By Danielle Langenderfer

Do You Need Marketo’s Revenue Cycle Modeler?

Hint: Probably not. 

You probably don’t need the Revenue Cycle Modeler—yet. But once you’re ready for it, Marketo’s funnel analysis tool can help you score some big wins.

What Is the Revenue Cycle Modeler?

The Revenue Cycle Modeler (RCM) is a tool that helps Marketo understand and track your Buyer’s Journey. Once running, it captures historical data about which leads are in each stage of your funnel and how long they stay there.

The RCM itself is essentially a souped-up flow chart. In the green bar, you have your “Success Path”—the customer journey when everything goes according to plan. Dropping down, you have potential detours—roadblocks in the journey where leads are recycled back from sales to marketing.

Marketo Revenue Cycle Modeler
To set up your RCM, you will need to first map your unique customer journey. Then, you’ll define the criteria for each stage. Once turned on, the RCM will run in the background and track how people move through your funnel.

You can create a basic funnel report without the RCM. But you’ll need it to report on your leads’ flow and velocity. Flow refers to whether leads are moving through stages or getting stuck. Velocity is about how quickly those moves happen. You can use the RCM to answer questions like: How long do leads stay in a particular stage? How many get stuck? Are those numbers increasing or decreasing over time? And, the million-dollar-bonus question: Was that movement a marketing win or a sales win?

Marketo Success Path Analyzer

The Success Path Analyzer is only available in Marketo once the RCM is set up. It helps you monitor the health of your funnel over time. (Photo credit: Marketo)

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Mapping Your Marketo Revenue Cycle Modeler Decision

The Revenue Cycle Modeler may already be in your contract, or it may be an add-on. Either way, you should decide whether implementing the RCM is worth the investment of time or resources—it can be tricky to get right.

Because it’s fun to go meta, let’s map out your decision using the RCM itself. Are you already on the success path? Or do you have some decision-making detours that need to come first? Here’s a quick quiz.

Are your sales and marketing teams aligned on the need for pipeline analytics?

      1. Yes: Great! You are on the success path. To get the most out of the RCM, it helps to already have a culture of data-informed decision-making. Sales and marketing executives should understand the strategic value of tracking the pipeline data that the RCM enables. They should also be willing and able to help their teams act on the data.
      2. No: You may need a detour before launching the RCM. If your team is still working on making sense of email analytics or getting a high-level view of your pipeline, this should not be the first project you work on.

Do you have clearly defined lead stages and handoffs between marketing and sales?

      1. Yes: Success Path! Your customer journey flow chart in Marketo is only as good as your real customer journey. Do you already have shared working definitions for what separates out a marketing qualified lead (MQL) from the top of the funnel? Do you have a defined service-level agreement and clear, consistent handoffs between marketing and sales? If so, you are on the right track.
      2. No: Detour. If your response to the definition of success above is “what’s a service-level agreement?” then you may have an opportunity to tighten your processes and handoffs before getting into granular reporting on funnel stages. The RCM can be a great tool for ensuring smooth handoffs between marketing and sales, but if you’re still building up your processes, you probably aren’t ready to implement the RCM.

Do you have lead scoring set up and working?

      1. Yes: Success Path! Whether your pipeline is simple or complex, you already have a good sense of what qualifies leads. Have you automated your lead qualification by setting up a lead scoring program in Marketo? To use the RCM, you will need to clearly define the criteria for each stage of your funnel so Marketo can figure out which leads go in which box. 
      2. No: Detour. Your lead scoring can be a work in progress, but it should be something that both sales and marketing have some level of buy-in for. The RCM will give you more actionable data if your lead scoring program has been working long enough that both sales and marketing trust the criteria.

Are you already building out basic funnel reporting in Marketo?

          1. Yes: Success Path! You don’t need the RCM to get a snapshot of your funnel. In fact, you should probably make sure you have that snapshot first. Here’s a great Marketing Nation Summit presentation on why building out your “meat and potatoes” funnel reporting first will put the infrastructure in place for smoother RCM setup. 
          2. No: Detour. You should have a clear picture of what you need to report on before you get started with RCM. As the presentation above points out, if you do all your data visualization in Tableau or another third party tool, RCM may not be your only option for this kind of analysis. Get your hands dirty first to make sure you are going in the right direction.

Did you say yes to most of the questions above? Congratulations! It’s time to get set up with advanced revenue reporting.

Once you’ve determined that the RCM is the right tool for you at this time, it’s time to get started. Plan to bring in your sales and marketing teams to build an accurate map of your customer journey. Then, test everything before you launch. It will take a few months to build up actionable data, so make sure executives understand the timeline. 

Need help setting up the RCM or getting your team ready? Let’s talk.

Many teams will have work to do before they can get real value from the RCM. If that’s you, just introducing Marketo’s advanced revenue reporting features can be a great way to help your marketing and sales teams come together around a shared vision. And that’s always a win.


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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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