XebiaLabs Marketo Lead LifeCycle Model

This post was originally posted in our internal updates section, and it is written with the intention of the audience being fellow employees. Just keep that in mind when reading!

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New Lifecycle Flows / Logic

We have a completely new lead lifecycle model now. It is powered by our use of three different  Marketo / Salesforce fields as well as some robust lead scoring protocols. Below you will find the explanations for what happens during each of the model’s transitions. If you have any questions please comment below so that we can gather feedback and ideas in a central locations.

Anonymous => Marketing Accepted

A lead is considered Anonymous when we do not have their email address or other base information to communicate with them. When a lead fills out a form or is synced to our Marketo database via an API, list import, or other method they become a Marketing Accepted lead, and their “Lifecycle Status” is set to Marketing Accepted in Marketo.

Marketing Accepted => Trash

A lead’s stay in the Marketing Accepted bucket is sometimes short lived. We have smarts lists set up to detect competitors, employees, SPAM / TEMP emails, blacklisted countries, as well as many others. If a lead is moved to the Marketing Accepted bucket, and is included in any of these lists they are quickly shuttled to the Trash bucket where their lifecycle status becomes “Trash”.

Marketing Accepted => Passive Marketing

When a lead is in the Marketing Accepted bucket we are continuously marketing to them. However, if a lead shows no interaction with us for 90 days we make the assumption that they are not interested, and as a precaution we throttle our communication with them by moving them to the Passive Marketing bucket where their lead lifecycle status becomes “Passive Marketing”.

Marketing Accepted => Marketing Qualified

A lead is only moved into the Marketing Qualified bucket once they reach our predetermined score threshold. I will be writing a post shortly about our scoring methodologies, but for now just know that we rate users both demographically and behaviorally. If they reach a certain level they are synced to Salesforce and are considered Marketing Qualified and their Lifecycle Status & Lead Status is set to “Marketing Qualified”.

NOTE: This is where the complex communication between Marketo and Salesforce begins, and it is facilitated by our use of several fields. In Marketo we use “Lifecycle Status” and in Salesforce we use “Lead Status”, “Disqualified Reasons”, and “Opportunity Stage”. These four fields, three of which are located in Salesforce, are what drive the new lead lifecycle model.

Marketing Qualified => Sales Accepted

A lead should never last more than 72 hours in the Marketing Qualified bucket. This is an SLA bucket as denoted by the time clock icon in the graphic. When a lead is synced to Salesforce all the BDRs are notified and tasks are created in Salesforce. Once a BDR marks the lead as Sales Accepted in the “Lead Status” field the lead is moved from the Marketing Qualified bucket and in the the Sales Accepted bucket in Marketo and their Lifecycle Status becomes “Sales Accepted”.

Sales Accepted => Trash

In the event that a lead is a competitor, an employee, or other garbage a BDR can change the “Lead Status” to Trash, and this will cue Marketo to remove them from Salesforce altogether, mark their “Lifecycle Status” as Trash. This should only be enacted when a lead is 100% guaranteed to be Trash. In most other circumstances a BDR should use the Disqualified “Lead Status” in conjunction with the “Disqualified Reasons” field to get rid of bad leads.

Sales Accepted => Disqualified

When a BDR encounters a lead that is actually a partner, isn’t responsive, or in some other capacity isn’t quite a lead yet they should mark them as Disqualified in the “Lead Status” field and follow this up by selecting the reason they disqualified them in the “Disqualified Reasons” field. Once these two fields are selected Marketo will move the lead to the Disqualified bucket, change the “Lifecycle” stage to Disqualified in Marketo, and take a couple of other behind the scenes actions.

Sales Accepted => Sales Qualified

When a lead is in Salesforce a BDR will move them sequentially through Sales Accepted, Contacted, Meeting Pending, and Meeting Booked as the “Lead Status”. Once the “Lead Status” has been changed to Meeting Booked a lead’s “Lifecycle Status” will change to Sales Qualified. In the future we will likely change this based on BANT and other qualifiers.

Sales Qualified => Trash

At this point a BDR or Salesperson can still shuttle someone off to the trash by marking them as Trash in the “Lead Status” field. This is likely not going to be a common flow, but is still an option.

Sales Qualified => Disqualified

Once a lead is considered Sales Qualified a salesperson will pick things up, and may discover information that will encourage them to disqualify this person. For example, if the person doesn’t have the budget, isn’t ready for one of our products, or is actually using something else and is happy with it then they can be disqualified. To do this mark the lead as Disqualified in the “Lead Status” field, and as before provide a reason in the “Disqualified Reasons” field. The reason provided will guide the lead in a number of directions. For example a lead marked “Not Ready” will reside in the Disqualified bucket for 9 months then will pass into the Passive Marketing bucket where we will begin to market to them again.

Sales Qualified => Live Opportunity

A lead will be shuttled to the Live Opportunity bucket when a Salesperson or SE marks their “Lead Status” as Live Opportunity, when they are associated with an Opportunity, or when their “Opportunity Stage” is set to an appropriate setting. This was a very complex transition that was hindered slightly by our current business processes. If anyone has an idea of how they would like this to happen please let me know.

Live Opportunity => Lost Opportunity

When a lead has their “Lead Status” marked as Lost Opportunity or their “Opportunity Stage” is set to closed/lost they will be moved into the Lost Opportunity bucket where they will live for a while, until then being passed to the Passive Marketing bucket.

Live Opportunity => Customer

When a lead’s “Lead Status” is set to Customer or their “Opportunity Stage” is set to closed/won they will be marked as a Customer, added to the Customer bucket, and their “Lifecycle Status” will become Customer. Here they will live indefinitely until they in some manner exhibit Up-sell activity.

