By Danielle Langenderfer

Have you ever been asked to report on your lead lifecycle? If you are in a marketing or sales role, I’m sure you have. Questions typically included with this request may be:

  • How many marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) do I have?
  • How long does it take for a new lead to become an MQL?
  • What is my conversion rate for MQLs to opportunities?

If you're staring at the data and unsure of where to start, there's good news. Gathering lead lifecycle data in Marketo can be done a few different ways. Here are a few different features and reports you should explore.

The Revenue Cycle Model

If you are reporting on lead lifecycle stages as a Marketo user, one of the first steps you will need to take is building a Revenue Cycle Model (RCM). This serves as a model of all the stages of your entire revenue funnel—from when you first interact with a lead, all the way until the lead becomes a customer.

Your model must include a success path, which demonstrates the optimal path of how a lead linearly transitions to closed-won business. In addition, it should include detours to match all the possible stages of your Buyer’s Journey. Detours could include unqualified, recycled, lost, and so forth. There are additional stage options available, but at a minimum you need to account for your success path and your detours.

In order to build out your RCM, I recommend the following steps:

  • Mapping out the stages
  • Defining the requirements for each stage
  • Identifying how someone transitions
  • Determining which actions are required for each stage

After this process is completed, build out the revenue model and the Marketo smart campaigns that will make it run. Then you are ready to approve your Revenue Cycle Model.

Take Our Marketo Attribution Reporting Readiness AssessmentAfter the model is approved, give it time to populate and normalize the data. The amount of time for the data to become normalized will vary, depending on your buying cycle length, but in general, be patient. Keep in mind that reports related to this will not be helpful immediately.

Lead Lifecycle Reports in Marketo

If you are looking for a report titled “Lead Lifecycle Report” in Marketo, you will not find one. When you hear that in reference to Marketo, you are most likely looking for one of these two reporting tools: the Success Path Analyzer report or Revenue Cycle Explorer. Here is a breakdown of the reporting associated with each.

Success Path Analyzer

This standard Marketo report includes data on the specific details that reflect both the amount and velocity of people through the stages of your RCM. This report will not include all stages, however. This report will focus exclusively on the success path from your model. Keep this in mind as you look to build out the stages of your model.

Data included for each stage of the success path include:

  • Balance: The current amount of people in that stage at that moment in time
    In flow: The amount of people that flowed into this stage based on the time selected
  • Out flow: Total number of people that moved out of this stage based on the selected timeframe
  • Conversion rate: The percentage of people that converted from this stage into the next stage
  • Average time: The average amount of time people spent in this stage before moving to the next stage

In addition to the numbers for each of these data points, charts are available to represent the balance data. This can be viewed in weekly or monthly increments. By adjusting the settings within the report, you will also be able to compare the balance data between two different time frames.

If you built stages with service-level agreements (SLAs) into your Revenue Cycle Model, the report will also provide you with data on the amount of people in a stage past the SLA due date.

Revenue Cycle Explorer

The Recycle Cycle Explorer is a reporting tool focused on the success of your marketing programs and return on investment (ROI). Although this doesn’t strictly focus on your lifecycles, there are key reports available with this tool you could utilize to report on your lead lifecycles.

The three main reports are:

  • Model Performance Analysis (Companies): Metrics and attributes related to your revenue model by company
  • Model Performance Analysis (Leads): Metrics and attributes related to your revenue model by lead
  • Program Revenue Stage Analysis: Metrics and attributes based on your RCM

Although this is a very robust reporting tool, it doesn’t come out of the box with all Marketo accounts. This is an add-on feature, and not as widely used today due to other advances in reporting tools.

Both of these tools require the Revenue Cycle Model to be created and approved. Keep that mind, in case you do not have this in place today.

Other Ways to Report on the Lead Lifecycles in Marketo

Both reporting tools can provide different information to help you track totals and movement within your Revenue Cycle Model, but what if you are trying to find data that is not included in either of these reports?

Let’s say someone is trying to answer one of the following questions:

  • Which leads have been in the MQL stage for over 30 days?
  • How many people have been marked as unqualified?
  • Which people were recycled to later become a customer?

Marketo Smart Lists

These types of questions will not be answered with either of the reporting tools above. To identify information like this, especially questions related to the specific people who qualify, it is best to make use of Marketo’s smart lists. Within the smart list you would add in the proper filters to identify the answer you are trying to find.

Salesforce Reporting

If your Marketo instance is integrated with Salesforce, you may also be able to report on the lifecycle stage within Salesforce. If your Marketo instance is synced with your Salesforce instance, it is important to know what data is available in each system, to determine which platform is the best for each report. For example, if you do not sync leads to Salesforce before they are sales qualified, you most likely won’t be able to rely on Salesforce for reporting on new leads or any other stages before the sync occurs.

Attribution Reporting Strategies

In addition to basic lead cycle reporting, you may be interested in understanding marketing’s impact on the lead lifecycle. This can be accomplished in several different ways:

  • You can look to combine smart lists and segmentation reports.
  • You can look into a multi-touch attribution tool such as Bizible.
  • You can work with a partner to best understand your options for reporting on this.

Take the Marketo Attribution Reporting Assessment to determine if you are ready to report on attribution along with lifecycles.

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Danielle Langenderfer

About the author

Danielle Langenderfer was formerly a Marketing Automation Manager based in Cleveland, OH. Dani provided Marketo expertise and support in everything from implementation through to strategy and execution. Outside of work, you can find Dani playing with her daughter, crafting, or cooking/baking. Read more articles by Danielle Langenderfer.

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