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Don't Let Your Leads Slip Through the Cracks: A Marketo Case Study

The Company: Founded in 2003, Vocalocity is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone services company for microenterprises, businesses with fewer than 20 employees. The company’s primary offering, VocalocityPBX, is a hosted service that provides the benefits of traditional phone services without any of the high costs, demands for technology staff and management headache.

The Challenge: Unlike many companies whose marketing departments struggle to deliver high-quality leads to sales, Vocalocity receives thousands of high-quality leads that are immediately ready to speak with sales. However, what seems like a sales team’s dream has a caveat: Vocalocity's leads only remain "hot" for a very short time. Since the leads go directly to sales as soon as they come in the door, and with new hotter leads arriving regularly, good "older" leads were being left behind. To make matters worse, marketing had a very manual, time-consuming follow-through process, so leads that went cold died on the vine.

"We're different from many companies in that our leads go directly into salesforce.com," explains David Politis, executive vice president and general manager at Vocalocity, who manages both sales and marketing at Vocalocity. "But once the leads are with sales, they become neglected by marketing. We realized a lot of our leads were falling through the cracks because we didn’t have a seamless process for recycling leads from sales to marketing and back."

Not only was Vocalocity losing track of leads by manually pulling cold leads out of Salesforce, but the company also needed a better way to follow up with these prospects. "With the program we used before, everything was much more manual," recalls David. "We had to take the leads out of Salesforce, then we’d send an e-mail blast,and then we would put the leads back into Salesforce. But we were just sending out our monthly newsletter and we needed a nurturing process to actually revive old leads."

Further, because leads stayed with sales even after their moment of opportunity had passed, old leads stacked up without the sales teams having a practical way to follow up. "Sales had so many opportunities, but was never sure how to segment and whom to target," says David. "They didn't have time to call thousands of people, and we had a big group of leads with no way to differentiate between them." The company needed a means to prioritize leads so that its sales teams could follow up in a way that would not only be most efficient, but would also yield better results.

The Solution: Vocalocity considered a number of vendors when looking for a marketing solution that would help the company revive and recycle leads. "We looked at all of the major players, developed a comparison chart, and had three demo accounts, so we certainly did our due diligence," says David. At the end of this process, it was clear to David and Marketing Manager Mary Kappis that Marketo stood head and shoulders above the rest. Key factors in this decision for Marketo included:

• Ease-of-use, quick implementation and feature functionality
• Ability to support a seamless cycle of leads between sales and marketing
• Vision for aligning marketing and sales

Results. Since starting with Marketo, Vocalocity has seen the following results:

• Easy Automation Saves Time and Money. Not only does Marketo's automated solution and seamless integration with Salesforce prevent any of Vocalocity's leads from being accidentally misplaced in the shuffle of a manual process, but it also saves Vocalocity time and money. "It takes just a couple hours to create campaigns," says David. "We put in a lot of time on the front end to get our campaigns started, and now they just go on autopilot. We go in every few weeks and make minor changes, but since we put in the initial time, we’re really able to focus on passing the best leads back to sales. It would take at least one more full-time person to run the campaigns that Marketo does automatically. It's like I got another full-time person for free."

• Marketing and Sales Alignment. Marketo helps Vocalocity address what David calls "a big challenge for most organizations:" getting the marketing and sales departments to work together. Marketo has helped Vocalocity create a fluid process for moving leads back and forth between the two groups and allowing better responsiveness for continual improvement. This has made both the sales teams and the marketing department more effective and efficient, which in turn increases the company’s bottom line.

"We now have a seamless, integrated process from beginning to end," says David. "Our leads go straight into Salesforce and sales follows up. But if they're not ready yet, we're able to recycle those leads back into marketing, then nurture them with Marketo until they're ready to be cycled back to sales again."

David continues, "Marketo has helped us create a closed feedback loop between marketing and sales so we can be constantly improving our campaigns. This is important because it helps us optimize our spend, and sales has a better angle when they're on the phone with a prospect because they know where the lead came from. For instance, sales needs to have very different conversations with someone who knows what VoIP is and with someone who is just looking for a phone system."

• Increase in Company Revenue.
Because Vocalocity buys its leads, once a lead goes cold, that’s money down the drain for the company. However, with Marketo, the company is able to take cold leads and bring them back to life through automated lead nurturing campaigns to see a better return on investment. Further, because Marketo integrates seamlessly with Salesforce, Vocalocity's leads no longer fall through the cracks, as was common with the company's old manual process.

"We've already revived a number of leads that would have simply fallen through the cracks without Marketo," says David, "and that's led to about a significant increase in sales. This not only reflects a better number for our opportunities-to-close rate, but also means that we're converting a lot more leads into opportunities to begin with. Marketo has already paid for itself and we’re expecting the numbers to keep going up."

The Future. David says Vocalocity's next big project with Marketo will be working to fully take advantage of the solution's lead scoring capabilities. He and his company have already worked closely with Marketo to ensure all needs are addressed, with David’s input helping guide the development of Marketo's latest product, Marketo Lead Insight for Sales.

"When we were looking at vendors, there were certainly aspects that Marketo didn't have yet, but part of the reason we selected Marketo was because of their philosophy and long-term vision to put a lot under one roof," explains David. "We've already seen that in the way that the company has been adding functionality and especially with their new product for sales, and we know they'll continue build out an all-encompassing solution."