How to set up an optimal Lead Lifecycle program in Marketo


As we roll-out new marketing activities it is easy to focus solely on the production part and not putting as much focus on minimizing your workload when changes are necessary.

Thinking a few steps ahead will save you loads of time in the future. One of these processes that is more long-living and should be maintained and optimized over time is the Lead Lifecycle and Revenue Model.

Setting up a Revenue Model in Marketo

Creating a new Revenue Model in Marketo and defining transitions may take some time depending on how your organization is set up, how your sales department handles leads and also because the tool for creating the setup in Marketo requires defining a trigger for every stage change.

To minimize the production time you can define each transition with the trigger Manual Stage Change. This means that you are manually changing the revenue stage with a Smart Campaign. I would definitely recommend this as it gives you a better overview of your campaigns in Marketing Activities and makes it infinitely easier to maintain smart campaigns instead of double clicking on arrows in the Revenue Cycle Modeler to remember what exact triggers you put in.

Setting up a Lead Lifecycle program in Marketo

Once your Revenue Model is approved with Manual Stage Change for every Revenue Stage you are ready to set up the brains of your program. This will be done in Marketing Activities with a Default Program used solely for Lead Lifecycle and flow steps for stage changes should not be used anywhere else in your instance.

One Smart Campaign should be defined for every stage change and to simplify the overview it’s good to build a proper folder structure with folders for:

  • Success Path (Main horizontal green line in your Revenue Model)
  • Fast Tracks (Sending a lead faster up the line based on specific triggers that determine sales readiness)
  • Detours (For example: disqualification, recycling and lost deals)

Pro-tip: Custom channel for Lead Lifecycle

Most of these program types (Lead Scoring, Data Management) would be defined under the default channel Operational as they should not be included in the reporting of your Marketo programs.

Try setting up a Custom Channel under Admin for Lead Lifecycle. By defining your Program Statuses according to your Revenue Model and setting an identical step number for each stage, it will allow your leads to move all ways when changing status (e.g. when recycled). This process allows you to define success, usually when a lead:

  • Becomes a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL): Marketing hands over a qualified lead to sales = Success for Marketing
  • Is Won: Sales closes the deal = Success for Sales & Marketing

To minimize long flow steps (and manual work), I would recommend using one Smart Campaign with a trigger for Revenue Stage is Changed to change Program Status with choices corresponding to the stage, like this:


This allows for a quick overview of your leads in the program view of your Lead Lifecycle program:



If you have some questions about setting up your Lead Lifeycle or any Marketo related questions send me an email at