• September 1, 2008
  • By Jessica Tsai, Assistant Editor, CRM magazine

The 2008 CRM Market Awards: Rising Stars -- Marketo

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The relationship between marketing and sales has operated akin to a sibling rivalry. A constant back and forth of who said what, who started what, who did what is enough to make the job of both parties exponentially more difficult, not to mention the toll it takes on the progress of the company. So when California-based Marketo comes along with a solution that aims to not only appease each department, but get them working together, it’s easy to see why the company is among this year’s Rising Stars.

For marketing and sales teams in general, the problem isn’t the issue of getting a lead, but making the conversion, says Jim Dickie, managing partner at consultancy CSO Insights. “We keep on hearing people say, ‘I need more leads.’ What they really need is to spend more time on quality leads.” Marketo, he says, is an “interesting tool” precisely because it’s something both marketing and sales can use.

Instead of narrowly focusing on the sales cycle, Marketo is addressing a broader objective—the revenue cycle, where sales and marketing work together to drive revenue. A core data repository, or lead database, provides a single view of the customer. Its workflow and process automation—from lead generation, to lead nurturing, to lead scoring—gives both marketing and sales access to monitor all lead interactions. Sales and marketing programs automatically adjust depending on how customers react to each previous touch point.

There are reasons the feud between marketing and sales has gone on for so long—and poor cross-departmental communication is one. According to a CSO Insights report, 85 percent of marketers believe they are passing along qualified leads, while 50 percent of salespeople say they are “unsatisfied with marketing efforts.” But companies are having trouble finding a solution that helps more than it hinders. “Strategically, [Marketo] has done the correct thing by making it look as simple as possible, hiding the complexity under the covers,” says David Raab, a principal at New York–based Raab Associates. According to Marketo Chief Executive Officer Phil Fernandez, the solution is intended for “mere mortals,” thereby breaking the tech-heavy barrier to adoption. Buying the solution is only the first roadblock, Raab says, “but there’s so much more potential if you learn how to use it right.”  Raab adds that Marketo, along with its network of partners, is providing the necessary thought leadership to target customers—B2B marketers—on how to align their business processes.

Founded in January 2006, and having released its “main event” Marketo Lead Management only earlier this March, and Lead Insight for Sales in July, Marketo is still relatively new. Going forward, analysts hope to see added support for more marketing channels, better analytics, and further integration with other sales and CRM products.

To read about the rest of the 2008 Rising Stars, click here.

To read about the full 2008 CRM Market Awards, click here.

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