Today’s marketers are being asked, more than ever before, to tie marketing investments directly to revenue. And although marketing attribution has been difficult traditionally, the influx of data and technology has made tracking marketing investments a reality.
Long gone are the days of cobbling together marketing automation reports, begging your sales operations manager to pull custom CRM data, and keeping up with legacy Excel spreadsheets that never seem to be up-to date.
Marketing attribution is becoming a business imperative as more and more marketers are adopting platforms that can easily show which marketing programs move the needle.
But, focusing on measurement can be a new competency for many marketing departments, so how do you prepare? What are some of the initiatives you need to think through?
1. Revisit and further define your sales funnel stages
To look critically at how each marketing channel and program moves leads down your funnel, you need to make sure that you and your sales team have a truly solid definition of each sales stage. Many marketers already have those definitions in place, but I encourage you to revisit your stages as you prepare for measurement.
Go through and clearly define each stage from lead acquisition to closed customer. Document not only each stage definition but also the ways a lead moves from one stage to the next. You also should benchmark your conversion rates from stage to stage so that you have a general baseline to start measuring how different marketing programs influence conversions.
Your sales funnel conversion rates are something you will want to keep revisiting and benchmarking, so you can more accurately forecast marketing performance over time.
2. Get your marketing and sales systems in sync
An often-overlooked step to setting yourself up for measurement success is ensuring that your marketing systems are in sync and accurately passing data to your CRM.
Think through everything you want to track—Web, content, ads, emails, and so on—and double- and triple-check that you understand exactly how that data is being transferred from that channel to your marketing automation platform, your CRM, and your attribution platform. Here are some handy tips:
- Set up a one-to-one sync between your marketing automation and CRM systems; you don’t want to miss any critical data.
- Get your naming conventions consistent. This seems like a small step, but having consistent naming conventions does wonders for data clarity.
- Use UTM parameters so you can ensure that you know what lead was acquired by what channel, what program, and what asset.
3. Measurement shouldn’t end with acquisition
If you are measuring only what deals are sourced by Marketing, then you are selling yourself short—way short.
The B2B buying journey is often complex—with many influencers within any given account. If you track only which marketing touch sourced the opportunity contact on a deal, you are missing out on giving credit to all the marketing touches that influenced the deal.
You need to look beyond what sources a deal to what influences a deal throughout the buyer journey. A multitouch attribution platform provides the reporting functionality needed to show credit for all the different points of engagement from lead acquisition to closed-won deal.
4. Set clear metrics for every program
Get your team in the habit of setting clear goals for each channel and program at the beginning of the initiative; doing so will help integrate measurement into your process.
You will likely have a variety of goals, ranging from lead generation, to pipeline acceleration, branding initiatives, partnerships, and more. If you clarify your goals up front, you can bake measurement into the entire program—enabling you to consistently keep track of how you are doing.
For instance, if you do a tradeshow and one of the key goals is accelerating the deal cycle, make sure you are consistently keeping track of revenue influence and deal velocity.
5. Build a culture of measurement on your marketing team
Don’t just relegate reporting to your marketing operations manager; make sure that your entire marketing team is empowered to both understand and pull their own data. Each of your marketing program managers—from content marketing, to demand generation, to events, and more—should be trained on how to harness data to optimize workflows and plan more efficiently in the future.
If you give your team the tools and training they need to become more analytics-driven, you can count on your entire team to drive toward the business metrics that matter.
6. Consistently communicate your successes
It isn’t enough to just measure the success of your marketing programs, you also need to make sure that you are consistently communicating the results to relevant stakeholders, such as your VP of Sales, CEO, CFO, and even your entire organization!
Make sure your leadership team is constantly up-to-date on how Marketing is influencing all those closed deals. Consider bi-monthly metrics syncs, quarterly newsletters, and marketing quarterly business reviews that relevant stakeholders are invited to attend.
Marketing attribution is quickly becoming the new norm for modern marketing organizations, and it’s important to prepare! Follow the six steps outlined to kick-start your move toward a more strategic, data-driven marketing team.