ROI on marketing spend
Combined annual savings
conversation rate from SAL to SQL
- Marketo live within three months
- 13 business units streamlined into one aligned business
- Standalone events reduced by 40%
- SAL to SQL conversion rate soared from 38% to 62%
- Combined annual savings of £2m
- 300% ROI on marketing spend
- NPS increased from -16 (Dec 2015) to 15 (Dec 2018)
- Creation of a centralised, ROI-driven marketing function
- A single platform to measure marketing effectiveness
- Improved employee productivity and work/life balance
- Enhanced customer/prospect experience
- Meeting and exceeding mature marketing targets
- Quick and easy to onboard and upskill staff
- Simplified compliance measures
As the third largest UK provider of business software and services, Advanced is what can only be described as one of the UK’s business success stories. With 16,000 customers and 2,200 employees, today the company boasts a £254 million turnover. Not only is Advanced helping its customers to innovate and keep pushing the boundaries of possibility, it’s also improving the lives of millions of people in the UK through the world-class solutions it provides.
Having grown in its first eight years to a net worth of £750 million, Advanced was acquired by Vista in 2015. The acquisition brought with it a mandate for the business to transform the way it worked – which is where Marketo enters the story and starts helping Advanced to become the truly future-ready business it is today.
At the point when Advanced was acquired in 2015, as many as seven different marketing tools were being used – including CommuniGator, Act-On, Pure360, as well as Marketo itself – across 13 separate business units. Meanwhile, some units were using nothing at all. This was giving rise to a number of issues:
- Significant lack of alignment between UK-wide marketing/sales teams
- Duplication of marketing spend/headcount
- No commonality of tools or campaign structure/processes
- No single, automated way to measure the effectiveness of marketing
- Very little opportunity for cross-sell or upsell
In fact, the situation was so muddled that different business units would sometimes find themselves targeting the same prospect. The need to revolutionise the business and transform its working practices was clear – ideally quickly (within three-six months) and at scale. This was why the decision to implement Marketo, alongside Salesforce, was made.
“The need to revolutionise the business and transform its working practices was clear – ideally quickly (within three months) and at scale. This was why the decision to implement Marketo, alongside Salesforce, was made.” Sally Scott, CMO at Advanced
Tackling Marketo integration challenges
Advanced appointed a 12-strong team to get Marketo (and Salesforce) up and running, comprising a project lead for each respective platform, a Marketo consultant, and nine ‘super users’ each representing their own business unit.
The first job was to create a project plan that would facilitate effective integration of Marketo and Salesforce, as well as the successful onboarding of all business units. As is common with any transformation initiative, the team tasked with doing this faced the ongoing challenge of having to juggle the demands of the project with their day-to-day workloads. Nonetheless, go-live dates were agreed, and the team worked together to roll out the new platforms, focusing on six key objectives:
- Onboarding all business units
- Identifying cross-sell opportunities
- Increasing the number of leads in the pipeline
- Integrating Marketo with Salesforce (and the website)
- Setting up the reporting dashboard
- Overall brand alignment
Advanced worked closely with its Marketo consultant to draw up a detailed task list that focused on the key priorities, before working through them systematically, ensuring best practice was implemented from the off. A key feature of the overall implementation was in identifying core elements while allowing for a degree of flexibility between individual business units.
Upskilling and transforming the marketing team, educating staff as they transitioned to a ‘lead lifecycle’ approach and introducing true campaign planning – none of these things were straightforward. And, of course, there was the practical side of things to contend with, too, as over 500,000 contact records needed migrating from more than 10 systems. But despite the difficulties faced (which tend to come with the territory on a project of this kind), Advanced was able to quickly impact the number of leads being delivered into the business, as well as the quality of output from the marketing teams. Better still, lead nurturing improved significantly. The conversion rate from SAL to SQL soared from 38% to 62% – an impressive feat.
