What happens when 80 senior marketing leaders come together to talk about revenue marketing and ROI? Amazing insights, that’s what!
At our Marketing Nation Engage event in London, we hosted a series of roundtable sessions with marketers around the region to discuss hot topics of the day. And nothing was hotter than revenue marketing and ROI. Each of the three roundtable sessions was hugely oversubscribed, and we had standing room only for each!
Here’s what marketing leaders find most challenging about revenue marketing and tracking ROI:
Lead Quantity vs. Quality
Sales teams demand more leads but often complain they’re not the right ones. We know that not all leads are equal, and the challenge is measuring quality, as well as quantity. Expectation setting is also important—with increased lead quality often comes a decrease in quantity.
Measuring ROI Across Channels
Most participants used a mix of digital, events, offline, and sales related channels. But seeing performance across those channels is tough and some, like PR and branding, are particularly challenging to measure.
Sales Loves Events
Of course they do—most of the resource effort sits with the marketer! But many wonder if the resulting revenue impact is enough to warrant the effort, especially when events typically make up the majority of many marketing budgets.
What to Measure
So many things are measurable, but what’s the right thing to focus on? Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) were the most common metric and used by almost all participants, but with no direct link to revenue does this go far enough?
Last touch is the most common attribution method used, followed by first touch and multi-touch. It’s acknowledged there are flaws with this approach, but no participants use anything more sophisticated at the moment.
Long Sales Cycles
B2B is tough with so many touches and sales cycles that can last years. Tracking and measuring engagement is seen as key to building a picture of the entire process.
Any of these challenges sound familiar? We found the majority of our B2B marketing leaders shared the same challenges and frustrations irrespective of company, industry, or location. What the group also had in common was a desire to move the marketing story forward in the area of ROI, attribution, and revenue marketing. Everyone knows it’s going to make a real difference not just with marketing efficiency and effectiveness. It will also improve sales and marketing alignment, as well as marketing’s perceived value with the rest of the C-suite and the board.
So, what can marketers do to take things to the next stage? Here are some tips from our experts:
Measure Through the Pipeline
Measure beyond leads. Marketing metrics need to focus on key stages across the combined sales and marketing pipeline, including marketing-sourced opportunities and revenue. Synchronizing between marketing automation and CRM will make sure the source data is the same, so there’s no ambiguity.
Engage the Rest of the C-Suite
Measuring marketing returns in terms of revenue helps you speak the same language as the CFO, CEO, and rest of the C-suite. It proves the value of marketing, and having a few revenue metrics can make all the difference.
Capture All Channels
Digital channels are often the easiest to capture but need to be brought into the same picture as email, offline, events, and sales channels for an all-important single customer view. This way you can really see how each part of your marketing mix is performing, as well as getting a view on the lifecycle of each prospect.
Lead Quality Measures
Introduce lead scoring as a measure of lead quality. Using data enrichment is also a good way to provide more information on a lead, as well as lead routing accuracy. Make sure any useful insights about what a prospect has done are shared with sales to help them refine their pitch. Being able to pass better leads to sales teams, at a warmer stage of the buying process, and including relevant insights, should increase conversion rate.
Link Activity Cost to Results
Include costs of activities in your program reporting so you can more easily analyze the cost per lead/cost per marketing-sourced revenue. This way you’ll be able to demonstrate the impact of each dollar of marketing spend. You can also create a measure of non-financial resource. While this is harder to measure empirically, it’s a great way to identify the activities that cost little but take a lot of effort for very little effect.
One Sales and Marketing Process
If you don’t have one already, it’s vital to get one single lead process across sales and marketing. This needs to be agreed by all parties. SLAs are often useful for keeping leads moving and giving full accountability. This leads to one set of metrics for all teams and can be aligned through synching across CRM and MA. Without this, assigning marketing sourced and influenced leads to the sales funnel often becomes a contentious issue.
Different Metrics for Different Audiences
Marketing can be guilty of measuring too much of the wrong thing. Clicks, likes, and downloads may be useful for measuring activity efficiency but revenue, opportunities and leads generally provide a better indicator of pipeline health and future revenue.
Expand Attribution Models
Some attribution is better than none, and we’d always advise marketers to just get started collecting some data. After that, it’s worth considering what the limitations are and how they could be overcome. Use a model that works for your sales cycle. For example, if it’s a long cycle that has a large number of touches, then a U or W shape attribution can make sure the right touches get the significance. And with the right tools set up, this can be easily tweaked and analyzed as required.
Explain it to Sales
Once they understand that marketing shares the same revenue goals and is focused on the same things, the process eases. It may take a while, but there are often benefits to making sales part of the campaign journey rather than just the recipient of leads.
Long sales cycles and multi-touch sales processes mean we need to keep measuring results beyond what many marketers actually do. Reports and dashboards can help, but don’t just measure once and stop, as we know the impact of activities often lives on in a longer sales cycle.
Measuring marketing ROI and taking a revenue marketing approach is not always easy. From convincing others to thinking in a different way, to getting the right metrics for the right audience, there’s a lot to think about. It won’t happen overnight, but measurement is something marketers should be improving all the time. In the end, this will increase the attribution of marketing activities, improve accountability, and make ourselves as relevant as possible to the overall business objectives.
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