Marketing Automation with Eloqua

My company has been having a sales boot camp this week, as we recently hired five inside sales people and a sales manager. The term “boot camp” is different from a “kick-off,” which we hold on a yearly basis, in that the boot camp is a deep and intense five days in which the new hires getting presented every facet of the company by various managers, directors, and VPs from 8:30AM until 5PM every day. The kick-offs that we have had have been in a round-table discussion format, wherein all of inside sales, sales engineers, sales managers, and marketing folks gather to discuss what’s working, what’s not, any new messaging that may have been developed, and the large accounts on which people are working. Kick-offs tend to have a vastly more exciting setting as well; in 2007 about forty of us stayed at Caesar’s in Atlantic City for three days of meetings … and other things, of course. πŸ™‚

Yesterday I, along with our VP of marketing, gave our presentation about what’s happening with marketing now and what we plan to do in the future, and how it will affect the sales team. The VP gave the high-level overview, including some of our main objectives that are pretty standard in the industry – increasing downloads and registrations, to name one – and then I dove into a brief technical overview of the inner workings of Eloqua and the advantages of its integration with

Eloqua is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company that prides itself on being the leader in marketing automation. I have used it since my third week at the company, and, through a mixture of fiddling with the software on my own and taking a three-day training course up at their headquarters in Toronto, I happen to be pretty comfortable with it.

Now, on top of the basic email campaigns we send out on a regular basis, I am able to track and nurture all online registrations prior to them reaching the sales team. I developed a program within Eloqua’s Program Builder that fills in details we otherwise would not have gotten from a straight web site form, including where the leads came from (search engine, Google AdWords, partner site, etc.) and exactly what they downloaded. After registering, the system automatically sends a number of emails to each registrant over the course of a few months and tracks any subsequent web activity. All of this information is then fed into the integration program, which sends them to the sales team for follow-up.

Eloqua is a great system to use for automating things that would otherwise take hours if not days to manually produce. Lead scoring, wherein a lead receives points based on web site activity, downloads, industry, and other qualifying factors, is relatively simple to set up, and with this you can easily provide your sales team with the most qualified leads possible – all before any live person ever touches them.

The downsides to using Eloqua are twofold:

  1. The user interface is not intuitive. Yes, I know my way around Eloqua very well, and can quickly create a program that defines a lead source and score, but this is after two years of working with the system on a near-daily basis. There is quite a long learning curve, and while the training helps, just digging in and playing around is your best means of ‘getting’ the extremely powerful system. Just be prepared to spend quite a bit of time doing it. If you don’t have that kind of time, Marketo claims to offer “sophisticated yet easy” marketing automation, so be sure to check out their product if you’re looking for software that will entail a little less work for you.
  2. It is expensive. For a start-up without a hefty amount of VC funds, Eloqua’s prices can seem daunting at the high end of the five figures per year. Indeed, the system can take quite a bite out of your marketing budget, and I know some people aren’t willing to do that, even though Eloqua is probably the most powerful system in the market today. But, as with everything else, there are alternatives. Manticore blatantly boasts that it is “Eloqua competition” on its web site, and advertises itself as the low-cost alternative.

Depending on the needs of your marketing organization, Eloqua does provide stellar support, a system that (two years in) has never failed, seamless integration with, and a number of useful tools to deliver qualified leads that have been scored and nutured, which gives your sales team some the most valuable information they could ever hope to receive.

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Categories: Demand Generation

12 Comments so far:

  1. Alden says:

    Hello Ingrid,

    Good post about Eloqua. Do you track the return on the investment you have made in Eloqua? Any sense what metrics and key performanc eindicators were on marketing activitries before and after impleneting Eloqua? Any sense if lead scoring and qualification is resulting in higher deal closing or higher avergae selling price? Would like to hear what other benefits you have achieved other than reduction in the amount of manual involvement required.


  2. Ingrid says:

    Hey Alden,

    Thanks for the comments! I do actually track the ROI, and from the time I implemented the lead nurturing program and integration with, we have seen our average deal size increase by 20-30% for our main product. Also, we are seeing more and more pickup of our services and training as well. It’s amazing what can happen if you massage the leads a little before they reach your sales team.


  3. Fred says:

    Hi Ingrid,

    Interesting post and confirmation of how we perceive the market. I wanted to bring to your readers’ attention We were one of the first 3 into this market along with Eloqua and Manticore. We don’t get as much airplay because we have focused on the SME market. However, because of that focus, we are much more affordable, run with few marketing resources, and is considered very easy to use.

    Your company is very enlightened to have the sales and marketing teams aligned as you described. It should make for a successful company, especially in these difficult economic times.

    BTW, We like to think that marketing tools like this, will be like accounting software to accountants, a fixture that sales and marketing professionals will all have eventually.

