A month ago, I was down at Disney World and I was trying to get into this sporting tent to watch my daughter participate in a cheering competition. There were a couple hundred people in a massive crowd waiting to go through a door. It was chaos with no organization. It reminded me of an inefficient funnel where leads have a tough time making it to their end destination–the sale.
Most businesses have some kind of funnel that represents its Sales and Marketing process. But does it work? Is it measurable? Is it repeatable?
In many cases, whether it’s inadequate process, poor technology setup, or lack of leadership, funnels can become nothing more than a pretty slide into the marketer’s corporate deck.
Today, we’ll talk about six steps organizations can take to create a measurable and repeatable revenue machine for organizations leveraging the Marketo platform. No, that doesn’t mean the machine pumps out dollar bills—it means you have a repeatable process that helps bring leads through like an assembly line.
What is a Lead Lifecycle?
A lead lifecycle (AKA The Funnel) refers to how leads move from their creation through to revenue. The Goal: Develop a healthy funnel to optimize leads moving through the system in an efficient and timely fashion. Create an assembly line-like machine.
The Importance of the Funnel in the Lead Lifecycle
Developing a measurable funnel helps businesses put predictability into the lead lifecycle. Answering questions like below help companies gain clarity into what’s working and what is not.
- Do 5,000 leads turn into 100 deals? 50 deals?
- Where do leads fall out of the funnel?
- Which Sales reps are converting deals at the highest rates?
- Do advertising campaigns or webinars drive the most revenue?
Most organizations embrace the concept of the funnel, but putting that concept into practice is usually the challenge.
There are a few prerequisites to developing the funnel machine BEFORE you can begin creating the funnel. Each one of these deserves its own post, but here is a quick recap.
- Sales and Marketing alignment is one of those prerequisites. If these two teams live on separate islands within the organization, this situation is not a recipe for success. Read How to Build Trust with Sales.
- Agreeing on processes and terminology is another. If a Sales rep thinks MQL stands for “More Qualified Lead,” then you have got some work to do. Read: What’s a SAL? – Simplifying Your Lead Lifecycle Language
- Management must buy into the whole process to drive success. Change management is tough for any organization and management buy-in is required to help smooth over those rough patches.
The Six Step 80/20 Funnel Blueprint
First off, think of these steps in this post as a recipe—I can’t cover every detail but the ingredients are designed to put your organization on a path to lifecycle success. This model applies to organizations that leverage Marketo, but some of the concepts can be leveraged for other platforms.
For a deeper explanation of below with actual “how-to” steps, make sure to download the detailed 4o-page eBook. As a bonus, Josh Hill from Marketing Rockstar Guides offers some advanced techniques for businesses with a more complex model.
The 80/20 Funnel blueprint is a model that simplifies advanced lead lifecycle concepts. The model provides the majority of the value for a fraction of the effort. It’s no fancy French cuisine, but it works well. If you already have a lifecycle approach, consider tweaking it with a few of the techniques shown.
- Easy to get going in 30-60 days if starting from scratch
- Great insights without maximum effort
- Ability to pick and choose what makes sense for your organization
Step 1: Give this Stuff a Home
No matter which solution you use, give this stuff a home by creating a program where all of the lifecycle campaigns live. The campaigns listen for certain activities and manage leads through the lead lifecycle.
Step 2: It’s a Girl
When someone is born, the person is either male or female. In the lead generation world, when the lead is born, it is either Sales Generated or Marketing Generated. This step involves tagging the lead as “Sales Generated” or “Marketing Generated” when it is created. This designation allows for an easy break of your model into two for further analysis.
Step 3: The Stamper
This step involves time stamping everything related to funnel movement. When a status changes or other lifecycle action happens, timestamp the date. Thus, the Stamper.
This stamping is essential for measuring when and where leads are getting stuck in the funnel and to help provide waterfall analysis.
Step 4: The Reading Railroad
What happens when a lead fast tracks and skips stages? How do the stages in between get credit? For example, maybe a hot demo MQL becomes an Opportunity after one call, thus bypassing other stages.
The Reading Railroad technique ensures all the stages in between get credit–just like passing GO and getting $200 when playing Monopoly.
Step 5: The Play-Doh Technique (Marketo specific)
Ever get the question, “How many MQLs came out of the last trade show?” That is such a simple question but getting that answer is often like pulling teeth. The Play-Doh technique simplifies this process to get marketers that answer in 30 seconds.
Although it is not commonly known, Play-Doh was originally invented in the 1930s as a wallpaper cleaner. However, the company struck it rich with a completely different application.
Marketo developed programs a few years back and came up with the concept of a Program Status so marketers can see the status of where someone sits within a program. This Play-Doh Technique leverages that feature to measure something completely different—Lifecycle Status.
For example, in addition to measuring whether or not 100 people attended a webinar, the Play-Doh Technique provides insight into how many of those Attendees turned on MQLs, SQLs and Won opportunities.
Step 6: The Turnstile Counter
At a sporting event, there is a simple way to inventory how many people are in the stadium. Count how many people have gone through the turnstile. Using this method, businesses can tally up the lifecycle stages in much the same way—once a lead has moved through a stage, businesses can run Smartlists to measure that success.
The Good Stuff – Business Insights
So you have done all the hard work. Now it’s time to start seeing the fruits of the labor. I’ll cover reporting in detail in a future post, but below are a few reports that your business can leverage to gain insight once the 80/20 Funnel Blueprint is rolled out.
Waterfall Funnel Reports
- How do our Sales Generated leads perform vs our Marketing Generated leads? Gain insights into how different types of leads flow through your funnel.
- How did we convert MQLs to revenue this quarter? last quarter?
- Which reps are converting leads at a faster rate?
- Do certain industries move through the funnel better than others?
- Which marketing program was most effective at driving leads through the funnel?
In this example, we see great improvement of MQL conversions from Q1 to Q4. If everything else is the same, an organization just doubled Sales with the same marketing spend
Get Sales involved by sharing successes and areas for improvement. Leverage the status date fields to build an array of dashboards, reports, and lead queues within the CRM.
The 80/20 Funnel model offers powerful results without a complicated model. It is a great way to gain insights on a business to make it more predictable and reportable.
For deeper insights, make sure to download the 40-page eBook that details many of the steps outlined in this article.
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