Yesterday afternoon I caught up with Jon Miller and Maria Pergolino to get an inside view of their new Revenue Cycle Analytics (RCA) as well as what's coming up. I have to say that I'm really impressed. RCA provides some serious strategic visibility enabling B2B marketers to prove the value their marketing programs drive for their organizations.
One of the often heard arguments for short-term focus vs. long-term focus of marketing programs is the nature of corporate budgets and achievement reviews. Quarterly is the construct that dictates the focus of most organizations.
However, as our buyers change and take control over how they buy, B2B marketers dealing with longer buying cycles face a quandry. Since they have to report results at the end of the quarter, they believe they must align their campaigns in line with this 3-month parameter so they can debrief and cull the results to prove value driven during the period.
Well, thankfully, that's no longer true. Paraphrasing Jon Miller about using Marketo's RCA for his own company's marketing programs, "I went from being the arts and crafts guy to the revenue guy with my executive team."
As more B2B marketers have implemented marketing automation systems, what's become clear is that the technology must be used to enable the execution of a strategic process. Without that foundation, an organization will only have a glorified email system, at best.
But, even with a defined pipeline funnel, content mapped to buying stages based on personas and marketing automation, it's still been a challenge to understand what's happening across the entirety of the buying process during each stage. Additional challenges include discovering points of stall and more accurate pipeline forecasting.
With Marketo RCA, now you'll know.
You see, the thing about buyers is that they're dynamic. They ebb and flow throughout the process you've defined. In other words, their buying process may be different than your sales process. Instead of looking at statistics as static numbers, we need a more holistic way to measure movement across the entirety of the process.
Revenue Cycle Modeler: (click to enlarge)
This tool enables marketers to create a diagram view of their revenue cycle (funnel) within the Marketo platform. It's flexible enough so that marketers can label each step with their own terms. The arrows indicate triggers for movement that are individually rules driven. But, what I really like is the ability to diagram all the side trips a prospect might take during the process. There's also an inventory view that enables you to see which prospects are in which stage of the cycle.
One of the things I really like is that the model can also reflect SLAs between marketing and sales. For example, in Marketo's model, once a prospect becomes a lead, sales has 7 days to move it forward or the lead will return to nurturing. This is one way that marketers can ensure that prospects don't leak or become dormant within the process.
Revenue Cycle Explorer is what I call stage-by-stage metrics and is one of the coolest tools I've seen for strategically managing nurturing programs and prospect momentum across the entirety of the buying process.
You'll want to click to enlarge this one and take a look at the buttons on the left more closely. These metrics can not only show you how your leads are moving, but how each stage of your cycle (or bucket) is filling and emptying.
Marketers can now gain clarity about buying stage transitions, how their lead generation and nurturing programs are impacting the pipeline along with a graph of what that looks like over time. This statistics on the left side include:
- Balance - how many leads in each stage/bucket
- In Flow - how many added this month
- Out Flow - how many moved forward, back or out
- Conversion - percentage of transition
- Time - average days spend in stage/bucket
Marketers can also use these metrics to show the impact of their programs based on timing and goals. The best part is that you've now got the tools to better forecast how many net new prospects need to be generated and where momentum needs to be refined to ensure that the stages are delivering the appropriate flow to your sales force. Not to mention identify areas for refinement. Instead of making an educated guess, now you'll know just where to apply your efforts to improve marketing programs during execution instead of having to wait until after the fact to identify areas for improvement.
Ad Hoc Reports give marketers the ability to create custom reports by dragging and dropping fields onto the canvas for real-time reporting.
With this tool, you'll be able to slice and dice your data to gain insights that match up to whatever your executive team needs to know. You'll be able to prove the revenue results tied to specific sources and programs as well as improve your budgeting allocation based on truth, not assumption.
Revenue Planning and Forecasting (Coming Soon, Can't Wait!)
Because marketers execute programs at different times, the results are all evaluated equally if, for example, your reporting must represent achievements earned within the quarter. Where one program may look better than another, this can be deceiving based on when the program was executed and the length of time for your revenue cycle. It's quite possible that, given more time, the program that looks less successful could possibly be the more successful revenue generator.
Because the Marketo system continually analyzes all the information collected by your revenue model, it can intelligently forecast or project results for programs over time.
One of the things that marketing technology has created is tons of data that marketers never had access to before. Most marketers are not trained data analysts. What I really like about Marketo Revenue Cycle Analytics is that you don't have to be. They've culled the data that can be used most effectively to inform your marketing strategy as a real-time visibility component from your execution platform.
Download the RCA Whitepaper (brief registration required)
The folks at Marketo spent some time really thinking through what marketers need to manage revenue performance. The interactive tools they've developed to enable marketers to build the accountability and respect that shifts executive perspective from viewing marketing as a cost center to seeing it as a valuable revenue driver are impressive.
Their customers must agree as retention hovers in the mid 90% range.