Getting started with Eloqua: Practical tips from the experts

This is the blog to jumpstart your Eloqua journey!
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Written by Bill Hooven

January 8, 2022

Welcome to Eloqua, a powerful marketing automation platform that offers unlimited potential … as long as you know how to leverage it! And that’s why this article exists, to help you get moving towards mastery and driving business outcomes that move the needle.

There’s a lot of pressure to ensure you maximize this investment, but without proper planning, strategy, and execution, you won’t get the ROI you’re looking for.

Let’s jump in!

Our experts are always ready to help – learn more about our Eloqua consulting options!

Start With Topliners

Topliners was originally just for Eloqua, but Oracle eventually combined multiple support networks in one place. If you aren’t apart of the Eloqua section, go ahead and change that here (and you may find some other areas relevant to your tech stack!).

You'll need to login, ideally with your company email, to gain access to Topliners
The communities page for Eloqua within Topliners (if not logged in)

Within Topliners, there are a few areas worth calling out:

  • Eloqua System Status – This is great resource to check when Eloqua may be acting funny and you’re unsure if there is a bug at work or if the problem is you. This group is great about giving updates on known issues as they occur and that they are working on fixes.
  • Best Practices Documentation
  • Glossary of key terms so you can “speak” the language faster
  • Your area User Group – This is great way to get connected to other Eloqua users in your area. There usually are gatherings for networking and learning about new features or hearing customer case studies.
  • AppCloud – This area is great when looking for plugins that fit well with Eloqua
  • Oracle University – Check this out here.

There’s plenty more, but these are great starting points.

Now that you have a community and the right help documentation, let’s talk strategy.

Strategy

Plan this out in four areas: Data, Campaigns, Lead Management Process, and Metrics. These won’t be specific to Eloqua, but the underlying concepts, when done well, ensure long-term success in your instance.

Data

If you’ve inherited your instance, or are migrating into Eloqua from another platform, the best thing you can do is clean up your database.

Removing all duplicate / outdated data, lists, reports, etc. is only going to make life easier. Block off a significant amount of time for this, because you’ll want to be thorough.

Next, no matter if it’s a new instance or an older dataset you’re working with, check your sync with your CRM and other systems. Make sure fields are standardized and that you have accurate mapping to other systems, naming conventions are established for accurate (and easily searchable) filenames, etc.

This goes for utm parameters from inbound marketing efforts, as well!

You can leverage Eloqua’s contact washing machine for some of this – more on that in this blog.

Be sure to document everything – you’ll need it for one day when you’re promoted and somebody else fills your role!

Last, map out how data is enriched. What system(s) or data sources are you pulling from, and what fields are they updating (if any)? Now’s also a good time to identify if any changes are needed, as well.

Related: What to if syncing to Salesforce

Campaigns

What’s your campaign launch process?

Without a clear, direct answer, things can get messy. Sending emails and launching campaigns without a goal is the marketing equivalent of wandering down a back road … you might stumble upon something, but you most likely won’t get anywhere you need to be.

Have the following questions answered:

  • Who should get this campaign?
  • Is a segment in place for it?
  • Who needs to approve this?
  • What part of the customer journey does this fit into – and do the calls to action match that intent?
Sample Eloqua campaign template

Familiarize yourself with Eloqua’s testing capabilities, as well – for both programs and campaigns.

Lead Management

The oldie-but-a-goodie phrase “sales and marketing alignment” comes into play here, and for good reason. Underlying lead management best practices will either support or destroy what you’re building in Eloqua, so before you start building and sending campaigns, now’s the time for a refresh.

When was the last time you spoke with your Sales team? Do you know what leads they love receiving, and what’s not been as great of a fit? Are alerts you’ll send in order, or are there ways to improve?

It’s also the perfect time to talk lead scoring. What actions do closed-won deals typically contain? Do both sales and marketing agree on demographics, firmogrpahics, etc. of qualified leads?

Eloqua’s sales tools may or may not also be a consideration of discussion here, depending on what else your team(s) use.

Related: What does a good lead management process look like?

Metrics

What are your key measures of success? Make sure these are documented so you can A/B test against them and continue improving.

Within Eloqua, you’ll be relying on Insight for reports and dashboards. Oracle has a primer on it here.

Now, Start Building

Once you have your strategic ducks in a row and have begun familiarizing yourself with the platform, it’s time to build! Here’s where I recommend starting:

Build your lead scoring model

Start from scratch with this, and base it on the previous conversations you’ve had with sales. Setup a quarterly reminder to look over this along with your key sales leaders to ensure you’re on the same page at all times.

Design your preference center

Make it easy for users to indicate their preferred level(s) of communication – or to opt out entirely if they so desire. Oracle provides a starting point, and you can read more about it here.

create a welcome program

If you’ve ever had an email from a company and immediately wondered who it was, you’re not alone – but this welcome program will prevent it from happening with prospects and customers.

Create a program to route new leads through a series of emails introducing them to your company and educating them as to why they should care and resources to help them do more.

Be sure to read over some email best practices for tips and tricks.

Grab the Eloqua campaign starter pack now!

Grab the campaign starter pack

We’ve packaged some of our favorite templates into one starter pack – click here to grab them and streamline your campaign buildouts!

Keep Building

Once you’re up and running, engage with other users in the Topliners community and on LinkedIn, and monitor your initial campaign(s) to see what’s working and what isn’t.

Make sure you’re fully-leveraging tools such as the contact washing machine, and that your data is flowing both into and out of Eloqua the way you intend.

Want to scale up, get a helping hand, optimize, integrate, or implement winning solutions? Our Eloqua consulting services boast 400+ successful engagements across large-scale projects and organizations, and we’re happy to learn how we can help you!

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