Proving marketing’s contribution to company revenue is the holy grail for a lot of marketing teams. It strips back the vanity statistics of visitors, clicks, and inbound leads. Instead, the primary KPI should measure the actual benefit to the business and rebrand marketing as a contributor to sales goals instead of a cost.
Using the right tools and strategies you can achieve revenue attribution but it’s not for the faint of heart. You mustn’t focus only on successes, failures are just as important, if something isn’t working, move on and try something else.
But what are the steps to achieve revenue attribution?
1. Get automated
A marketing automation platform is the starting point. You will need a system that is capable of integrating with your CRM and capable of tracking user activity. These platforms can be expensive but choosing the right one for your business is vital.
2. Get integrated
Now that you have an automation platform you need to integrate it with your marketing and sales systems, the key platforms you need to connect to are:
- Your CRM
- Your website and inbound web forms
- Your social platforms (if applicable)
3. Devise a tracking plan
Start by breaking down all your marketing activity into categories, channels, sources, content, and campaigns. You need to be able to identify what a campaign was, whom you were targeting and how you were delivering that message. Once you have this defined you can start to plan how to track each of those campaigns. Next, choose a success action, this is the end goal of that piece of marketing, so it could be a call to action, a specific link, or a phone number to call; it could be all kinds of things, but it must be something measurable that you can track with your automation platform. There are a few ways you can do this:
- Track website activity and use UTMs
- Add tracked links to emails and monitor clicks
- Create call-to-action forms
- Use unique codes or phone numbers for each campaign
- Have the sales team ask where they saw the ad
- Track social engagement on popular platforms
4. Multitouch or single touch
Decide whether you’re going to track all engagements against a sale or only the first/last touch. A single-touch approach can be easier for short customer journeys, but they can miss out long term campaigns. You don’t have to choose one or another, some tools allow you to see all touch points. Tracking multiple touch points can help marketing teams understand how campaigns can work together and what combinations may lead to the most successes.
5. Align with sales
Marketers need to be confident that sales will follow up with leads, just as sales need to be confident in the marketing team providing them with high-quality leads. To make revenue attribution work, both teams need to help each other and ensure that all data and interactions are recorded and accurate. This means that the sales team needs to keep their CRM up to date so this data can flow back to the automation platform. Likewise, the marketing team needs to ensure that the sales team knows where the leads came from and what communications they may have been exposed to.
6. Plan and trace
Almost every marketing journey should be traceable in some way, you should be able to identify where each lead came from and have at least some idea of any communications they were exposed to along the way. If you have gaps in the journey, it is up to you to discover what happened in each. When no information is available then you must find a way to close that gap. You may not be able to track everything but the more you are able to tag, track and report on, the better the picture will be of your marketing efforts. To make things easier for your future self, before every new campaign or initiative begins, devise a method for tracking all sales that are generated. Do the work now and you save yourself frustration in the long run.
Combine these steps and you’ll be on your way to achieving revenue attribution, just remember:
- Don’t focus only on the successes
- Move beyond KPIs and measure the actual benefit to the business
- Make marketing a contributor to sales goals
Anthony Konarski is a Senior Marketing Technology Consultant at WoolfHodson. You can learn more about him here. If you would like to find out more about how our team can enhance your marketing performance and improve business operations, contact us today at email@example.com.