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Marketing Automation, Marketing Technology

Marketo Best Practices: Merging Instances

Two companies get together, romance ensues. Just like moving in with your true love, merging Marketo instances requires planning and communication to ensure success.

There are 3 options for an instance merge:

  1. Company A moves to Company B’s instance
  2. vice versa, or,
  3. you burn both instances to the ground and start fresh

While most practitioners would like to take the fresh start of option 3, the acquired company usually merges into the mothership. Whichever side of the acquisition you’re on, here are the tasks and timelines needed to ensure a successful merge of two Marketo instances.

Kickoff Meeting

This is by far the most important meeting of the merge, and one that often gets overlooked. It’s important that staff and stakeholders understand the scope of the project and agree on tasks and timeline for the project. In this meeting, the existing instances should be reviewed in order to determine how similar/dissimilar the workflows are.

I suggest that you review and discuss the following agenda topics:

  • Level setting expectations
  • How the acquired marketing team works
  • Current marketing programs
  • Current nurture system (scoring, MQL, etc)
  • Lead-to-sales flow (tasks, routing, queues, notifications, SLAs)
  • Subscription management and privacy, data hygiene programs
  • How this fits with global (acquirer) workflow
  • Milestones, timeframe, next steps

Audit Phase

Once the team agrees to a general project plan, it’s time to take stock of the targeted instance. Although it may be painful, you really need not keep everything. That would make you a hoarder. You just need to determine which programs, data and history will help your executives make good decisions. As you audit, look for ways to simplify your life by blending workflows:

  • Audit current programs, planned initiatives, paid media
  • Analyze and classify programs and assets (build, discard, let run and expire)
  • Engagement programs
  • Emails, newsletters, webcasts, webinars, events
  • Forms
  • Gated content, landing pages
  • Sales fast tracks (request a demo, contact us, sign up)
  • Internal forms and processes (BDR prospecting)
  • Audit Salesforce custom objects, custom fields, webhooks

Planning Phase

Here we have to determine how to move existing prospects into their respective funnels. What smart campaigns need to be run? How will we update subscription preferences? How do we test?

  • Map net new lead > MQL processes in new system
  • Map MQL > SQL > SQO processes in new system
  • Map Recycle process

Compile a list of assets to produce:

    • Forms
    • LP templates
    • Email templates
  • Best practice programs
  • Subscription preferences center
  • Plan data migration and QA

Buildout Phase

Not much to say here, it’s just following the plan and building out all of the programs and assets needed into the new instance.

  • Custom fields, custom objects, webhooks
  • Data migration
  • Build asset templates
  • Build subscription center
  • Build best practices templates
  • Re-score new leads
  • Stage new leads in lifecycle

QA Phase

Test, test, test. Make sure you have a team of people working on this. Stress test webhooks. Test the marketing-to-sales handoff.

Do a formal review with all stakeholders and participants present. Make a rule that all eyes are on the screen and phones and laptops down. This stuff matters.

  • Test all assets and programs
  • Test scoring, lead flow, attribution
  • Test notifications, lead assignments
  • Test reporting in Marketo and Salesforce and/or BI tool

The Team: 

At a minimum, you will need stakeholders from the newly acquired company as well as your team for a half-day kickoff.

Job roles on both sides would include:

  • Salesforce admins
  • Database administrators (if different than SFDC Admins)
  • Project manager
  • Marketing/demand generation team (senior manager, practitioners)
  • Front-end developers

How this works:

The kickoff is a discovery session that provides a snapshot of the acquired company’s workflow and systems. The discovery worksheet should be distributed, filled out, and reviewed prior to the workshop. Teams should outline milestones and timelines, agree on responsibilities and next steps. A weekly status meeting should be planned.

The audit phase is cross-team and looks at the entire library of assets including Salesforce workflows, webhooks, sales playbooks, as well as Marketo assets and corporate web pages. Once completed, the teams should meet to discuss what to move over to the new system, what to discard, and what to let run and expire. This can be a contentious meeting, so a senior executive’s presence is highly advised.

Once this is complete, a work plan with milestone dates can be created. Buildout tends to be fairly quick as most of the decisions have been made in the planning and audit phases.

Testing should be performed both on assets and programs for accuracy, but also for lead flow, assignment and alerting. Attribution and reporting should be tested as well, as this is often overlooked.

In summary, the more upfront planning that can be done, the stronger the work plan. Executive sponsorship, presence, and perspective are invaluable during the early phases.

For more information on merging your Marketo instance, download our worksheet to get your team started.

If you have any questions about merging Marketo instances, or if you just want to chat marketing automation, reach out to us and we would be happy to help!

Bill Anderson

Bill straddles both creative and technical disciplines, with a background both in graphic design and marketing technology. He is a Marketo Certified Solutions Architect and has been a Marketo Certified Expert since 2014.

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