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By: Liz Medeiros on November 27th, 2018

How to Enable Sales with the Right Information

A female runner races with a baton in her hand, ready to pass it to the next runner.

So you are notifying sales of leads? Great! How about taking it to the next level and enabling them with the right information so they can engage prospects in a timely and personalized way?

In a previous post, we discussed how sales and marketing’s strength relies on their collaboration. While sales and marketing team alignment seems like a no-brainer, fostering clear and effective communication between these two teams can be arduous (although very beneficial). The marketing-to-sales handoff is the most critical point in the lead lifecycle, but few marketers are taking full advantage of the three most important sales enablement tools: alert emails, interesting moments, and list views.

Ultimately, sales reps want to understand who they are reaching out to. (Is the person from a target account? Are they an influencer or a decision maker?) They also want to know how to start the conversation. (What is the person interested in? What are their challenges? What other solutions are they considering?)

To ensure that your sales teams have the right information at the right time, here are some tips to help you align your Marketo and Salesforce instances and enable your sales team to identify and close more opportunities.

Send alert emails

Alert emails are real-time notifications sent to your sales team from Marketo when an important action happens by the prospect or client. Using send alerts enables your sales team to reach out to motivated leads in a timely and appropriate way.

When to use: Alert emails are ideal for high-value targeted notifications for leads and contacts already assigned to a sales owner. These alerts require immediate action from the sales team, so they should be alerts the sales team actually wants to receive, such as notifications when a person at a tier 1 target company fills out a content form or attends a webinar, or when a prospect submits a “contact us” or “demo request” form.

When not to use: These alerts are not ideal when leads go into a lead queue with a large number of users or when it’s hard to determine which sales team member should receive an alert.

Tips: Alert emails can backfire if they are triggered by trivial activities (such as email clicks) and end up bombarding sales with an unworkable volume of notifications. Inboxes packed with these kinds of automated alerts don’t provide any value and will be tuned out by sales, which means that attention-worthy leads and important notifications get lost. Avoid this by only sending lead alerts for qualified leads.

In the alert email, make sure to include information about the lead and what they did that warranted the alert. Include the {{SP_Send_Alert_Info}} token in the body of the email and if the lead is in Salesforce, it will show links to Salesforce and Marketo.

Sample of a Marketo Sales Alert email notification

For new leads, add a wait step before the send alert flow step in order to provide enough time to sync the lead to Salesforce and allow any other processing flows to complete.

Interesting Moments in Salesforce

While alerts notify salespeople immediately when they need to take action on a warm lead, interesting moments give them a place to go when they want to learn more about a specific lead’s activities. This gives them more context about the lead’s buying journey so that they can personalize the interaction.

When to use: Interesting moments are ideal when reps want to gain more visibility into an individual lead’s digital body language. It gives overall info about the lead and provides insight into which pages the prospect visited, such as what emails they found interesting enough to click on, what events they attended, and which webinars they registered for. It also provides visibility into scoring information.

The Interesting Moments tab is intended to provide a high-level view of the actions the lead took and displays only the highlights. It gives enough information to reps that they can formulate an intelligent conversation-starter when they reach out to a lead by phone or email. With the right information at their fingertips, reps can positively influence the customer experience.

Note: This requires that the Marketo Sales Insight App in Salesforce be added to the lead, contact, and account page layouts.

Marketo Sales Insight Interesting Moments screenshot example

When not to use: Interesting moments are not the place to show every single action the person takes. As the name suggests, if the action is not “interesting,” it doesn’t belong here.

Tips: Don’t flood interesting moments with trivial activities. For example, every page visit is not useful; it’s just noise. Important actions, such as submitting a contact request, filling out a form, attending events, or visiting key pages can get lost if they’re buried in a long list of activity records. Reps should not have to waste time scrolling through multiple pages to get the right information.

You are not limited to using only Web, Milestone, and Email as interesting moment types. You can create custom types as well. For example, you can create a type such as Event or Tradeshow:

Custom Marketo Interesting Moment filter example with Event type

Or create a type for data alerts:

Custom Marketo Interesting Moment smart campaign filter with Data Alert type

List views or Best Bets

Sales teams might have access to Marketo, but the reality is that they live in Salesforce. Optimized lead/contact/account views can greatly impact efficiency and list views specify criteria to limit what records are shown.

When to use: Lead or Contact list views or Best Bets in Salesforce are useful ways to display records where follow up is due today or overdue. These list views provide visibility into all records in a follow-up list.

The Best Bets view is part of the Marketo Sales Insight package and provides a pre-set view of the best leads and contacts based on priority. Since Best Bets view can only be customized in a limited way (you can’t select fields to display and can’t rearrange columns), Contact or Lead list views are better “bets.” (No pun intended.)

Although you can display up to 15 columns, 15 might be too much information. Show columns that give a quick at glance view, but show no more than 8-10 columns. At a minimum, these fields should include the person’s name, company, email, date, and last interesting moment. Other fields will vary depending on your business needs. For example, you may want to show industry, job title, line of business, or product interest as well.

When not to use: List views are not ideal when a sales rep needs to take an immediate action; in this case, use alert emails instead.

List views are also not ideal when a list is too long and the required actions can’t be completed within the prescribed time frame. For example, if a lead view is “new leads to call today” and it has over 200 records, it can get overwhelming and discouraging for reps. Adjust the list size by changing the criteria. For example, you could limit the leads shown to those that meet or exceed a certain lead score.

Tip: Add Marketo’s “stars and flames” to Contact and Lead views. A visual representation of relative urgency (the flames) and relative score (the stars) can help reps to prioritize and decide who they should follow up with next.

Marketo's Lead View with stars and flames to represent urgency and score respectively

RSS Lead Feed

You might have noticed on the Best Bets page there is a column called Lead Feed… RSS feeds, a subscription to interesting moments, are a little-known feature for Marketo Sales Insight users.

Marketo platform settings for RSS Feed updates

When to use: The lead feed enables sales reps to monitor interest in real-time, which makes it ideal for keeping an eye on leads that are on sales watch lists or leads sales has already attempted to contact. If your sales team uses Outlook, you can add the Marketo RSS feed into your Outlook RSS Feeds folder.

When not to use: Lead feed only works for records the sales rep owns or records they added to their watch lists. If your sales team doesn’t own lead or contact records and don’t use the watch list feature, the Lead Feed will not work.

Outlook RSS Marketo Lead feed view

Enable desktop notifications and watch as interesting moments happen in real-time.

Tip: Don’t own the records you would like to see interesting moments for? Add them to the watch list.

Marketo Sales Insight Interesting moments view

Marketo offers so many ways to enable greater visibility into a prospect’s priorities and activities, and that data is incredibly valuable to the sales team. Alert emails, Interesting Moments, list views or Best Bets, and the RSS Lead Feed are some of the best ways to give sales reps the history and context they need to engage and progress leads more effectively. And this type of customer-facing insight doesn’t just help sales, it also enhances the customer experience.

For a deeper dive into the key elements of a healthy marketing and sales integration, learn more about the Growth Engine.

What type of notifications do you use for your sales team? We would love to hear from you!