“Lead nurturing improved significantly. The conversation rate from SAL to SQL soared, going from 38% to 62%.” Sally Scott, CMO at Advanced
A new marketing operations team
Prior to Marketo integration, Advanced didn’t have a dedicated marketing operations team. This meant the marketing team wasn’t as strong as it could be, because there was no unified understanding of the business-wide customer and prospect base (including how they wanted to consume information or interact with the company). And when it came to marketing communications? Advanced was using what might be described as the ‘fire and forget’ model. The creation of this team was (and continues to be) the most significant outcome of the project.
Today, the Advanced marketing team, supported by marketing operations, is operating in a way that simply wouldn’t have been possible without Marketo. They’re ROI-driven, closely aligned with sales team members, and can be far more considered in how they communicate with customers and prospects – as well as having a better understanding of both, thanks to being able to take a much deeper dive into granular levels of data around them. Marketo was the catalyst for how the rejuvenated marketing team would operate – and continues to operate to this day. It’s a platform that has enabled Advanced to introduce and centralise best practice across all of the business’ marketing activities.
Having a single way to manage marketing campaigns across the business, as well as measure their effectiveness, makes for a much more productive, agile marketing team (not to mention better marketing). But it also means happier, more engaged employees – not least because a platform like Marketo allows them to be productive from anywhere, facilitating a better work-life balance.
“Having a single way to manage marketing campaigns across the business makes for a much more productive, agile marketing team. But it also means happier, more engaged employees.” Clare Frost, Field Marketing Director at Advanced
A better customer experience
A changed marketing team and a new approach to marketing, along with a new set of marketing behaviours that are now ingrained into the fabric of the business, can’t help but lead to a significantly improved customer experience. Especially compared to the days before Marketo, when Advanced’s disparate business units might find themselves targeting the same prospect.
With Marketo, the marketing team has much greater visibility over customers and prospects, and can therefore deliver more relevant, timely communications – and drive better conversion rates (it’s now as high as 94%) – with pre-built nurture and engagement streams. And since Advanced now knows exactly where leads are in the funnel, it can take much more of a lead lifecycle approach, using acceleration and enablement campaigns to meet (and, more often than not, exceed) marketing targets.
An aligned brand and better business
Marketo means that Advanced can now constantly refine and question the way it works, taking a truly data led approach. This has, in turn, created a results-driven marketing team that can accurately measure its contribution to the wider business. The team knows that for every £1 spent, £3 is delivered back to the business (a 300% ROI) – a finding that simply wouldn’t have been possible without Marketo.
Let’s not forget that when Advanced embarked on its Marketo project, an aim of three-six months for integration was set. Happily, the business achieved the lower end of this target, with Marketo (and Salesforce) rolled out and in use within three months. During this time, in what was perhaps one of the most significant outcomes of the project, the organisational structure of Advanced was entirely streamlined, so what had been 13 differently branded, separately run business units was now a single company – aligned and united under a single brand.
“The team knows that for every £1 spent, £3 is delivered back to the business (a 300% ROI) – a finding that simply wouldn’t have been possible without Marketo.” Clare Frost, Field Marketing Director at Advanced
Above all, Marketo has made Advanced a business that is truly ready for the future – and the impressive combined annual savings of £2m can be invested to drive further business development. Over the last few years, a new approach to marketing has been cemented in the organisation, with automated processes in place that work well – and, crucially, are easy to change in line with business requirements. The Marketo platform is flexible enough to be adapted quickly, allowing for shifts in focus whenever is needed or appropriate, and making the business as a whole much more agile.
Further to this, compliance is also simplified – essential for businesses in the digital age, with new regulations cropping up all the time. Meanwhile, new technologies are easy to plug in, so Advanced can always be looking to improve, modernise, and keep one step ahead of the competition. Plus, the granular level of data that Marketo provides can be used to drive other tools.
Today, Marketo is freeing up the marketing team to focus on new initiatives that would have been mere pipe dreams without the platform. With content AI and attribution modelling next on the horizon for the team, Advanced is every bit the future-ready business.