An Interview with Jon Miller, Co-Founder of Marketo

We recently had the opportunity to connect with Jon Miller, Vice President of Marketing and Co-Founder of Marketo.  Jon leads strategy and execution for all aspects of Marketo’s hyper-efficient demand center (powered by Marketo’s solution, of course). In Marketo’s popular blog, Modern B2B Marketing, he explores everything from lead nurturing and social media to marketing ROI and revenue performance management (RPM). Jon was also named a Top 10 CMO for companies under $250 million revenue by The CMO Institute.

We would like to thank Jon for taking the time to speak with us about marketing automation, RPM and B2B Marketing.

1.  As widespread as the awareness of marketing automation is, many are still estimating automation is below a 20% adoption rate.  Why is there such a disparity between awareness and adoption?

I think a lot of companies are still trying to figure out what revenue performance management and marketing automation really mean. It has traditionally been viewed as more of a marketing tool and part of the marketing ‘cost center’.

Many are not yet aware of the transformational impact it can have on their sales and marketing organization, and what it can do to top line growth. We see the low market penetration as a tremendous opportunity for us, and our competitors, to help increase adoption and also grow the market.

Also, until recently, solutions were expensive and hard to use. It is only in the last 3 years that we’ve seen easy to use and easy to adopt solutions come to market.

2.  Marketo is one of the leaders in Revenue Performance Management (RPM).  While we certainly ascribe to RPM, many are confused as to the difference between marketing automation and RPM.  What would you tell someone asking that question?

Marketing automation deals with basics like email marketing, lead nurturing and lead scoring, i.e. taking marketing tactics and making them repeatable and scalable through technology.

Let’s step back a bit to look at the big picture. B2B buying today is much different than it was 15 years ago. Because it is so much easier for buyers to get information, through websites, through search, through social media, they get a lot of their buying process done independent of your sales reps. But this has to be measured and managed, and the technology is now available.

Revenue Performance Management goes beyond marketing automation and ties together the complete revenue generation process, starting from initial buyer contact through to closed deals. Whereas we used to just have the sales cycle, with its distinct qualification stages, we now have a comprehensive revenue cycle. RPM talks about the complete process and recognizes that there will be several distinct marketing stages before a lead is ever ready to talk to sales.

Because sales and marketing work from the same data, we are able to measure and even predict the impact of marketing investments on revenue. For example, RPM allows us to ask and answer questions such as ‘will revenue grow faster if I hire another sales rep, or if I use the same money to invest in more PPC ads?

3.  What advice do you provide a customer who asks what they should do from an organizational perspective to get the most from their automation investment?

I think it really starts with making sure marketing and sales are on the same page. For example, how does your organization define a “lead”? Other important questions include, e.g. How long should it take for sales to follow up on a lead? And, what is the mechanism for sales to give feedback to marketing on lead quality?

Given these answers, you can pretty quickly build your lead management flows using lead scoring and qualification rules.

Another important thing is to invest in a lot of good content. Having a variety of content, aimed at speaking to different buyer personas, and to buyers at different stages of the revenue cycle, will drive the demand gen process.

Don’t leave out the human element in all of this. For example, our customers often have sales development reps that reach out to qualified marketing leads by phone. The timing of the call, and knowing what to talk about with the lead, is aided by our technology. Having a live voice on the phone makes a big difference in your prospect’s perception of your brand, plus it is the surest way to fully qualify a lead before it is passed on to sales.

Think big, start small, move quickly. Get quick wins, and then be agile to continuously adapt the solutions.

4.  Marketo continues to experience tremendous growth. What can you attribute this growth to?

I’d say there are three things that drive our success.

First, we are lucky to be working with a market that is hungry for what our solution offers. Tech, healthcare, financial, manufacturing, education – in all of these industries, you have buying processes which have been transformed by the Internet. They have a lot to gain from building an integrated marketing and sales approach, one that is driven by sophisticated measurement and management.

Second, we feel the product itself is very strong. Right from the beginning, we focused heavily on usability and making it intuitive to use. It was built by marketers, for marketers. Over time, we’ve added to the lead management core, additional products for marketing analytics and sales effectiveness.

Third, we feel a big part of our success is due to us ‘drinking our own champagne’. Comparatively, we spend a lot on marketing, $0.90 for every $1 spent on sales.  But we do this because we see how these investments pay off, e.g. 80% of our revenue is directly sourced by marketing. We’ve become very efficient at capturing and nurturing leads, and delivering high quality leads to sales. And the end result is an efficient sales engine, actually better put, a revenue engine.

5.  While none of us has a crystal ball, where do you see this industry in the next five years?

It’s truly an exciting time for our industry. Overall, I think we’re going to see wider adoption of technologies related to revenue performance management. Whereas today it’s still perceived as a nice-to-have, a couple years from now it will become a must-have.

We’ll likely have more standardization, common definitions and metrics which are more widely adopted by vendors and marketers. And social isn’t going to go away. Expect to see platforms which are even better at measuring, and driving the whole online experience.

 

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