How to Design a Marketing Automation Discovery Guide

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At Marketo, we often run onsite implementation training for clients who are new to marketing automation. Once we’re finished, we will frequently prepare a “Discovery Guide” document, outlining strategy and tactics to help the company successfully implement the platform.

After training, we might have a few follow-up calls, and build a few of the key marketing automation processes together. Over the next few months, we’ll often hear from the client only occasionally, usually when they have a clarifying question.

When a new client has made excellent progress in all the key areas, it is often due to one thing: documentation. A well designed and strategically placed document is key to smooth implementation. Here's why: 

The Benefits of Good Documentation

  1. In creating documentation, all parties get involved, get on the same page, and affirm their buy-in and understanding.
  2. Documentation fills in the blanks after delays, expediting the process of getting back on track.
  3. Documentation makes it easy to update non-participants or new consultants.

The Discovery Document, or “Discovery Guide”

If your company is new to marketing automation, you might hire our professional services to help you with implementation. We might start with an initial onsite meeting, which we call a “Discovery”.  At the Discovery, we’ll create a guide.

Your Discovery Guide should meet the following criteria:

  1. It should educate new client team members about marketing automation.
  2. It should serve as a compass for any later consultants who work with the client.
  3. It should outline and highlight key strategic areas for the client.

CHECKLIST: Key Sections in Your Discovery Guide:

  • Introduction
  • Key project contacts
  • Key project timing
  • Terminology
  • Other documents created prior to Discovery
  • Training
  • Organizational engagement
  • Setup
  • Project management
  • Marketing automation Instances
  • Systems that relate to the marketing automation platform
  • Analytics
  • Users and roles
  • Target lists
  • Emails sent by sales reps
  • Program channels and tags
  • Marketing automation program sync to CRM

Potential Additions on a Case-by-Case Basis

  • Client situation prior to Discovery
  • Goals and pain points prior to Discovery
  • Lead lifecycle
  • Lead assignment
  • Interesting moments
  • Email alerts and tasks
  • Lead scoring
  • Marketing activities
  • Any marketing activities important to the client
  • Lead nurture
  • Workspaces
  • New fields
  • Forms
  • Subscription management
  • Dynamic content
  • Program import

Client-Specific Additions

  • Unsubscribe sync between multiple systems
  • Surveys
  • Foreign privacy laws

Optimize the Document for Onstage and Offstage

You only have so much “onstage” real estate (space in the actual document). Information that is optional or more detailed can be provided via links (or “offstage”). Here’s an example of a document with a link to more information:

ResizedImage600154 interesting moments

How long should the document be?

After a two-day onsite training, we've found that the overall document might be 10-15 pages. We don’t worry too much about length – any given onsite will lend itself to a certain length of document. If you spend more days onsite, or the client progresses faster than usual, the document might be longer.

How should I structure each section?

Each section will start with introductory text explaining the topic, followed by client-specific information. Here’s an example of an introduction:

ResizedImage600200 lead lifecycle

Next, explain how the topic relates to the client’s implementation. In the above example, we might explain that because we created a lead lifecycle specification at the onsite, it will need to be built in the client’s marketing automation tool.

Who should write the document?

Anyone can create this document, but we recommend you have a more senior consultant write it. To write this document, the author will be making decisions about priorities, and describing how each decision was made. Whoever prepares the document must have a full understanding of the subject matter at hand – in our case, how the client will implement marketing automation.


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