Wednesday, March 29, 2017
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Communicating over the Holidays – Stop the Alerts

Communicating over the Holidays – Stop the Alerts

Your Sales and Marketing management team is sipping champagne on News Years, is opening presents with their families during Christmas or Hanukkah, or shooting off fireworks on July 4th. What do they NOT want to deal with?…Notifications for overdue leads.

Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s are filled with gift giving and family. It’s also filled with hangovers, crazy mall drivers and tons of “overdue lead” alerts.

I can’t help you with hangovers and mall parking but I can give you a few tips to stop those unpleasant alerts from hitting during holiday dinners. Like a squirrel in a Christmas tree, there is no need for alerts to take over your holiday vacation.


Take a Break from Alerts on the Holidays

Holiday Marketo Hold

Unless your business is a Santa distributor, alerts generally should be suspended for certain times of the year.  There is enough friction between Marketing and Sales without having reps log in on a holiday morning to prevent uncontacted MQL alerts from firing.

You don’t want your VP of Sales getting a notification while opening presents that his BDR hasn’t call a lead from two days ago. Examples of alerts companies use to help make sure they move through the lead lifecycle:

Lead Lifecycle Best Practice: Send alerts to Sales reps when leads get hot or take some kind of action. Followup alerts are then sent to management if the leads do not receive proper treatment. How does your organization handle these followup alerts during the holidays?

  • Overdue MQLs. These alerts usually hit reps and their managers after a certain amount of time if the lead is not reviewed.
  • Leads Not Called. If a rep puts the lead into an Attempting Contact stage but fails to log an activity, this alert can trigger.
  • Stagnant Leads. Here, leads are sitting in a certain stage for too long which can trigger notifications to management.

What? Doesn’t My Marketing Automation Platform Do That?

Only if life were so easy. I can’t speak for other platforms but Marketo does not support suspending communications during holiday periods without manual intervention. Unlike the post office, there is no Vacation Hold.

Your Helpful Elf

Think of this method as the master switch to your lead alert system. Yes, you could get more accurate but here are a few quick and easy ways to make sure alerts don’t go out.

Option 1. Turn off the Alert

Go into the alert campaign in Marketo, Salesforce or your platform of choice and disable it before the holidays. Then reenable it after the holidays.

If you have a simple flow step or workflow that only sends the single alert, this might be your best bet.

This method can get tricky if other flow steps like Sync to Salesforce, Increase Lead Score, etc are part of the campaign. Additionally, people may already live in the flow step from a few days ago meaning alerts would still fire.

Option 2. Create a Vacation Removal Campaign

Marketo specific

For many companies, #1 won’t work because their alert system has multiple flow steps. In this case, create a campaign that removes members daily. This allows you to keep the original alert system in place but ensures the alerts never get sent during the holiday time period.

Follow the steps below to prevent those alerts from happening.

Marketo Vacation Hold

A few notes:

  • Know your timeframe. This process only works if you send overdue alerts at least 24 hours after a triggered event occurs. Otherwise, you’ll need to figure out a different solution.
  • Alerts don’t get sent at all.  This campaign totally removes the person from the alert system (as opposed to suspending the alert). I’d recommend creating a special Smartlist right after the holidays to capture leads the Sales team has not caught up on.
  • Let Sales know. As a marketer, you’ll score a few points with the Sales team by reducing stress around the alerts.


May your holidays be filled with joy—not with alerts in your Inbox. Hopefully these steps will assist you with this process. If you have any great ideas that help other readers, please make sure to comment below.

About Jeff Coveney

Jeff is an accomplished marketing expert with more than 20 years success in generating demand and creating buzz for leading technology organizations. Jeff is the founder of RevEngine Insider and regularly consults via RevEngine Marketing.
  • Rajesh Talele

    Interesting business case Jeff. Liked your solution too. In your experience, what do companies do in this case? It would be great if there is a way to ‘suspend’ these alerts and automatically send them after the holidays.

    Rajesh Talele

    • jcoveney

      Thanks for the comment. In many cases, I see email alerts continue to get sent over the holidays. It’s not an ideal situation but it only lasts a few days.

      If a company wants to avoid alerts over the holidays, they can take steps like above to reduce alerts. We are working these with customers right now.