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Marketo Lead Nurturing

A Guide to Shortening B2B Sales Cycles with Marketo Lead Nurturing

Done right, lead nurturing can streamline your sales process. Learn how to implement lead nurturing in Marketo to compress your sales cycle....

If you think that shortening the sales cycle is speeding it up, think again. Rather, it means to streamline the sales process to the extent that it is practical for both parties.   

Suppose you want a Fortune 500 company to hire your services. Would you expect it to happen in a matter of weeks? But you can shorten a nine-month sales period to six or seven months. Remember, you are never meant to hurry to close a deal. But where possible, you should optimize for minimum resource wastage and holdups. 

Enter lead nurturing. Done right, it can make conversations easier. An educated prospect is a confident prospect. It will also help you prioritize high-intent leads. We will learn how to do that in Marketo. We are Marketo-certified experts and we have firsthand experience of how Marketo lead nurturing can streamline the sales process. In this blog post, we will look at the following:

What Is Lead Nurturing in Marketo?

Lead nurturing in Marketo is the process of building relationships with prospects at every stage of the sales process. 

“On average, half of leads in any given system are not yet ready to buy,” Marketo states. So how do you build relationships? By active listening. This enables you to provide relevant information to your prospects. You provide value in exchange for their trust. If they can trust you, they would consider buying from you. This is the whole lead nurturing process in a nutshell. 

In Marketo, this process takes various forms. It works through streams, cadences, engagement triggers, branching, and smart campaigns. 

How to Create A Nurture Program in Marketo?

In Marketo, you will build a nurture program through the Engagement Program. You will engage with prospects by sending them relevant content through streams. 

Next, you will set up Transition Rules to move prospects from one content stream to the next. Marketo has a number of default Transition Rules. You will also create smart campaigns to add prospects to your nurture program and to track program success. 

Finally, you will set up the cadence for your emails. This will tell Marketo when to send out the emails. In the first cast, Marketo will send out the first email in the stream. In the next cast, Marketo will send out the second email in the stream, and so on. 

Tracking program success is crucial. How will you know if your lead nurturing program was a success? The answer is through Engagement Scoring. Marketo takes in multiple metrics to calculate a single measure of engagement on a scale of 0-100. 0 represents no engagement. 100 represents active engagement. So here is the entire workflow in sum.

Marketo Lead Nurturing Workflow

It was important to get a general idea of the process before going into the details. Now that you are aware of the workflow, let’s start by creating an Engagement Program. 

Create An Engagement Program

Learn how to create folders in Marketo. Once done, follow these three steps to a create an engagement program:

  • Log in to your Marketo account. Click Marketing Activities
Create Folders in the Marketo Engagement Program
  • Select the folder in which you want to create your engagement program. Then click New. Select New Program from the dropdown
Select Folders in the Marketo Engagement Program
  • Name your Program. Select the Program Type. Click Save
Select Program Type in the Marketo Engagement Program

You have successfully created a new Engagement Program in Marketo.  Next, you need to send targeted content through streams.

Add A Stream

Marketo allows you to add up to 25 streams to your engagement program. Follow these easy steps to add a new stream:

  • Click Marketing Activities
Choose Marketing Activities in the Marketo Engagement Program
  • Select the engagement program you just created. Then, click the Streams tab
Add Streams in the Marketo Engagement Program
  • Click Add Stream
Add Streams in the Marketo Engagement Program

That’s all! Suppose you added two streams for two segments. The first stream sends emails relevant to those at the top of the sales funnel. You can call the stream ‘Early Stage.’ The second stream sends emails relevant to those at the middle stage. Call it ‘Mid Stage.’ 

If a prospect matures, you need to move them out of the first stream, right? You don’t want to send a welcome email to a matured lead. This is what transitioning is all about in Marketo. So, it’s now time to set up the Transition Rules.

Set Up Transition Rules

Transitioning can’t happen in a vacuum. You need to define rules so that the system can understand when to shift a lead to another stream. Here are the steps:

  • Go to Marketing Activities. Select your engagement program, and click Streams
How to Select Nurture Program in the Marketo
  • Click Transition Rules for the stream you want the lead to move to. (In our case, we want the matured lead to transition to the Mid Stage stream.) Click Edit Transition Rules
How to Click Transition Rules for the stream in Marketo
  • You should see the following popup. Drag and drop your chosen trigger onto the interface. In this case, we want the lead to move into the Mid Stage when it is added to an opportunity 
How to Select Midstage for the Stream in Marketo
  • Set the operator as per your choice. If you choose the IS ANY operator, it means the lead will graduate to the Mid Stage over any added opportunity 
Set Operator for the Stream in Marketo
  • Click Close, and that’s all.

