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The Art of Tiptoeing out of a Lamborghini Dealership

Let’s do some role-playing for a second. No, not like that… let’s pretend you just purchased a brand new Lamborghini. Hey, big spender… you single? Sorry, I digress. But really… call me, maybe? Anyway, let’s say I’m the dealer who just sold you your shiny new rocket ship.

Me: Congratulations on your exciting new purchase. Before you leave, I must advise you – do not drive it faster than 25 mph.
You: Um, what? I just spent enough money to purchase Madagascar on a hand-crafted machine built for speed, and you’re asking me to go a fraction of the max speed?
Me: Yes. (Smile for emphasis). First, I need you to learn how to press the gas and brake pedals. Then, you can graduate to the gears. Then, the steering wheel. That’s a tricky one. You’ll need to learn how it handles, how it accelerates, and get familiar with all the buttons. Then, and only then, young grasshopper, will you be ready to drive the car like it’s meant to be driven. If you don’t follow my guidance, your chances of crashing and burning are far higher. You won’t know how to handle curves, you could burn out the clutch or flip the car. Got it?
You: {here’s where you get to revisit your childhood and pick your own adventure…what do you pick? Cool, hair-blowing-in-the-wind stud/studette who sure can drive? Or the sheepish putz who totals the car the next day?}

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? We think that we get this cool new toy and we instantly need to make the absolute most use of it by taking our rocket ship out for a joy ride. It may be counterintuitive, but that’s never a good idea. And this same reasoning also applies to your brand new super awesome Marketing Automation system.

You’re probably maniacally making a list of all the amazing things you can be doing now, probably waking up in the middle of the night to write down another item on your “Marketing Automation To Do” list. Maybe you’re even foaming at the mouth with anticipation (you may want to get that checked out, by the way).

But really, I’m going to put on my Lamborghini dealer hat here and recommend something that may burst your bubble a bit (and for that, I’m truly sorry). Don’t do it. Or, I should say, don’t do it all. Not yet. Take it slow. Prioritize. Breathe. Successful marketing automation is a long-term goal, a journey. It’s not going to happen overnight, nor should it. You need to TIPTOE:

Talk strategy. Sit down with your teams – both marketing and sales – and share your list of to-dos. Talk through what each of them means in terms of resources, timeframe, priority, and urgency. Then pick a few to start with. My recommendations for things to get you started: lead scoring, a simple lead lifecycle, Marketo forms and landing pages, and programs.

Implement. Once you’ve defined a good starting strategy for the aforementioned items, begin implementing them and building them out in Marketo. Part of this implementation is communicating to all relevant parties what the plans are, how it will impact them (process changes, better visibility, etc.) and provide an open line of feedback. You’re not always going to get it right the first time around.

Press go! This is the scary part. But it’s ok, we’re here to help you and guide you through best practices. There’s not much you can do in Marketo that you can’t undo, so worst case you’re faced with a situation of a re-do.

Track results. Here’s where it gets fun. It’s like a 12 step program for new Marketo customers. “Here’s the stage where you’ll feel excited, and here’s the stage where you’ll feel like your head is going to explode.” Now you can start to see your hard work paying off – but make sure you collect some initial benchmarks if you can. See how many of your leads were being handed off to sales or converted to opportunities before you implemented lead scoring, as compared to afterward. Or see how many Web leads you were generating before you gated some pieces of high value content behind forms.

Optimize. Give yourself enough time to gather some meaningful statistics, then sit down and spend some time looking through the data. Did you get the lift in qualified leads you were hoping for? If not, why not? Maybe your threshold is too high, or maybe you need to adjust the scoring rules to assign a few more points for higher value actions. Or, did you get too many leads you thought would be qualified but in reality weren’t quite ready for sales? Maybe you need to raise the threshold or adjust the score values down. These are details that you’ll want to be assessing on a regular basis, anyway – you’ll likely always be making revisions and adjustments and fine-tuning your entire system.

Expand. Now’s the time, my dear friend, to put on your driving gloves and (within reason) channel your inner Mario Andretti. Once you have your phase one projects established, TIPTOE into phase two. Your Marketo engine is starting to hum, so rev it up a bit and start taking your marketing automation to the next level. Remember, if you try to go from 0 to 60 right away, you will likely end up with a semi-functioning system that’s not thoroughly assembled and I promise you, you won’t see the same fantastic results as you will if you TIPTOE at first. No one wants to return a Lamborghini because you couldn’t drive it properly.

…but, if you need to find your Gallardo a new forever home, you know where to find me. Just throwing it out there…

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