Laura Mishima, senior director for corporate communications at Marketo, jokes that in her experience working with CRM technology (she was at Oracle Siebel for 12 years prior to joining Marketo three months ago), "sales force automation" was always perceived as a solution that was "forced" upon the sales people. Today, Marketo announced the release of its social sales application, Marketo Sales Insight, which Mishima claims filters through the excess of data to extract information that can be immediately useful. Fully embedded into the Salesforce.com application, the solution is meant to be seamless for the sales user. A partnership with customers Jigsaw and Demandbase, as well as LinkedIn, gives sales people direct access into these business networks.
As Kimberly Collins sees it, the primary objective of this release is to provide a "less is more" approach to accessing most pertinent information about your leads. With all the information that can be collected about a prospect, Marketo Sales Insight aims to help sales people understand, prioritize, and interact with their hottest leads. Sales can customize their "best bets" and "watch list," to keep track of prospects. Moreover, they can be notified via email, RSS feeds, or text message whenever a prospect commits what Marketo calls an "interesting moment," whether it's looking at the price page, or downloading a white paper. The application allows sales to get more out of their existing Salesforce.com solutions, which the majority of Marketo's clients have deployed, Collins says.
Jeffrey Kaplan, managing director of ThinkStrategies, sees this initiative as affirmation of Marketo's commitment to the CRM vendor and further testament to Salesforce.com's strength in the market. However, he has little doubt that Marketo will eventually branch out to other CRM vendors depending on the demand of its customers.
Marketo continues to focus on promoting a collaborative effort between sales and marketing at every stage of the revenue cycle-from generating leads, to closing deals, to maintaining post-sale relationships. With Marketo Sales Insight, Mishima explains, "What we're trying to do is give sales back some of the really critical information that they used to get by reading a room." The sales landscape has changed dramatically as consumers are increasingly empowered with more information. In the same respect, Marketo is helping sales tap into the wealth of consumer information online, such as Web behavior and social network profiles. "We're leveling the buyer-is-in-control playing field," she says. Focusing on ease-of-use, what Marketo is not trying to do, Mishima says, is "turn the sales person into a Web analytics expert."
Partnerships with Marketo customers Demandbase and Jigsaw feed into Marketo's engine for identifying anonymous lead traffic to see where prospects (or even competitors) may be coming from. Marketo can also enable acccess data from other networks such as Hoovers, Facebook, and ZoomInfo, but will do so on at the request of customers. In doing this, the company is falling in step with the giant social trend. "They're trying to keep pace with these new methods of doing marketing...and provide the kind of analytics and tracking capabilities in this new world," Kaplan says. Unlike vendors other marketing automation vendors she's seen tackling the social media insight, Collins says that Marketo's approach is unlike those she's seen in the marketing space primarily because it's build in the App Exchange. In doing so, adoption and application are eased as Marketo Sales Insight is incorporated directly into the Salesforce.com application sales people are already familiar with. "There's nothing new to learn," Mishima says.
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