Email Service Providers (ESPs)

NOTE: This blog post was created in June of 2010 (a lot has changed since then)

I recently had an opportunity to look at Eloqua and Marketo in depth for automating mass emails (Q1 2010). We first started off with a Forrester report entitled “B2B Lead Management Automation Market Overview” dated 9/22/2009. Both Marketo and Eloqua were identified as leaders in the space. That became our short list. I was pleased to find that both companies price their deals based on the number of Salesforce.com Leads and Contacts in your database with an email address, not on the number of emails sent. The need we wanted to address was to automate sending emails based on activity occurring in our Salesforce org and move contacts into different email campaigns based on rules so we could be very hands-off once the campaigns had been created.

As part of our evaluation we looked at both companies stability in terms of years in business, revenue, and numbers of customers. Eloqua is the established company of ten years versus four for Marketo (with their product available for 2 years). Eloqua, according to Forrester, has greater than $30MM in revenue and Marketo less than $5MM in revenue. Marketo has made great gains in customers, but if you crunch the numbers, Eloqua’s average deal size is twice as large as Marketo. This is not surprising as Eloqua, having been around longer, has a lot of features that will be attractive to larger Enterprise customers. Unfortunately a lot of their high end features (SMS Text Messaging, Voice Messaging and Direct Mail fulfillment) bump you up to a product that is twice as expensive.

Besides sitting through many product demos, we also talked to customers referrals from both Eloqua and Marketo and we searched out customers not referred to us by the vendors to get an unbiased look at what it was like to be a customer. Not surprising, everyone loved their platform.

Additionally we looked at AppExchange comments and asked Salesforce User Groups for their opinion. Lastly we had calls with Eloqua’s Chief Deliverability Officer and Marketo’s CTO (in charge of deliverability) to see what resources they have dedicated to ensure our emails reach their intended recipients.

Dealing on price

I was shocked how aggressive both companies got once they realized the other ESP was involved. There is definite competition here. Don’t stop your negotiations at year one. Try to pre-negotiate price increases based on your projected growth for an additional two years.

Next, implementation differences between ESPs 

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