So what did you do in the above steps? You defined a condition for the lead to be assigned to the next stage of the funnel. Whenever the lead is associated with a new opportunity, the Added to Opportunity trigger will fire. The lead will then exit the Early Stage stream, and leapfrog to Mid Stage. 

Next, you need to set the cadence of your stream. Keep reading! 

Set Stream Cadence 

You can set any cadence you want. Suppose you want to set a monthly cadence. Follow these steps:

  • Go to Marketing Activities and click Streams. Select Stream Cadence
Select Stream Cadence in the Marketo Engagement Program
  • The following dialog box appears. Select Monthly. That would be your first cast 
Set Month for Stream Cadence in the Marketo Engagement Program
  • Choose the date and time for the first cast. Click Save
Set Date for Stream Cadence in the Marketo Engagement Program

You’re done! Your recipients will now receive emails once every month. You can also set a weekly cadence, or for every Sunday every two weeks at a particular time, etc. 

You set cadences on the basis of buyer journey and behavior. If a prospect is at the early stage, you want to stagger your sends. If they open and engage with your emails frequently, you can increase the cadence. They will then receive more content because they showed higher intent.

Engagement Score

You have successfully created your first lead nurturing program in Marketo. It remains to see how it performs over time. For this, keep tabs on Marketo’s Engagement Score. 

How does it work? Marketo relies on an inhouse algorithm to calculate the score. It looks at patterns of engagement and disengagement. It then compares your score to scores of similar nurture campaigns, and gives you an average score of 50. 

The score is calculated three days after every cast. It does not consider data beyond your previous three casts.  


3 Best Practices for Marketo Lead Nurturing

In this final section, we will look at three best practices for lead nurturing in Marketo. We will touch on the use of skip logic, personalized email copy, and add-ons. 

1. Use Skip Logic to Prevent Sending Redundant Emails

You can configure the skip logic so that a lead does not receive content that they have already consumed. Follow these steps:

  • Segment your audience into Smart Lists based on the criteria that determine email redundancy. Learn how to create a Smart List in Marketo.
  • Add a Flow step to your campaign. In the flow, include a Decision Step that checks whether or not a lead is in the Smart List.
  • Set up the skip logic. If the lead is NOT in the “Do Not Send” smart list, they will receive the email. If the lead IS in the list, they will not receive the email. In that case, you can divert the lead to a different smart list or campaign. 

Using the skip logic is a great way to send highly targeted emails. Plus, it eliminates email fatigue, resulting in reduced unsubscribe rates.

2. Personalize Your Email Copy for Max Engagement

You can use dynamic content in Marketo to send the same email to different audiences. Feel free to learn more about segmentation and personalization in Marketo

3. Improve Your Streams with The Help of Marketo Add-ons

You can use Marketo add-ons to deliver targeted content. One such add-on is Adobe Sensei, which leverages predictive and generative AI. Lear how Adobe Sensei can help you to utilize AI to improve your lead nurturing efforts. 

The point of using add-ons is to benefit from enhanced functionality and performance. While Marketo offers core functionalities, add-ons bring out their full potential. 

Since you want to shorten the sales cycle, add-ons can be a game-changer. You can consider trying Quividia, LeadSpace, Lean Data, Conversica, etc. Choose your Marketo Engage add-ons

Coming Back to You…

It’s okay if you have questions. You don’t have to understand all of Marketo at once. Re-read this article a few times over. If that doesn’t help, feel free to reach out to our Marketo experts. We’re a 150+-strong team of email experts. So far, we have worked with over 5000 brands and agencies across the globe. 

We’re not asking for commitment. We’ll be happy to answer any questions. Whether or not you go with us, your decision will be an informed one. 

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A realist at heart and an idealist at head, Susmit is a content writer at Email Uplers. He has been in the digital marketing industry for half a decade. When not writing, he can be seen squinting at his Kindle, awestruck.

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