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What Business Leaders Need to Know to Simplify Marketing Attribution

  1. Marketing Influence provides a consistent and reasonable framework that the leadership team can rely on.
  2. Associating Contacts to an Opportunity should be mandatory 
  3. Determine the period for influence/attribution
  4. Begin measuring what marketing generates & influences, along with what sales generate.

If you lead or work at a B2B company and are vested in Marketing’s ROI and sales impact, you face the challenge of marketing attribution.

What’s the impact of events, digital marketing, or advertising? Without a framework that looks beyond the traditional definition of a Lead, it can be hard to determine when a prospect “raises their hand” to talk to a salesperson.

The larger the company segments you are marketing and selling into, the more complex the challenge — you aren’t only tracking individual engagement but also account engagement.

Here’s a common scenario: Perhaps the IT Director attends a webinar, the VP of Logistics visits a trade show booth, and the Marketing Director responds to a salesperson’s phone call four months after the VP of Marketing opened an email and watched a two-minute video. Marketing attribution is not so easy in that scenario. How would we allocate the influence of each engagement action that resulted in an opportunity with the Marketing Director?

 

Simplifying the Marketing Attribution Challenge

Marketing attribution (or influence) is rarely single-source when marketing to larger organizations.

Salespeople conduct outreach to accounts where multiple individuals have been exposed to or influenced by marketing initiatives before a successful sales call. Fortunately, CRM and Marketing Automation tools can help marketers attribute credit or influence to marketing initiatives.

Direct Marketing Attribution is straightforward: Marketing sends a relevant email to an IT Director, who clicks to schedule a meeting with a salesperson. That’s a Marketing Generated Lead (MGL) that usually ends up as a Marketing Generated Opportunity (MGO). Easy-peasy.

Indirect Marketing Attribution, also known as marketing influence, involves the scenario above where multiple individuals engage with marketing initiatives. In that scenario, we don’t have a Marketing Generated Lead to track. Instead, sales create an Opportunity from their prospecting or outreach efforts. If the salesperson associates one or more individuals with the Opportunity, marketing can measure how they influenced that Opportunity.

 

What Business Leaders Need to Know

1. Marketing Influence provides a consistent and reasonable framework that the leadership team can rely on.

CRM and Marketing Automation tools automate marketing influence measurement, so there’s no need for spreadsheets. The key is to measure the marketing influence trend over time.

2. Associating Contacts to an Opportunity should be mandatory.

This best practice benefits marketing, but more so sales. Here’s why. Lost Opportunities vastly outnumber Won Opportunities in most organizations. Compelling salespeople to associate contacts they engage within an Opportunity enables the sales leader to better coach the salesperson. It also provides a treasure trove of information for sales to revisit lost opportunities in the future. Two or three years from now, the salesperson or sales leader may not be in their respective roles, so knowledge of who was involved in the lost deal will help the new sales team revisit lost opportunities – a high percentage activity. If your sales team does not associate Contact to Opportunities, you’ll be out of luck using marketing influence.

3. Determine the period for influence/attribution.

The influence measurement looks in the rearview mirror. The starting point is when the Opportunity is closed (won or lost) and looks back a specific number of days. Your sales cycle will play a part in determining how far back you should look. In most B2B organizations, we see a period between 90 and 180 days. The period for your organization can be longer or shorter, but it applies to all opportunities.

4. Begin measuring what marketing generates and influences, along with what sales generate.

There are three options on how an Opportunity got into the Sales Pipeline – a Sales Generated Opportunity (SGO), a Marketing Generated Opportunity (MGO), or a Marketing Influenced Opportunity (MIO). Below is an explanation and a visual.

  • SGO – The salesperson created the Opportunity on their own from prospecting efforts
  • MGO – Marketing Generated a qualified Lead that converts to an Opportunity
  • MIO – the salesperson created the Opportunity on their own from prospecting efforts and, marketing can determine influence based on the contacts associated with the Opportunity.

Final Thoughts

The topics of Marketing Influence and Marketing Influenced Opportunities (MIOs) are not new, but many B2B marketers have not yet begun to measure influence. One of the reasons is that it requires quite a bit of sustained work to get it off the ground.

With a challenging 2022 horizon, leadership teams and B2B marketers should accelerate expanding the marketing ROI discussion with Marketing Influenced Opportunities (MIOs). It’s about taking credit where it’s due and recognizing that marketing’s role includes influencing opportunities in addition to generating leads.

  

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