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The Marketer Who Cried Wolf: How to Alert Sales the Right Way with Marketo

October 4, 2016 | Kim Para Allen | 2 Comments |

What can Marketo do for me?

I get this question a lot! This was a common one when I was working as the sole Marketo person, closely with marketing and sales teams. This is also something I get a lot from clients that are new to Marketo.

The most common functionality that comes to mind for most people is… EMAIL (*Disclaimer- Marketo is not just a batch and blast email tool, it has so many capabilities). Once that piece is up and running they begin to think of ways Marketo can further help them, and usually the next thought is around being alerted and aware of what prospects are doing.

Stay in-the-loop on lead actions

There are different ways to alert marketers and sales teams, and different reasons to send alerts. Let’s check out some of the uses:

Reasons for alerts:

  • Tracking leads moving from stage to stage in your buying cycle (this is usually set up in your Lead Lifecycle)
  • SLA accountability
  • High value form fills
  • Event registration monitoring
  • Website interactions (searches, clicks…)
  • Email interactions (opens, clicks…)
  • Other – anything of particular value to the company

Different forms that alerts can take:

  • Alert emails
  • Interesting moments (most instances have a handful of these pre-built, they may or may not be applicable to you)
  • Report subscriptions (reports and smart lists)
  • Tasks (CRM integration)
  • Other – some companies use the Slack integration or other integrations to alert internally

The marketer who cried wolf

“Wow, this is awesome, let’s set these up!” [Insert long list of requirements and alert recipients here]

Too often is the value of these different alerts and reports becomes apparent and as a result they become overused and abused. Perhaps you start with great use cases (ex: a few alerts and tasks around sales SLAs for MQLs and accepted leads) but then you want to continue to grow this functionality (maybe you add in alerts for multiple form fills and website interactions and also some interesting moments and interesting moment report subscriptions).

The result? It becomes too overwhelming and almost invaluable. You start internally spamming! At this point, reps will begin to filter alerts because there are simply too many, their task queue may be too full of tasks that aren’t management time-wise or aren’t qualified, and Marketo reports are simply too long to provide any benefit.

More is not always better

This is not a process for marketing teams alone to decide. Sales needs to be involved and aware. Take into account things such as:

  • How your team uses tools (are they mostly in a CRM, Slack, email, some other platform) and the ease of use for whatever follow-up actions need to be taken, if any
  • MQL volume, assignment processes, and task creation/usage in the CRM
  • What interactions truly are valuable vs. what is just nice to know
  • If the information is already stored somewhere else
  • Process for managers and higher-ups to see how leads are getting processed and followed-up on (reporting component)

…and for those “nice to know” things – still build reporting around that but it doesn’t need to be something that’s real time, every time.

If you’ve read this post you are well on your way to using Marketo beyond just sending emails; that’s great! Just continue to think through what you’re sharing and value – become the marketers that sales trusts and boasts about and ultimately attributes parts of revenue!


  1. Cole Ericson on November 17, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Can Marketo alert others on the lead ownership team? We have a “secondary owner” field that we’d like to trigger alerts to.

    • Christine Selvaggio on November 17, 2017 at 3:16 pm

      Hi Cole – an option is to use a token to call for the value in the secondary owner field in the send to other emails choice of the flow step ‘send alert’. You can leave the primary send to the ‘sales owner’ but this would also send the alert to an additional team member. I’d definitely recommend testing this to confirm it works but this should allow you to send alerts to multiple individuals. Thanks!

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