At Salytics, we use a lot of tools and terms everyday that sometimes we forget not everyone has been using. In this blog, we take a step back and try to explain the basics of what we refer to as the Customer Journey, which begins with marketing automation and ends with CRM systems. In essence, the Customer Journey is the path along which your prospect becomes a lead and hopefully a customer. In the past, this has been considered a Sales Funnel.

Marketing Automation

For Salytics, the Customer Journey begins with marketing automation tools. As Silver Partners with both Oracle, makers of Eloqua, and Marketo, we generally look at the first time we interact with an anonymous lead as the starting point. We may not know who is interacting with our website or piece of content, but we can see when a new user arrives and how they interact.

Anonymous Lead

An Anonymous Lead is when you see interaction on a website from an IP address that you don’t recognize. This often happens when someone is beginning their search of a product or service that your company may offer. If we were to use our business as an example, we would deem someone landing on this blog post as an anonymous lead if they had no other interaction with us, such as filling out form on a landing page, attending a webinar, or some other way that we could associate an e-mail address with the user.

Known Lead

The next stage is what is referred to as a Known Lead. Let’s say instead of searching for our website, you had met me at a networking event and handed me your business card looking for more information about the Customer Journey. Once I upload your information into Marketo or any other marketing automation platform, you are a known lead. So when I send you an e-mail with a link to this post, we can track its delivery, whether or not you open it, and more. Instead of being attributed to an anonymous lead, your actions are associated with your lead record.

A more common way of becoming known is to fill out a form on a website. This can be done to download a white paper, submit a question, or subscribe to a newsletter among other reasons. By filling out your information, a lead record for you is created in our system and we can start scoring your interactions.

Marketing Qualified Lead

Now that we have known leads in either Marketo, Eloqua or a number of other marketing automation platforms we can start to generate what is known as a Lead Score. Lead Scoring structures can be simple or incredibly complex, but in the end it boils down to this: leads that engage with more content are rated higher and are more likely to reach Marketing Qualified status. Typically, prior to MQL status, lead records are kept isolated within the marketing automation platform. Now that they have reached MQL, the leads feed into a second software platform known as Customer Relationship Management, or CRM.

We will end part 1 here and return in a subsequent blog with the second half of the Customer Journey.