Customer => Up-sell Opportunity

Right now this transition is not active. As a company I believe we need to highlight what we consider to be reliable up-sell activity, and once this has been determined with can build it into our flow.

Customer => Lost Opportunity

A customer transitions into a Lost Opportunity when their “Opportunity Stage” is changed to closed/lost or “Lead Status” is changed to Lost Opportunity. This will happen when a user churns, or is not using the product. Their “Lifecycle Status” will change to Lost Opportunity, and they will live there until they are moved to Passive marketing within a predetermined amount of time.

Disqualified => Partner

When a BDR or salesperson Disqualifies someone using the “Lead Status” and “Disqualified Reason” field they are sent to the Disqualified bucket for a little while. This is where Marketing uses the information from sales to determine where in the model the lead should go next.

As an example, a BDR notices that the lead is actually a partner, Disqualifies them and then marks the Disqualified Reason as “Partner”. They will be moved almost immediately from Disqualified into the Partner

Disqualified => Passing Marketing

As another example, a BDR is unable to get in contact with a lead (likely because they are unresponsive), they will disqualify them with the “Lead Status” field and mark them as Unresponsive in the “Disqualified Reasons” field. They will then be shuttled from Disqualified to Passive Marketing where they will be given the chance to reactivate. If not they will move down the failure path to the trash.

Disqualified => Trash

As another example, a BDR gets in contact with someone, but they are in the wrong department…  They will disqualify them with the “Lead Status” field and mark them as Wrong Department in the “Disqualified Reasons” field. The lead will then be shuttled from Disqualified to Trash. This could also be accomplished by simply marking someone as Trash in the “Lead Status” field.

Passive Marketing => Marketing Accepted

When someone is in Passive marketing it could be because they were inactive for 90 days, they were unresponsive during the sales process, or a number of other reasons. However, if a lead is passed to the Passive Marketing bucket they are given the chance to reactivate by visiting our site, clicking an email, or another action. If this happens they are moved back into the Marketing Accepted bucket where they will be marketed to more actively.

Passive Marketing => Inactive

When a lead is in the Passive Marketing bucket they are given another 90 days to prove that they actually exist. If they do not do anything to move themselves back into the Marketing Accepted bucket they are moved to the Inactive bucket where all marketing communications are halted.

Inactive => Marketing Accepted

If a lead is moved to the Inactive bucket they are given another 180 days to reactivate. If they do they will be moved back into the Marketing Accepted bucket.

Inactive => Trash

After 360 days of not opening email, not visiting our website, not engaging socially, and essentially ignoring us in every aspect of the world we no longer need to have a lead in our database. They will be moved from Inactive to Trash where they will live until one day they are deleted permanently.

New Fields / Values

LifeCycle Status – Marketo

Anonymous – No email, no name, no phone, and not a real lead yet.
Marketing Accepted – Basic information provided to be considered a lead.
Marketing Qualified – A lead that has reached a certain score threshold.
Sales Accepted –  A Marketing Qualified lead that has been accepted by sales.
Sales Qualified – A lead that has had a meeting succesfully booked or has been qualified by their Demos.
Live Opportunity – A lead that has an associated opportunity in salesforce, has their “Lead Status” set to opportunity, or their “Opportunity Stage” set to an appropriate field.
Customer – A Lead that has a “Lead Status” of Customer, an Opportunity Stage of closed/won, or is in our built in customers smart list.
Up-Sell Opportunity – A lead that has exhibited up-sell activity
Disqualified –  A lead that has been disqualified by sales.
Partner – A partner
Passive Marketing – A lead that is recycled from sales, inactive for over 90 days, or disqualified in some acceptable manner.
Inactive – A lead that has been inactive for more than 180 days.
Trash – A lead that has been inactive for over a year.

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 12.26.56 PMLead Status – Salesforce

Below you can find descriptions of when each field should be used in the Lead Status option.

Marketing Qualified – This is the default state of a lead that is synced to Salesforce.
Sales Accepted – Used when a BDR or Salesperson has seen the lead, and has begun working on it.
Contacted – Used when a lead has been contacted.
Meeting Pending – Used when a meeting is pending.
Meeting Booked – Used when a meeting has been successfully booked.
Live Opportunity – Used to identify a lead when they have an opportunity. They should also be associated with an opportunity at this point.
Customer – Used when an opportunity concludes and a lead converts into a customer.
Up-Sell Opportunity – Set when a customer exhibits up-sell activity.
Lost Opportunity – Used to identify leads that lost an opportunity or customers that have churned.
Disqualified – Used when a lead is disqualified for one reason or another.
Trash – Used  when a lead is 100% garbage.
Recycled – Used when a lead needs to be recycled.

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 12.27.22 PMDisqualified Reasons – Salesforce

No Budget
Not Ready
Using Something Else
Bad Contact Information
Wrong Department

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Only about 1/10 of the flows I had to create….

Final Note

I spent an entire day crafting smart campaigns in Marketo to shuttle leads into their correct buckets based on their activities, current lead status, and other details.

I had to dedicate this much time because all of our leads were using different values, and the ones that were using the correct values were 50% of the time out of date or incorrect.

As a company we’ve been really bad at using these fields consistently, correctly, and in a timely manner both in Sales and in Marketing.

If we use these fields every time we check a lead or contact record in Salesforce or import a list in Marketo everything should run like a well oiled machine.

Please do your part to make sure our machine is healthy!

Planning Video

For anyone who is interested in how we planned all of this out, the logic behind why we did things the way we did, and other stuff!