    Thanks for this post.

  4. Ingrid says:

    Hi Fred,

    Thanks for the insight! I’m inclined to agree with you on your final point: marketing tools like the ones mentioned in this post, and sales tools like, for example, will undoubtedly become a staple in the workplace going forward.


  5. Alden says:

    Hello Ingrid,

    Thanks for the reply back about the impact of implementing the Eloqua lead scoring and the integration with Sounds like having Eloqua could be having a very positive effect on your company. Somewhat a rethorical question, but I wonder how much of the increase in average deal size and pick up of services and training can be attributed to using Eloqua (kind of a correlation vs. causality question). As your relatively new company continues to establish its reputation and your salesfroce progresses prospects further through the buying cycle, average deal size and interest in services and training would likely pick up naturally. This kind of goes along with the comment from Fred. As you and many others know, technology is only part of the solution. I’ll grant you it can be a very big part of the solution, but getting other things in place before is critical — such as the right personnel and clear established processes — makes all the difference about the impact of technology such as Eloqua. Trying to shoehorn in the processes after installing a new tool or system can often have the effect of turning people off, in a way, encouraging them to go with the tried and try old process rather than the new processes and new system. What have you found during your experiences?


  6. Ingrid, great article and thanks for the plug on Manticore. Yes, we are proud of what we offer and you are correct – we are pretty open about who we compete against. We even have a specific migration program we have developed.

    That is great for both your career and your business that you have mastered a demand gen solution. Many congrats on that. Maybe at some point however you will agree to sit down with me and let me show you why I think Manticore is the way to go.

    Until then – cheers and happy marketing.

    Justin England

  7. Ingrid says:


    Thanks again for your comments. I totally agree with you about getting personnel and processes in place prior to utilizing these tools. This is why I never refer to things like Eloqua or as ‘solutions.’ Eloqua undoubtedly offers some great systems from which our sales team – and, ultimately, sales – can benefit, but if we didn’t have a) a fantastic, experienced team of sales people, b) a tight methodology upon which they base their contact with potential clients, and c) solid marketing messages, having Eloqua and any lead scoring/nuturing programs in place would assuredly not have as much use or as much of a good effect as it does.

    It’s good business sense, really, to ensure that you have the solid sales foundation in place before really using a tool like Eloqua to its full potential, but once you’ve reached that level having a marketing automation machine like this really does save time and effort on the part of the sales team, and allows them to focus only on those leads which really do have a good opportunity to become a sale.

    Eloqua has been in use at our company since its inception, so it has become a fixed part of the sales cycle. That being said, I only started putting lead nurturing and scoring in place relatively recently, only about a year ago. But, because we had the sales system in place, the sales team has actually embraced what we on the marketing side are doing with this, because it really does cut down on their workload as well as people saying “Not interested” to them during the first call. To be quite honest, the system in place is such that most of the scoring is done before the sales team even sees the lead in, so I think the fact that the scoring is happening is completely in the back of their minds. They never really need to think about it.

    What are you seeing with your clients? Are many of them using marketing automation tools, or is this something that a lot of people are thinking about but haven’t quite made that step?

    Great questions, by the way!


  8. Ingrid says:

    Hi Justin!

    Thanks for your kind words. πŸ™‚ I am absolutely up for learning about other demand gen technologies, so do drop me a line sometime and we can set up a call.

    I’m also intrigued because the way you market your company is very similar to what we do with regard to a certain competitor of ours. We like to think of ourselves as the “low-cost alternative” as well, and I really do think it will be a great message for both of us during the current economic crisis.


  9. Jordan says:

    Thanks for your post on Eloqua. I have been looking for a solution for a while that can integrate with my contact management / sales tracking tool, and you’re right about Eloqua being expensive. I am a small business owner (me and 1 other person) and they are way out of our budget. I have found another tool that is targeted to Small Businesses, and is well within reach of a small business budget. It’s called Infusionsoft ( They are an up and coming company (they’ve been on the Inc 500 list for the past 2 years now). As far as I can tell, they are the only people that have created a tool specifically for small businesses. They can do everything that you have described that Eloqua can do, and they can do it at a fraction of the price. Take a look at them and let me know what you think.


  10. Ingrid says:

    Hey Jordan,

    I haven’t heard of Infusionsoft, but I’ll definitely take a look. Thanks for the comment, and good luck with your business!


  11. George says:

    Good post on eloqua. I have also been using this for quite a time. I would also like everyone to invite for a live Marketing webinar presented by Tangence on 21st November 2008. You can freely register for this free event by logging on to

  12. Vps Hosting says:

    if both products are being considered in the same situation, one of them is in the wrong place. That Eloqua gets chosen in those situations simply indicates it’s the right tool, not that is it better than those other products at their own core functions