5 Tips for a Successful Marketo Revenue Cycle Model

BY: Michelle Miles | Chief Client Strategy Officer at MERGE

PUBLISHED: 2/15/2016

Undertaking a Revenue Cycle Model in Marketo may seem daunting – particularly if you haven’t done one before. Follow these tips to ensure success right out of the gate.

1. Ground your Marketo Revenue Cycle Model in Existing Business Processes


For your Marketo Revenue Cycle Model (RCM) to be meaningful, organizational adoption is key. Therefore, trigger stage changes based on automated processes or existing sales processes.


For example, trigger an engaged or MQL (marketing-qualified lead) stage with a scoring threshold, rather than manual human action. Is sales already updating a lead status field or creating opportunities in SalesForce? Perfect, have these fields and opportunity disposition trigger your RCM stages.


2. KISS: Keep it Simple, Stupid


More transitions translate into a more brittle model and complex reports. Have key milestones on the success path – and only milestones – not every definition of lead progression that comes to mind. Visualize the marketing pipeline reports critical to your business, and include those on the success path.

Minimize your detours. Rarely are more than three detour stages required: Lost, Recycled and Disqualified. Don’t overwork your model and try to have it do too many things. Determine what needs to be in the model and what can be achieved with smart list, segmentations, reports, etc.


Keep in mind that nurturing occurs in all stages. You can create smart lists filtering on the stage, so additional stages don’t need to be created as separate nurture buckets.


3. Don’t Forget Recycled Leads


Make sure you can track new and recycled leads all the way through your success path. If you’re recycling leads you may have contacts re-enter the success path, so make sure you can move these leads to the next stage.


For example, if someone moves from known to engaged based on a lead status field update, ensure a corresponding field is created on the contact object.

Update scoring appropriately. For example, when a lead moves to recycled, you need to reduce the lead’s score. How the lead returns to the success path depends upon your business model. You may want a higher scoring threshold for recycled leads to MQL, a minimum time period to pass, or base qualification solely on behavior rather than demographic score.


Additionally, some models don’t allow recycled leads in the “engaged” bucket, only MQL, to avoid inflating the pipeline.

MQL measures should be broken out into MQL and Most Recent MQL for recycled leads. For example, if you have an MQL Timestamp field, also create a MQL Most Recent Timestamp field. Block field updates only from the MQL Timestamp field.

4. Build One Comprehensive Program for all Campaign Flows


Create a default program outside of the RCM to manage all campaign flows. Have these flows update a field created for this purpose or add people to a list. Then have your transition rules simply look for people with the appropriate field value or list membership.

Included in this program should be anything related to your model, including initial model population, ongoing triggers to move people through the model, batch cleanup campaigns, as well as related flows such as alerts.


5. Test, Test, Test!


It is much easier to find flaws in your model before you roll it out, rather than deactivating the model, and updating the model, associated campaigns, and reports – not to mention the months of useless reports based on a broken model.

The easiest way to test your model is to create a few dozen test leads and put them through every scenario you can think of to try to break your model.


To facilitate this, you can create a google email (ie and use the + feature to create a lot of test leads with one account (ie and

Once you’ve created your test leads, clone your program and add in a filter for ‘email address is’ and your test leads prior to activating your model.

Do you have any questions about Marketo Revenue Cycle Models? If so, we invite you to contact us to see if we can be of assistance.