August 10th, 2009 by Jessica Tsai

Early last week, marketing solutions provider Marketo released its “Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing” (the word “definitive,” however, may refer to its aim to be exhaustive rather than a finite solution — the vendor plans on updating this guide at least biannually, according to Jon Miller, vice president of marketing at Marketo).

The guide may be accessed for free — no registration is necessary — if you’re willing to wait for each part as Marketo releases one each week throughout the month of August. Marketo customers received a full copy of the eBook last Wednesday (August 3rd), and Part One of the report went live the next day — Part Two will be available for download tomorrow, August 11th. If you’re too anxious to wait a month for the complete book, fill out a simple registration form and Marketo will email the guide to you immediately.

This 40-page guide  is broken down into four parts:

  1. What is Lead Nurturing;
  2. Lead Nurturing Basics;
  3. Advanced Lead Nurturing; and
  4. Calculating the ROI of Lead Nurturing.

The need for a guide like this, Miller explains, was evident in the amount of traffic his company was getting just from the keywords “lead nurturing.” After conducting some research, Miller and his team found that while the industry agreed on the value of lead nurturing (i.e., the WHY you should do it), understanding the HOW to lead nurturing was missing. Moreover, most of the resources Marketo was able to identify focused more on implementing lead nurturing practices based on “common sense and intuition,” rather than “hard ROI.”

“We’ve talked to our customers about doing this before,” Miller says, “but the reality is that we had never taken the time to bring this together and we hadn’t seen anyone else do this either.”

As a result, Marketo embarked on this research-intensive project to build a guide that would mesh the vendor’s, as well as its customers’, best practices in lead nurturing.

The report focuses on the pros and cons of four types of lead nurturing campaigns:

  • Incoming Lead Processing Campaigns;
  • Stay in Touch Campaigns;
  • Accelerator Campaigns; and
  • Lead Lifecycle Campaigns.

Along with each type of campaign, Marketo adds a “How Marketo Does It” box to explain how the vendor itself practices what it preaches. For example, here’s a an explanation of how Marketo approaches permission marketing, which typically begins in Incoming Lead Processing Campaigns:

At Marketo, we use single opt-in for any lead that comes in by filling out a form on our Web site, since these leads have already shown some interest in our content. We use a double opt-in approach for leads that come from any other source, since we think it’s important to explicitly establish a relationship with our brand. The single opt-in leads automatically receive a welcome email a few days after registering, while the double opt-in leads receive a multi-step program that makes two attempts to establish permission. Leads that do not respond are marked as suspended and are not counted as part of the database.

Marketo reported 800 percent revenue growth from Q2 2008 to Q2 2009 and approximately half of that, Miller says, can be attributed to lead nurturing. He says that of Marketo’s 230 customers, half of them came through traditional sales cycles (meet the prospect — hand them off to sales — slaes people engage — customers sign up), the other half came in from what Miller calls “non-traditional” or “non-linear” cycles (prospect is met through marketing but not yet ready for sales — they are nurtured — if it looks like they’re ready, they’re sent back to sales — if they’re still not ready, they’re sent back to marketing for more nurturing).

“Most companies,” Miller says, “are really bad at that.” In fact, 9 out of 10 times, he says, leads that are handed off to sales when they’re not ready are lost completely.

The guide comes with worksheets to help marketers articulate and plan our their own strategies and approaches, which Miller says is perhaps the most resourceful component. “This lets [marketers] sit down, use [their] own numbers, and define what it’s going to be worth,” he says.

Miller assured me that just because someone downloads this eBook, Marketo isn’t going to be jumping for the phone. “We’re not going to bug them unless they show the signs that they actually want to engage in sales cycle, not just learn best practices,” he says. Customers cretainly will be nurtured, and it doesn’t hurt to be the name associated with a “definitive guide.”

Coming up next, Miller says there’s talk about coming out with a guide to lead scoring, but nothing’s definite.

Wow, thats a real step Jessica.

Comment by Stuart — — October 24, 2009 @ 11:36 am

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