Today’s marketing technology landscape lists nearly 2,000 vendors across 40+ categories—twice as many companies compared to just last year. What’s more, all of these technologies are producing massive amounts of data at a rapid clip. While many technologies offer built-in analytics, deriving insights from this data can be a harrowing process. Beyond determining which technology is right for their needs, CMOs must consider whether a technology’s analytics will answer the questions that matter to their business. But how can you possibly know before using a product? Before it’s too late?

We’re here to help. In our new “Analytics Reviews Roundup” series, we’ll examine the analytics and reporting functionality of leading marketing technology platforms. We do the heavy lifting for you—scouring reviews from across the web—and summarize what users most often loved (and hated) about a technology’s analytics package.

In our first installment, we’ll focus on one of the building blocks of any B2B stack—marketing automation—and review Marketo’s Revenue Cycle Analytics (RCA).

Marketo Analytics Overview

Marketo is a powerful B2B marketing automation solution that helps Marketing and Sales professionals drive revenue and improve marketing accountability. It comes standard with basic analytics features, and customers have the ability to purchase the Marketo Revenue Cycle Analytics (RCA) module at additional cost.  In this roundup, we’ll focus on Marketo’s Revenue Cycle Analytics product.

Pros of Marketo Analytics

Extremely powerful:

“We were an early adopter of Revenue Cycle Analytics. It is a very powerful tool but you have to be prepared to invest significant time in setting it up. In particular, you’ll need to blueprint out a “workflow” for your marketing processes. This was a pretty involved undertaking but it was well worth it for us – after a couple of months our sales team dropped a lot less leads (a problem for many companies). Once you get it humming, the ROI is almost immediate. However be aware that you’ll need an expert on board to maintain it. Even small rule changes can result in leads getting stuck somewhere in your pipeline stages. The good news though is that these are almost always easy to debug – as long as you’re paying attention. In short, it’s a great investment as long as you’re serious about adopting it!” Rich S.

“RCA contains almost every slice and view of data you could want. However, it takes a lot of little steps and alignment with the rest of the Marketo program to take full advantage of its capabilites. There are many out of the box reports, but it will take time to get it the way you want.” Mike B.

Exceptional training and support:

“Of all the marketing automation tools that I have used – Marketo is the easiest to use. With the best support that I have seen. Something inevitably will always go wrong, the important thing is partnering with a vendor that responds quickly to your inquiries and goes above and beyond to help resolve the problem.” Sharla E.

“We use these numbers multiple times a week in order to accurately determine sales cycle time and accurate flow numbers. This is intergral in how we assess and value what we are doing and how effective our sales team is doing. Without these numbers we would be hard pressed to accurately determine how efficient our sales process is and how to make changes in order to sell better to our potential clients. While the tool does take some time to set up and can be convoluted at times, the value of it and the training/support from Marketo makes everything incredibly easy to use after it is all said and done. Like I said, this is a pertinent part of reporting our sales efficiency and we would not be bale to do without it as a sales team here at my company.” – Courtney G.

Ideal for understanding individual lead and campaign performance: 

“When it comes to looking at a single lead and understanding their behavior, Marketo does a great job; Same with a single campaign. They provide interesting insights into current performance of campaigns and emails, but it’s hard to get an idea of Month over Month / Year over Year performance. You really have to dig into the data and pull it out to get a good feel for what’s going on long term.” Andy C.

Cons of Marketo Analytics

Not all reports are user/executive friendly:

“The built in analytics have some good reports, but if you want something in a different structure than they offer, you have to be really creative pulling it together. I’m usually able to get the reports I want from a combination of smart lists, Marketo reports and SFDC reports, but I would love to have added functionality in Marketo for reporting.”Anna B.

“Don’t like that you can’t send direct links to reports created within RCA and it is not easily sharable with executives. Although there is a great deal of information that you can obtain, the UI is not user friendly.” Leah G.

May need to be supplemented with CRM reporting:

“There are restrictions on how you can report — for example, you can’t report on both program members/success and program ROI in the same report. It seems very logical to want to view a program’s cost, number of members, opportunities created, number closed-won, and revenue all in one report. You also need to be using programs costs to actually be able to even report on a program. If you’re not already using this functionality, it’s quite time consuming to go through each program and add it in.”Ashley C.

“I often times need to continue to build my reports in my CRM, despite all of the data existing in Marketo as well.” ­Marcie P.

In Conclusion

Many marketers agree that Marketo’s core automation capabilities are unmatched and their analytics package has a growing fanbase. Those willing to invest the time upfront will benefit most from RCA because, once set up, it can be an extremely powerful tool for gauging marketing performance. Thankfully, Marketo offers exceptional training and support to help customize integration and is known for going above and beyond to help users resolve issues as they arise. In the right hands, Marketo’s RCA is a strong reporting option for Sales and Marketing professionals seeking to better understand individual lead or campaign performance.

Despite RCA being an incredible tool, marketers who wish to report on how all campaigns (or cohorts) are influencing all pipeline may need to look elsewhere at this time.  While RCA is fairly customizable, reviewers agree that pulling reports beyond what’s available out-of-the-box may require in-house expertise or manual merging of reports with your CRM. Those seeking a truly self-service attribution and forecasting solution—suited for executives and a range of marketing users—should consider seeking out specialized reporting solutions that cater to their specific needs.