is helpful!

Level 2

Re: Timing of nurture program

Thanks Jamie! I did work with my vice president of sales on these changes so I do have his buy in at least. It's other members of the executive team who think every lead, regardless of timeframe, needs a call from sales. My executive team is not against lead nurturing. They think if a person fills out a form on our website, sales needs to call them within 24 hours.

I don't think every form fill (even on a demo video) is the same. I'm trying to find ways to improve our forms and marketing so sales gets more true opportunities, and less people who aren't as qualified or as interested right now.

I've had some conversations the last few days with individual members of the sales team and the general consensus is that they're dealing with less junk leads now and are finding people are more willing to talk to them. I attribute this to giving people the opportunity to tell us when they're looking to purchase so those who don't want to hear from sales can choose a value that won't trigger that workflow.

Level 10 - Champion Alumni

Re: Timing of nurture program

Lots of things here are items you and your team need to decide for yourselves. There isn't one best way.

My preference is to do what you did - treat Form Fills differently

  • Contact Us/Trials=Fast Track MQLs
  • Asset Downloads are not sent to Sales unless they meet the MQL criteria (scoring, whatever). They should go into nurture.

I have worked at firms where the leads are sent immediately to sales after ANY form fill. I have also been the recipient of the Sales call "Hey, so I saw you were on our website/downloaded...." Isn't that super annoying? Why would you do that to other marketers or any audience?

Yes, your scenario is true for Engagements - could wait 1 hour or could wait 6 days between Casts. If it's super important to send a follow up, I use the Entry campaign to send an immediate email, then pass over to the Engagement Stream. That may also mean they get 2 emails very quickly if they fill out the form on Monday.

Level 2

Re: Timing of nurture program

Thanks Josh!