What is a Sales Alert?


The Marketo Sales Alert is an interesting creature. Let’s take a look at its features:

  1. The Sales Alert is an email that is sent through the Flow Step “Send Alert”.
  2. In this Flow Step you define to whom to send the Alert. The recipient can be the “Sales Owner” or “Account Owner” – if you have an integrated CRM – or any other person. That person does not need to be a Marketo record.
  3. The “Send Alert” activity which results from the flow action is tied to a Marketo person, and not to the Alert recipient. And this is what makes this Alert email so special: The {{lead.tokens}} you put on the Alert email will populate with the field values of the person defined in your Smart List and not with the field values of the recipient. So you inform Sales Person X about database fields of Database Person Y.

Here’s how this looks in a draft and preview of a Sales Alert Email:


The {{SP_Send_Alert_Info}} Token

In most cases, your Sales Alert Email will not be the same email you would send to a Marketo person. But it can be the same email. Problem is that your Sales person might be a little confused if they received an email without warning that looks exactly like the one a Marketo person would receive. That’s where the token {{SP_Send_Alert_Info}} hits the stage.

This token will only render if that email was sent through the “Send Alert” flow step. Meaning it’s invisible for your lead/contact but adds information to the Sales Person.

Here’s how the email looks when the {{SP_Send_Alert_Info}} is rendered:

The box in the orange frame was added through the token – but only for the person in the Send Alert flow step.

Pretty elegant, hm?

(I’d like to add that Cale Reasce at the Company “Divanoodle” is not a real person. He/she was added to my Marketo Sandbox Instance through a https://www.mockaroo.com/ fake list).

The Sales Alert in the Activity Log

The “Send Alert” activity will leave exactly one line in the Activity Log of the person that was processed through the Smart Campaign, but not of the person the Alert was sent to! (Remember that the person who receives the Alert doesn’t even need to be in your Marketo database).

In the details of this activity you will see everybody who the Alert was sent to, but that’s it. Marketo doesn’t know if it was delivered, opened or clicked. Which makes troubleshooting difficult, but on the other hand, you certainly wouldn’t want the activity history of your lead/contact being mixed up with whatever the Sales Person did with the alert.

Advanced Fun

Now, why I’m I writing all this? Sales Alert is not that complicated of a principle, right? Well, just recently somebody in a Slack community asked advise on this idea:

“I want to set up an approval process. After a form submit, I want an alert to go out to an internal email address and that person should check whether the lead is valid or not and then approve or dismiss by clicking the respective button in the alert email. How can I tie the approval or dismissal information to the person that submitted the form?”

Good question, and Sales Alert mechanics can actually help here. Although you can’t trigger approval from the button click – we’ve seen before that no clicks are being tracked on Alert Email clicks – but you do it like this:

  1. Create a form with two fields:

    Visible dropdown field with the options “Approved” and “Denied”.
    Hidden field: Email Address with “Populate from URL parameter “email”
  2. Add that form to a landing page.
  3. In your Sales Alert, add a link to that LP with URL parameter
    ?email={{lead.Email Address}}
  4. If you Sales Person clicks that link, the need to select Approved and Denied from the dropdown and the result will be tied to that email address, as this counts as a form submission by that email address.

(Mind that this form submit will cookie your Sales Person as the person with the email address submitted which can cause cookie confusion. So you might want to clear cookies after form submit. See: https://blog.teknkl.com/clearing-munchkin-_mkto_trk-and-tracking-mkt_tok-form/)